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Providing a laptop with wireless connectivity for every English language student opens up whole new spectrum of possibilities for teachers in designing instructions and activities in their classrooms. This unique ecology has the potential to transform the classroom into an active learning environment. For this to happen, it is imperative that teachers understand what the ecology has to offer. This paper reports on the on-going teachers' professional development (PD) in leveraging one-to-one laptop classrooms with wireless connectivity seamlessly in their everyday teaching. It focuses on teachers' concerns in adopting the one to one laptop programme and their implication in developing appropriate individualised professional development strategies. [abstract to amended]




This study is part of a larger research project on one-to-one laptop use in English classrooms. The target audience are teachers from English Language department teaching lower and upper secondary classes in a local high school. The key purpose of this study is to suggest a professional development strategy that teachers can adopt in negotiating the challenges they face in the use of laptops in everyday teaching. This paper reports briefly the concerns teachers have as a whole department and elaborated the findings for three teachers based on survey and interviews with additional informal chat for the three teachers. These findings provided baseline information for further inquiries on the causes of concerns that teachers are facing in using laptops that would aid to guide the strategizing of appropriate professional development for individual teachers.


In 2008, Fox Hill High School (FHHS [*] ) implemented a full-scale one-to-one laptop for her secondary one cohort. All teachers and secondary one students have a laptop each with Bluetooth connectivity. The school has broadband wireless connectivity throughout the infrastructure/building. Each classroom and specific areas of the school have its own wireless hotspot connection. Every classroom is also fixed with an Interactive White Board (IWB*) besides the standard overhead projector. Specially constructed power outlets were laid on the floor for students to charge their laptops. At present, students from secondary one to secondary three have their own laptops.

Pilot study

In the same year, a pilot study was conducted on the use of laptops with the English language department. During the pilot study, teachers and students (secondary one cohort) participated in completing an online survey on the use of technology (laptop) in teaching and learning respectively. Several classroom observations were conducted for different teachers. The observations were videotaped and coded in-situ. This was then followed by an individual discussion (one hour) for every teacher who was observed.

Findings from the pilot study showed that teachers rarely used laptops even when the affordances were evident. For example, during a peer review activity, a teacher instructed students to exchange their laptops with their partners instead of capitalizing on the Bluetooth or other file-sharing affordances presented by laptops. Another teacher lamented that it took her a considerable amount of time to find images/videos relating to an English literature text that she was teaching. She could have instead designed an activity for students to search for such resources. On the flipside, another teacher permitted her students to use the laptops (for note taking) as she was teaching. She allowed them to search the internet to find resources.

The examples above illustrated the lack or limited use of laptops. Teachers did not grab the opportunities where use of laptops could possibly enhance students' learning experiences. They were unaware and unacquainted with the classrooms' ecologies to be able identify such opportunities or design activities with use of laptops as the central tool. As a result, laptops were seldom used in classrooms. If used, most of the time will be activities on information search via internet or note taking. The various opportunities for collaboration, feedback, discussion, differentiated learning and many others were practically unheard of.

Teachers' concerns have also influenced the use of laptops in classrooms. Teachers tend to allow students to use laptops when they were able to overcome their concerns with regards to the initiative. They will shy away when they foresee possible issues that may add to their concerns. Worth noting though, all teachers have attended trainings and professional development programs pertaining to the one-to-one laptop initiative. However, these sessions emphasized on generic technology skilling and were often loaded with overwhelming information for teachers to digest. Also, the training programs did not address the concerns that were bothering teachers. On top of that, teachers were not guided how to utilize laptops in the context of their subjects. Although they agreed that an overall generic trainings were useful, they needed further information specific to the subjects they teach.

