Transformations in Higher Education: Integration of Future Technologies into Teaching and Learning

Conference: The Barcelona Conference on Education (BCE2022)
Title: Transformations in Higher Education: Integration of Future Technologies into Teaching and Learning
Stream: Higher Education
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Meril Ümarik, Tallinn University, Estonia
Larissa Jõgi, Tallinn University, Estonia


Universities have undergone remarkable digital transformations during the recent decades triggered by increasing role of information technology in everyday lives, but also due to new realities created by the pandemic. This paper focus on understanding the adoption of new emerging technologies by academic staff and how this affects teaching and learning in the university. The case of an Estonian universities will be analysed. During the school year 2021/2022 interdisciplinary group of academic staff have been introduced with new technologies (e.g. virtual reality, telepresence robots, augmented reality, interactive whiteboard etc.) and they tried to integrate them into their teaching practice. The research questions were: how to integrate new technologies in university studies? How does the application of new technologies affect university teachers' identities and teaching practices? The analysis is based on the several rounds of group interviews conducted with teaching staff from different university departments during the testing period. We find the conceptual frames of innovation diffusion theory (Rogers, 2003) and cognitive approach proposed by Spillane et al. (2002) useful to explain the technology adoption process. Interplay of different aspects plays their role in the innovation adoption process - the innovativeness of the user, but also the nature of the technological solution. Technologies that were perceived as more compatible with university teachers´ previous experiences, possible to try out in a smaller scale, and less complex are adopted more easily. Moreover, the sense-making of changes or innovations is important and can be viewed as the key to adopting educational changes.

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