Bookmarked Making change in education – champions are for charlatans by dave dave
Educational technology is replete with consultants who have never managed change. They may have been good teachers or just like to take your money, but this doesn’t mean that they are going to help you change your school. I am always suspicious of the consultant who wants to work with the school superstar. (odds are they were a school superstar too before they became a consultant). Real change is hard, and slow, and takes careful planning. Superstars mostly just give you the appearance of change.
Dave Cormier reflects upon the change approach of “working with the ‘willing’ first” and wonders if this is wrong approach. This approach is based on the concept diffusion of innovation popularised by Everett Rogers. See Bryan Mathers’ drawing for a visual summary.

Curve of Innovation

Diffusion of Innovation by @bryanMMathers is licenced under CC-BY-ND

Rather than sustainable change, focusing on the guaranteed +1 is both unethical and creates a super star culture. Something I have touch d upon in the past:

I have lost count of the times I have been asked to reflect on my past and recall a great teacher. For me, these teachers were those that often pushed against the grain, who stood out in the crowd, maybe broke the rules, seemingly going above and beyond. Maybe these are worthy attributes to have, but at what cost? The question that often goes unasked is what context allows for the creation of such teachers and is it always positive? Who suffers and what is lost in the process? Are great teachers in fact bad teachers?

Cormier instead argues that the focus needs to be on long term change, with a plan to solve an actual problem. Associated with this, it is important to make space for such change, what Tom Barrett describes as innovation compression.

When new programmes are introduced, that draw down on the finite energy and effort from those involved without stopping other parallel ideas and releasing resource reserves, we get innovation compression, and a potential weakening of the original ideas.

This is also something that I have discussed in regards to my concern about ‘great teachers’:

Although working with an awesome group of like-minded teachers might seem like the best answer to fix our woes if this is not coupled with a clear understanding of the purposes associated with education them what is actually gained?

Rather than the right teacher, I would argue that we need to focus on the right culture and environment:

The problem with picking the right teacher is that there is no definitive means of finding such a person. This right teacher implies that we are fixed in everything that we do and think. In addition to this, the ‘right’ teacher for today, may not be the ‘right’ teacher for tomorrow. Another alternative is to provide the conditions for the right teacher to develop and grow.

Although not directly related, this reminds me of Charlotte Pezaro and Marten Koomen’s four questions to consider about conferences. I also wonder how distributed leadership fits with Cormier’s approach.

Bookmarked Making Change in Education II – Complexity vs. Lean Six Sigma (learning isn’t like money) by dave dave
We can’t talk about improved learning without considering the impact on teacher wellness.
Dave Cormier discusses the work of David Snowden around complicated and complex distinction. A complicated problem is one which can eventually be broken down into achievable parts and solutions, whereas a complex problem is one that cannot actually be solved. The danger of lean methodology is that there is a tendency to focus on the measurable over the meaningful.

We are confronted by the complicated/complex division everyday in education. Do I want to know if a medical students has remembered the nine steps of a process of inquiry to work with a patient or do I want to know if they built a good raport? How often do we choose the thing that is easier to measure… simply because we can verify that our grading is ‘fair’. How often do we get caught in conversations around how ‘rigourous’ an assessment is when what we really mean is ‘how easy is it to defend to a parent who’s going to complain about a child’s grade’.

Bookmarked Learning’s first principle – the most important thing i learned this year by dave dave (davecormier.com)
Student separate into two categories… those that care and those that don’t care.
Simon Sinek suggests starting with why, while Brad Gustafson suggests starting with people. Dave Cormier suggests that what matters is if we even care. If we don’t have that then we are a bit lost.

Marginalia

The problem with threatening people is that in order for it to continue to work, you have to continue to threaten them

If we’re trying to encourage people to care about their work, about their world, is it practical to have it only work when someone is threatening them?

Once we jointly answer questions like “why would people care about this” and “how does this support people starting to care about this for the first time” and “will this stop people who care now from caring”, we have a place to work from.

I’m in this business because i think i might be able to help, here and there, with trying to build a culture of thinkers.

Liked Meme Histories – Learning the Web So We Can Make It Better by dave dave (davecormier.com)
I believe that people sometimes need to learn to work building their objectives on the fly given what they’ve been confronted with. So how do I design activities that allow for people to learn to persist through that uncertainty and still be willing to accept half answers when that’s as far as they will get? Meme histories. That’s how.
Replied to Supporting Digital Practice – making time-for-learning by dave dave (davecormier.com)
Digital practices need to be negotiated, they need to be talked about out loud in ways that many of our 20th century practices don’t.
I really like your point about negotiation Dave. It reminds me in part of Doug Belshaw’s work on digital literacies. In my current role, the team I am in is responsible for supporting schools with Google. Having to cover a wide range of contexts and content, we often meet in the middle at some sort of imaginary average. I question how much people therefore get from these sessions. What I like about the option of online courses is that you can at least complete them as a staff group, reflecting together from your own perspective.

One take-away from the recent #EngageMOOC was that such negotiation and dialogue needs to happen at multiple levels. I think sometimes this is the challenge. We might generate conversation at the classroom, but it is not being had at the school level, something you touched upon in a past post. Also, the link between institutions and education systems seems stretched at times with the current neoliberal obsession with realism and the way it is.

Liked Supporting Digital Practice – making time-for-learning by Dave CormierDave Cormier (davecormier.com)
‘Digital Practices’ are the things that I do that are born out of the affordances of our digital communications platforms. It is an assemblage of the digital skills i might have mediated through the digital literacy and habits that i have acquired. Or, to put it more simply, it’s ‘being digital’.
Liked Digital learning for everyone – project management + socio-emotional support (davecormier.com)
I’m into Year Two (of two) leading digital strategy for the K-12 system here in PEI. I landed in a wonderful situation where almost all the hardware (computers and wires) system-wide had just been replaced when I arrived, and where the educators and curriculum/governance people involved are intere... I don’t particularly care if your tech project is perfect, or all the lights blink or whatever… what I care about is how much you’ve grown through that process. Did you develop your search literacies when you got stuck? Did you hit your timelines? Did your goal change as you learned more about the process?