Twenty Years Later, has Anything Changed? (#educ5101 assignment)

 

*note, this is an assignment for a course and varies from my normal posts. Run away now... :)

 

Thanks to Brenda Sherry and Peter Skillen, I had the opportunity to meet Brian Silverman and Artemis Papert this week. They were kind enough to spend the day keynoting and running a station at Minds On Media for the Education Computing Organization of Ontario conference. Brian Silverman had the opportunity to work with Seymour Papert for many years and Artemis Papert is his daughter.

They self-describe their work as the merging of math and art, where “Brian loves the math” and “Artemis loves the art”. This comes together to create learning opportunities such as those found in Turtle Art. At Minds on Media, I was desperately trying to create authentic learning inquiries that could be completed using a tool such as Turtle Art, to meet the strict confines of the Grade 9 Applied Mathematics curriculum and EQAO testing, when I thought of a video I recently watched. If only I could let the students guide what mathematical concepts they needed to learn this year, instead of conforming to the rigid structures of curriculum and standardized tests. With todays access to knowledge and technology to support personalized learning, why do all students need to learn mathematical concepts in the same order and at the same time?

 


 

Twenty Years Later, has Anything Changed?

Seymour Papert is often described as one of the fathers of artificial intelligence and one of the leading thinkers and pioneers in the evolution of learning in the digital world (Papert, 2000, Stager 2014).

Seymour Papert – Closing Session 1994 NSBA T+L Conference from Gary Stager on Vimeo.

 

The video above is the digitized version of a keynote delivered in 1994 for the National School Boards Association Technology & Learning conference. In the video Papert (1994) challenges the audience to imagine what third grade math could look like in twenty years. He highlights his hope that it wouldn’t even exist. Papert (1994) questions why we would “separate math from the rest of knowledge? Third grade from the rest of life? Teaching from learning?” Papert (1994) predicted that within 10 years (and in so meaning by the year 2004) there would be “tens of thousands of programs available for students to watch and interact with on information highways”. Papert (1994) predicts that this will create a “new relationship to knowledge, with the child in charge”.

If Papert was able to walk through todays schools and compare them to his vision in 1994, what would he find? He would find that very little has changed in the classroom, even though his predictions in terms of technology and access to knowledge have likely been surpassed.

In his keynote, Papert (1994) described how damaging the current education system that separates students based on age and level of expertise, truly is. Students are missing out on the benefit of connecting with and learning from students in different places of development. He went on to describe a digital bulletin board where students could post questions for each other to help answer. This was twenty years ago. While we still have the same grades and age-based divisions in school, imagine what could be done with todays web 2.0 technologies to connect students to each other. Yet, this is still only happening in a minority of classrooms opposed to the majority.

The question remains, twenty years later, how do we use technology to help bring Papert’s dream of true constructivist learning to fruition? He demonstrated a passion in constructivism over instructionism. Papert (1994) describes the difference in his keynote:
If a student isn’t learning as they might, instructionism says that we’d better teach them more. Constructivism says that the way to innovate is that we’d better find better things for them do. Technology can do that.

Papert warns that computer-assisted learning could be used to accelerate either view of learning. Helping to describe this he uses the example of video games. According to Papert (1994):
Looking through an instructionism point of view, someone would say that students seem to enjoy computer games, so lets make games that teach students math skills we decide they need. Through a constructivist lens, one might say students seem to enjoy computer games, so lets see if they want to make them. They can learn the mathematical skills they need to create games they enjoy.

This divide of how technology can be used to enhance education is even more transparent as we gain access to mobile devices in the classroom. These devices can often become nothing more than “kill and drill” devices or used to digitize the transfer of information from teacher to student. There is a recent focus in Ontario education on supporting things such as the development of Fullans (2013) “Six C’s”; “character, citizenship, communication, critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration and teamwork, and creativity and imagination”. Paperts dream combined with todays technology could make this a reality as long as we are willing to reimagine education.

It is time to reimagine education in its entirety. Papert (2000) states:
One can take two approaches to renovating School – or indeed anything else. The problem-solving approach identifies the many problems that afflict individual schools and tries to solve them. A systemic approach requires one to step back from the immediate problems and develop an understanding of how the whole things works. (p.720)

Papert (2000), goes on to say that educational leaders often do not have time for the “big ideas” and focus on only on solving problems.

