Agents of Change – FOTiE 2011

The view from the stage #fote11

This week was the fourth Future of Technology in Education or FOTiE and the third one I have spoken at. I missed the first FOTiE as it wasn’t on my radar until it was too late, however I did follow the tweets and thought I must attend the following year.

As it was, I was asked to speak at the second FOTiE and presented on what I thought the future of learning would be.

I have used that presentation as the basis for other keynotes I have done at other events.

Last year I really enjoyed delivering a session called the iPad is the future of reading.

This year I looked at the concept of students as agents of change. What I wanted to do first was look at students and learners and how they are viewed by institutions, at best an inconvenience, at worse a security threat and quite dangerous! I then wanted people to think about why we should engage with learners and how to do this.

These are the slides from my presentation at the Future of Technology in Education 2011.

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.

As you would guess as all learners are individuals and have different needs, you need to use a range of approaches and strategies in order to engage students.

You also shouldn’t assume that learners necessarily know what they want. Usually they want something which is familiar, but better.

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

Henry Ford

It is never just about asking learners what they want, but about ensuring that learners know what is possible and what the benefits that these possibilities can bring to them.

“A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

Steve Jobs, 1998

In order to provide real change and ensure that the learners are engaged in that change is to offer students real choices about what could change and the impact of that change.

So how are you engaging with learners to support change within your institution?

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