Less chocolate is a change I am struggling with, I love the stuff! But non-the-less I am actioning that change thanks to getting a bit more educated about the way my body works. Better education and understanding has helped me embrace change and see it for the longer term benefits and impact.
I have been Inspired to write after listening to Jamie Casap, a Googler, talk about change in education. A keynote address I delivered at a few technology conferences including in New Hampshire and Sweden was titled “Change, the only constant?”. I suggest education hasn’t changed that much over time and it be something we as teachers get used to? Jamie, speaking on a Google Hangout on Air with educators split change into two.
Desirable change vs undesirable change
This struck a chord with me. Of course we like change that we perceive to have inherent benefits and are dubious or even avoid change we believe doesn’t improve our lot or in fact makes things worse. Sometimes it takes time or more education for everyone to see a change for the good it can bring and consider it from other people’s perspective or beyond the initial upheaval. I advocate change when I leave my day-job as a maths teacher to train teachers in the use of technology for learning. Do I always manage to frame that change as desirable or beneficial? My feedback forms suggest so, however is this feedback from educators who are already excited by the change technology can bring. Moreover, why would you book yourself on to a course which you felt was not going to be beneficial? I didn’t give my language classes at school the chance when I was 14 and dropped them at the first opportunity. I regret that now. Selling change for its benefits is not an easy job.
Later this week I am delivering training to a whole school, which should ensure we get a full and varied range of attitudes and perceptions to the change I am supporting them with. Will they all see the change as beneficial? If the change is to be worthwhile and to be realised then it had better be solving a decent problem or come with a compelling story.
Design thinking is about finding good problems to solve, problems inherently worth solving. It also focusses on the “user” and take ethnographic data and builds a story around people and how we can help solve their problems. For this reason I think design thinking has a worthwhile and permanent place in education, making curriculum and learning design student centred and personal.
The school I am supporting with training needs to learn the tools, granted but they won’t use them if there is no purpose. Therefore I want to help them to find desirable change by finding some problems worth solving.
“Technology for Learning or #Edtech is at its most impactful when no-one mentions it.”
Me, just now
Change is not a problem if it is worth doing. If someone has a good problem to solve they are happy to work hard at it and they will find the right tools to make it happen. This is my ever-evolving approach to supporting teachers with technology for learning.
To start finding a problem worth solving try the 5 whys activity. Write down your vision and the challenges in the way of getting there. Find a colleague who is fairly straight talking and get them to ask to why…
You: My challenge is to get teachers using new technology
Friend: Why would they want to use new technology?
You: New technology can provide new learning experiences
Friend: Why are the current learning experiences not good enough?
You: They are… but technology could open them up a wider audience
Friend: Why don’t the teachers already see that opportunity you do?
You: Because they are not keeping track of new technology developments
Friend: Why are they not up to speed on technology that is available?
You: Because they are too busy!?
With a good 5 Whys session you might find yourself with a problem worth solving…
How might we give teachers time to learn about new developments in learning?
Reframing a change from “Here’s a new tool for you to learn” to “We are going to use these new tools to save you time and develop learning” might be the catalyst for teachers to relish change rather than fear it. That is my hope for my upcoming training. Thanks to Jamie for making me think about it that little but more.