In addition to reimagining education in its entirely, three additional strategies could help shift how digital technologies are leveraged to support a true constructivist model of learning. Firstly, Ensuring all students have devices through combining bring your own device (BYOD) and school-provided device programs. Secondly, altering the role of the teacher from “technician of learning” to “philosopher of learning” (Papert, 1994) will be an important shift. Lastly, changing the role of the principal to one where they have the time to be true instructional leaders and incorporate components of a critical and emancipatory leadership framework into their work.

Supported BYOD

Bring your own device policies are often used to increase the access to technology in a classroom. Unfortunately, most BYOD programs are not supported to ensure all students have devices. Supported BYOD programs can help develop innovation by letting students who have personal preferences for certain types of devices work their own devices. It also lets students bring exciting new technologies into the classroom where all students can be exposed to them. This type of program has the potential to be a major player in solving educational equity concerns as well. If BYOD programs are supported by providing devices to those who do not have their own, it ensures all students have a base level of access. Equity can be improved for students with special education needs and those without access at home.

When all students have devices, those with special education equipment will be less hesitant to use it, due to the fact that everyone in the class has a device. It also ensures that students who do not qualify for official special education equipment, however would benefit from the assistive technology supports, have access to these tools as well.

For students who are on the wrong side of the digital divide and do not have their own devices, they can begin to develop the skills when one is provided for them to take home and use at school. Hargittai (2002) describes the digital divide as being multi-dimensional including basic access to devices and connectivity, autonomy of access, use patterns, social support networks and skill. Providing devices and access to networks (internet connectivity and social networks) at school can help students develop the skills needed for using digital technology for learning.

Papert, as cited by Stager (2014), states that the laptop is only an important device because it is disruptive. He continues by asking, “does the computer program the child or does the child program the computer?” (Stager, 2014) Every student having access to a computing device lets education be reimagined.

Todays’ technology would allow students to create continuous digital portfolios of learning. Imagine the power behind students working on projects that interest them while documenting their learning in a portfolio. Using mathematics for example, students would highlight the skills they have acquired through their projects. By the end of their educational career, if post-secondary institutions are still insistent upon standards-based assessment, they can provide a set of required skills for entry to their institutions or workplaces. Students can use these digital portfolios to demonstrate their preparedness. With access to all this knowledge and information, why is it that students must all learn the same things at the same time? This type of learning would certainly require a shift in the role of the teacher.

Role of the Teacher

Shifting the role of the teacher from “technician” to “philosopher of learning” (Papert,1994) requires a fundamental change in curriculum. Since 1994, Finland has dismantled its national curriculum in primary schools to let schools develop their own curricula integrating topic work and active learning (Webb et al., 2004). This makes sense within the context that teacher professionalism in Finland supports teacher autonomy, engagement in life long learning and empowering teachers to influence educational reform (Webb et al., 2004). A shift like this would support teachers moving away from the technician role where they simply put lesson plans and specific curriculum into action. If teachers are supported in viewing their role as one who thinks deeply about learning and are provided the autonomy to make decisions about individual student learning and directions, the iconic binder of minute-by-minute lesson plans can be thrown away. This shift in the teacher role will develop capacity for education to reflect ongoing societal changes.

Role of the Principal

As Papert (2000) described, we can look at school reform by “problem solving” and using band-aids, or we can step back and look at the entire system and how it works. The result of so many recent band-aid solutions in education is the effect of “piling on” work to both teachers and leaders. Each problem is given to someone to determine a solution in isolation. This results in band-aids being enforced all over the system without any regard to the big picture and how the whole system works. Teachers feel the pressures of being pulled in a million directions to put band-aids on all the problems in education (such as standardized testing scores, bullying, inequity, special education, student success, etc.). This same root issue has perhaps altered the role of the principal into one where being a true instructional leader is often near impossible. In a report on a recent survey of principals, Pollock (2014) found that 82% of principals wanted to spend more time on curriculum and instruction and 83% would like to become more engaged in their school community. This quote from Polluck (2014) highlights the view of many principals in Ontario:
The focus of my work should be curriculum, instruction, delivery, programming, assessment, and evaluation. I try to spend as many hours on this a week as possible, but I get bogged down with running the school: facility repairs and maintenance, the costs of repair work, dealing with teachers who don’t want to put in 100% effort, see students as a nuisance or have poor teaching strategies, don’t want to learn from current research, employ technology in the classroom, have a poor work ethic, etc. (p. 16)

If educational reform and school improvement is looked at systemically and holistically, the system could be changed to better suit the needs of today’s students. One of the report suggestions (Pollock, 2014) is to “change the culture” for principals. If true educational reform is desired, then a system approach to changing the culture and therefore altering the role of both the principal and teacher could provide the opportunity for change.

