Understanding decision making in teachers’ curriculum design approaches

Ferry Boschman, Susan McKenney, Joke Voogt

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    The goal of this study was to reach a better understanding of the intuitive decisions teachers make when designing a technology-rich learning environment. A multiple case-study design was employed to examine what kinds of factors (external priorities, existing orientations or practical concerns) influence design interactions of teams of kindergarten teachers. This study combines semi-structured interview data on teachers’ existing orientations with analysis of teachers’ design discussions during the design of learning material for a technology-rich learning environment. Three teams of teachers voluntarily participated. Findings on the existing orientations suggest that knowledge and beliefs about teaching and learning related to knowledge and beliefs on technology and early literacy. The analysis of teachers’ discussions revealed that the process could be characterized to a large extent as brainstorms; and that problems are not addressed in depth. Rather they are resolved through brainstorming, and most argumentation falls in the realm of practical concerns: how to organize learning activities and how to respond to contingencies. The findings of this study suggest that teachers’ explicated design reasoning is mostly influenced by practical concerns, yet their own knowledge and beliefs play an important role at the start of the design process. However, these existing orientations as well as the practical concerns that emerge during the conversation tend to be narrow in scope. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed in light of how this study provides understanding of how to support these teachers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)393-416
    Number of pages24
    JournalEducational Technology Research and Development
    Issue number4
    Early online date25 Jun 2014
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014


    • teachers
    • design
    • Technology integration
    • Qualitative analysis
    • Kindergarten
    • Early literacy


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