The critical success factors involved in the implementation of a digital classroom in New Zealand. A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the degree of Master of Computing, Unitec New Zealand /
Over the last five years New Zealand schools have set up digital classrooms. In a
digital classroom, sets of computers are installed in classrooms and connected to the
school’s network. The reasons for the schools setting up digital classrooms vary; from
a marketing point of view to attract students to genuine teachers who are convinced
that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) improves learning in the
classroom. There appears to be little co-ordination between schools regarding digital
classrooms. The classrooms are autonomous and have continued to develop
The purpose of this study was to investigate the critical success factors for the
implementation of a digital classroom. Relevant factors such as resources, class
organization, pedagogy, funding and support were investigated. A collective case
study approach was used. Six classrooms in four schools were researched and
compared. Interviews were carried out with six teachers and the students in all six
classrooms were surveyed. A case study methodology was used from which a profile
of each classroom was developed. The results of the research outline the success
factors in the digital classroom model and provide a definition of the digital
The research showed that the literature both supports and refutes the impact of ICT on
learning. Learning theory is outlined and its relevance to digital classrooms explained.
There is very little research available on digital classrooms in the New Zealand
context and this study makes a start in contributing to this field.
The key to the success of a digital classroom is the teacher and the type of pedagogy
that is used in the classroom. The teacher needs to take a facilitator role,
implementing a constructivist learning environment where the student interacts
seamlessly with the ICT in a rich multimedia learning environment. To be effective
the ICT must be transparent. The inquiry process is an effective pedagogy to use with
ICT. The study found that each classroom was at a different stage along the
constructivist continuum. The most effective classroom had the teacher in a facilitator
role and the students had freedom to learn using the digital tools. Digital classrooms
have the potential to merge the new learning styles of today’s students with the power
of the new emerging digital tools to produce a new generation of independent literate
problem solving students.
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