As more one-to-one laptop initiatives are sprouting in the local scene, it is compelling to address the aforementioned issues and facilitate teachers as they undergo the innovation process. Innovations result in new ways of working that affect teachers and perturbed their already established teaching styles. Naturally then, they developed concerns pertaining to the use of the innovations that influenced their adoption. According to Hord et. al (1987), these concerns of innovation are typically developmental although not absolute. Hence in managing such innovation, one possibility is to craft individual professional development strategy that looks into the concerns that teachers are having as they use laptops and develop the skill to identify appropriate affordances that they can utilise. With that in mind, the following specific research questions are formulated to guide the study:

1. What are the teachers' profiles in terms of CBAM Model's Stages of Concern in adopting the one-to-one laptop programme?

2. Do teachers who have similar stages of concerns are experiencing similar issues?

3. How do these concerns affect future professional development strategies?

Review of Literature

The literature accentuates the importance of professional development in one-to-one laptop schools but most fall short in implementing expounded practices. According to Fox (2006) and Bienkowski et al. (2005), professional development is a vital factor in the success of one-to-one laptop programmes. In supporting teachers' professional development, many models have been employed throughout different countries that addressed teachers--spanning from their beginning career to those retiring (Villegas-Reimers, 2003). Villegas-Reimers (2003) categorises these professional developments programmes into (i) organisational partnership models and, (ii) small group or individual models. The small group models which refer to school or classroom level have been identified more as techniques rather than models. Although policy-makers in most laptop programmes made provisions for teachers' professional development, the outcomes have been contradictory. On the one hand, there has been an increase in teachers using laptops across the curriculum after they had undergone several professional development programmes (Bebell, 2005; Fox, 2006). Bebell (2005) reported that teachers were satisfied with the amount of professional development they had received. In another study, teachers with practical knowledge requested more advanced professional development programmes (Rutledge et al., 2007).

Conversely, not all professional development programmes produced similar outcomes. Khambari et al. (2009) report that teachers found the professional development they were given to be inadequate and claimed that they did not receive any training prior to their appointment. They lamented they needed to acquire new skills frequently and that the training they received did not address their particular needs. Villegas-Reimers (2003) run through the limitations of professional developments programmes, particularly for in-service teachers as:

Did not cater to teachers' needs or unrelated,

No systematic way of communication with administrators,

Did not address practical concerns,

Mere transmitting of knowledge regardless of their relevance to teachers and

Too short or too ineffective.

These are consistent with reports from other studies that recount professional development programmes to emphasise on technology training instead of including other variants to address teachers' dilemmas and conflicts in beginning to use laptops (McGrail, 2006) and having a propensity to be either too simple or too difficult for some participants even within the same instructional group (Murphy, King, & Brown, 2007).

Administrators and policy-makers, therefore, must be able to select appropriate models that are comprehensive in engaging teachers from diverse backgrounds and subject areas (Stager, 1995). In an English Language Arts environment, McGrail (2007) draws attention to policy-makers and school administrators to put pedagogy before technology in planning for professional development.

Instead of emphasizing skilling, policy-makers and administrators should re-examine their strategies in preparing teachers for technology with sound professional learning programmes. McKenzie (2001) suggests the application of adult learning pedagogy in teachers' training. In this situation, activities are usually those that matched teachers' needs and their learning styles. Teachers are encouraged to take responsibility of their own learning. Similarly, McGrail (2006) states that teachers suggest their own learning that best suits their goals and abilities. In facilitating personalised staff development, Hall and Loucks (1978) make use of teachers' concern in diagnosing their needs so that appropriate interventions can be put in place. Especially when teachers are undergoing an innovation, these concerns describe teachers' feelings, perceptions and motivations pertaining to adoption which are useful in guiding professional development strategies. This study employs the concern-based adoption model so as to elicit their concerns pertaining to the one-to-one laptop programme.

Concern-Based Adoption Model

Concern-Based Adoption Model (CBAM), which started in the early 70s, is based on a research on concerns about innovations that examined the relationship between a change process and individual concerns. Hord, Rutherford, Huiling-Austin and Hall (1987) explain that users uses of innovation is connected to their concerns which include their feelings, thoughts, past experiences and other factors related to the innovation. The CBAM model was founded upon verified assumptions about change as described below:

To recognize that change management is a complex process that requires time, usually several years. It should not be treated as an event that ceased after a 'handing over'.

