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Posts Tagged ‘change

There are variants of this quote. One is: Those that say it can’t be done should get out of the way of those doing it.

However it is said, it is as much a call to change agents to persist and ignore negativity as it is to naysayers to shut up and stay clear.

The quote has been popularly attributed to George Bernard Shaw, but Quote Investigator says otherwise.

My tool of choice for creating the image quote was Haiku Deck again. However, at the moment it only seems to attribute the photographer instead of linking properly to the correct photo. It took an ImageCodr search for “shh” followed by a fine-tuned search in Flickr for the photographer before the single return above.

Do the commonly labelled “new media” bring new dangers? Or are they just old dangers magnified or reinvented? Do “new dangers” actually hide something more insidious?

Put “cyber” in front of any established danger and it becomes “new”: bullying, stalking, theft, crime, and so on. I am not making light of these. I am merely saying the dangers are not that new.

They are new to traditional publishers who wish to spread fear. They are new to those who lack a critical lens with which to read what these publishers disseminate.

Such electronically-mediated crimes might be easier to commit and more difficult to detect, but that does not make them new. You might kill a person by remotely stopping his heart’s pacemaker, but that does not make it new murder.

Day 60 - Fear by juanpg, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License   by  juanpg 

What “new media” does require is for people to stay informed, keep up, and take action. So it might actually be fear, ignorance, or inertia that are the dangers. When not wanting to try something new, it is easier to call it “dangerous” from afar.

I know very intelligent people who make very poor assumptions or take questionable action because they choose not to know and do. The more frightening thing is that some of these people shape policy in large organizations.

New media use does not necessarily lead to new dangers. But there are many people with old mindsets fueled by old fears. I know which I am more afraid of.

This is one of my favourite sayings. I modified it from my assorted readings (and watchings and listenings) about leadership. I cannot find a definitive source for this quote.

The quote resonates with me because it reflects my belief system. It is a key driving force for why and how I do things.

It should come as no surprise by now that my graphic has all the hallmarks of Haiku Deck.

With a basic account, export options are limited. After I am satisfied with the look of the graphic, I take a screenshot of it on my iPad and upload it to Google Photos. I put the image in an album with other quotes and copy the URL to the image. The final step is embedding and resizing the image here.

I found the original image using the keyword “forgiveness”.

However, in the several weeks of doing this “quotable quotes” series, I have found that Haiku Deck‘s method of finding photos differs markedly from ImageCodr‘s. It can take a fair bit of investigative work to trace the source of images.

…a stack of pancakes, but not as nice to experience.

Any good stuff, like syrup, that you pour from the top down, might be absorbed at the top and perhaps dribble down to some of the periphery.

It is very unlikely to penetrate the core and all the way down with the same intensity and flavour. This is how messaging gets lost.

Good things that start at the bottom are even more unlikely to make it to the top. Things are stacked against the ones at the bottom and gravity takes its toll.

Grassroots efforts are even more unlikely to rise to the top. But they might soak right to the centre of that layer.

Moral of this story: If you want your pancakes and eat them too (with the best of top-down and bottom-up), make low, flat stacks.

Or try something different: Middle up and down. This is something I used to teach in a change management course. I still offer it as a series of workshops (pancakes not included).

365.324 - ABC easy as 123 by nettsu, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License   by  nettsu 

To spark and sustain change, change agents need to create:

  • Awareness
  • Buy-in
  • Commitment/Control

Awareness is the first step. Stakeholders need to be aware of the issues (problem definition) and possible ways to deal with them (problem solving). If they do not know, they do not have to care.

Buy-in is a state of mind. It builds on the awareness of “I know” and create states of “I believe in…” and “I want to…”. It is an indication of how much people care about an issue.

Commitment and control are action-oriented. They are indicators of ownership of both the problems and solutions by various stakeholders. Achieving this steady state is critical if the change is to live beyond and without the person who started it.

I have observed some leaders of change start with awareness and stop at buy-in. They imply ownership but do not always create that condition.

Decentralized ownership is the most difficult condition to create. But it is also the element that sustains change and evolves with the circumstances.

Teachers contemplating the flip should first distinguish between the flipped classroom and flipped learning. This article makes a distinction.

I draw my own differences. The flipped classroom focuses on what a teacher can do. Flipped learning focuses on what learners can and should do.

