Seeking Teachers & Entrepreneurs

Seeking Study Participants: Teachers and Entrepreneurs who Innovate with Technology in or for K-12 Schools

Dr. Joan Hughes and Adam Papendieck, educational researchers from the University of Texas, are conducting research to understand how teachers and entrepreneurs innovate in K-12 schools. We are seeking the following people to participate in our study:

  1. Teachers who are innovating with technology in K-12 schools (i.e., integrating edtech products to solve educational problems.)
  2. Teachers, currently teaching in K-12 schools, who have developed edtech products for K-12 schools.
  3. Teachers, who have taught in K-12, who have developed edtech products for K-12 schools, and who have left the K-12 teaching profession to focus on their edtech product(s)/company for K-12 schools.
  4. Entrepreneurs/developers/inventors of edtech products or companies who never taught in a K-12 school.

Participating will involve no more than two interviews (about 60 minutes each) in person, by telephone, or via digital conference at a time of your convenience. We hope to learn about how you approach educational innovation, what networks and resources you use in your work, what difficulties you encounter, and how to create positive impact in schools.

We’ve included a consent form ( for your review that describes the purpose of the research and conditions for participating. If you would like to participate, please contact Adam Papendieck (

Thanks for considering this!

Dr. Joan E. Hughes

Associate Professor in Learning Technologies

UT Austin College of Education

Adam Papendieck

Doctoral Student in Learning Technologies

UT Austin College of Education

Citizen Coyote Science Comes to Fruition

In December, I recorded my answer to the One Big Question “What’s the most important benefit technology can bring to the educational experience?” My answer to this question focuses on students’ abilities to create new knowledge with technology rather than only access and learn already-created knowledge. In my response below, I gave an example of children conducting a citizen science project that tracks coyote sightings in a neighborhood, examines ecological and biological reasons for the clash between the animals and people, and creates a report for a city council. I created this example from issues that were occurring in my own neighborhood where coyotes have been sighted quite often. Neighbors on the listserv swing widely from wanting to track down and kill the coyotes (who have been accused of killing pets) to protecting the coyotes as they are native to this area and honestly were here first.

Excitingly, a few weeks ago a neighbor mom posted on the listserv that an alternative to the dreaded “volcano experiment,” she suggested to her daughter to conduct a study on the coyotes. I quickly emailed her a link to my video (below) and encouraged her to pursue this avenue. I introduced her to the concept of citizen science. They then created a website and invited neighbors to post their sightings and comments. Did I mention that a 7-year old was conducting this research project? You can find her report of the problem, hypothesis and results here: This student attends Zilker Elementary School in the Austin Independent School District.

AERA 2014 Presentations

Join us for our paper presentations at this year’s American Educational Research Conference in Philadelphia, PA.

Paper 1
Presenters: Joan E. Hughes, Michelle F. Read @MiShe11e, Sara J. Jones @sara_jones
Title of Paper: A Predictive Profile of Youths’ Web 2.0 Outside-School Activities
Day, Time, Location of Presentation: Saturday, April 5, 2:45-4:15 PM, Convention Center, Terrace Level, Terrace IV

Abstract: This quantitative study used multiple regression to identify predictors of middle school students’ Web 2.0 activities out of school, a composite variable constructed from 15 technology activities. Three middle schools participated in the study and 6th and 7th grade students completed an online survey. Independent predictor variables included school, gender, ethnicity, grade level, computer limits at home, assigned computer-based homework at school, total gadgets at home, Web 2.0 activities in school, traditional technology activities in school and three interaction variables. Results reveal a model explaining 25% of the variance, with statistically significant predictors including: school, ethnicity, grade, total gadgets, and the interaction of school and in-school Web 2.0 activities. Knowing what students do outside of school, and how in-school and out-of-school variables may impact such activity may assist educators in planning for technology in instruction and learning that both leverage what students are already doing or may wish they were doing, making learning motivating and connected to real life.

Paper 2
Presenters: Joan E. Hughes, Audrey De Zeeuw, Min Wook Ok
Title of Paper: Leadership and Vision in a High School 1:1 iPad Innovation in Practice
Day Time, Location of Presentation: Monday, April 7; 8:15-9:45 AM; Convention Center, Terrace Level, Terrace IV

Abstract: This research examines the school and district leadership practices, including setting direction, developing people, and making the organization work, in the first year of a 1:1 iPad innovation in practice at Hilly High School (HHS) in the southwestern United States. Participants included 6 district and 4 high school leaders. The study employed descriptive case study methodology with ethnographic elements including interviews and observations. Results depict a distributed leadership model across all leadership practices. Direction for the iPad innovation began with the superintendent’s noticing of a strategic planning technology gap, was solidified when leaders attended an Apple event, supported by a community valuing high achievement, and funded by the Board. Professional learning included short formal and a series of informal opportunities but overall was challenged due to budget cuts that reduced teachers’ time and technology integration support. Organizationally, infrastructural improvements to wireless networking were foremost. The district hired a mobile technology specialist mid-year to support integration efforts. Advisory input expanded to include pilot teachers, students, and a vision committee. Collaborations with the community were emphasized. This research reveals the importance of a distributed leadership network, a coherent yet flexible vision for the educational innovation, and openness and support for including new perspectives, such as from students and community members. Readers will need to generalize from the rich case description to their own contexts of practice or research.