Publication |Sophia Linguistica

Diffusion of Innovations in the Times of COVID-19: Japanese University Students’ Perceptions of Seesaw Speaking Tasks


Nate Olson


Universities in Japan and across the globe have had to quickly adapt to the COVID-19
pandemic, resulting in the implementation of classroom technologies for remote learning.
This paper examines students’ perceptions of Seesaw, an online learning platform wherein
students shared self-recorded videos for their speaking assignments. Data were collected
from two classes of university students (n=46) studying English as a foreign language.
Responses to a post-class student questionnaire revealed that, although both classes found
the Seesaw speaking tasks equally difficult, significantly more students in one class were
unable to engage with or enjoy using the technology. A thematic analysis of the qualitative
data was then conducted based on Rogers’ (2003) Diffusion of Innovations model. The
findings provided nuance to the factors that facilitate and hinder the adoption of Seesaw
for students. This study sheds light on these factors as part of an emerging phenomenon
and provides insight into the diffusion of educational innovation during the pandemic.