According to the authors, Fullan and Donnelly, of the article, “Alive in a Swamp”, as students get closer to their high school graduation, they lose interest in their schooling at an exponential rate. The same type of phenomena occurs among teachers. One in three educators would like to leave the profession. To counteract this decrease in satisfaction with the education system, funding has been provided to schools to integrate technology in hopes that it will address this lack of interest. The hope is that technology will make learning more relevant to everyday life and the work force for the students, and an easier job for the teachers. However, technology is only part of the solution. I believe that it is only a bandage to a problem. Usually, when we want to fix something, the first thing to do is to complete an analysis of the causes which would indicate that the tools used to learn are not the only problem. Technology has brought upon a new way to assess information which is forcing to question how teaching and learning has been carried up to now.
“Pedagogy and change knowledge will have to dramatically step up their game in order to contribute their essential strengths to the new learning revolution. Additionally, the complex and dynamic relationship between technology, pedagogy and change knowledge will need to be developed and nurtured if we are to get “whole system reform”(Fullan & Donnelly, 2013). Basically, what this is saying is that with the technology taking more and more space in schools, it is very important for teachers to adapt their pedagogy if they don’t want to lose part of their credibility. Teachers don’t need to be information providers any more. They need to become facilitators and activators (change agents=learning partners (students and teachers). The students will be in charge of their own learning while the teachers will guide them and exchange with them to both actively participate in the learning. (Teachers are no longer seen as gurus – people who carry and share information).
We are now at the cusp of an overall change in the pedagogy used in schools. There is an imbalance between the new technology and the old pedagogy. What was done before where the teachers was the generator of knowledge and the students would passively learn, is no longer working. The internet has made information accessible to everyone; so, now, it is more a question of assisting the students understand, using the information to accomplish a goal and to develop cognitive abilities, their personal motivation and responsibility, and their interpersonal skills. It is important to restructure the pedagogical system in order to even it out with the technology that has infiltrated the education system.
To help with the change needed, Fullan and Donnelly have developed an index “to be used as an evaluative tool to predict the transformative power of the emerging digital innovations.” This index is divided into three sections: pedagogy, system change, and technology.
According to Fullan and Donnelly, in order to have a whole system change, the intervention needs to be embedded in “all the elements of learning- assessments, content, curriculum, communication tools, collaboration spaces, report cards, teacher development and learning platforms” to impact all the students in all the schools. Six recommendations come out of the study “Alive in the swamp”,
E= ethical educated person
T= thinking or thought
This document makes a lot of sense to me. It provides some specific guidelines to make a sustainable change within a school or school district. In my opinion, the new BC curriculum provides an incentive to make this change in teaching pedagogy and students’ learning experience. The learning outcomes and the assessments are being provided by the Ministry. The technology readily available, it is mostly a question to choose the right one. However, extra funding will have to be put into the education system to support the change in the pedagogy itself, the implementation support, and its comprehensiveness and integration. Otherwise, the change will only take place bit by bit and will not become sustainable throughout the whole educational system.
“For revolutionary learning results, we need to combine how we learn with how to ensure engagement, with how to make change easier”(9).
Fullan, M. & Donnelly, K. (July, 2013). Alive in a swamp. Nesta. Retrieved January 20, 2017 from http://www.nesta.org.uk/sites/default/files/alive_in_the_swamp.pdf