Another dot in the blogosphere?

Posts Tagged ‘change

 
Last month two of my think-out-loud reflections resonated with my readers.

These entries were responsible for lots of tweets and retweets as well as spikes in views.

That said, it is a good thing that I do not write a blog for views. I cannot anticipate what entries might appeal to readers.

It is a good thing I do not blog for a living. I do not rely on strategies that some bloggers use to bring eyeballs to their blogs.

If I was a professional blogger, I might try to figure out what made the two entries tick and write more like that. But I do not think this is sustainable for daily blogging.

If I was a professional blogger, I might be concerned that people would rather comment on my blog entries by email, in Twitter, or Google+… almost anywhere else except in WordPress. But I am not.

I think my approach stems from what I believe in about creating change.

I think that it is possible to rely on formulaic structure, KPIs, and rules to bring about systemic change. However, while this brings bodies to a destination, it does not guarantee that the minds and hearts follow.

There is the alternative of going with the flow and doing what you think is right. Like-minded folk (and even those who oppose you) see that and decide to follow suit, hearts and minds included.

Then there is wanting people to communicate in a certain way and in a certain place. But if they are more comfortable and effective where they are at, I think we should take the trouble to find out why and make that journey outward.

The news that Princeton engineers predict Facebook may lose 80% of users by 2017 is making its rounds on the interwebs.

They funny folk at SourceFed jumped on it with this video.


Video source

The gist is that Facebook might go the way of MySpace if you use epidemiological models to visualize its rise and predict its fall. This has led the to the question of whether Facebook can be compared to a disease.

Is Facebook an epidemic that spreads and then dies out? Or is it like the common cold that stays with us and perhaps becomes part of our DNA?

Not content with the Facebook bashing, Mike Develin retorted with Debunking Princeton. This was a humorous but critical reply to how mainstream media and even the “new” media play up poorly understood research.

The initial article created ripples and the SourceFed video entertained, but only the Facebook response was informative and even educational.

When I thought about how this applies to education, I realized that whether Facebook goes bust in a few years is not the issue. How we create educational resources is.

Do we want to just inform? Are we trying to entertain? Or are we attempting to change and educate?

I reflected on my reflection on palindromes and change.

In my previous reflection, I suggested that, in hindsight, change initiatives are coloured by our bias. The stories we tell might be quite different from what they actually are.


Video source

My subsequent reflection was prompted by this Rhett and Link video on YouTube.

To create this video, Rhett and Link had to begin with the end product in mind. They recorded (and edited) a video doing things backwards so that when played forwards it made some entertaining and unusual sense. They also recorded the process of making this video.

So here are some my takeaways on change management with ICT

  • It is critical to have a clear vision of what the goal state might be.
  • It is important to document the process and not just the plan. If you cannot document everything, then record the milestones.
  • You can have fun with change. It does not have to be stressful all the time.

Video source

I watched this Vimeo-hosted video and was impressed by how the storyteller was able to weave a tale forwards and backwards.

Based on what I have read about this video elsewhere, I gather that some folks think that is makes more sense backwards than forwards.

I agree. And as I sometimes do, I started to connect this with courses that I facilitate. The course is change management with ICT in this case.

Sometimes things do not seem to make sense moving forward with change. We might just be reacting to the reactions to change. There are new changes to respond to, fires to put out, and busy work.

Hindsight almost always seems clear. It is easy to look back and reflect on change efforts to see where we went right or wrong.

But I fear that hindsight is not always accurate. It can tell another story because our experience colours the story or we look at the past through rose-tinted glasses.

This reminds me of a saying I learnt when I was young: Life is like grammar. It makes the past perfect and the present tense.

So very true when change agents face resistance. This is something I might close my change management elective with a several weeks time.


I took this photo late last year at a venue where CeL performed a service for an organization. Two of my staff shared how teachers might flip their classrooms with mVideo.

I noted then that all of us had broken this rule in order to take photos, videos, use the app, or do anything else related to the workshop. Perhaps the rule applied to students and not to teachers.

Fast forward to this year.

Recently I attended a ceremony where the emcee reminded the audience to do two now rather standard things: 1) not use mobile devices, and 2) give full attention to the stage.

In the case of a formal ceremony (as this was), you might understand the requirements. But if this was also a session to teach or model behaviour, I wonder what the emcee might have said if she and the organizers could read the minds of everyone present.

How does one give full attention for an entire two hours? In this day and age, how does one take notes without resorting to typing or recording with a device?

How about not saying “give me your attention” and responding instead to “give me something worth my attention”? How about enabling current forms of learning instead of falling back on old ways of teaching?

technology_hasnt_changed_us

I found this image on medium.com. It declares that “technology hasn’t changed us”. The author also wrote a short article to elaborate on what he meant.

I agree with that author to a degree. People will find ways to read the news. They may rely on paper-based news, electronic newspapers, and social media platforms. People are still reading. As they read, they might come across as anti-social back then and now. Technology does not seem to have changed that behaviour.

But technology has certainly changed us.

