To transform technological change in schools requires a steely determination to ‘get it right’ from the outset. You can create a ‘movement’ by being the optimist who says “It’s not whether you win or lose”, or the pessimist who states “You are only as strong as your weakest link”, but the eternal visionary lives by the maxim: “If you want Plan A to work, don’t have a Plan B”. The audacious leader of the IWB/P ‘movement’ needs to know not only when to step forward but also when to step back. Succession planning is crucial to ensure that the establishment of technological change is embedded into the culture of the school.
For a sincere interactive ‘movement’ to take place it is imperative that time and energy is invested in talking openly and deeply about the following:
To create an interactive ‘movement’ you first and foremost need a shared vision. A vision that:
- Has a clear and unequivocal purpose which adds value to the organisation.
- Supports decision making underpinned by shared beliefs and understandings.
- Through negotiation and collaboration, enriches the entire organisation via structures and processes.
- Embeds an expectation of continual change and professional growth.
- Reflects the true essence (culture) of the entire organisation.
Without an agreed upon, shared vision, the root of any interactive technological ‘movement’ will be lost through time. It will be lost when the ‘movers’, ‘shakers’ and ‘drivers’ exit the organisation or when leadership alters and ‘new blood’ enters or when the ‘minority blockers’ are heard above the majority and are not held accountable for their harmful input. The legacy of the ‘movement’ needs to be felt way beyond the ‘here and now’ but cemented in the ‘there and wow’.
The culture of an organisation is the unwritten heart and soul that flows and pumps through the corridors, classrooms and specialist programs; around the conference room table, leadership team and staffroom and throughout the parent community. It is what the organisation firmly believes but more importantly implements and instils. It is often below the stream of consciousness; invisible but audible and implicitly felt.
To embed a strong interactive technological culture of change you need to:
- Expect achievement
- Insist on inclusiveness
- Demand collectivism
Ownership is vital in establishing and maintaining a strong school vision and culture in the 21st Century technology-rich classroom and school. To have genuine ownership, you must invest more energy into what you do have control over rather than what you do not. It is easy to fall into the trap of being overwhelmed with the interactive possibilities ahead, particularly when you hear of technologies being obsolete before you even invest in learning and implementing them. Although sometimes disheartening to hear the statistics, it is better to have started a journey with ‘bumps’ in the road than never to have commenced a journey at all.
Ownership takes the form of:
- Empowerment to keep abreast of technological advancements.
- Commitment to professional growth.
- Determination in the journey undertaken and to be embarked upon.
- Pride in the individual and collective.
- Positivity being at the cornerstone of each turn.
Ownership is imperative to developing a school culture where interactive technology learning and teaching is ripe. We often hear the adage ‘life long learners’ but what does that actually mean? Is it a ‘throw away’ line or is it fostered and nurtured in both our students and teachers? The key to successful and powerful interactive teaching and learning is how best we embark in the learning process and collaborate with others, to ensure the power keeps strengthening. Of course there will be particular ‘drivers’ of the ‘movement’; those that are eager technological users and creators. But for the ‘movement’ to take shape the ‘drivers’ need to ‘drive’ others. They need to explicitly take ownership of ‘driving’ the cultural components within the entire organisation.
Throughout 2011 I have endeavoured to provide you with a guide to the interactive journey in your organisation. I have encouraged you to board the ‘interactive train’ with gusto and determination, while providing insight into how to remain safe, secure and sane along the way. I have related the journey to that of cultivating a garden or orchard. It needs to be nurtured through each step. In summary, to establish and maintain an interactive ‘movement’ in your organisation you need to:
1. Plant The Seed
Create a paradigm shift in interactive teaching
The current state of play in education, with particular reference to interactive whiteboards/projectors (IWB/P) installation and curriculum partnership is one that is varied and vast. Educational settings are trying exceptionally hard to ensure they ‘keep up with the Jones’ in both choice and usage but then quickly fall into traps that lead to stress and disillusionment. How do we create a paradigm shift with regard to the use of IWB/P? How do we create a paradigm shift in teachers maximising 21st Century technology in the classroom?
2. Prepare The Soil
Investing in the powerful IWB/P journey
IWB/P technology in a school is no longer a luxury but a necessity to boost productivity. Students expect technology to be maximised so they are kept engaged in what they are learning. Students naturally collaborate with their peers, locally and globally, to share ideas and strategies. Students are generally ‘programmed’ with today’s technology so multitasking is part of their ‘makeup’. How do teachers and schools address such an expectation? How do teachers foster engagement in their classroom and keep motivated professionally? How can teachers collaborate together to maximise the potential of IWB/P technology? To boost productivity you need to be both skilled and brave. You need to take the initiative, be bold, daring and grit your teeth; be determined. These are exciting times, move with them!
3. Boost Productivity
Fostering engagement and collaboration in IWB/P (The ‘osmosis’ and ‘snowball’ effects).
Investing in the interactive whiteboard/projector (IWB/P) is both an invigorating and anxious journey. Passionate educationalists automatically devote energy to the exciting possibilities ahead, so being nervous is a natural emotion. The IWB/P journey takes many forms; that, based upon the individual, the collective, the organisation and of course the global perspective. The fundamentals always lie within how best to provide authentic, professional learning experiences that elicit genuine learning outcomes.
4. Cultivate Growth
Reshaping and restructuring curriculum delivery and IWB/P implementation.
To shape and structure OR to reshape and restructure? Without a doubt, the latter is my preferred way of curriculum planning and delivery, especially when exploring the world of interactive whiteboard/projector (IWB/P) technology. Although the prefix ‘re’ might suggest that the curriculum ‘needed fixing’, this is not necessarily the case. Reinventing wheels that were never broken is ludicrous, but implementing the same curriculum, with the same methodologies, with the same technology (or perhaps lack thereof) is absurd. Reshaping and restructuring is a healthy approach as it capitalises on the positive and moulds innovative and invigorating curriculum delivery; to learn in and teach within.
5. Promote Prosperity
The ‘Wobble Zone’ – Stimulating deeper thinking and problem solving.
In history, the most progressive and innovating changes are those that have elicited the most thought, provoked the most discussion and stimulated the most queries. Promoting prosperity in interactive learning and teaching can sometimes cause trepidation but such a ‘wobbly’ reaction is a positive step. Growth and success in implementing IWB/P technological change in schools does not come with ease; it comes from having the courage to think deeper, solve with more determination and be innovative and progressive.
6. Establish And Maintain Progress
Creating an IWB/P ‘movement’, through instilling and embedding pedagogical change.
A great leader wisely stated “If you want to be part of something bigger than you, then you cannot be committed to it in a part time capacity” (Barack Obama). To support an interactive ‘movement’ it needs to be seen, heard and felt all the time. It needs to be from the moment you walk in to the moment you exit. It needs to be bigger than the individual, stronger than the weakest link and more powerful that the ‘Jones’ next door. It needs to be strengthened and empowered by the collective. Interactive learning is an inevitable component of the now and next generations. What part are you going to play in the interactive ‘movement’ and journey in your organisation.
Latest posts by Monique Corcoran (see all)
- The Wobble Zone - July 25, 2012
- Establishing and Maintaining Progress: Creating An IWB/P Movement. (Instilling and Embedding Pedagogical Change) - July 3, 2012