Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Managing change in educational contexts

A presentation pointed to via Stephen Downes, and traced down to Andrew Churches
at educational origami, where there is further acknowledgment to a paper by J. Thousand and R. Villa, called Managing complex change towards inclusive schooling.

Nice thing about the model is in pointing toward what gaps might be addressed.
As with any model it oversimplifies.
There can, of course, be combination effects and compounding effects.
And how gaps get addressed will be more important than diagnosing or pathologising.

So I've reread some Latour and reconsidered change in terms of design/ and redesign.
"Drawing things together takes a work of alchemy."
There is some gold in here, but its not within a model that is deficit oriented.
The model depicted would fit with a top down led model such as diffusion of innovation where hastening a change is also based on the premise all change is good...
There might be good reason for being anxious...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Its not what I had planned

What might I have learned if i had listened to students (or their music) instead of to managerial directives in higher education?

The living end has caught up with me, and its not pretty.
I've been buried in the sand
I've come down with no place to land
I (don't) need you to understand
It's not what I had planned....

Suicidal education
It got sold to our generation
Wake up to the manipulation
Wake up to the situation
(ref Aussie grunge band, The living end circa 2006)

So Ive downloaded the ringtone for my mobile phone, it might help me stay grounded in reality.

Pink Floyd's 'Teacher leave them kids alone' seems to have been taken literally. Beaming content from one venue to four others is a fiscal driven curriculum rather than an educational philosophically driven one. Let us not delude ourselves.

In working with new technologies these can be integrated for better or for worse. Measuring worse is of course difficult. As is measuring better no doubt. Both requires one first of all to think better or worse for whom. The second part of the question can then be considered, what is the measure of better? And is doing as much as possible with as little as possible a valid measure? Is efficiency valid when it is also accompanied by accidental learning that could include:
Your lecturer does not want to 'see' you.
Class time is engaging only if one considers engagement in the same way one might watch a film.
Enculturation into university studies means a lack of presence...

If your an educator with doubts you might like to take up the ringtone option as a way of at least reminding yourself that there was, and is, another way. Ghandi's approach of civil disobedience at least keeps me saner in the insane places of academic practice. Meantime i am directed(!!!) to teach to a formuleic template, x mins of ppt no less, followed by x mins of expert videos...followed by x mins of breakout time. Heavens.

I'm writing this on a table made from the floor of a chapel where Mary McKillop once walked, so i figure in hope and faith, that given things changed once they can change again. And being a devotee of actor-network theory, i know things can always be otherwise... enrolling a saint's help amongst one's allies will surely help in the restoration...

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Question on the edge

How has the internet changed the way you think? A question from the Edge, posed to some of the deep thinkers of our times, so thought I'd answer it too...nothing wrong with my sense of self importance today...

I have voice, I'm engaged, involved...there's a democratising capacity. I can engage with conversations that have temporal currency with some of the best minds in the world. And sometimes these other great people even engage with Me :)
Arguably, I live at the bottom of the world (unless you want to spin the globe a bit) a beautiful little laid back place New Zealand yet because of the internet I get to play with others i would never have had the opportunity to otherwise, the terrestrial constraints of geography and finances to span this just wouldnt make it likely otherwise.

I read more... everyday...and its no longer just for escapist fun...well...actually it is that too. I have a timely inquisitiveness at my fingertips. In the past i might have had a thought, a question to wonder, so fleeting that it would not wait for the next person I talk with to mutually ponder over, or to find a book or a library to extend the thinking... The internet extends my reach and I can follow such trains of thoughts, here, now... So today, I woke early, I cleared an email or 10, I followed a google alert to Sherry Turkle, it took me back to the edge question via @silverstream, I noticed the 'meme' person Susan Blackmore was there, and Taleb and Shirky and Rheingold too, and a whole lot of reading potential for a rainy day or several hundred such days...and fleetingly regretted my phd topic was not to follow such a great question with some of the (named) great minds of the 21st century (so far). But I'll stick with my phd of the very small (mobile) screen...but wouldnt be surprised if there's some commonality here and there...

So back to where I was...there's more reading, and its linked in a timely way to my interests.
And it's a lot like Alice down the rabbit hole, I could get lost in (t)here a long time...note to self...follow up on intentionality from yesterdays ponderings...when I read a cited J Foder (1989) Psychosemantics. MIT Press, Preface, p.ix
"Oh, mice have died and worms have eaten them: but no rock, and no spiral nebula - and no worm, for that matter - has ever chased a mouse, let alone caught one. (Mousetraps catch mice, of course; but that manifests our intelligence, not theirs.)
But I would never have got to such ponderings without the internet...
Nor such fears...
My thinking is altered, how I approach questions altered, how I approach answers similarly altered. But maybe I'm also older/wiser ;)

As a PhD student i wonder about being well enough read, there is always more...and my markers, will always have read more and differently. How to stay on top of it all? At some stage I have to concede I cant. But there's more information to be on top of than ever there was in a terrestrial plane. The ante has been upped. Will supervisors understand this? Like the wonders of domesticity at the beginnings of the last century, with so much more domestic machinery, the demands for whiteness and brightness became an enslaving domesticity for women, rather than a freeing of time, it just raised the bar...

So the internet creates for me some anxiety also.

Yesterday I altered my face book privacy settings, which had defaulted to public. Am I happy with family photos being strewn in public places? A younger life spent reading books (James a Michener, Leon Uris, C K Steads Smith's Dream....even the Matrix...)and it leave me with some distrust, some caution, in a world in which hiding would be difficult.

My life is altered. I am altered. I think I'm more thoughtful than I would have been otherwise...certainly, I think, I have more informed thoughts. Which brings up another aspect, I'm changed in what information I try to hold on to and what information I know I can search for, and perhaps, possibly more importantly, have learned skills rather than facts, how to search for, and how to evaluate what I find. I have a more tenuous relationship with ideas, a willingness to try for size rather than a permanent attachment to facts. And here its hard to know if this an internet thing or not, but I would not have developed such a way of seeing all 'facts' as networked without being introduced to actor-network theory, and again the internet made readings on this accessible.

And my relationships are altered. I'm connected, there's comfort in knowing people I want to be in hands reach of, can be...well at least can be present with me in voice or picture, or video. I dont accept Sherry Turkle's tethered analogy, what I feel I have is extended trust. I have a school aged child living in another country with people I have never met, where I dont speak the language, and who my parents generation had fought against...

so...whats in my head, whats in my heart, how i relate to others...all altered.

And back to Alice, Ive already had several impossible thoughts and its not even breakfast time yet :)

I'm a bit more fractional than I ever used to be...Being here there everywhere...and holding ideas more loosely...and connecting ideas more frequently... concurrently, I am networked, connected, and embedded more, rather than less,, in my/our world.

And now Im headed back to what those other clever people had to say...
here's my favourite, so far