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In fact, some would argue whether technological superiorityis even a necessary condition, at least at the beginning of the adoptionprocess (MacKenzie, 1996).

A number of factorsinteract to influence the diffusion of an innovation.

The salient value of the innovator is venturesomeness. He or she desires the hazardous, the rash, the daring and the risky. The innovator must also be willing to accept an occasional setback when one of the new ideas he or she adopts proves unsuccessful, as inevitably happens. While an innovator may not be respected by the other members of a social system, the innovator plays an important role in the diffusion process: that of launching the new idea in the social system by importing the innovation from outside of the system’s boundaries. Thus, the innovator plays a gate keeping roles in the flow of new ideas into a social system.


On one extreme of the distribution are theInnovators.

Second, instructional technology is inherently an innovation-based discipline.

While these above models explain the adoption and diffusion of innovations in general, are there specific models describing teachers and the adoption of technological innovations? Rogers (1986) noted the ways in which adoption of ICT differs from other types of innovations.


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Rubin (1985), as citedin Littlejohn (1996), suggests that audience motive research based on usesand gratification research has been too compartmentalized within certaincultures and demographic groups, leading to the assumption this has thwartedsynthesis and integration of research results, which are two key ingredientsin theory building.

The areas are shown inFigure 4.

Following the discussionof general diffusion theory, the author describes how general diffusiontheories have been used to form diffusion theories specific to the fieldof instructional technology.

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Early adopters are a more integrated part of the local social system then are innovators. Whereas innovators are cosmopolites, early adopters are localities. This adopter category, more than any other, has the greatest degree of opinion leadership in most social systems. Potential adopters look to early adopter for advice and information about the innovation. The early adopter is considered by many as “the individual to check with” before using a new idea. This adopter category is generally sought by change agents to be a local missionary for speeding the diffusion process. Because early adopters aren’t too far ahead of the average individual in innovativeness, they serve as a role model for many other members of a social system. The early adopter is respected by his or her peers, and is the embodiment of successful and discrete use of new ideas. And the early adopter knows that to continue to earn this esteem of colleagues and to maintain a central position in the communication structure of the system, he or she must make judicious innovations decisions. So the role of the early adopter is to decrease uncertainty about a new idea by adopting it, and then conveying a subjective evaluation of the innovation to near-peers by means of interpersonal networks.

The field of instructional technology is a broad and diverse field.

Also cited in Littlejohn is Philip Palmgreen, an early uses andgratification researcher, who claims that gratifications are sought interms of a person’s beliefs about what a medium can provide and that person’sevaluation of the medium’s content (Littlejohn, 1996).