Year

2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

School of Education

Abstract

This research focused on the development of a web-based knowledge sharing system designed to support teacher professional practice through collaboration and sharing beyond the boundaries of individual schools. Using design-based research, teachers acted as collaborators in this four-part study that: 1) established a need by teachers for such a system; 2) determined the design heuristics that would inform the development of a knowledge management system; and 3) trialled multiple iterations of a knowledge management system. Design criteria developed were based on Nieson’s heuristics (1994), as well as other heuristics identified as applicable to webbased knowledge management systems. Results from user feedback were analysed within the framework of the Technology Acceptance Model (Venkatesh, Morris, Davis and Davis, 2003) and indicated that once ease of use criteria were satisfied, the perceptions of usefulness became a primary determinant for the prediction of use of the system by teachers. Despite criteria for usefulness having been met, teachers did not use the prototype to inform their work or practice. In the final analysis teachers continued to indicate a desire for a system, thus exposing a significant gap between the espoused values in having the system and the actual behaviour of teachers during the trial. This thesis further explored this discrepancy and concluded that antecedents for usefulness, as defined in the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM 2), were not present in the participant schools. Issues such as teacher professional identity, structures and power relationships, lack of collaborative learning and the impact of school culture all worked against the adoption of the prototype. The thesis concludes by exploring some preliminary steps that have been taken to address the antecedent factors. Early indicators suggest that this is impacting positively on teacher willingness to voluntarily engage in on-line knowledge sharing.

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