Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Making the Shift Happen

Over several blog posts I have written about my thoughts following my reading of Kipp D. Rogers' book Mobile Learning Devices.  At the very end of the book he writes about the fundamental shift that is needed:  "a deep cultural shift, a fundamental rethinking not only of how education is delivered, but also of what education means today."  He writes about the impact that mobile learning will have on bringing about pedagogical change, "placing students in the driving seat of their own education."  Mobile learning is going to challenge the status quo:
Mobile learning challenges many of the basic assumptions that have been made for decades about education.  It challenges what it means to learn and what it means to teach.  Mobile learning challenges the accumulated research and traditional mortar and brick spaces where established pedagogies and the value of traditional tools and resources have been commonplace.
How can we make this shift happen?  It seems there are three things that need to change:

First we need to change the practice - this will lead to a change in beliefs.  It sounds like this is the wrong way round, but Rogers' argues otherwise, quoting from Tom Guskey when he writes "we have to get people to act their way into thinking, rather than try to get people to think their way into acting."

Secondly, to change practice teachers have to be involved in ongoing professional development that supports them in using mobile learning devices.

Thirdly, in order for teachers to understand the need for integrating technology, administrators have to model it.

There are very few schools that I've come across where all 3 of these conditions are in place, but I'm lucky to be working at one of them now.  As we start to prototype a BYOD - Device 2, I think we are about to enter very exciting times.

Photo Credit:  Abstract Colorful Universe Wallpaper by Tom,  2008 AttributionNoncommercial


  1. Hi Maggie,
    I was reading Scott McCloud's post yesterday (the Ups and Downs of Educational Technology Advocacy), and it just made me think for a second. I am a big advocate for the positive role that technology plays in education. It seems like a no brainer to me. But simply hearing the other side of the argument proposed very passionately did make me think more about why I see it as a no brainer.
    I guess that your post made me think about Scott's is because you are writing about going deeper and deeper into the learning transformation that can occur with the use of technological tools, whereas there are many people and schools that don't see anything to be gained at all. And this can be difficult. It means that schools like ASB are able to commit so completely to exploring the possibilities that technology holds because they are a completely independent entity, and answer to no-one externally (like most international schools).
    I also agree that all 3 conditions that you talk about need to exist in order for technology to transform a leaning environment. Many schools dabble in 1 or 2 of them, but few adopt all 3 (which is a complete commitment to the idea).
    I loved your post. Succinct and clear, as always.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to reply Marcello. Of course I agree that many schools are not able to make decisions about the use of technology completely independently, as is the case with international schools. However it always amazes me that schools which are able to make that commitment are still full of people who, as you say, don't see any gain from technology. It's a mindset that needs to change. I love the way that ASB has superstructed into a Teaching and Learning team (focusing on education now) and a Research and Development team (focusing on the future of education) and that the various task forces in each of these core teams are able to prototype and explore many different possibilities (you will no doubt have seen some of these at Unplugged). Every day I am here I feel blessed to be part of such a vibrant learning community that is actively designing the future of learning for our students.