Teachers do not have to change their behaviours very much when flipping a classroom: They still prepare content and dish out homework. They might have to reorient themselves to using class time for more coaching and differentiation, but good teachers should be able to do this.

To flip learning, teachers might have to reconsider what they hold sacred, e.g., their command and control, their content expertise, their curriculum. Teachers who flip learning realize the importance of getting learners to create content and to teach one another.

Teachers who flip their classrooms might know how to swing from being a sage-on-the-stage to the guide-on-the-side. If they use videos, their stage is the movie platform where they create and/or curate; if they use a webquest, their stage is filled with the resources they wish their students to consume online. If they are skillful back in class, these teachers learn how to guide students individually or in small groups towards self, peer, or teacher-oriented help.

Flippers do these but also learn how to be the meddler-in-the-middle. A meddler does not create a fire-and-forget video or tell students to “just Google it”.

Meddlers circulate and are the centre of circles. They move around the class or the online space to interact with learners in order to create dissonance or to restore balance. The demonstrate skills and they model thinking.

Meddlers realize that good questions drive learning, not answers. They direct and connect their learners to resources instead of just dishing out answers.

Meddlers are comfortable taking risks and are willing to fail forward. Meddlers are not interested in labels or rhetoric; meddlers take action. But meddlers also know what works (practice) and why (theory).

Meddlers do not walk past change and ignore it. They are the poster children of change.

This is the second part of my week-long focused reflection on flipping.

In the context of schooling and education, flippers are educators who know the differences between the flipped classroom and flipped learning (example), and promote the latter. For the purpose of this week’s focus, I use flipping to refer to flipped learning.

Flippers view flipping as a philosophical orientation, not just a set of instructional strategies. It stems from the desire to do what is best for the learner, even if this is not what is best for the teacher.

If I was pressed to put flipping in pedagogical terms, I would say that flippers apply principles of the pedagogy of questions (PoQ) and the pedagogy of empathy (PoE).

But I am not reflecting on PoQ or PoE. I am focusing on flipped learning all this week and elaborating on the stories in my presentation, Righting the Wrongs of Flipping.

My journey with flipped lessons started in 2007. I decided to provide lecture content outside of a graduate class largely because it was conducted in the evening. I reasoned that this would help my students since:

  1. lectures were the least engaging part of each session
  2. whole class and group discussions got their energy up
  3. they were mostly adults coming to class after work and could listen to lectures just-in-time
  4. they could also consume content at their own pace and place
  5. we could use the time saved on lectures for meaningful discussion in class.

My experiment was short-lived and failed because:

  1. I was still just lecturing
  2. I was (and still am) not a great lecturer
  3. (surprise, surprise) my students did not like lectures no matter how short or interesting they were
  4. I wanted to try a tool that seemed cool at the time.

I had created the appearance of flipping without actually implementing any meaningful change.

My wrongdoing was changing the medium (from face-to-face to online) without changing the method (traditional lecturing). My delivery was still didactic, designed merely to front load, and driven by the pedagogy of answers.

To my credit, I had shortened the lectures and tried to provide outlines or key takeaways. I am aware of other lecturers who do not change lecture duration (same X minutes) or design (e.g., non-interactive, no questions, no strategically placed quizzes) because that is the most efficient way to create “e-learning” resources.

How might one right these flipping wrongs?

Where delivery is still required, video lectures might be redesigned to complement other learning resources like readings or other videos. Such “lectures” might provide summaries or outlines and serve as launch points to other resources. To use an analogy, the “lectures” should be more like tweets and less like book chapters.

Most teachers will be concerned about delivering content and be advised by instructional designers to chunk content. I do not recommend just relying on the chunking strategy. Chunking is like cutting up an elephant into small pieces to force feed a group that is not hungry or unsure why they are sitting at the table.

A more significant way of flipping is to rely on the PoQ. The “lecture” does not focus primarily on content but on actual questions for students to answer, meaningful problems to solve, or challenges to struggle with. I used this strategy when I designed my video series on flipping.

The PoQ requires learners to seek content to answer their questions. It is part of a just-in-time strategy and counter to the just-in-case, front loading strategy that most instructors are taught to employ. As front loading often provides information devoid of need or context, this might explain why learners do not connect with this approach.

Flipping the first wrong so that you do right is not about finding a different method in order to teach the same way. It is about understanding the learner and what drives them to learn. It is about leveraging on questions, application, or problem-solving instead about delivery. It is about changing the way you teach.

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