Add to Technorati Favorites

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Adopting a new Technology

Last week was a very busy week for me, primarily in attending the very powerful, almost overwhelming, Naace Conference in Blackpool. As it happened I had the dubious priviledge of starting off the preliminary meetings with my report on my research findings into 'The Takeup of VLEs in Schools'. That over, we had 2.5 very full days of presentations, scores of exhibition stands and a lot of very enjoyable networking.

However, in retrospect, I began to wonder what I should do next. I had learnt so much, made so many contacts and was generally swamped with ideas. But which was most important, which should I investigate further and which commitments should I make first?

And this is the whole point of this particular post. I realised that the vast majority of educators are under such pressures whilst at work that they have little time to sort out these priorities, even if they do have the luxury of attending a major conference.

Mal Lee in an e-mail reminded me of Clay Shirky's book, 'Here Comes Everybody'. In reply I quoted back at him one of Shirky's many conclusions:

‘Revolution doesn’t happen when society adopts new technologies
– it happens when society adopts new behaviours.’

And this is perhaps one of my own most important messages. Until schools (and for that matter all learning institutions) begin to adopt new behaviours in terms of Teaching & Learning styles and until teachers begin to demand the technologies that will support this new thinking we will never experience revolution. Yes, some might argue that this is the old 'chicken and egg' syndrome, but where do we start?

I sincerely believe that no amount of national policy, technical specifications or even billions of pounds of funding will do the trick. Until the hearts and minds of the vast majority of teachers and senior managers are persuaded, until ICT evangelists are permitted to preach the gospel of ICT to the confused, unmotivated and leaderless, I do not see much chance of change within education.

e-Portfolios are such a case in point. Until educators see the vast benfits of the e-Portfolio in terms not only of showcasing, of capstones, progression and self-representation; not only in terms of collaboration, peer review, mentoring and formative assessments; not only in terms of reflection, selection, review and evaluation; not only of being able to select appropriate rich media, social software and web2.0 tools; but of equal importance the ability of the learner to decide on their own learning strategies, will we ever move towards this 'revolution' in Teaching and Learning.

No comments: