As I am usually a positive person, I like it when a new practice or tool is introduced into my educational surroundings. However, I have noticed from time to time, that even though change brings positive effects it disappears with time. This can be discouraging especially for the ones who direct time and energy to bring it to life in the first place. So, when I came upon the topic of this quest: “The 19 reasons sustainable change doesn’t happen in K-12 education,” I thought: Maybe I should have a look at the reasons why sustainable change does not seem to stay active over time.
Part of the introduction states that, “this is for people who are looking for answers and positive solutions” which I can identify with.
“We must understand the change process and how it affects people over time.”
According to the authors of the article, “sustaining change requires recognition of the complexity of change processes, intensive communication (sharing of information) and new models of collaboration among diverse networks of people (9).”
The difference in these authors’ approach as to why sustainable change does not occur is that they are focusing more on what can be controlled by us. They are looking at the “common mistakes” made while instigating a change with the hope that they will be avoided in the future. They are also introducing the “Master Mind Group” concept which focusses on bringing like-minded leaders to “work together towards creating sustainable change (10).”
“People who are change oriented benefit from having the support of others...we are all part of a mix bigger than ourselves...this shift protects us from our predilection toward self-centeredness” (10).
“Reasons 1 to 6: Failure to recognize the complexity of change”
1. Failure to change your own assumptions As we are all human, we have our own baggage that can partially clutter our vision of the situation. Our assumptions will affect what we say, perceive things and what we do.
My reaction: right away, I got interested and thought: How do I change my own assumptions?” So, I googled it and found this article: “9 ways to change your assumptions” written by Scott Mautz. He suggested to:
3. Address only part of the problem
When implementing a new project, initiative or a change, it is important to make sure that every facet of the project/change are looked at and planned for.
4. Underestimate how much time it takes to institute a change
This reason happens quite often in small and big organizations. It is necessary to make sure there is extra time scheduled to allow for setbacks and unforeseen circumstances to be dealt with without jeopardizing the whole project/change.
5. Propose ideas that are in conflict with mandates and standard operating procedures
It is important to make sure that the new venture does not go against existing mandates and current standards. Otherwise, it will create some conflicts that might endanger the project or the change.
6. Try too many things at once
It is better to begin small and to reach success then to try to move mountains and fail. Furthermore, “keeping people focused on your core vision and mission can be compromised.”
7. Fail to realize that people will ignore you
Everyone can “only focus on what we are interested in or on what we are required to deal with at that very moment. Everything else is ignored. We are only capable of focusing on what is important to us.” People know that it is an urgent issue that it will resurface but until then, they don’t have to worry about it.
8. Fail to enter into the conversation that is already going on in the minds of the people you want to influence
When having conversations presenting the new initiative or change, it is necessary to make it relate to the others’ problems and concerns.
9. Only get your message out once or twice,
10. Only get your message out in one or two ways, and
11. Communicate in a boring and non-provocative style
“Ignoring is a strategy that is effective. People have learned to wait it out. […]communication strategies must be intensive and different; and that you need to communicate over an extended period of time and in a wide variety of formats. Otherwise, you just don’t get the attention of your intended audience. The other common failure is that we neglect to “provoke” a response in our messages.”
12. Fail to have all the right information and data; and then fail to use that data effectively in communication
The right data needs to be used to communicate effectively the ideas of the project or change. Otherwise, people won’t take you seriously and it will be easy for the project/initiative to be ruined.
13. Apologize too much in the communication of the message
“It’s not what you say but how you say it!” There is a fine line between empathizing and challenging. It is important not to predict others their feelings and experiences.
14. Fail to listen to the naysayer early on, and
15. Think you can ram your idea through
“Communication is a two way street. Failing to listen to the pessimists or simply writing them off as contrarians “with a bad attitude” is a common mistake that can be career threatening. […]even if their concerns aren’t all that valid, they will not go away and more than likely will fester and grow virally if you don’t meet them head on and in a way where you ensure cooperation.”
16. Hang out with the wrong people – or with nobody!
Spending time with the people who are optimistic will help you achieve your goals while you will support them reach theirs.
17. Go too far out on a limb without a support network or safety net
The bigger the initiative or the change is, the more support is necessary in order for it to become successful. “Who in your district was covering your back? Who asked you the tough questions before it was too late? Who helped you envision what could go wrong and how to avoid it? If you don’t understand the need for these questions the fall from the limb will be a long one!”
18. Fail to collaborate with other leaders in the school
“It is easy to confuse our desire to be frank and visionary with our lack of humility and our inability to demonstrate servant leadership. The challenge is to find the appropriate venue and the appropriate audience for your own venting. Expressing your discontent with a colleague in your own community inevitably burns bridges. That doesn’t mean you don’t have legitimate concerns. You may well. You just need to have the right forum and the right support network that can help you move beyond the subjective and personal frustration to objective solutions.”
19. Fail to gradually build a community of support for new ideas
In order to receive support for the project/change, it is necessary to prove the idea of it, to research and share it, to model it, to show how, to recognize the people who get it, and to support the ones who don’t.
After outlining all the reasons why an initiative would reach successful completion, the article offers a solution. The idea is to “develop a Master Mind Group of educators who are ready to work together with their peers around the globe to create sustainable change at their local level regardless of the circumstances and regardless of their position or role in the school or district.” This last part of the article did not appeal to me. I agree that approaching a new project/change requires lots of preparation and should be presented a certain way in order to secure its success but I don’t think that it is necessary to join an outside group who will support you with the implementation process within your organization. After reflecting on all the reasons why a sustainable change might not succeed, I realized that in order to obtain sustainability for a project/change, one should approach and execute it by following the same principles as a project manager would for any project.
So, I decided to look at what is required to prepare and carry an initiative or change to success. According to Horton, objectives need to be well defined. Objectives, timeframe, scope, assumptions, high-level requirements, resources and everything else about the project should be determined as specifically as possible. The next step is to research the what, why, who, when, and how and to find relevant data that will support the goals of the initiative. Thirdly, a plan of action needs to be drawn which will outline the roles and responsibilities of the participants. Finally, a risk assessment should be prepared to determine what could go wrong and to find solutions to ensure that it does not all fall apart.
I am concluding that every time an initiative, project, or change wants to be implemented within a school, it is important to be well prepared; to be surround with people who think alike; to present it in different ways, several times; and to be ready for roadblocks and delays. Furthermore, from my personal experience, I also think that consultation and collaboration need to be part of the process. We might have some initiative that you believe will work within the institutions but someone else might see the situation and the needs to be different. It is important to do some consultation at all levels and especially with the people doing the work. Teachers, educational assistants, and students should be allowed to share their concerns and the possible outcomes and ramifications of the change before initiative are being implemented. Too often, decisions are being made from top-down although; the people doing the hands-on are the ones who will have to juggle the implementation and to try to sustain it.
“Sustaining change requires recognition of the complexity of change processes, it requires intensive communication, and it requires new models of collaboration among diverse networks of people.”
The above exercise was very valuable but it reflected more a Nonlène’s attitude. When getting ready to implement a sustainable change, it is important to evaluate the negative feedback that will come upon his presentation and its failed outcomes to become more prepared for any eventualities.
However, as I am more the type to lean towards Ouilène, I decided to do some research of what is needed to implement a sustainable change or initiative. Scott Neil (2015) from the School Leadership Solutions explains how there are five necessary steps to create a sustainable change. According to him (2015), “a strategic approach is needed to implement change.” First, a need assessment is necessary to look at the facts to determine what is needed to make the organization better. In order to assess the situation properly, conversations need to happen with the people who will be impacted the most by the change. It is also important to find out what are the roots of the problem in order to be able to really address it. Define, analyze and solve are the main steps of a root cause analysis. “It will provide important data to help a leader build off of the strengths that already exist within the organization and learn to avoid the mistakes of the past” (Neil, 2015). The next step is to create a plan outlining how the change will happen. It is also important to share with the people who will be affected by it. However, the plan should be presented in small increments so that the people involved are taken back from too much sudden change. Data should be collected and success should be shared. In reality, the leader will be guiding the change but the people will be executing it. Therefore, it is very important for everyone to work together during the implementation of the plan. Strategies should be developed along the way to overcome obstacles. It is important that the leader makes “sure everyone is clear as to what their role is within the plan and clearly identify what success looks like along the way for each stakeholder group” (Neil, 2015). The next important factor is to measure quantitatively and qualitatively the progress of the change and all results should be shared. “These data allow you as a leader to check the “temperature” of the climate during the change effort and provide targeted support where it is needed the most” (Neil, 2015). Finally, reflections are necessary to look at the data collected over time to share the success and also to stimulate conversations to see if adjustments are needed.
Neil (2015) stipulates that “change requires focused management in order to be sustainable. Leaders who get results over long stretches of time know this. Work with your team to devise a plan on how you can make sure your next change is a lasting one. “
Once again, it was really useful to read this article and to reflect on it. My personal experience as a teacher, who has had three different administrators and two superintendents in the last six years, has taught me the consequences of having leaders who do and who do not follow strategies outlined above. One had a team working with conviction and dedication and in the other situation, it felt more like the leader was informing of the plan and trying to pull the rest of the team towards it. My overall impression of this shift in leadership is that the results did not seem to be as positive when leaders were not interested in working as a team.
I believe that in order to create sustainability around a change within an organization, it is necessary to approach it with both Nonlène and Ouilène’s perspectives. It provides a balance between examining the negative view points with a positive proactive well-planned approach. All that is needed to obtain success when implementing a sustainable project, initiative or change.
With this knowledge in hand, I look forward to be in a position where I can participate in a well lead change.
Horton, S. (April 6, 2015). 4 things to prepare for before kicking off any project. PM times Resources for project managers. Retrieved Janaury 30, 2017 from https://www.projecttimes.com/articles/4-things-to-prepare-for-before-kicking-off-any-project.html
Jackson, R. Gould, J. Haenke, R. The 19 reasons sustainable change doesn’t happen in K-12 education. Top Practices Education. Retrieved January 28, 2017 from OLTD 509 resource http://leading2learn.ca/viu/OLTD509/documents/_19Reasons_Book.pdf
Mautz, S. (November, 2015). http://switchandshift.com/9-ways-to-challenge-your-assumptions
Neil, S. (October 28, 2015) Five steps to create sustainable change. School Leadership Solutions. Retrieved January 30, 2017 from http://schoolleadershipsolutions.com/2015/10/28/five-steps-to-create-sustainable-change/
I have read and researched the topic of sustainable change, deeper learning, and 21st century learning and within all of them, the changing roles of teachers are addressed. With the ready access of information through the internet, educators don’t need to transmit it, so you would think that teaching students may not still be necessary. This is far from the truth. Teachers are even more essential but their roles are changing. In order to meet the need to prepare students for the 21st century, teachers are essential to develop their pupils’ minds to be able to communicate, think creatively and critically, have a positive personal and cultural identity, and personal awareness and social responsibility. Children are not born with these skills which mean that they need to be taught how to acquire and develop these abilities and personality. This looks great on paper, but how do the teachers, who have been educating students a certain way, suddenly change their teaching practice to meet the new curriculum and assessments as well as prepare each and every one of the children in their classes to be ready to participate in this ever changing and more demanding society that we live in?
First of all, it is necessary to determine what the new skills that the teachers will need are? According to TNTP reimagining teaching (2014), teachers “still need to be able to maximize instructional time, teach rigorous content, ensure students are responsible for the thinking in the classroom, and provide multiple opportunities to demonstrate understanding. At the same time, certain competencies are even more essential to success in blended classrooms due to the complexities involved with delivering highly personalized instruction. These include:
· Classroom management
· Collection, analysis and effective use of data
· Risk taking
· Content expertise.”
Traditionally, teachers had to plan for daily lessons, however in the future; they will need to develop outlines and sequences of what big ideas and skills should be mastered by the students, while including a variety of resources and tools. It should also allow for differentiation when students’ need requires it. The classroom management skills will also be totally different as students will be working on different tasks, individually and within groups, and at their own pace. TNTP reimagining teaching (2014) states that “Teachers who are already strong managers will have a head start on these skills, but those who have relied on a tightly controlled, teacher-centric classroom management style may need more time and practice to fully master them.” However, if teachers set up expectations of how students should be engaged within the class, make sure students understand how to move along in the course, and help them become independent learners, it will make the new learning environment more manageable for students and teachers. The relationship between teachers and learners won’t be as much as leader-followers but more of co-learners and partners through the student’s learning journey. To help with the collection, analysis and use student’s performance data, teachers should incorporate technologies into the everyday routine. With this information, educators can determine where they need to provide support and guidance to their students as well as to how to personalize course delivery.
Furthermore, according to the authors, there are three types of practice development:
“Principles of practice development: commitment to practice development is important and can be viewed as a characteristic of an innovative school. Informal and formal learning opportunities should be backed up with time and funding. It is also important that professional learning experiences focus on the links between teaching activities and valued learner outcomes. There should be multiple opportunities for teachers to learn and an integration of knowledge and skills.”
“Leader-led: this can be seen to harness change in schools impacting on both improved teaching and also on learner outcomes. It can provide the organizational conditions that enable teachers to change. Leadership support is also required for ensuring that other resources, such as space, time and ownership, are available for teachers.
Peer-led: collaboration between teachers working in different schools, or between teachers and researchers, can support effective practice development by making classroom practice visible and providing a form of peer accountability.
Self-led: in this form of practice development, teachers work on their own or with others to reflect on their own practice to stimulate improvement. Reflective practice can be seen as a key element in sustainable change” (Maughan, Teeman, and Wilson, 2012).
In conclusion, in order for teachers to change their roles in the classroom, they will need professional development where they will learn about it and during which resources will be shared with them. Then, teachers will have time to collaborate among them and the technology department to practice their acquired knowledge, to develop course material but also to experience how to incorporate it into their teaching practice. In other words, teachers will have to be allowed to become learners if a sustainable change in their roles is to happen which has the ultimate goal to teach 21st century skills to their students.
TNTP. Nov. 2014. Reimagining teaching in a blended learning. Retrieved February 2, 2017 from http://tntp.org/assets/documents/TNTP_Blended_Learning_WorkingPaper_2014.pdf
Maughan,S. Teema, D. & Wilson, R. July, 2012. What leads to positive change in teaching practice. Retrieved February 3, 2017 from https://www.nfer.ac.uk/publications/RCTL01/RCTL01.pdf
Gotsey, M. March, 2015. The deconstruction of the K-12 teacher. The Atlantic. Retrieved February 2, 2017 from https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/03/the-deconstruction-of-the-k-12-teacher/388631/
“More time for teacher planning allows for deeper engagement. If you give teachers more time, you get better results, so we give teachers more time.”
As I am getting deeper in sustainable change within the school system and what is needed to prepare students for the 21st century, I thought it was necessary for me to learn more on how to get students to become more in charge of their learning by encouraging deeper learning. The content of the introduction of this quest on “Deeper Learning” seems to be interrelated with the article “10 Principles for schools of modern learning” which was an article that provided lots of insights on what learning should be about.
So, what is deeper learning? It is a way of teaching to deliver the “core content to students in innovative ways to allow them to learn and then apply what they have learned.” (Deeper Learning, 2012)
Deeper learning requires the following five skills:
In all the schools for which the primary focus in deeper learning, some challenges arise. The main one is to find a balance between spending time to develop 21st century skills and time to learn the basic academic content. There is also the difficulty for teachers to differentiate effectively the
“curricula for students who demonstrate a range of skills and various proficiency levels. To meet students’ diverse needs, teachers have developed an array of strategies, including giving students access to a span of complexity in background resource materials, using some of the time during long instructional blocks to provide individualized and small-group instruction, and designing projects that can be completed with varying levels of depth and complexity” (Deeper Learning, 2012).
Furthermore, I can only imagine the nightmare it would be to create a schedule for everyone involved in the school I.e. students, teachers, and community members.
It is very important to notice that this type of learning environment is sustained by a variety of technology tools available to students and teachers.
“ For the deeper learning movement to grow and be embraced by diverse school districts around the country, significant shifts in state and federal education policy drivers—such as accountability and assessments, graduation requirements, teacher preparation and professional development, and the use of instructional time—are needed” (Deeper Learning, 2012).
The article gives some examples of schools with “personalized learning” projects, “competency-based education”, “open badges”, and “expanded learning time”. All sound interesting. Before an educational institution decides which one it will adopt, it is important to look at who is the students’ population and what will be its renovated mission and vision to prepare its students to the 21st century. The next step will be for educators to redesign their teaching practice to accommodate the longer periods of time devoted to deeper learning and to provide support and guidance to their students.
Deeper Learning. (2012). What about deeper learning. Retrieved February 7, 2017 from http://deeperlearning4all.org/about-deeper-learning
Time for deeper learning. National Center on time and learning. Retrieved February 6, 2017 from http://www.timeandlearning.org/sites/default/files/resources/deeperlearninges.pdf
Redefining the learning landscape in Canada
I was not aware that BC’s new curriculum is part of a bigger movement that is currently happening throughout the country. C21 Canada is “a national, not for profit organization that advocates for 21st Century models of learning in education. The goal of C21 Canada is to witness an accelerated pace of 21st competencies, instructional practices, and digital resources and services being integrated into Canada’s learning systems” (C21 Canada, 2017). I was even more surprised when I realized that my school district had participated in the writing of “Shifting minds 3.0: Redefining the learning landscape in Canada. According to C21 Canada (2015), in order to be ready for the 21st century, students need these seven competencies: “Creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship; Critical thinking; Collaboration; Communication; Character; Culture and ethical citizenship, and Computer and digital technology.” As a teacher, I know that traditional teaching practices won’t be sufficient to ensure that all of these are acquired by the students. Therefore, a change in the way we see teaching is necessary. C21 (2015) mentions that leaders, administrators and teachers need to adopt a transformative view where “learning is a social process, with students and teachers working in partnership with each other and with experts beyond school, supported by digital technologies. In the transformative view, collaboration, creativity, innovation, entrepreneurial know-how, and ethical citizenship infuse teaching and learning. Students and teachers co-design their work. The learning environment, which extends beyond the classroom, is purposefully designed for students to think, research, analyze, develop and improve their ideas, and demonstrate deep understanding through the work they produce” (9).
This looks promising but in order to change old practices throughout the whole school system into new ones, it needs either a reform or improvement. Here is what C21 says about each one of these change in teaching practices:
“Whole-system reform requires conditions that support educators in examining and reshaping the foundations on which their practice is built (leadership and management, as well as teaching). The Shifting Minds Index envisions these as five core elements of public education: curriculum, pedagogy, learning, environment, governance, and citizen engagement.”
“School improvement— an expansion of teaching capacity across all schools. [.. School] strategic innovation—a reinvention of schooling. (See Figure 1.) School improvement planning is founded on best practices that are proven to have worked in the current system. Innovation looks for the next practices. Because education is complex and the stakes for students are high, a dual strategy of both improvement and innovation can offer a reliable way to maintain stability while enabling forward momentum. »
The question is: how is a transformation brought about in a system as intricate as the education one? There are recommended strategies that focus on collaboration between administrators and educators, support system for all professionals in the school system, and experimentation allowed within the schools.
“Figure 2 highlights some of the ways system leaders are putting these three strategies (plus visioning) into practice. All of the tactics support system improvement; some can also be used to promote innovation” (C21, 2015).
C21 (2015) also mentions that the “power of conversation—to change or modify commonly held beliefs, to generate new actions, and to hold participants accountable for the actions they pursue—cuts across all strategies designed to change the way things are done in school” (12). Within all these suggestions and guidelines, it is important to remember that no school district will be implementing innovation and improvement the same way. There are so many factors influencing this change such as: the district or leader’s view on learning, the size of the district, the prepared strategic plan, the line between the freedom to innovate at the school level and the intention to reach a sustainable change.
“Figure 3 offers a way to counteract that pressure, using a disciplined approach that emphasizes conversation and shared learning at each step.”
I think that everything that I have mentioned above sounds promising. However, when are teachers and administrators supposed to do this? There are already so many demands to make sure that all the students’ needs in the classrooms are met. Snyder (2013) provides some examples on how this change could be made and to reach sustainability. He suggests that the school district:
“For change to happen, the system as a whole must become more collaborative and strategically experimental. Figure 5 identifies six interconnected parts of the whole, and lists some ways each part can promote whole-system transformation.”
While reflecting on the information above, I keep thinking of some of the new initiatives happening in my school district and I am wondering if they are not inspired by this document or at least by the research used to create it. There was a day of professional development which brought together lots of teachers to learn about Google Education. There has been an invitation sent to all employees to discuss what leadership should look like in the district. There was the distribution of laptop for all teachers and more money for professional development. I think it is great, I just wish that leaders would not only listen to the ones who are the closest to them, who agree with them, or who speak the loudest but also to the quiet ones or the controversial ones. Innovation and engagement often come from taking risks and being willing to accommodate failure in the process of achieving a goal. If teachers are provided with a safe environment to take risk and practice new approaches, then change will naturally occur at every level of the organization.
Adapted from Sean Snyder, The Simple, the Complicated and the Complex: Educational Reform through the Lens of Complexity Theory, (Paper prepared for the Governing Complex Education Systems project, Directorate for Education and Skills, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, November 2013), Retrieved February 6, 2017 from https://www.oecd.org/edu/ceri/WP_The%20Simple,%20Complicated,%20and%20the%20Complex.pdf
C21 Canadians for 21st Century Learning & Innovation. (2015) Shifting minds 3.0 redefining the learning landscape in Canada. Retrieved February 3, 2017 from http://www.c21canada.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/C21-ShiftingMinds-3.pdf
The urgent case for re-imagining today’s schools
As I read the introduction to this article, I cannot agree more. Everything that was written seemed to be important and accurate. It is true that we are still using old pedagogical practices that are not up to date with the change brought upon by the technology. Although, technological tools have been added into the learning environment; the learning, itself, has not changed fast enough to keep up with the world’s growing opportunities. Richardson & Dixon (2017) state that “The profound new realities of the modern world coupled with the re-emergence of our long held (and long ignored) beliefs about how children learn most powerfully are conspiring to create what promises to be a difficult, perhaps painful reckoning for schools as we know them. And, it’s become more and more clear that a fundamental re-imagination of our approach to schooling is now required.” I agree with the authors when they say that in order to get a sustainable change within the school system, it requires leaders with visions, support from within the community and most of all collaboration between all stakeholders.
Learning no longer entails the teacher delivering the information prescribed by a curriculum to the students and for them to be all assessed the same way and to follow the same timeline. These days with information available 24/7, if there is a need or a will to learn something, we can understand and apply it whenever, wherever, and with whomever we want. The same applies with students. “More and more, an “education” is what we create for ourselves rather than something someone else creates and delivers to us” (Richardson & Dixon, 2017).
As stated by the authors,
“it is the modern learner’s newfound capability to take full control of his or her learning that is THE educational shift of our times.”
I agree that it is where we are heading but before we begin to give full responsibility of their learning to the students, we need to familiarize them slowly with this concept. It is not because this should be the new way of teaching that the students are ready to adopt it. The BC new curriculum being implemented for grades K to 9 focuses a lot on personalized learning and letting the students pick what interest them. However, the students are not used to this and some of them are struggling having to face all of this freedom of choice and influx in call for creativity and critical thinking. I think that with time, guidance, and support they will benefits from this style of learning and better prepare them for 21st century demands.
There are many statistics and researches that prove that the current way of teaching is no longer helping the students be ready for their adult lives. As the world is changing constantly, it is important for kids to learn how to become long-life learners as what they know now might not be relevant in the next ten years which means that they will have to acquire new knowledge periodically to adjust to the change.
Schools need to change. Richardson & Dixon (2017) state that “effective schools are those that focus on developing students as learners, whereas efficient schools still prize knowing over the ability to learn.” They believe that “a fundamental re-imagination of the work of schools, classrooms, and teachers is now urgently required” (2017). I agree with this but my question is: How do we go about changing them? Although, it might be scary for all participants in the education system, the roles of teachers, curriculum and assessments need to be revised. The BC new curriculum is addressing the needs to develop students’ skills in communication, creative thinking, critical thinking, positive personal and cultural identity, and personal awareness and social responsibility. The Ministry of Education of BC in collaboration with parents, teachers and other interested parties are also reevaluating the assessment piece. With this in mind, what is really missing in order to prepare students for the 21st century is what is happening in the classroom between students and teachers. This learning environment should be transformed to provide students the freedom “to pursue their questions, not ours, where they can create their own curriculum, and design their own paths to mastery. Classrooms where they act as apprentice learners who work with teachers who are master learners, first and foremost” (Richardson & Dixon, 2017).
In their article, Richardson & Dixon (2017) have laid out 10 principles to create modern schools.
1."Have clearly articulated and shared beliefs about learning that are lived in every classroom.
2. Live a mission and a vision deeply informed by new contexts for learning.
3. Have cultures where personal, self-determined learning is at the center of student and teacher work.
4. See curriculum as something that is co-constructed to meet the needs and interests of the child.
5. Embrace and emphasize real-world application and presentation to real audiences as assessment for learning.
6. See transparency and sharing as fundamental to a powerful learning environment.
7. Use technology first and foremost as an amplifier for learning, creating, making, connecting, communicating, collaborating, and problem solving.
8. Develop and communicate in powerful ways new stories of learning, teaching, and modern contexts for schooling.
9. Encourage community wide participation in the equitable, effective education of children.
10. Embrace and anticipate constant change and evolution."
As I am looking at what is happening in schools around me, I feel the need to understand better these 10 principles so that I can share this knowledge with other educators and leaders in hope to interest them to adopt some or all of them so that they too can provide skills to their students to become long-life learners and better prepare them for the 21st century.
“HAVE CLEARLY ARTICULATED AND SHARED BELIEFS ABOUT LEARNING THAT ARE LIVED IN EVERY CLASSROOM.”
In order for a child to fully develop the skills required to be a self-directed and self-determined learner, all teachers at all times must provide opportunities and guidance for students to learn how to learn. However, if the school community does not have clear values on what learning means, the job will be only half done. These “beliefs and norms [must be] transparent throughout school buildings, and are the basis for all decision making from budgets to technology to staffing and more.” However, in order to set this up, time, conversations, and sharing will have to happen between everyone involved in the school.
“LIVE A MISSION AND A VISION DEEPLY INFORMED BY NEW CONTEXTS FOR LEARNING.”
Every school district has a mission and a vision. However, are they always being reflected within the schools and will they support students to reach their potential as 21st century learners? I have looked at mission and vision statements from several school districts and I did not see anything that reflects what we need to prepare the students “for the new, fastchanging realities of the modern world. […] Mission and vision should be built on what the school community believes about how children and adults learn most powerfully, and on its understanding of how the world is changing and the new contexts for learning those changes are creating” (Richardson & Dixon, 2017).
“HAVE CULTURES WHERE PERSONAL, SELF-DETERMINED LEARNING IS AT THE CENTER OF STUDENT AND TEACHER WORK.”
I find this interesting that instead of having a teacher learn about how to become a better teacher and to integrate technology in the classroom, a teacher should be focusing on how to become a better learner. This would allow him or her to better model to his or her students what learning is all about. Students should be given “ample opportunities to pursue questions that matter to them and to explore their passions and talents, we minimize the potential for students to develop the skills, literacies, and dispositions of deep and powerful learners” (Richardson & Dixon, 2017). I have to say that this principle interests me a lot and I will need to pursue deeper learning on the subject so that I can become a better model for my students and children.
“SEE CURRICULUM AS SOMETHING THAT IS CO-CONSTRUCTED TO MEET THE NEEDS AND INTERESTS OF THE CHILD.”
I think that the BC new curriculum is addressing this principle. What needs to happen next is to have teachers “see current curriculum as “strategy,” a resource to be used at the time the learner needs it, not something to be taught “just in case” the learner may find it useful in the future” (Richardson & Dixon, 2017). I like the idea of personalized learning which allows the learner to gain knowledge and understanding about something of interests. However, I also think that too much of it might prevent students to discover a new topic of pursue. I believe that like in everything else in life, it is important to reach a balance between learning what we are interested in and learning new things to see if we like them or not. Furthermore, what a student is interested in is not always, necessarily, in the student’s best interest in terms of their long term development and readiness for the world after school.
“EMBRACE AND EMPHASIZE REAL-WORLD APPLICATION AND PRESENTATION TO REAL AUDIENCES AS ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING.”
According to Richardson & Dixon (2017), “in essence, school is conducted in a vacuum with little or no outside support, contribution, or intervention.” Now, that information is readily available, there is no longer a need to learn it and to demonstrate that the students know it. It is more important to provide opportunities for students to make evident their understanding and skills to the outside world. The reality is that this is what they will have to do after they have graduated so, why not prepare them to do it while being at school?
“SEE TRANSPARENCY AND SHARING AS FUNDAMENTAL TO A POWERFUL LEARNING ENVIRONMENT.“
The authors recommend to “think of having “thin-walled” classrooms where students and teachers interact with other learners from around the globe on regular basis. Encourage teachers to create classroom portfolios for student and teacher work that model the forms of online presence that can expand learning opportunities. Create learning spaces that facilitate transparency. This transparency is something that is new for most teachers and students. However, it is something that is important. Students should learn to create an online presence where they can show their creative and collaborative skills as well as their curiosity and perseverance.
“USE TECHNOLOGY FIRST AND FOREMOST AS AN AMPLIFIER FOR LEARNING, CREATING, MAKING, CONNECTING, COMMUNICATING, COLLABORATING, AND PROBLEM SOLVING.”
I agree with this principle. However, in order to get to the point of implementing it, teachers will have to become learners beside the students and focus more on the technology’s potential to construct products by “by emphasizing the creation of complex, beautiful, meaningful, original work by both students and teachers” (Richardson & Dixon, 2017). Although, I am knowledgeable of the technology’s potential, I find it difficult to use it to produce masterpiece. If I was in a classroom where the technology is a tool to create, I would definitely be learning the how to beside the students. Students have different needs which means that different applications and programs might have to be introduced in the classroom to allow them to reach their potential which means that there isn’t much chance that the teachers will be able to master them all before introducing them in his or her classroom. The teacher should have the basic knowledge and the rest would be learned while using it. When facing an issue or difficulty, students and teachers should brainstorm together to find a solution reflecting what is usually done in the real life.
DEVELOP AND COMMUNICATE IN POWERFUL WAYS NEW STORIES OF LEARNING, TEACHING, AND MODERN CONTEXTS FOR SCHOOLING.
Richardson & Dixon (2017) state that “in order for meaningful, sustainable change to occur, however, the entire school community must have a context for the why, what, and how of change. Their awareness of the impact of this changing context on their child’s schooling should precede the necessary changes within the school.” As I was reading this principle, I thought about how in the last few years, the BC Ministry of Education communicated to the public the reasons and the importance of the change brought upon the curriculum and assessment. It demonstrated how the same thing should happen at the district and school level. A community well informed will lead to support for the change.
“ENCOURAGE COMMUNITY WIDE PARTICIPATION IN THE EQUITABLE, EFFECTIVE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN.”
“Schools cannot prepare students as citizens if they are not given real life opportunities to be citizens beforehand. Given the current climate regarding locally run education, it’s even more important that schools are seen as an active partner in the larger community where everyone is invested in the outcomes” (Richardson & Dixon, 2017). Students, parents, teachers, support staff should have the opportunities to participate in conversations and provide their suggestions and point of views to the governing bodies. This information shouldn’t be filtered especially if it goes against the power of be.
“EMBRACE AND ANTICIPATE CONSTANT CHANGE AND EVOLUTION.”
Finally, Richardson and Dixon (2017) state that “technological, environmental, and cultural change are speeding up, not slowing down, and schools that cannot adapt put both their students and their own existence at risk. . . . Create a vision for classrooms where innovation and inquiry are at the core instead of at the edges. Make time for regular discussions on what changes are happening, and reflect on how to make new systems and practices in school more sustainable.” This is the ultimate goal for schools and education.
Wow, this was a very comprehensive guide providing 10 principles to re-imagining schools in order to modernize them. Each principle presented the reason why it is important, steps to follow to implement it, key questions related to the principle and resources. As I pursue my journey to make a change in my teaching practice and promoting 21st century learning, I will definitely refer to this article. I feel like I have only touch the surface but with the understanding that I have acquired so far on sustainable change in schools, the content of this article gives me reasons why this change is needed.
Richardson, W. & Dixon, B. (2017). 10 principles for schools of modern learning. Modern Learners. Retrieved February 6, 2017 from https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/modernlearners/Modern+Learners+10+Principles+for+Schools+of+Modern+Learning+whitepaper.pdf
When I was choosing which quests I would focus on, I was attracted to sustainable change. There is so much energy, time, and money wasted with the implementation of changes and innovations. Some pass the test of time and others don’t. I have experienced this and seen it occur time and time again. Good ideas, projects and practices lose their momentum to eventually be pushed aside for something more exciting and leading-edge. I was curious to know what makes something sustainable or not.
Most people have a tendency to resist change or at least some specific type of change. Why is that? Greenfield’s article “Sustainable change” (2010) stipulates that leaders need “to be students of human nature to diffuse the situation and achieve longlasting [sic], effective change.” In his video “Achieving successful change- the 5 forces of change” he also states that certainty, purpose, control, connection, and success are what feed a habit and if these are affected by change, it creates stress.
Furthermore, according to Edwards (February, 2017), there are three reasons why our brains don’t do well with change:
1-We are programmed to be wary of change.
“Neuroscientist Evian Gordon [… stated] that « the key organizing principle of the brain is to keep us safe. » Throughout the history of mankind, change has been brought upon but not all were adopted. This is a good thing as not all of them would have been good for our evolution. Over time, our brain developed a need for stability which explains why for most people, change means that something is being threatened. This manifests itself in expression like: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”; “not in my backyard”. Greenfield explains that this phenomenon even exist between generations. According to him, the youth have more ability to bend and adapt in order to make things work. As we get older, our brain becomes more set in its ways and is more resistant to changing its own way.
“Our brains crave certainty and predictability, two conditions that change doesn’t offer” (Edwards, 2017).
2-Habits are stronger than willpower
By doing something by habit, on a regular basis, our brain saves energy which allows us to be faster and more efficient. “It is so much easier to return to the status quo than continually making the effort to do something differently” (Edwards, 2017).
3-We calculate risk versus reward
“When we face a change, our brains automatically calculate the reward and the risk involved in order to determine whether it’s worth doing or not. As we weigh risk and reward, whichever comes out strongest will influence the degree of action we take; if we perceive the reward to be less than that of the risk, we are unlikely to engage in the change” (Edwards, 2017).
If someone does not know the why of a change, he/she will resist it. First, if the person cannot evaluate the possible risk and reward so he/she will not be interested in getting involved with the change. Secondly, the person’s purpose won’t be as clear since he/she does not know the reasons behind the change. Thirdly, since the decision is coming from the outside, he/she will not feel in control of the situation. Fourthly, the person will also have the feeling of losing with something that he/she is used to be connected with. If he/she is provided ways to connect with the change, the transition won’t be as saddening. Without these aspects, he/she won’t invest as much which could affect the success of the project. Finally, in general, nobody wants to be connected with a failure but if they feel invested in the change, he/she will work harder to make sure that it is a success.
So, what are the steps to make sure that a change becomes sustainable and successful? According to Greenfield (2010), there are two required steps to be followed in order to achieve this goal.
Once again, this confirms how collaboration between all the stakeholders is important in order for everyone to feel in control, connected, certain and purposeful, which at the end will generate a greater success rate for the change. However, it also shows the responsibility that employees have towards the organization and to do their own part to make sure that the change can reach sustainability and success. In my professional life, I have witnessed many movements for change. Most of the successful ones were driven by collaboration and the support that everyone provided within the community. I have also watch leaders trying to follow the outlines of what is explained above by: bringing everyone together to make them feel like they are part of a team and that they matter, to invite everyone to contact the leaders if they want to share ideas and concerns, to evaluate what is working and remove negative aspects that were not conducive to improvement, and so on. However, as soon as they face some reluctance and unwillingness to change, they also go back to old habits by trying to force their opinions and views on the rest of the organization. This shows that even if the willpower is strong, habits often prevails as that is what the human brain is program to do.
Edwards, Claire. (February 2, 2017) Why change can be hard-our brains and change. TJ Training Journal. Retrieved February 5, 2017 from https://www.trainingjournal.com/blog/why-change-can-be-hard-our-brains-and-change
Evian Gordon (2000). Integrative neuroscience: Bringing together biological, psychological and clinical models of the human brain. https://books.google.ca/books?hl=fr&lr=&id=cEtT6vEum6AC&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&dq=Integrative+neuroscience:+Bringing+together+biological,+psychological+and+clinical+models+of+the+human+brain&ots=hLNxczrK_A&sig=Rt3iblI_1XbpvgUe3kKp2vQDelQ#v=onepage&q=Integrative%20neuroscience%3A%20Bringing%20together%20biological%2C%20psychological%20and%20clinical%20models%20of%20the%20human%20brain&f=false
Greenfield, Anthony. (December, 2010). Sustainable change. Retrieved February 2nd, 2017 from http://leading2learn.ca/viu/OLTD509/documents/Sustainable_Change.pdf
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
The world, in general, is changing so fast lately and this is even more evident in the technological field. New programs and applications are being created constantly which makes it difficult to decide on a set way to do things. However, it is not better to adopt too many different tools as one will eventually feel disconnected with it all. Everyone has different needs and likes which makes it almost impossible to have a common technological ecosystem for everyone in a group. However, every tech system should provide the following:
Right now, there is a variety of technological tools such as: computers, iPads, Chromebooks, and so on, providing a choice of almost endless varieties of applications that can be used in the classroom. This is the vegetation of an ecosystem. With all that is available, how does a district, a school, a department, and a teacher decide what will be chosen and implemented in the classroom? Furthermore, since technology is evolving all the time, how to settle on a specific application instead of waiting for a better one that will come out in the near future? One thing is certain, these applications allow students to create new types of content i.e. videos, recordings, 3D models . . . and all also have the option to be stored online which make it available 24/7. Personally, I believe that the first question to ask prior to deciding what will be used in the classroom is: What do we want students to be able to do? What is the goal of the activity? When this has been determined, an appropriate application can be found to reach the objectives. There is also a need to look at the students’ needs. Technology should support students to learn, and to facilitate them in demonstrating their knowledge.
The next layer in the ecosystem is the community which focusses on communication and sharing. Teachers and students need programs that will allow collaboration among learners, educators, and the organization. Students are already using applications to communicate virtually in their personal lives but now, it is possible for them to use platforms promoting a more globalized space to meet and to share their knowledge to a wider audience than in the past.
The final but very important item in the ecosystem is the energy which provides fuel to the system: “Teachers are the energy to sustain the system such that students can take advantage of every other aspect of their learning environment" (Holland, 2014). The technology can sidetrack the student’s learning path but teachers will provide the guidance to students so that they keep pursuing “projects of value and help them connect their interests to the required standards” and to also explore fields unknown to them. I think that personalized learning is good but it might also be a way to limit exploration and discovery. Therefore, it is important for students to learn about what interests them and also to acquire new experiences. In students’ ecosystem, teachers provide the required energy to “sustain the system such that students can take advantage of every other aspects of their learning environment" (Holland, 2014)
In the last few years, lots of districts have opted for the BYOD (bring your own device) to access the Google Apps for Education in which students can share, communicate, store, and create their own portfolios. For other districts, who are concerned with students’ privacy and FIPPA, it takes more time to find the technological tools that will set up an ecosystem, but there are some options. The school district can opt to host their own virtual sharing network.