How?

As per Papert’s (2000) suggestion, a system approach needs to be taken in education in order to leverage digital technologies to ensure schools remain relevant in todays constantly changing world. If a true constructivism approach is taken along with ensuring every student has a device and changing the roles of the teacher and principal, true equity and engagement could be found. Students would develop the skills required to be life-long learners.

Looking at recent trends in education, there are an increase in band-aid solutions or pockets of innovation happening that are attempting to support the shift from instructionism to constructivism. Dalgarmo (2001) describes constructivism as;
The focus of teaching becomes one of guiding the learner as they build on and modify their existing mental models, that is, a focus on knowledge constructions rather than knowledge transmission. (p. 184)

This description highlights the type of learning that can be found in Makerspaces and through connected learning. According to Abram (2013), “Makerspaces are open labs where people can work together sharing tools, resources and ideas to create, innovate, prototype and build”.

The Connected Learning Report (Ito et al., 2013) states that;
Connected learning is realized when a young person is able to pursue a personal interest or passion with the support of friends and caring adults, and is in turn able to link this learning and interest to academic achievement, career success or civic engagement. (p. 4)

These trendy terms that are being adopted into educational reforms require some presence of mind and careful planning to ensure that similar patterns from years before are not repeated. They will not fit nicely into current educational structures. There is the danger of these spaces and types of learning being altered or refined to fit a more instructionist perspective. If we limit and try to direct the learning of students to fit an overly detailed curriculum, we are taking away from the benefits of the true constructivist methods described so passionately by Seymour Papert (1994 and 2000). The most important thing we can do to leverage digital technology to transform education is to look at education from a system perspective. The entire machine needs assessing opposed to the reactive measure of solving problems piece by piece.

 

 


 

References

Abram, S. (2013). Makerspaces in Libraries, Education, and Beyond. Internet@ Schools20(2), 18-20.

Dalgarno, B. (2001). Interpretations of constructivism and consequences for computer assisted learning. British Journal of Educational Technology32(2), 183-194.

Fullan, M. (2013). Great to excellent: Launching the next stage of Ontario’s education agenda. Retrieved Nov 8, 2014.

Good, T., & Krull, J. (2013). Three makerspace models that work. American Libraries44(1), 45-47.

Hargittai, E. (2002). Second-Level Digital Divide: Differences in People’s Online Skills. First Monday, 7(4). doi:10.5210/fm.v7i4.942.

Ito, M., Gutiérrez, K., Livingstone, S., Penuel, B., Rhodes, J., Salen, K., … & Watkins, S. C. (2013). Connected learning: An agenda for research and design. Digital Media and Learning Research Hub.

Papert, S (1980) Teaching Children Thinking. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 5(3/4), 353-365.

Papert, S. (2000). What’s the big idea? Toward a pedagogy of idea power. IBM Systems Journal39(3.4), 720-729.

Pollock, K. (2014). The Changing Nature of Principals’ Work. Final Report, October 2014. Retrieved from  http://www.edu.uwo.ca/faculty_profiles/cpels/pollock_katina/OPC-Principals-Work-Report.pdf

Sahlberg, P. (2011). The Professional Educator: Lessons from Finland. American Educator35(2), 34-38.

Stager, G. TEDxASB Talk (2014). [Video file]. Retrieved Nov 8, 2014 from http://youtu.be/6-dFTmdX1kU

Webb*, R., Vulliamy, G., Hämäläinen, S., Sarja, A., Kimonen, E., & Nevalainen, (2004). A comparative analysis of primary teacher professionalism in England and Finland. Comparative education40(1), 83-107.

Examining Professional Development Through Ely’s Eyes and the TPACK Framework #educ5105

The following post is for my #educ5105 course and was co-written with the amazing Amy Blizzard (@blizz04). It has been cross-posted on her blog, which can be found at http://dramology.wordpress.com/ . I have taken a few courses with Amy now and worked with her on a few projects. Throughout these courses we have had the opportunity to have a few discussions around classroom teaching and I have learned that she is doing some amazing things in her drama classroom! Check out her blog!

