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Creating a Framework for Research on Systemic Technology Innovations

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Journal of the Learning Sciences Volume 13, Number 1, ISSN 1050-8406


This article examines why cognitively oriented technology innovations, designed to foster deep thinking and learning, have not become widespread in K-12 schools. We argue a key reason is that most design-based research does not explicitly address systemic issues of usability, scalability and sustainability. This limitation must be overcome if research is to create usable knowledge that addresses the challenges confronting technology innovations when implemented in real-world school contexts. This is especially important in an era when political forces push schools away from the cognitively rich, inquiry-oriented approaches espoused by the Learning Sciences. We suggest expanding our conception of design-based research to include research on innovations in the context of systemic reform as a potential solution to the problem. To that end, we introduce research questions and issues arising from our own experiences with a technology-rich innovation in the context of a systemic reform initiative as a starting point in the creation of an expanded design-based research agenda. These questions and issues have important implications for both the continued viability of research on technologies for learning and on the future of technology use in schools that stems from such research.


Fishman, B., Marx, R.W., Blumenfeld, P., Krajcik, J. & Soloway, E. (2004). Creating a Framework for Research on Systemic Technology Innovations. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 13(1), 43-76. Retrieved April 10, 2021 from .

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