Individuals are the key to a successful change. As change affects individuals, they way they work and function, they must the focus in a change so that new practices are imbued in them for them to put to work.

Change is very much a personal experience. Individuals react differently towards any innovation. Some may assimilate quickly while others may take time to adopt. Hence a change will be successful if individual personal needs are being addressed.

Individuals demonstrated development growth as they gained more experience in using the innovation. These skills and feelings can be diagnosed and prescribed. Using the tools for such purpose helped in guiding and managing change.

Individuals naturally relate to operational issues that affected them such as how an innovation will impact of their teaching and what kind of support they will be given. Hence change is best understood and regarded from an operational terms.

In facilitating a change, the focus should be on individuals, innovation and the context.

CBAM was used because apart from measuring what users were doing with an innovation, it is client-centred with the ability to identify individual concerns and needs. This information has great potential in informing and guiding appropriate actions to be taken. Although there are other models relating to technology use (adoption) in education, these models do not examine the processes that individuals went through from one stage of use to another. Examples of such models are LoTi and ACOT framework. However these models are good tools to examine individual's progress pertaining to use of innovation, specifically technology in education.

There are 3 main dimensions of CBAM model. They are:

Stages of Concerns Questionnaire (SoCQ).

Level of Use (LoU)

Innovation Configuration (IC)

This study focuses on the SoCQ dimension. The LoU was very briefly utilised to obtain the general level of use individual teachers were engaging.

Stages of Concerns Questionnaire (SoCQ)

This questionnaire focuses on the concerns individuals have with regards to the innovation. There are seven stages of concerns as shown below (Table 1).


Expression of Concern







6. Refocusing

I have some ideas about something that would work even better.

5. Collaboration

I am concerned about relating want I am doing with what other teachers are doing.

4. Consequence

How is my use of the innovation affecting the students?





3. Management

I seem to be spending all my time getting material ready.





2. Personal

How will it affect me?

1. Informational

I would like to know more about it.

0. Awareness

I am not concerned or not putting in much effort about the innovation

Table 1: Stages of Concern

Stage 0 (Awareness) is a stage where users have little concern or involvement with the innovation. However a high Stage 0 cannot be interpreted as a standalone. Other stages should be examined coherently for a more accurate interpretation. Stage 1 (Informational) depicts users that have general awareness and are interested to learn about the innovation. Users in this stage are usually not worried about themselves in relation to the innovation. Stage 2 (Personal) is a stage where users are in doubt and uncertain about demands of the innovation and the effects of them. They are also uncertain of their ability to meet demands of the innovation. Stage 3 (Management) reflects users who focused their attention on management issues such as time-management, organizing resources and managing schedules. It also indicates possible conflicts users are facing in managing the demands of the innovation and their interests (teaching). It also Stage 4 (Consequence) relates to the focus on the consequences or impact that the innovation has on students. These include the relevance of the innovation for students and students' performance outcomes. Stage 5 (Collaboration) is a stage that focuses on collaboration with other users of the innovation. This also includes coordinating collective efforts amongst others. Stage 6 (Refocusing) explores more benefits and possible major changes or replacement with a more powerful alternative. Users in this stage have clear ideas about other options that work better than the innovation.

Level of Use (LoU)

Level of Use describes what users are currently doing with the innovation. It focuses on the operational aspects and not on users' attitudes, motivations and other affective areas. There are eight levels in LoU as explained below:

Level 0 (Non-Use) - state where users have no or little knowledge about the innovation and not taking any action to be involved.

Level I (Orientation) - state where users are taking initiative to learn more about the innovation.

Level II (Preparation) - state where users are preparing and have plans to begin using the innovation.

Level III (Mechanical) - state where users are using innovation on a short-term basis. Usually users are primarily engaged in an attempt to master tasks required to use the innovation.

Level IVA (Routine) - state where users have established pattern of use.