Examining Professional Development Through Ely’s Eyes and the TPACK Framework

Gunn and Hollingsworth’s (2013) article, The Implementation and Assessment of a Shared 21st Century Learning Vision:  A District Approach, examines an educational district in Alberta and their shift to alter their teaching to better meet the needs of 21st Century students.  If we broke down the district’s situation by way of Ely’s eight conditions of change, then the board’s desire to implement change started because of number one, dissatisfaction with the status quo (Williams).  No longer was the traditional teaching methodology meeting the needs of the learners.  There was a need for more technological inclusion in classrooms, differentiated instruction, and new forms of assessment in order to teach a relevant 21st Century skill set to modern learners.  As Gunn and Hollingsworth (2013) stated, “Rapid technological changes have increased information availability and have radically improved communication.  The traditional methods of instructing students are no longer effective” (p. 202).

In order for these changes to be implemented, it was obvious to the district powers that the adopters, or teachers, must have sufficient knowledge and skill set to execute the change, thus meeting Ely’s second condition.  Ely’s third condition of change, availability of resources, wasn’t discussed in this article, but based on the questionnaire given to staff and included in the article, computers and internet are available for use, however specific technologies or how shared these resources are was not detailed.  Time, number four on Ely’s list, was adequately given to the adopters.  The article details a 3-year plan to allow for adequate time and training to alleviate anxiety and resistance among the teachers as they move away from traditional teaching approaches (Gunn & Hollingsworth, p. 203).  Within that 3-year structure, a minimum of 8 full professional development days was designated.  At the end of each year, adopters were asked to reflect on their process, how far they’ve come with their integration and how they are feeling, coping etc.  The first two years, time was set-aside during professional development for that necessary reflection.

No specific reward or incentive was given directly, which is number five on Ely’s list.  However, as this was a district-wide goal, the incentive appears to be that everyone was tackling this change head on therefore; an incentive to keep up was created.  For many, the incentive was also to better their practice, making it more relevant.  The teachers reported “significant growth in perceptions and adoptions of software tools, pedagogies, communications methods and usages” which reads as reward to me (Gunn & Hollingsworth, p. 214).  The adoptees were active participants in the process primarily through survey feedback and discussion.  Therefore, Ely’s sixth condition of participation was checked off along with number seven, commitment as leaders in the change process had to buy into it.  Gunn and Hollingsworth (2013) discussed how the district incorporated both macro-level facilitation leadership (supplying the money and training) and micro-level leadership (the teachers themselves) (p. 213).  There was mutual support between the two leadership levels, which allowed all adopters to feel invested.

There was strong leadership throughout the process, for example people at all levels within the district formed an advisory committee and they offered encouragement to other adoptees.  As Gunn and Hollingsworth (2013) state, “any school district willing to undergo such a project must be willing to commit time and monies exclusively designated for the upgrading of information and communications technologies.  They must be willing to provide significant systematic support for pedagogical change” (p. 215).  This district did just that, providing strong leadership from the beginning, meeting Ely’s eighth condition.  According to Gunn and Hollingsworth (2013), the changes that this district was working towards were fairly successful thus far, but of course work on teaching to the 21st Century learner is ongoing.

In fact, it was found that the 2008 district white paper referred to in Gunn and Hollingworth’s (2013) article (p. 205) was revised in June 2012 to update  their vision. It was refreshed by the same advisory committee referred to in the article (p. 205). The project continues to focus on both pedagogical and technological knowledge.

The Lethbridge SD #51 openly shared their application for the educational research grant, which funded the research project reported on in this article (Barry, 2008). If all professional development was conducted as outlined in this application, evidence of two of the three components of the TPACK framework were directly targeted through professional development, while the third component was at least partially and indirectly addressed.

The TPACK framework is used to explain how a teachers technological knowledge, content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge all intersect to enable the effective implementation of educational technology (Koehler & Mishra, 2009). By simply addressing the necessity for three distinct, yet integrating areas of knowledge, it fails to address the motivation required for adoption of technology. The dotted line circle around the framework implies the importance of context. The model of professional development used by Lethbridge SD #51 appears to have taken this necessity for context into consideration.

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 12.09.44 PM

Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by tpack.org

The professional development plan outlined 8 full days for a team of central (school district) administrators, school administrators and school lead teachers throughout two-years that focused on pedagogical knowledge (Barry, 2008). This ensured that each school had trained administrators and lead teachers available to support school-based professional development while also ensuring the push for a common vision among central board and school-based staff was upheld. A second layer to their professional development strategy included school-based and centrally hosted workshops around effective use of specific technologies (Barry, 2008). This combination of strategies appears to directly support both the pedagogical knowledge and technical knowledge required by teachers to effectively integrate educational technologies according to the TPACK framework.

