Coping with change

Came across this interesting slideshow today titled 21 things that became obsolete this decade. Makes for an interesting browse – several of the things mentioned I’m sure will provoke responses like “but I still use that regularly!’, while others are things that I think there’d be common agreement are definitely a thing of the past.

The thinking point here is not so much what the technologies are per se, but the behaviours associated with their use, and the direction things are heading – for instance, replacing maps and phone directories with up to date online versions that can also link you to other sources of information or create pathways for you to follow.

Got me to thinking about change in education, and why it is that our industry, at times, seems so slow/resistant to change. It’s not so much a case of adopting the innovation, as it is letting go of what we currently have – the following quote I read this week makes the point:

The problem is not how to get new innovative things into your mind, but how to get the old ones out. (Anon)

To put this in perspective, read the teach paperless blog’s response with 21 things that will become obsolete in education by 2010 – a challenge to conceive of some of these things disappearing in just ten years, but more important to consider why these things have been identified – I’m sure we could all write our own lists like this 🙂

Sitting here at he beginning of yet another school year (in NZ), the thought I’m pondering is, “what are the things I’m hanging on to that may actually inhibit or negate my ability to embrace or adopt an innovation in education?” It’s easy to look at the things that are bombarding us from the outside (eg standards, bullying, workload etc.), but we need to consider also the very things that make us ‘comfortable’ in our jobs, the things we’ve come to take for granted and rely on. So ask yourself, ‘what is behind the responses I have to the suggestions made about things that will become obsolete by 2010??

3 thoughts on “Coping with change

  1. Hi Derek Enjoyed the post. Very timely as I have recently been appointed Principal of a new school and am thinking through and around the infrastructure that will be flexible yet stable enough to cope with the change talked about in your post. My thoughts are a good backbone that enables efficient wireless, fast connectivity that any mobile devise can hook into. A number of larger monitors for learners to doc their smaller mobile devices to show case or collaborate around. Utilize open source software, google apps etc if fast enough connectivity can be enabled. Have an interoperable SMS and LMS that both captures the complexity of learning progress and has the capability to share timely assessment information and allow peers and parents to feedback within a secure environment

    If you were starting from scratch in a new school what would you do? What questions would you be asking, where might I go to find out more?

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  2. Hi Sarah – congratulations on your appointment. It’s a big challenge figuring all that out – but one that is really exciting. I enjoy the work I’ve done with some of the new schools being built in NZ and OZ. Important to start always by developing a well articulated understanding of what your educative purpose is -and then developing a sound pedagogical framework to support you achieving that. Things like the curriculum, technology, timetable etc all fall into place once you’ve got that done – and it’s not easy, because that’s the place where I find the biggest challenge to letting go of the baggage of the past exists. People will adapt to and adopt new technological approaches if the work is done on these foundations – but without them it’s all just playing with the superficial stuff. I’d be happy to discuss more of this with you if you’re interested – I’ve developed some strategies for working this sort of thing through etc.

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