Level IVB (Refinement) - state where users are making changes to increase impact on students.

Level V (Integration) - state where users collaborate with colleagues on the use of innovation.

Level VI (Renewal) - state where users are exploring other alternatives to increase impact on students and examines new development in the field. They also reevaluate the quality of the use of innovation.


Participants and settings

Participants were three English language teachers teaching secondary one, two and three classes (from FHHS) who have completed both the survey and interview segments of the professional development sequence. They are involved in the one-to-one laptop initiative by FHHS. Their teaching experiences range from two to over twenty years. They either teach English language only, English literature only or both language and literature. Almost all have undergone training pertaining to the one-to-one laptop implementation.

The study took place in school setting during school hours. A face-to-face briefing was conducted to share with teachers regarding the proposed professional development sequence. Subsequent communications were mostly via emails.


Informal chats took place several times with several different teachers. These chats did not have any specific agenda. As the name implies, these chats occurred unplanned and impromptu. Intent of the chat was twofold: (i) to familiarise with the school environment and culture and (ii) to gather ballpark information that could be used in the study. These chats were recorded as field notes with dates and name of teachers.

A survey was developed and administered to teachers electronically. The survey consisted of four sections: (i) background information, (ii) IT skills, (iii) CBAM's Stages of Concern (SoC) and (iv) CBAM's Level of Use (LoU). The IT skills list was adapted from a survey done in the larger study.

An individualised face-to-face interview was carried out with teachers who have completed the survey. Interviews are useful in getting insights and as follow-up to certain responses to surveys and questionnaires (McNamara, 1999). Interview questions were developed based on responses from the survey and the informal chat sessions. The main purpose of the interview was to obtain detail information on teachers concerns and the possible causes based on the SoCQ's responses. Each interview lasted about fifty to sixty minutes. All interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim.

Data Analysis

Responses from SoCQ were scored to obtain the concern profile of individual teachers. Individual profiles were analysed to determine teachers' intense concern and pattern related to other concerns. The above followed closely the procedures as prescribed by Hall, George and Rutherford (1979). Below is a summary of the procedure:

Transcribe the raw scale from the questionnaire into the appropriate column (i.e. Stage 0, Stage 1, etc)

Add up all the scales for every column.

Locate the sum of the scales for every column from the percentile score table and note the percentile ranking.

Plot a graph using the percentile scores for all the stages to obtain the SoC profile.

Interviews were transcribed and coded together with the field notes. The codes used were essentially intense concerns that individual teachers have highlighted. Examples are lack of time, exams/tests and classroom management. These were used for both the interview transcripts and field notes to look for consistency and other patterns relating to their concerns.


Overall concern

The intense concerns and other related concerns that teachers faced are unevenly distributed in terms of the stages of concern (Fig. 1). All have differing concerns at the different stages. This signifies that individual's perception of concerns is highly personal and is linked to their own experiences and knowledge about the innovation. However, it is interesting to note that most teachers have high concern at Stage 0 and low concern at Stage 5 with a tailing up in Stage 6 with varying relative intensities (Fig 2). This depicts the profiles of non-users or inexperienced users.

Findings from interviews further revealed that several teachers have similar issues at the same stage of concern. For example, several teachers admitted that they have limited or no time to explore the innovation (Stage 3 concern). Another instance was a group of teachers who claimed that their present ways of delivering lessons have been successful and are not yet convinced if the innovation may work better (Stage 6 concern).

Overall, the two graphs suggest that teachers are seeking information on the innovation and may possibly need to be convinced about the innovation. This is intensified with second and third highest concerns at Stages 1 and 2 respectively. At current, without much or relevant information, they are uncertain on how they can use the innovation effectively and their ability to meet the demands of the innovation. Additionally, they are also thinking on how the innovation may impact their already established ways of teaching.