Indirectly, the school-based professional development and professional learning teams are referred to throughout the grant application, but not directly supported through this specific research project. This eludes to some support to both the content knowledge and the need for working within appropriate contexts for individual schools. If school-based learning teams are designed around subject areas or grade-based teams, then the development and ongoing support for content knowledge will be present. In addition, the provision of flexibility for schools to run some school-based professional development as they saw fit, while perhaps making extracting reliable data more difficult for the researchers (p.214), allowed for individual school contexts to be acknowledged and supported.

Through the eyes of the TPACK framework, this professional development plan likely supported the development of both pedagogical and technological knowledge fairly well and consistently across the district. The specifics on how the content knowledge was developed or sustained and how individual school, subject area or grade level contexts were supported is still unknown.

In conclusion, while neither of these frameworks (Ely’s Conditions of Change or TPACK) can explain the entire situation or success documented by researchers, they can provide us with a lens to critically examine the change. It appears as though the strengths of the integration of technology in this case included; time, strong leadership, strong vision and a focus on both pedagogical and technological knowledge development.


Sources:

Barry, L. (2008, December). Building Educational Technology Leadership Capacity – Implementing and Assessing a Shared Technology Vision Among District Schools. Retrieved on March 29, 2013 from http://lethsdweb.lethsd.ab.ca/OurDistrict/Documents/Tech_Docs/Ed_Tech_Proposal.pdf

Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70. Retrieved on March 29, 2013 from http://itpresentations.cmswiki.wikispaces.net/file/view/What+Is+Technological+Pedagogical+Content+Knowledge%3F.pdf

Lethbridge SD #51. Technology Vision White Paper. (2012, June). Retrieved on March 29, 2013 from http://lethsdweb.lethsd.ab.ca/OurDistrict/Documents/Tech_Docs/2012%20Tech%20Vision%20White%20April.pdf

Williams, M. (n.d.). Ely. Retrieved from https://sites.google.com/site/elysconditionsofchange/history

Models of technology integration and potential downfalls #educ5105

We’ve spent some time looking at a couple different frameworks supporting the implementation of technology into education in #educ5105. In my mind, each framework has merit, but they are not all encompassing. Change is personal and what drives it and what is needed to support it will be different for each person. I do believe that having an understanding of a variety of frameworks is helpful to help understand reluctance to change and to help plan for situations in which you are expecting people to change. For example, in professional development. However, I do think it is naive and hazardous to only focus on one model with the assumption it will provide all the answers.

Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by tpack.org

Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by tpack.org

As an example, I could use the TPaCK model to help explain what I needed as a teacher to change my grade 10 science biology unit into a case study learning activity. I certainly required a knowledge of the content. I needed to have an understanding of the human body and cell specialization in order to create appropriate case studies and to anticipate the pathways of learning that students would take. I also needed a strong understanding of the possible technologies students may use to support this. What tools could they use to collaborate on their research? What tools to create digital archives of their learning to share with classmates? Lastly, I needed a strong knowledge of pedagogy to create the framework of learning to ensure all learners were engaged, met at their current level of understanding and able to move forward.

What the framework is missing however, is WHY did I change? What motivated me to use the technology to change how I addressed the unit? Why did I not choose to do a lesson about cell specialization? Just because I have the knowledge in these three areas does not mean that I will always implement the technology. On the flip side, as long as the personal and motivation aspect is being looked at I most certainly do need to have those three areas of knowledge to make it happen.

Image Credit: http://www.maggiehosmcgrane.com/2010/03/samr-model.html

Image Credit: http://www.maggiehosmcgrane.com/2010/03/samr-model.html

The SAMR model would classify how I used that technology to change the teaching and learning in my classroom. I fully agree with the premise that we need to use technology as a catalyst for change in education. These tools can be transformative instead of simply allowing us to continue to teach the same way with technology infused. For example, the sheer act of using a SMART Board or interactive white board, does not transform my teaching. If the board is still at the front of the room and the teacher is the one with their hands on it, the learning activity is still the same from the students point of view. However, the same tool could be used transormatively. I have seen SMART Boards being used to change how learning happens in a classroom.

