Last night I was at our professional book group meeting where we were discussing Curriculum21. Actually we had so much to discuss in this book that one evening simply wasn't enough. One of the questions we talked about was this: what impact have you noticed that social media is having on teaching and learning? How are you and your students connecting with others? The video above was shared by our of those present - this movie seems to be updated every year as the statistics in it change very fast. Social media has changed the way we do things and can change the culture of schools and the way we teach and learn. Our Grade 4 students are quad blogging, our Grade 1 and 2 students are connecting with others around the world through Skype to investigate climate and the types of homes that are found in different places. Our Grade 4 and 5 students are working collaboratively using WeVideo to make book trailers and posting their recommendations for other students. At times it feels like I'm caught up in a cultural revolution.
Today I started to think about these words - cultural revolution - which in the past I've always associated with China in the 1960s. This was a very different type of revolution. The Cultural Revolution was an attempt by Mao to impose his authority on the country, to get rid of those who didn't show loyalty, to make scapegoats out of those whom he deemed untrustworthy. Millions of people were abused and harassed if they didn't toe the party line. No one was safe from criticism. Those with the wrong attitude were considered "enemies of the people" and anyone who didn't fully support Mao was purged as he asserted his absolute power.
In the recent workshop by Bambi Betts she talked about change in schools. I was interested to hear about the different adopter styles and what percentage of employees, on average, fall into the various categories:
- Innovators - about 8% of employees in an organization - these are people with positive attitudes towards change and who want to try out new ideas.
- Early adopters - about 17% of employees - these are leaders in their profession - others in the organization watch what they are doing.
- The early majority - about 29% of employees - these are not willing to change unless they can see success being modeled by others.
- The late majority - also about 29% of employees - they wait and smile, but are resistant to change.
- The late adopter - about 17% of employees - these are also known as resisters as they will not change no matter what.
It's interesting to think about this, not just in terms of the teachers in a school but also in terms of the administration. What happens in a situation where there are a large number of innovators and early adopters among the teachers, but where the admin mostly falls into the late majority category? What happens when the administration are innovators and early adopters, but the teachers are mostly the late majority? In schools like this can there really be a cultural revolution, or instead are these schools experiencing something more akin to a Cultural Revolution?