Figure 1. Concern profile for all teachers

Figure 2. Cumulative concern profile for all teachers

Cindy Sim


Cindy Sim is in her mid 30s. She has been teaching for about 13 years in the lower and upper secondary classes. Cindy has been involved in the one-to-one laptop initiative since the full rollout. During this study, she was teaching English language to the lower secondary classes. Cindy has attended several trainings and professional development relating to the one-to-one laptop initiative. In the middle of the year, she together with a few colleagues shared the knowledge that they gained from a formal training conducted by an external vendor to the entire EL department on Mindmeister [1] and Rubistar [2] .

On the trainings that she attended, Cindy said that most were very technical and loaded with information that overwhelmed her. She would like to attend workshops that show how laptops are utilised in context of the subject that she is teaching.

Concerns profile

Figure 3 - Cindy Sims's concern profile

Cindy has several concerns as reflected in her personal concerns profile (Fig 3). The x-axis (horizontal) represents the seven stages of concerns starting from Stage 0 (extreme left) to Stage 6 (extreme right). The y-axis (vertical) represents the percentile range of the concerns' intensity from 1 to 99 (for interval line consistency, the highest point of y-axis terminates at 100). The seven numerals on the graph are percentile scores that denote Cindy's concern levels across all the stages.

Essentially, Cindy's intense concern is at Stage 0, awareness-related. However this high score does not suggest that Cindy is a non-user. As explained by Hall, George and Rutherford (1979), a high Stage 0 concern cannot be interpreted directly from the profile. Other concerns must be taken into consideration. In Cindy's case, the spike in Stage 3, management-related, suggests that she is using laptops but is facing with management issues. In the individual, face-to-face interview, Cindy acknowledged the vast potential benefits of laptop uses in classrooms. In spite of this, covering the syllabus and preparing students for exams took priority. She added that her students have high reliance on their laptops. She stressed the need to let students work in a real examination environment where there will be no laptops and programs to help with their spell-check or word count. Thus, finding the balance in preparing students for exams and using the laptops is a challenge. This insinuates a conflict between Cindy's interest in preparing students for national exam and new responsibility of utilising laptops in her classes. Further, Cindy explained that with laptops students were able to source information on their own and learn at their own pace. While she recognized the opportunity for differentiated learning, she claimed that she had no control on what students were learning from the websites they visited. Everybody will have different information and understanding acquired from their online searches. Reflecting back, she shared that without laptops, she was able to control (in her lesson design) what to teach. She also claimed that more time is needed for students to fully utilise potential of laptops. She shared,

"The wealth of information and what you can just go on and on, but we have to set that boundary, we have to stop somewhere. But the boys, of course I'm sure if they want to, they can go on to, go and search and do so much more research on their own, yeah. There's so much, I mean, we are just covering the tip, and yet we are trying to do a lot with them. And then there is a time constraint because there are other areas that we must cover for the syllabus we are going, you know."

Besides these, she also experienced technical problems several times when using laptops. Additionally, the low score in Stage 6 (Refocusing) of her concern profile also shows that Cindy is still learning how to make effective use of laptops. While this did not have much effect on her use of laptops, she admitted that if her intense concern is 'taken away', she foresee frequent use of laptops. At the moment, she confronted her concerns based on what she perceived may help.

IT skills and use of laptops

Figure 4 - Cindy Sim's IT skill

Figure 4 shows Cindy's skill level for the various technologies. The x-axis (horizontal) represents the various technology skills. The descriptions on these technologies are below the x-axis. Each technology is denoted with different colour codes. The y-axis (vertical) represents the scale for the technology proficiency. The scale is as below.







Don't know

Need a lot of help

Need a little help

Able but slow

Quite good


The bars (and numerals on top of each bar) in the graph denote Cindy's skill level for the various technologies.

Figure 4 shows that Cindy is proficient with a variety of production and internet tools. The technologies that she is competent include word-processing, presentation software, information search via internet and communication via email and chats. These are the highest bars with skill level of 5. She is also conversant with some educational software such as Mindmaps. Cindy's use of laptops was mostly for the purposes of lesson preparations, creating materials, and administrative tasks. She used the internet to search for information in preparing her lessons. She also used laptops for communications. In her class, she used Blogs where students posted messages and questions that she could reply to. In the interview, she said although she does not have a Facebook [3] account, she may need to learn about Facebook because there may be a possibility to capitalise Facebook in near future.

