Change in schools: how are we approaching it?


I went home last night after the extremely interesting and energising day and I thought about change. We were talking about changing the culture within our schools. Why is it so difficult? Why is change so threatening to some? Why would you not want to grow professionally, increase your knowledge, improve on something? I wondered why, on the whole, the idea of change doesn’t seem to have the affect on me?
Change has always occurred, look back at history and the changes and developments that we applaud and celebrate. Look at the medical breakthroughs, no-one would would want to go back to a turn-of-the-century dentist and technology has been a huge catalyst in many of these changes.

A study of language shows that it is also constantly changing. Without people realising it, they to accept much of the change however often, when it is brought to their attention, they feel a little uncomfortable.  As a matter of interest the Macquarie Dictionary has a word of the year and in 2007 it was the following: 

pod slurping
noun the downloading of large quantities of data to an MP3 player or memory stick from a computer.

In this increasingly tech-savvy world we live in, it seems pod slurping really is the new memory bank for us busy bees. Why carry around vast reams of documents, or CDs or anything for that matter, when you can download absolutely everything!

Pod slurping has an inventive and sensuous appeal. The committee felt that the most important criterion for word of the year should be linguistic creativity and evocativeness, rather than simple worthiness or usefulness. Pod slurping also dips its lid to pod, a potent little word of our times.

Again many of the changes related to new words that related to technology. Another (the People’s Choice Award) for word of the year was:

password fatigue
noun a level of frustration reached by having too many different passwords to remember, resulting in an inability to remember even those most commonly used.

Password fatigue was the most popular word in the online voting, clearly registering a widespread dilemma of the online world.

I can certainly attest to conversations with colleagues about the sheer number of passwords they are required to remember. The way they deal with the problem has changed as their on-line presence has increased.

Getting back to being an agent for change within a school, there are a number of variables that must be checked if there is to be a change in the attitudes toward, and use of, technology. If technologies are going to be accepted the following must be looked at:

  • Teacher training. Being a notebook (laptop) school, we have a lot of teacher training and development available to our staff, both within our school and externally, and have done for a long time.
  • The bandwidth (Infrastructure). This is good, especially as teachers book classes to use the internet (max 15 class at any one time) Within the school things work well although you can always use more. Wireless also can be an issue at times.
  • Software. We have a great variety available, some commercial, some freeware or shareware.
  • Leadership. The principal and and other designated leaders in the school must be actively support any program if it is to succeed. They also need to help overcome hurdles and put pressure on staff when necessary.

We have been given an opportunity in the PLP to have the training and development. We have the infrastructure and the software available for us to be part of the program and to contribute. I have experienced a few glitches with Elluminate and will have to work on it but, apart from that, there are no hurdles that I can foresee that can’t be overcome (of course I could be wrong!) We also have a vast number of people in our community, who proved yesterday, that they are ready to help when we need it. The PLP cohort, with its reach far beyond Australian shores, is already supporting us. Thank you Web2.0!

I guess I am a “glass half full person” and am confident enough to think that (eventually) I will succeed at things. Maybe my librarianship training has helped because the sharing and communal approach to information (and sharing and building it) is second nature. I also have always enjoyed working through and having a go at things. I certainly don’t have to be perfect or an expert the first time I use some technology or even when in class, which is just as well! I am happy to use student knowledge when it comes to technology, after all it is only the tool I want to be used in learning about the skills I am teaching. Some of my best classes have been about me learning as much as my students. Roll on 21st century teaching and learning.

Uploaded to Flickr 6th Dec 2007 by Wonderlane

Uploaded to Flickr 6th Dec 2007 by Wonderlane http://flickr.com/photos/wonderlane/2090966628/

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One Response

  1. “Reform” is another word folks substitute for change. Frequently, the reform noted means returning to a previous policy or practice that produced more desireable results than current efforts. The potential,challenges, and obstacles that currently litter the public education landscape are discussed in the novel, The Twilight’s Last Gleaming On Public Education. This intriguing, socially relevant, and enlightening story possesses many of the elements commonly found in just about every school system throughout the Unite States. It is available via http://www.Xlibris.com, http://www.bn.com, http://www.borders.com, or http://www.amazon.com. Check it out for youself. See if you can identify with the charcters and situations presented. Discuss it with your friends. Do you agree with the proposed solutions?

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