Research Design and Methods



In recent years, various educational researchers and theorists have promoted the study of educational institutions or systems as ecosystems (e.g., Bransford, Slowinski, Vye, & Mosborg, 2008; Davis, 2008; Lemke & Sabelli, 2008). The ecosystem provides a framework for studying educational change because it highlights the hierarchical relationship between components in a nested structure, for example, classrooms are nested in schools, and schools are nested in regional districts and educational systems. All are interdependent and interconnected elements in the educational ecosystem. However, empirical studies in education adopting such a framework are still rare. A notable example is Zhao and Frank’s (2003) study of computer use in four school districts in the United States. They explicitly designed their study according to a framework in which computer use is seen as one invasive species in the education ecosystem. Using a survey to collect their data, Zhao and Frank explored the adoption of ICT in the four school districts at classroom, school, and district levels, and found significant relationships between different statistical parameters based on a theoretical model of the interrelationships among various elements in the educational ecosystem.


Pedagogical Practice Organizational Learning Case Study Research Environmental Niche Pedagogical Innovation 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Hong KongHong KongChina

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