She permitted her students to use laptops in classes for searching of information via the internet. In more specific tasks design, students were asked to use software such as Comic Life as part of their English lesson project on persuasive writing. Comic Life is software that allows the easy and fast creation of comic (with dialogue bubbles) from personal images. Students did storyboards using Comic Life for teachers to evaluate and comment before progressing to the next task.

Vicki Lee


Vicki Lee is a veteran teacher. She is in her mid 40s and has been teaching for 26 years. She teaches English language and English literature. During this study, she was teaching English literature to lower secondary classes and English language to upper secondary classes. Vicki has been involved in the one-to-one laptop initiative since the full rollout. She has attended several trainings and professional development relating to the one-to-one laptop initiative. In the middle of the year, she attended a sharing session conducted by Cindy (and other colleagues from EL department). Consistent with Cindy's case, Vicki also claimed the trainings were heavy on technicalities and very generic.

Concerns profile

Figure 5 - Vicki Lee's concern profile

Vicki's SoC graph's taxonomy is similar to Cindy's. According to Hall and Hord (2006) the above profile is an indication of a possible resistor towards the innovation. This profile signals that Vicki is having difficulty doing what is required by the innovation. Besides the intense concern at stage 3, management-related, she also has many other concerns. Essentially, the intense concern at stage 3 signifies that she is a beginner at using laptops and is facing several management issues. During the interview she shared that at specific time allocations, she allowed students to use laptops to search for information. On one occasion, she told her students to look for information on Madame Tussauds wax museum and was impressed with what she saw. Her students were able to locate the information fast, independently and more importantly engaged in the activity. However, she pointed that time constraint was a frequent barrier in her (and her students') use of laptops. Several times, she found 'teachable moments where use of laptops can enhance students' learning such as use of sound effects to augment moods in horror or suspense scenes. These, according to her brought the text alive. It is unfortunate that she had to dismiss the idea of using laptops because of time constraint. She related that teaching English literature is about text and that her priority was to complete the text. Using laptops took away the time she had to complete the text because time will be 'wasted' for students to prepare their laptops and get ready for lessons. In preparing lessons, Vicki needed more time to ensure that resources she obtained from internet were congruent with the text that she was teaching and only used parts (of the resources) that did not deviate from the text. She also shared that each period had been reduced by five minutes on top of many holidays falling on days that she had her English literature lessons. This reduction in time worsened her already tight timeline to complete the text.

Vicki is also concerned that her students will get off-task if she permits use of laptops. She admitted that before she allowed students to use laptops, she would set out rules and be strict with students so she still is regarded as the authority of control. When she thinks she can 'trust' them, she lets them use, but only upon her instruction. She has several ideas on how she would use laptops and would use them frequently if her concerns are dealt with. Vicki shared on one incident when she had to stop her student from using laptop.

"So in the end it got a bit too, because you see, it's like a one period slot, then if I have to keep doing that, it became too cumbersome and I'm stopping, it's you're distracting everybody else, because every now and then I have to like, "are you still typing?" every now and then I have to walk towards him…"

The high stage 2, personal-related suggests that she still has issues about her role in the innovation. The tailing-up stage 6, refocusing-related may suggests two possibilities. She is either thinking of other approaches that work better or is exploring ways how she can use the innovation effectively. Interestingly, in Vicki's case it is not about replacing the innovation with more powerful alternative. However, she is thinking of ways to use laptops for a more student-centred approach. Vicki explained her Stage 6 concern as below.

"let's say they can go and find, do their own research, find out what they want, either in groups or individual, it can be whole class, different groups come out with the info, or I could if you want to, let's say break it up even more, it can be group A, I want you to find out only on one aspect of it. Group B another, you know. Let's say, whatever. Then they come back, do the sharing, do the presentation and then from there it can lead to whatever."