Once again, I think that leaders needs to consult and collaborate with the teachers who are in the forefront of the educational ecosystem, to support them in learning about how to integrate technology in their teaching and learning environment and to offer training on how to adapt their pedagogical practice to be able to support students in acquiring 21st century skills. Teachers are no longer needed to present information to students as the internet does it. Teachers should be there to guide and support the students and learn with them. However, most teachers are not used to these roles so, collaboration with leaders in new pedagogy and colleagues and time will be necessary to experience a shift in the education system. British Columbia is launching a new curriculum focusing on developing students’ critical and creative thinking and communication skills. If districts and provincial governing bodies want teachers to fulfill their obligations in preparing the youth to face an ever changing world, funding will have to be put into the education system to support a proper ed-tech ecosystem.
Holland, B. (November 10, 2014). Building your edtech ecosystem. Edutopia. Retrieved January 31, 2017 from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/building-your-tech-ecosystem-beth-holland
In my opinion, questions need to be asked before implementing any new teaching practice and technology to see if it is the appropriate choice for students, teachers and the school. It should not be assumed that “teachers should automatically adopt the latest tool for fear of appearing behind the curve.” (Staley, 2004)
I first read an article written in 2004 by Staley. He came up with 10 assessment questions to ask before deciding on the technology to add in the classroom.
ere are the author's questions with explanation and my personal opinion towards them:
1. What impact does the technology have on the ergonomics of the classroom space? This question looks at the physical ecosystem of a classroom to see how the technological tool can be integrated in the classroom while making sure that the setup is ergonomically conducive to promote learning. So, if the course requires collaborative work, it would not be ideal to set up rows of computer tables.
My opinion: Technology is so mobile these days that I don’t believe that it is an issue. Furthermore, it would be so expensive to install technological tools such as computers in each classroom. Often the students can do the work on their phone and if the activity requires a specific application or program, the computer lab and the library are available to do so.
2. How does the technology expand the dimensions of the classroom space?For this question, the author looks at how learning was happening traditionally within the four walls of the classroom. Staley mentions that “digital technologies can often legitimately expand the information ecology of the classroom space.” He gives the example of how asynchronous discussions can expand the walls of the classroom.
My opinion: Students are already using electronics so; having it integrated in their studies will provide an opportunity for them to continue their studies outside of the classroom. It will also teach them how to use their devices for something else than communication with friends and entertainment. Most students have very powerful devices in their hand but they are only using it for basic activities. Of course, teachers need to make sure that there isn’t any digital divide within the class and if there is, he/she needs to remediate to the situation.
3. Why is this technology here? Within this question, Staley ask other questions: Will the technological tool be used by the instructor/teacher or it is just purchased to upgrade an old one? Does it prepare the students for the workplace? Do students already use this tool for their studies even though it is not integrated in the class? He suggests that schools should do an audit among students, teachers, administrators and technical staff to determine the purpose of the technological tool and how the specific tool will match the purpose.
My opinion: I agree with the idea that before technological tools should be integrated in the school, teachers need to at least be consulted to see if they will meet the teacher and students’ needs and if they will have a purpose in the course material. However, I also think that teachers should receive training on what new tools are available, provided practical examples on how they can be used in their specific subject areas and provided time to practice with the tools. I don’t believe there is enough time in the day to day teacher’s life to keep up with what is coming out in the technology and to see how it can be implemented within their own teaching practice. To have a few professional days every year is just enough time to skim the surface and does not provide deep learning. I think that when trained teachers provide a more up-to-date experience to their students, it shows engagement in their teaching practice and modeling a life-long learning perspective.
4. Does the technology add some demonstrable pedagogical value?Staley (2004) stipulates that “it is perfectly acceptable not to use a new technology when an old technology works just as well.” He also mentions that “telephones are a widely used technology, but this does not mean that professors are required to incorporate them into teaching (unless, of course, a compelling pedagogical reason can be articulated) Pedagogy, rather than technology, should derive the process of adoption.”
My opinion: I totally agree with Staley’s last statement. However, as mentioned in question #3, I think that it is important for professors/teachers to use more up-to-date technological tools instead of archaic ones just to show that they are in touch with the present reality.
5. Does the technology encourage authentic pedagogy?For this question, Staley stipulates that “authentic pedagogy means that the activities professors ask students to engage in are similar to the activities carried out by practitioner in the field.”
My opinion: In the last two decades, technology has developed exponentially not only to make the job easier but also to provide a better outcome. Therefore, as it is an integrated part of most fields and it is very important for students to learn about the technology to be better prepared for the work force.
6. Does the technology promote “augmented” education?The author examines the phenomena that people, including students, are engaged with their devices more than with people surrounding them. Staley mentions that “in contrast, researchers have recently begun to explore the idea of “augmented reality,” where users of technology employ it to engage their physical surrounding and interact with other people.” He also quotes Henry Jenkins who observed that “augmented reality “[heightens] our awareness of the real world by annotating it with information conveyed by mobile technologies.” The author stipulates that there should be a balance between “virtual elements and real physical elements”. He does not believe that online learning is beneficial to students as it is missing the face-to-face interactions.
My opinion: It is interesting how the disconnect phenomena that people are experiencing with having technological devices in their lives, has not really changed since 2004. We see people being surrounded by people but having interactions with the online world instead of face-to-face. Teenagers often stand beside each other communicating with others on their phone instead of talking to each other in person. In the real life situations, I don’t really agree with Jenkins that “augmented reality” is helping to increase consciousness. I think that in the present time, people are usually using the virtual world to escape the reality of their lives. However, there are some technological tools being develop to provide virtual reality which will be useful in the educational environment. Concerning the author’s opinion about online learning, I agree that it is important for anyone to experience face-to-face human interactions but I also believe that it is possible to exclusively study online as long as the student’s personal live provides physical interactions with people.
