Posts Tagged ‘change’
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).
"Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book." – Marcus Tullius Cicero—
Lonny Dunn (@ProNetworkBuild) November 23, 2013
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?
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.
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.
One of the things I get participants of my inservice course on change management to do is play mobile video games.
Not only do I want them to get insights on the learner mindset, I also use the games as shared platforms from which we draw principles of change.
I look for cross platform mobile games (iOS and Android) of course. I used to ask that participants play a flavour of Angry Birds and Tiny Tower.
Both are free and work nicely on phones and slates alike. I think they will help participants experience the principles of change management for themselves before we draw them out by discussion and reflection.
Not all transformations are as “immediate” as this one.
They take much longer than the physical change this time-lapse video reveals. In this homeless veteran’s example, there are many other changes to tackle, e.g., personal, social, financial, philosophical, spiritual, etc.
But I think there is a principle to draw from the video. In the absence of guarantees of a change effort, we might show more clearly what change possibilities are.
I read this article recently, School Districts Force Students to Downgrade iPads to iOS 6.
One reason for the backward move was to get control back of what should be individualized tools. The other was for remote management. I see the importance of the latter but am not sympathetic of the former.
The technological solution to ban or filter rarely works. The only things you teach kids with that approach is that they cannot be trusted and they do not know how to think critically.
If Ethiopian kids can hack OLPCs within five months with no instruction, overcoming firewalls and bypassing restrictions is nothing to kids on the other side of the divide.
I am not saying we should remove filters totally. I am saying that a socio-technical system is better, emphasis on the social component. This could include a crowdsourced acceptable use policy and documentation of consequences of breaking the rules.
We should teach kids to be their own filters.
Hot off my YouTube subscription line is this video from RSAnimate about reimagining work with current technology.
Short version: It is about undoing the industrial productivity mindset and adopting one based on trust and technological affordances.
The thing I like most about this video is the observation that most still feel the need to go to work (a place) when the work can come to us (the tasks). If as information workers we take the latter half seriously, we can walk the talk of “anytime, anywhere”.
While it left a bad taste in my mouth, it had a juicy moment or two.
There was a simple but important observation that Tim Elmore made:
This is the first generation of children that don’t need adults to access information. But they do need adults to process the information, to help them interpret the data.
I suspect that there are some adults and teachers who do not realize that their kids can already get the information they need. Or maybe they do not trust their kids because they are wary of anything new (new practice, new culture, new expectations).
The few that do may not be entirely comfortable with the facilitative role of guiding learners along. After all, they have not experienced this type of teaching.
So what does a teacher to do? Hang on to outdated practice for grim life. What does an educator do? Let go and go with the flow.