Additionally, Vicki admitted that she did not use much of the laptops when it started. However after using them a few times, she is convinced that laptops (to a certain extent) helped in enhancing her lessons. Vicki's concern profile also indicates that her least concern is on Stage 5, collaboration. This implies that either she has no issues with collaboration or have yet to do much collaboration with fellow colleagues.

IT skills and use of laptops

The taxonomy for Vicki's IT Skill's graph is similar to that of Cindy's. Vicki is able to work with the common technology tools especially production software such as word processor, presentation software and spreadsheet (Fig 6). She knows how to do simple file manipulation for example copying and saving files. Vicki is also quite conversant with the basic internet programs. These include searching for information, email and chat. Vicki used videos she found via Youtube to use in her lessons on an English literature text that she was teaching. She also used email and chat program to communicate with her students after school hours, especially those who seldom talk during lessons.

Vicki attended a sharing on Rubistar conducted by her colleague from EL department. She shared that she was excited and in fact has been searching for relevant resources from Rubistar website to adapt in her lesson. However as aforementioned, she needed to modify the resources to fit her needs, and she had no time for that.

Figure 6 - Vicki Lee's IT skill

Iris Tay


Iris Tay is a fresh, young teacher in her mid 20s with 2 years of teaching experience. Iris teaches English language and English literature to the lower secondary classes. When Iris joined the school, the one-to-one laptop initiative was already in progress hence she did not experience any transition period. Iris had attended several trainings and professional development relating to the one-to-one laptop initiative. In the middle of the year, she attended a sharing session conducted by Cindy (and other EL colleagues).

Concerns profile

Figure 7 - Iris Tay's concern profile

Iris's SoC graph's taxonomy is similar to Cindy's and Vicki's. From the concern profile (Fig 7), Iris's intense concern is on Stage 4, consequence-related. During a face-to-face interview, she shared that the uses of laptops have a negative impact on students' attitude and behaviour. She claimed that students are addicted to the laptops but in bad ways. They are immature and not able to view laptops as tool to help them in their learning processes. She added that since students are savvy, they were able to perform laptop-related activities quickly. After which (since they have completed their tasks) they went off-tasks. Further, she added being immature, instead of posting school-related messages, students swore and cursed teachers via Facebook. They also resorted to cyber-bullying. Iris foresees more frequent use of laptops (for students) if the concern she is having is taken away (overcome her concern).

Iris's other concerns are rather low. It is very clear that she has a low Stage 6,

refocusing-related concerns. Her second biggest concern is on Stage 5, collaboration-related. Together with the Stage 1 peak on information-related concern, this suggests that she is looking for information and opportunities for collaboration. However since they are at the 50th percentile, this does not reflect as a major concern. According to Iris, at departmental level, they have rather frequent meetings to share and discuss on matters relating to one-to-one laptop. For herself, she prefers to work alone and then discuss with other teachers to put things together.

IT skills and use of laptops

Figure 8 - Iris Tay's IT skill

The taxonomy for Iris's IT Skill's graph is similar to that of Cindy's and Vicki's. From the IT Skill survey (Fig 8), it shows that Iris is competent in many IT software and tools. She is an expert in using presentation software and the internet for communication and information search. She is least competent is in database design, which is similar to Cindy's and Vicki's case. Iris used laptops to deliver lessons via the projector. She frequently utilised the school's learning portal to upload notes and resources for her students to access. In class, she allowed her students to use laptops while she was teaching. She has established a pattern of use with her students in the sense that students did not require to ask her permission to use laptops. Iris description of this use is as below.

"…automatically but when they greet me, all Mac books closed first until they are seated. And then when I start my lesson, there are notes to take down while I teach because I use both the screen as well as the whiteboard. So, when I teach, I scribble, to elaborate so they will take down notes. Because whatever that is on the whiteboard, the moment I erase it, that's it. And they know, they will just ta-da-da-da type like crazy. And each of them will have their own folders on the desktop which I will check."