7. Will professors use the technology to aid students in the acquisition of knowledge, not just information?As presented in the text, some people raised strong objections to integrating technology in education as it could eventually replace the need for teachers. First, Staley explains the difference between information and knowledge. “Knowledge [ ] is usually associated with a specific human being, is very difficult to bundle and transport, and is typically associated with the knower’s appreciation of the meaning of the information. (2004)” The author explains how technology distributes information but teachers are needed to help the students understand and learn from the data found. “Knowledgeable people [such as teachers] who can help users navigate the labyrinth of information. Similarly, students will still require teachers –skillful people who can impart knowledge.” (Staley, 2004)
My opinion: I think that individuals who were afraid that technology would eventually replace teachers felt this way because they saw their roles as educators to be the sharing of information as was traditionally the case. They could not imagine that instead they could become facilitators of the knowledge. I totally agree with the author when he stipulates that “imparting information to students is instruction; helping them to develop knowledge is education. Technology is simply a tool that can support either function. (Staley, 2004)”
8. Does the technology appeal to different learning style, allowing students to produce (not just consume) knowledge and information? Staley (2004) goes over the idea that in the last two decades, educational theorists have argued that “in an effective educational setting, teachers mush appeal to a wide variety of intelligences: some students are visual learners; others need to hear information presented orally. All teachers should assume a “cognitive diversity” in any class they teach and present information accordingly.” He also stipulates that students should be allowed to use their strengths to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding instead of being forced to do it in a specific manner. His final argument for this question is that “when thoughtfully used by faculty, digital technologies present many opportunities for students to produce information and knowledge that exercises all of their multiple intelligences” (Staley, 2004)
My opinion: I totally agree with how the author explains this question. I am a fan of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) which stipulates that teaches should “
9. Does the technology promote play or merely entertainment? The author presents the difference between entertainment and play: “Entertainment is largely a passive experience: watching others at play for our amusement. […] Play, on the other hand, is an active experience: it is a hands-on activity, involving creativity, participation, and experimentation.” Staley provides examples of each one and shows how play is the best option in the educational environment. He even mentions game-based learning and simulations as being very good options for authentic learning experiences.
My opinion: I believe that at all grade levels including university, learning should be engaging and playful but not entertainment. Students, who are actively involved in the knowledge acquisition, will become more proficient and apt to using what he has learned in a real world situation.
10. Is it any good?
Since this article is a bit outdated, I have presented the author’s point of view and my opinions in regards to each question. I am hoping that by doing so, I am showing a more up-to-date view on how to address the usage of new technology in the classroom.
However, I was not satisfied with this exercise so I decided to find another article that was more current. “3 Questions to ask when using new technology in the classroom” written by Nira Dale caught my attention as it presents a more concise approach. It provides three “questions to ask that can help you avoid common mistakes when integrating new technology in the classroom.”
The first one focuses on how the technology will support the primary goal of the activity. The purpose of the activity should be determined and then, how the technology choice will support it. It is very important that the technological tool doesn’t become the focus of the activity and overshadow the goal of the activity. If it is determined that it would be appropriate to use a specific technology, it will be important to take care of all the logistical issues such as: how to create an account, how to use the technological tool, and so on beforehand so that they don’t interfere with the goal of the activity.
The second question requires determining how the technology will broaden the students’ perspective. In other words, will the technology allow a broader experience or just provide the same as if it was accomplished without the technology. Adding a technological tool in an activity should enhance the students overall learning.
Finally, the third question looks at if the technology will help the student learn. Dale refer to Puentedura’s SAMR model that can be used to evaluate how technology will be incorporated in the instructional practice. SAMR stands for “Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition” The first two will enhance the learning while the last two will transform the learning. Ideally, using a technological tool would bring transformation within the student’s experience as it focusses on analyzing, evaluating and creating. In order for technology to transform a task, it needs to provide an opportunity to create a multimedia project for which peers will give feedback.
As Dale (2016) mentioned in her article, “If education technology only serves the purpose of task-efficiency and submitting assignments, students will use technology in your classroom just enough to hate it. Alternatively, just because “there’s an app for that,” doesn’t mean the app is best for your students’ learning needs. The key is purpose and balance. » Technology should be used to transform the learning by allowing the students to demonstrate their understanding in a creative manner and their ability to evaluate the concepts learned to provide feedback to others.
Before integrating technology within an activity, it is also important to research the student’s privacy, to get parents’ consent, and to make sure that there is no digital divide within the classroom.
In this day and age, I don’t think that the question of deciding if technology should be added in the classroom is relevant. It should also be assumed that it will expand the classroom’s physical dimensions. Therefore, one should focus more on which technological tool should be used to transform the students’ learning in order to enhance their experience.
In summarizing the reflections that I have done throughout this exercise, I came up with my own questions:
This was an involved process but I think it was valuable for me to narrow on what I need to ask prior to choosing to add some technological tools within my courses.
Dale, N. (may 26, 2017). 3 Questions to ask when using new technology in the classroom. TED-ED Blog. Retrieved January 28, 2017 from http://blog.ed.ted.com/2016/05/26/3-questions-to-ask-before-using-new-technology-in-the-classroom/
National Center on Universal Design for Learning. 2013. Retrieved January 27, 2017 from http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/udldefined
Puentedura. R. (2014) SAMR and Bloom’s taxonomy: assembling a puzzle. Common Sense Education. Retrieved January 27’ 2017 from https://www.commonsense.org/education/blog/samr-and-blooms-taxonomy-assembling-the-puzzle
Staley, D. (2004) Adopting digital technologies in the classroom: 10 assessment questions. Educause Quaterly. Retrieved January 26, 2017 from http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/EQM0432.pdf
Part of the modern language curriculum is to engage students with the cultural aspect of the language. The best way to do this would be to immerse the class in an environment where the language and the culture is part of life. However, such a trip can be very expensive. Therefore, most of what is brought into the classroom with regards to culture is via video and readings. I know that it is now possible to visit museums and other establishments virtually but so far, I have not had the chance to try it myself to see what is available and what could be applicable for my courses.
Benefits of virtual field trips:
Resources found about virtual field trips:
List of possible virtual field trip: http://www.onlineuniversities.com/blog/2010/01/100-incredible-educational-virtual-tours-you-dont-want-to-miss/
Teacher Tap: http://eduscapes.com/tap/topic35.htm a series of resources
This one is interesting for English teachers: Google Lit trips: http://googlelittrips.org/
“What is a Google Lit Trip?
Lit Trips are downloadable files that mark the journeys of characters from famous literature on the surface of Google Earth. Along the way, place marks with pop-up windows contain "just in time" resources including relevant media, thought-provoking discussion starters, and links to supplementary information about "real world" references in that portion of the story. Our focus is on creating engaging and relevant literary experiences for students.”
These virtual field trips are divided by grades. As far as I can tell, it is free to use. Here is the user guide:
There is also the Google Expeditions that is beginning to grow. However, it requires the students to wear virtual reality wears and teachers to purchase a kit which comes at a cost of $10 000 for a class of 30 students. Furthermore, this type of virtual field trip would not work in an online course as the teacher could not expect the students to purchase their own virtual reality wear.
My final thought about this topic is that I am very disappointed that still in 2017, there isn’t more available in the virtual field trip experience. I am guessing that there is not enough funding and interest to create this kind of project. The internet has globalized the access to information but the technology has not gone so far as globalizing the user’s experience. However, I am sure that innovators will pick up on the Google Expeditions’ idea and create similar experiences to eventually have enough competition to lower the price and increase the quantity available. This type of experience will not only be beneficial to students but anyone interested in travelling cheap.
Scholastics, 2017. Virtual Field Trips. Retrieved January 23, 2017 from https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/teaching-content/virtual-field-trips/