Sunday, November 09, 2008

Appreciative and iterative change

Nancy White introduced these terms to the CCK08 course this week.
The history of change, as I have read it in introducing technology in the education sector has been anything but.
I have experienced evangelical impositions, directed mandates and technology taught as a separate subject.
In contrast, this approach suggests a thoughtfulness for what has been, and how this might be enhanced, taking small steps with ongoing reconsideration. This also is congruent with what a colleague of mine,Sue, introduced to me - agile software development.
The approach rolls in with a pragmatic style. What works; how this occurs inside of consideration and reconsideration, bringing together the social (people involved) and the material(technologies) concurrently. Seems an adaptive integration, and while Nancy White's understanding of change hasn't deliberately integrated actor-network theory, her approach identifies that the change involves social + technology, and fundamentally this changes how we can be together.
Her use of 'we' suggests she is referring to how this shapes the interactions of people, of teachers, students...
At the same time, this also fosters an approach of change being iterative allowing consideration for what is shaped and what is shaping where the actors are both human and otherwise.

Nancy White's slides:


  1. Alisa, I have recently been introduced to agile programming and when my friend Jim Benson told me about it, I was nodding in recognition of the interaction process - even if a lot of the explanatory terms were of the computer-programming domain. There is an aspect of it that really caught my eye and that was the shared tracking.

    Years ago, Lisa Kimbal ( talked about the importance of a "line of sight" in the group to its own work and goals, something that is often lost when we are working as a distributed group online. The tracking tools and charts of Agile Program seemed to offer this line of sight.

    For introduction of tech into teaching and learning, what helps us keep a line of sight to the teaching and learning so we don't lose ourselves in the technology?

    For me, it has been small, iterative group conversations about guess what - teaching and learning - not using tech as the starting point, but as the stimulus. Does that make sense?

    Now I have to go read more about actor/network theory. (I suck at theory - what can I say?)

  2. Thanks for taking the time to comment Nancy. I too have limited reading of agile development but what I have read suggests there are relevant learnings here in the way deliberate acts of change might be implemented.

  3. Anonymous1:44 AM

    Nice post Ailsa. I really enjoyed Nancy White's Elluminate Session - what a consummate facilitator - those lovely bits of silence to encourage participation. I also liked the discussion about incremental change. The subject I teach is information systems, and have always encouraged students to critique methodologies and 'official' scripts for change. There are many ANT studies of information systems implementations but I am not aware of any of agile software development - are you?