The framework of SAMR rings true with me on many levels, however, I worry about those times any framework or model is taken too far. It is necessary for us to be cognizant of the differences on how technology is used. When we start thinking that every situation will fit neatly into this little graphic, there is a problem. And, yet again, the question of WHY needs to be addressed. Why do I need to transform my classroom? What proof is there that learning will improve if I transform?

Take a look at this poster created to classify a variety of iPad apps into the levels of the SAMR model. This is incredibly problematic for me. It is not the tool that transforms the learning, but how it is used. For example, iMovie could be used by the teacher to create a video version of the lesson and played for students in class. Is that anywhere near as transformative as students creating video representations of their own knowledge? When models or frameworks are taken as gospel instead of as intended (a framework) I begin to worry.

Please visit this link to see Greg Swansons' post, original file and comments to his post. http://appsineducation.blogspot.ca/2012/11/samr-model-apps-poster.html

Please visit this link to see Greg Swansons’ post, original file and comments to his post. http://appsineducation.blogspot.ca/2012/11/samr-model-apps-poster.html

Concerns-Based Adoption Models (CBAM) #educ5105

I’ve recently come back to the classroom after many years in a variety of roles outside of the classroom. One of the new things I’ve been working on integrating into my classroom is the Ministry of Ed blended learning platform, D2L. I’m doing this for a variety of reasons. One reason is simply to have content available (and alternative assignments) for students who miss classes. Another reason is to provide some structure to our course that cannot be done on our course blog. Our blog allows for sharing with the world and each other, but not the organization that a learning management system does. Lastly, I do believe that students need to learn how to use learning management systems (including dropboxes) for learning because at some point they will be expected to take an online course. If they are exposed to the system now with my support, they will be more comfortable with it later.

I can see myself in each of the levels of use as I have continued to implement this tool into my classroom.

Level 1 (orientation) – I stepped into this level when I started to work as a DeLC for our school board, We used the learning management system for our online courses and I had to begin to support e-Learning teachers.

Level 2 (preparation) – I was in this level as I was preparing and playing in the system before working to support e-Learning teachers.

Level 3 (mechanical use) – I stepped into this level as I began to support e-Learning teachers. I was also still at this level as I began to use the system with my face-to-face class (blended learning model). Here i used the tool rudimentarily. Mostly it was for students who missed a class or period of time. I also posted links and files here for students to use.

Level 4a (routine) – as the class progressed I began to make more use of the tool. I began to tweak settings and activities so that they worked for my students. Dropboxes were set up for student submissions. Interactive modules were used for concept attainment.

Level 4b (refinement) – As I entered into the final unit of study in our course, I refined how I used the system. I scrapped all the junk the Ministry had in the system, kept the good stuff and refined how we used the system as a class. We made it more collaborative, supporting more critical thinking.

Leve 5 (integration) – Over the past few weeks i have worked with other teachers in my school to set up times to meet and work together on how to use this system to support our grade nines as we move to a blended learning model.

Level 6 (renewal) – As I prepare for semester two, I have again renewed how I will use the system to support my science students. This is still a work in progress and will benefit from the collaboration with colleagues at my school.

 

I used the videos and links below to support my understanding of the CBAM model. Do you have any other resources to share, or have you experienced anything similar to this?

 

 

Other Resources:

Concerns-Based Adoption Model

 

 

Implementation Dip #EDUC5105

For my “diffusion of tech” course we were asked to watch the video embedded below about the implementation dip and then comment on a personal example of a time when this has happened.

The very first thing that came to my mind was this semesters science class. This was my first semester back after many years out of the classroom doing a variety of other roles. Going back, I (being the geek that I am) after having about 5 years to percolate, had lots of great ideas.. haha. During the first three weeks my class was almost paperless, even though I wasn’t functioning in a 1:1 device:student environment. Students worked in groups a lot, they directed their own learning, responded in video, written and audio formats. They used iPads, iPods, iPhones, Playbooks, blackberries, pc computers, netbooks, android tablets and phones, livescribe pens and school computers. During this first three weeks, class was INSANE. The nice, productive, supportive environments I used to have in my classrooms years ago was gone. It was chaos at times. It was definitely productive and students certainly learned, but my ability to focus every single student dipped for a few weeks while we learned the ins and outs of different tools. After that initial three-weeks, things got sorted out, routines were set in place, relationships were built and everything got back on track. But, most certainly, that first three-weeks was chaotic to say the least.

Have you ever experienced a dip in implementation when starting the use of a new tool? Did you start using the tool with a specific outcome in mind?