Technology has changed the way many people walk. With mobile devices, people walk and read, walk and text, walk and talk. They are walking, but they are also doing something else and that changes the way people walk. In the worst case scenario, a texting walker gets run down by a car or falls into a hole. In the best case scenario, people develop better peripheral vision or extended proprioception to deal with the demands of multitasking.

It has changed the way we connect with other people. Some interactions may look “head down” because people are engaging in the Blackberry prayer. Consider how a tweet can cross the globe faster than a plane or even a vetted news article. Think of how people reading that tweet believe it and retweet or how many choose to cast doubt and talk about it. People are not just believing what they consume from news agencies, they are also communicating because of the medium’s affordances.

Technology has also changed the way we learn. While we used to depend heavily (and perhaps exclusively) on teachers and schools in the past, we can now learn in a manner that is just-in-time and just-for-me. These are driven by technologies that enable self-directed and self-organized learning. As learners do this, they customize their own learning.

Technology has changed us. We can focus on whether we have changed for worse or better. I would bet on better.

I shared this photo recently on Twitter. Whoever thought of the statement to overlay the photo made a timely response to people who say that today’s technology is making us anti-social.

Now consider this quote attributed to Marcus Tullius Cicero (born 106 BC).

I have seen this blogged, tweeted, or shared on Facebook several times. It speaks of how one generation views a newer one through its own lens and how it fears newer technology. Even way back then.

But like most juicy quotations, there is more than meets the eye. So I really appreciated the effort of this blogger in uncovering the origins and evolution of the saying.

The resource is worth more than a look. It illustrates in-depth research and the power of being connected to resources and people.

One generation will always rebel against the previous one. This is not a recent phenomenon. Observers will always say that times are a-changing. This is not unique to the 21st century.

Both phenomena are driven by the interaction of people with technology that generally make our lives better. While the older generations tend to focus on the negative or dwell on nostalgia, the current generation will leverage on it and create newer technologies.

The same thing will happen a generation from now. Everything changes. And nothing changes at the same time.

If this tweet was a statement in a sermon, I would say amen to that.

Teachers, examiners, and adminstrators disallow and fear technology because doing what has always been done is just more comfortable and easier.

Students are forced to travel back in time and not use today’s technologies in order to take tests that measure a small aspect of their worth. They bear with this burden because their parents and teachers tell them they must get good grades. To some extent that is true as they attempt to move from one level or institution to another.

But employers and even universities are not just looking for grades. When students interact with their peers and the world around them, they learn that character, reputation, and other fuzzy traits not measured in exams are just as important, if not more so.

Tests are losing relevance in more ways than one. They are not in sync with the times and they do not measure what we really need.

In an assessment and evaluation Ice Age, there is cold comfort in the slowness of change. There is also money to be made from everything that leads up to testing, the testing itself, and the certification that follows.

 
Like a glacier, assessment systems change so slowly that most of us cannot perceive any movement. But move they do. Some glaciers might even be melting in the heat of performance evaluations, e-portfolios, and exams where students are allowed to Google.

We can either wait the Ice Age out or warm up to the process of change.

By reading what thought leaders share every day and by blogging, I bring my magnifying glass to examine issues and create hotspots. By facilitating courses in teacher education I hope to bring fuel, heat, and oxygen to light little fires where I can.

What are you going to do in 2014?


Video source

I agree with the main point that Donald Clark made in the video above. There has been more pedagogic change in the last 10 years than in the last 1000.

He provided anecdotes of what people like Eric Mazur do to make lectures better (stopping delivery and injecting human interaction). He also explained why lectures should be recorded so that learners can have “a second bite of the cherry”.

But does that not assume that the cherry is sweet and desirable? What if it is sour or diseased? Who would even want a first bite of that?

He tried making his case by citing a study that claimed that video recording can improve a bad lecture (approx. 8min 40sec mark). He explained that students had the option to simply skip the bad parts or the parts they did not need.

But is the lecture better? No, it is not.

Could it be edited to be a bit better? Certainly, the same way a bad photo can be Photoshopped or Instagrammed to look better.

Are there even more effective teaching strategies that bypass lectures (good and bad) altogether? Definitely. After all, Clark points out that lecture theatres have an occupancy rate of about 20-30% a year (14min 45sec mark).

Perhaps the most perplexing thing that Clark says is that pedagogic change originates not from educators but from technology gurus (15min 34sec mark). From Berners-Lee (who gave us the Internet) to Williams, Dorsey, and Stone (who gave us Twitter), we are talking about non-lecture technologies. We are talking about technologies of access, openness, social reach, democratization of information, etc.

Perhaps the most powerful point was not that obvious. Clark’s TED talk was shared on the Internet. It was streamed (and still streams) on YouTube, it was tweeted then, and I am blogging about it only now. His talk has replayability, sharability, and commentability.

That is why I do not think TED talks are just lectures. Conventional lectures are overrated. Talks like TED and storytelling are better especially if they leverage on social, open, and mobile tools. But we really need to think and act beyond a talk as a starting point.

Where then do we start? Ask our learners. Get them to self-organize. Supervise and suggest if you must. They will surprise you with what they can do.


Video source

This might serve as a new introductory video for my course on managing change with ICT.

But I will have to remind my teacher-learners that it is very descriptive. It does not offer ideas more specific than going for the middle group.


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