Fischler College of Education: Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Abraham S. Fischler College of Education

Advisor

Michael Simonson

Committee Member

Lina Parra

Abstract

Change is critical in most organizations. International schools attempting to redefine 21st century education for their students are innovating pedagogies and schools' structures. However, the leader of an organization or school may be the most influential advocate for or barrier to change. International schools' leaders continue to play a role in the diffusion of distance education. This study identified the knowledge and experience of international school leaders and identified themes that are related to the likelihood distance education would or would not be adopted by the schools they lead. This applied dissertation describes international school leaders' knowledge and use of innovation diffusion theory in adopting distance education into kindergarten-Grade 12 East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS). International schools are a unique niche in the global educational environment. Due to the global nature of international schools, the high cost of tuition, an abundance of instructional resources, and the demands of educating children for matriculation to university, instructional technology has become an important aspect in international education. Many schools have adopted 1:1 laptop programs and learning management systems to manage instructional resources for classes and to deliver web-enhanced and blended learning. Triangulating data from EARCOS school leaders collected through individual innovativeness surveys and coding open-ended interview transcripts provided insight to school leaders' knowledge and use of innovation diffusion theory when applied to adopting or rejecting the use of distance education within their schools. Data collected in this study indicated that EARCOS school leaders' use of formalized planning when diffusing innovations, including distance education, within their schools varied depending on the scale of the innovation and the stakeholders involved. EARCOS school leaders rated themselves higher on average in individual innovativeness when compared to other innovativeness survey normative groups. Several other key themes emerged from the data including the following: **Opinion leadership and change agents play a vital role in diffusing innovations in EARCOS schools. School leaders need to be adaptable and recognize opinion leadership within their schools to diffuse innovations efficiently. **EARCOS school leaders rated themselves as highly innovative but were reluctant to explore innovative ways of delivering instruction, including distance education. **Distance education was not seen as relevant in EARCOS schools, even though school leaders recognized their students would be exposed to online learning upon matriculation. **Barriers to the diffusion of distance education exist in EARCOS schools including cost to develop distance education programs and courses, existing school structures, and the perceived absence of need.

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