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    Loose Change

    July 9th, 2013

    This is the presentation I delivered at the RSC Wales Encouraging Innovation Conference.

    Change is all around us and the modern teacher needs to be adaptable, innovative and willing to take a risk. Flipped classrooms, MOOCs, wearable technology, cloud computing, mobile, tablets, 4G, internet TVs, social learning, learning analytics, game based learning, augmented reality and e-books are all been used now or are just on the horizon. Change is all around us and the modern teacher needs to be adaptable, innovative and willing to take risks. The rate of technological change appears to be getting faster. Can our existing cultures allow us to take advantage of the potential of emerging technologies? Or do we need to change the way we change?

    The focus of my presentation was that change is constant, we’ve always had change and that dealing with change is more of a cultural issue than a technical one. Change can be an opportunity and can be exciting, as well as being challenging and daunting for some.

    Read more about the conference on the RSC Wales Blog.


    Levers of Change

    November 26th, 2012

    Last week I delivered a keynote at the JISC Innovating e-Learning Online Conference.

    James Clay will be asking delegates to consider some of the conversations we have had over the last ten years and challenging us to consider why we keep asking the same questions, why we are sometimes slow to take action and to really look hard at our responses to change. James will offer some of his own observations around why we seem reluctant to learn from the past and argues that this is as important as looking to the future.

    What I wanted to achieve with this keynote was to explore the reasons behind what we decide to research and to investigate what does change in organisations.

    The slides I used were as follows and I think I broke the record with 143 slides.

    The presentation was delivered online using Blackboard Collaborate and over a hundred people “watched”.

    I made use of the environment to engage the audience and to get them to interact with me and each other.

    Overall I was pleased with the presentation and the outcomes. I also got some really nice feedback too.


    Emerging Technologies – Horizon Scanning

    February 28th, 2012

    On Wednesday I attended and presented at an Emerging Technology event for LSIS. The focus of the event was on the technologies that are on the horizon, and how colleges need to be aware and plan for the use of those technologies.

    My opening presentation was around the new technologies that are on the horizon, but also covered how learning is changing, often as a result of changes in technology.

    As part of the session , in groups we discussed the resistance and scepticism that change (and not just changes in technology and practice) that we find in FE Colleges. The conclusion is quite simple and one that is often forgotten, most people don’t like change.

    Traditional models of change and change management have not really served education well in the introduction of new technologies. We still have to answer why aren’t they working?

    It’s not as though change hasn’t happened, think about the use of Powerpoint, the use of e-mail, use of the web. These are all new technologies that at some point were new and shiny, but are now generally part of what most practitioners use in colleges today.

    Was that change managed? Or did it evolve over time?

    We also discussed the following questions: How is practice changing within learning providers? How will learning and the delivery of learning change over the next five to ten years? How can technology facilitate changes in practice? How can colleges prepare for the challenges and opportunities new ways of learning bring to education?

    Technology is changing and some would say that the rate of technological change is growing even faster.

    Think about something like the iPad for example which isn’t even two years old, but has had a profound impact on the way that (some) people communicate, collaborate, read, share and learn.

    There are many new technologies that are on the horizon and these technologies will have an impact on learning, the question is do we need to, and how can we ensure that we maximise the opportunities that they offer?

    Educase Horizon Report

    JISC Cetis Informal Horizon Scan 2011


    Pouring creativity

    February 16th, 2012

    At LWF12 one of the speakers was Mitchel Resnick.

    Mitchel Resnick’s Lifelong Kindergarten research group developed the ideas and technologies underlying the LEGO Mindstorms robotic kits and the Scratch programming software used by millions of young people around the world. With these technologies, young people learn to design, create, experiment, and invent with new technologies, not merely browse, chat, and interact. Mitch’s ideas and work are now at the centre of the debate about the curriculum for ICT in schools. Should children simply learn to use standard applications and games, or should they also have the opportunity to become creators?

    Mitchel Resnick made the interesting observation that rather than trying to make Kindergarten (early years) more like school and college, we should be trying to make school and college more like early years.

    What he seemed to mean by this was that in early years children learn by thinking, invention and creativity. Whereas when they get older we think of them more as vessels that we pour content into.

    Of course there are lots of teachers out there who do use thinking, invention and creativity. Likewise there are lots of teachers out there that fall back on worksheets and talking at the learners; pouring content into them.

    The key question and I am not sure how we can answer this, is what proportion of each kind are there? Are they that distinct, or can a teacher be creative one day and fall back on passive transference on the next. I am pretty sure most people enter the teaching profession because they want to be help young people and to support learning and not pour content into learners.

    I agree with Mitchel that technology offers a range of opportunities and possibilities to enable learners to be creative. The key question is how do teachers who weren’t at the conference find out about the possibilities of invention and creativity? How do they “change”?

    Why are some teachers already using these strategies and why are some not? It can’t just be about time, staff development and resources. How can some teachers be innovative and some not?

    Why aren’t teachers using these strategies in the classroom already? What are the barriers that are stopping teachers? Are they real barriers or just perceptions? How do we overcome these barriers? How do we identify the barriers? How do we ensure that we identify the real barriers to change and not just those that we assume to be the barriers?

    Change is challenging, partly as people don’t like to change. Change also implies we know where we are and where we need to go.


    The Student as the Agent of Change

    October 19th, 2011

    At FOTE11 James Clay from Gloucestershire College discusses that in many institutions the structures, processes and procedures we have in place are there for many reasons; these may be for security, safety, financial, prevention, health and safety. Often change is blocked by these same reasons; reasons that exist because of politics, inertia and because we have always done it that way. It is easier not to change.

    The result is that learners can often find that their learning experience is one of challenges, difficulties and frustration. Institutions that listen and act on the voice of their learners can find that students can be agents of change.

    See the slides from my presentation and more thoughts.