Rates of Change


At the recent JISC RSC SW TurboTEL 2012 conference I delivered a rapid speed presentation, containing 120 slides in just ten minutes…

This presentation is one that is based on various others I have done this year, and though I now know better, I did include the “historical” slides about resistance to change. I did indeed mention that though they were “made up” there was a message behind them that often teachers are resistant to change, especially changes in technology. I made the connection that we use models to show how change is effected within organisations, but in reality we need to be aware of the importance of the culture of an organisation when introducing change.

I went back to why we use technology, and how technology is often a solution to the many problems we face. I also covered how teachers need to understand the potential of technology and the contexts in which it works best. The example I used was that the traditional printed book is great for many learners, but completely inaccessible when the library is closed, hence the importance of an e-library and an ebook collection.

I wanted to show that technological change is not as rapid as we think it is, mentioning that the first mobile phone call was in 1946, the first handheld mobile phone call was in 1973, the first tablet capable of reading ebooks was demonstrated in 1971. Often it takes a long amount of time before a technology becomes widely adopted.

I also warned about listening to people and asking them what they want. Often people will want what they have already, but faster or cheaper. It takes real vision to produce new things that people didn’t even consider, but suddenly find essential. Be informed by listening to your learners, but not led by them. Most popular technologies are usually invented by a different person to the person who made them popular. Henry Ford with cars and Steve Jobs with mp3 players.

I quickly went over the new technologies that may become popular over the next five years and to watch out for.

I then reminded the audience that not everything is perfect and there are problems. There are cultural challenges, difficulties in been innovative, e-safety, costs, inclusion and connectivity.

My final thoughts were remembering that it is never about time, but priorities and that the reason we should be looking at using technology to support learning is because of the value it gives to our learners.

Leave a Reply