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Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Northeastern Educational Research Organization, Trumbull, CT, October, 2015.


Implementing differentiated instruction with the fast changing landscape of technology is a complex process (Fullan, 2014; Tomlinson; 2014) and requires widespread diffusion of multiple innovations by educators (Meyer, 2004). However, most U.S. classrooms remain stagnant in their attempts to successfully incorporate innovative pedagogies (Darling-Hammond, 2010; November, 2014; Prensky, 2010; Robinson, 2011). Thus Fullan (2014) reported, “The time is right to bring together knowledge of systems change, new pedagogies and technologies that allow change to scale through diffusion” (p. 13).

To understand this problem, this pragmatic, mixed-methods study (Creswell, 2009) collected data through the following condensed research questions: What are the relationships between educators’ TPACK and DI self-efficacy and the following demographics: grade level, years of teaching, adopter category, device-student ratio, professional development hours in technology or DI, class size, certification(s), and educational background? How do teachers describe their use of technology to differentiate instruction?

A questionnaire with open-ended questions provided quantitative and qualitative data (N=72). Of the respondents, 22% were categorized as innovators and 32% as early adopters-considered teacher leaders. Even though both groups demonstrated more confidence with DI-T than later adopter categories, neither showed significantly stronger TPACK. However, Grade 8-12 teachers demonstrated significantly higher TPACK and self-efficacy to DI than pre-kindergarten to grade 4 teachers.

Qualitative themes confirmed the problem. Educators demonstrated misconceptions of TPACK and self-efficacy to DI, and these innovative practices were not successfully being diffused. Thus, recommendations identified specific professional development needs, and for educational systems to create communication channels to more rapidly diffuse innovational pedagogies.



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