The three cases above possess several similarities worth noting. Firstly, all of the teachers have SoC profiles of users (of the innovation). Although each of them has their own concern/s, they did plan and attempt to use laptops in the design of lesson activities. While they noted the potential benefits of laptops, all admitted that their concerns have affected the uses of laptops in classrooms and if they are able to overcome the concern/s (concerns are taken away), they foresee frequent use of laptops in classrooms. Secondly, although all of them had undergone workshops to prepare them for the one-to-one laptop initiative, they claimed that those (trainings and workshops) were focussed on the technicalities and context-neutral (Mishra & Koehler, 2006) rather than on the possible uses in the subjects that they were teaching. They needed specific workshops on how to utilise laptops in their subjects. An interesting point to note is that none of them mentioned of any workshops/trainings on tackling issues (concerns) that they are facing. These were done through informal sharing with colleagues for tips and advices on strategies to handle their concerns or using their authority as a teacher to circumvent undesired behaviours. Finally, even though all are able to use the common productivity tools and the internet, these did not translate naturally into smooth implementations in classrooms.


The three teachers have significant differences in the duration of their teaching experiences. Amongst the three, the teacher with the least teaching experience demonstrated an established pattern of use as compared to the other two. This suggests that the use of laptops required additional knowledge or skill besides vast teaching experience for an effective integration in classroom activities. Additionally, even though the three teachers are from the same department and taught lower secondary levels (all Express stream), they experienced differing set of concerns pertaining to use of laptops. These require differentiated attention and strategy in order to fully address the concerns.

Implication and discussion

This study found that having extensive teaching experiences and sound technology skills are not sufficient for teachers to effectively use laptops in classrooms. Having undergone several professional development programmes or trainings pertaining to the innovation did not equate to automatic adoption. The intense concern/s that teachers faced presented barriers for them to use laptops. Interestingly, these concerns are consistent with what Ertmer (as cited in Lim & Khine, 2006) describes as first and second order barriers to technology adoption. These concerns elicit teachers' profiles that are indicative of their current and potential adoption of the innovation such as experienced or inexperienced user and possible resistor. Clearly, with the variations in individual teachers' concerns, a generic one-fits-all professional development is not suitable-in fact may be futile. As Hord et al. (1987) state, these concerns are "powerful influence on the implementation of a change, and they determine the kinds of assistance that teachers find useful" (p. 30). Inevitably then, teachers' concerns form a crucial element to be considered in planning any professional development. They present essential information that aids in uncovering teachers' current knowledge pertaining to the innovation and the possible causes for non-adoptions which thus guides in developing appropriate instructional or non-instructional interventions (Rossett, 1987).


This study used the CBAM (SoCQ) in determining individual teachers' concerns pertaining to the one-to-one laptop initiative in the school. Results from SoCQ did not provide prescriptions to adhere in developing future professional development strategies. However, these are critical information to note in planning for professional development to ensure that there is proper alignment in the professional development against the concerns so that training will be meaningful (Hall & Hord, 2006).

Innovation brings about change. According to Owen, Farsaii, Knezek, and Christensen (2005), it takes three to five years to see organisations beginning to make changes. This indicates that professional development should be an-ongoing process. Organisations and institutions must be patient, continuously provide support and programmes that equipped teachers with the skills to seek the necessary knowledge that they deemed crucial or relevant in the use of laptops. This knowledge goes beyond technology skilling and should consist of other knowledge such as pedagogical and content. The sound negotiation of these three knowledge (technology, pedagogy and content) forms a framework (Mishra & Koehler, 2006) to guide teachers in skilfully choosing and using laptops in their lessons.


This paper makes use of data from the research project, "Multimodal literacy in English language and literature teaching: The design, implementation and evaluation of a one-to-one wireless laptop programme in a Singapore high school" (OER/27/08/PT) funded by the Centre for Research in Pedagogy and Practice, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore ( The views expressed in this paper are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of the Centre on the Institute.