Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Reflection on my ability to facilitate change

Reflecting on today's group project, where an activity and discussion such as the one delivered would be approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes with a group of my first year students, I wonder how I could have clawed back time. I wonder if there was a way to clearly articulate, MORE clearly articulate, the requirement to be efficient with group time. The sharing piece at the end, that exposes the challenges of putting yourself in the position of the individual you are effecting (in this case the superintended trying to think as the teacher, or the teacher trying to be a superintendent when dealing with change), is the capping pice to really bring about the larger aha moments.
The big theme of response/solution from groups was communication. Go back to the policies and use those to guide what you say (for principles because that is what the superintendent would want you to do), or make sure that communications down through the system and quick and transparent (when teachers worry about parents). This is the best advise for me if running this activity again.
In the group work example, the lead communications were lost since heated discussion was taking place, small groups where working it out, and the whole group process slowed as a result. Coming to common ground (by exposing and understanding each others position, and the commonality of solutions when forced to think as that person) takes time but the facilitation of that change in a timely manner is critical for any real gain.  

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Homeostasis – avoiding catastrophic changes

l feel as though, at this point in time, I am waffling back and forth between it's necessity, as it is introduced in this course, and its damaging effects. The example Dr. Gagion gave was about a teacher who is being forced to move classroom and doesn't want to because he has been in that room for many years, and thinks of it as his home. This example was a surprise to me, I was expecting a major change, but in hindsight I can see that the level, or severity of change, is really in the eye of the beholder. What is major to me is not necessarily major to another person. It's the degree to which this is most of his or her "life" or a small pert of what defines this person.
"Why is change required" from William Bridges traditions, to me need not be said. I am accustomed to continuous change, based on my work experience in the high tech corporate environment. I can see how some people require the "don't discard the past, honor the teacher in their current state, and then move on while helping them move on to the new system" perspective, but at the same time there is work to be done. The metaphor of the organism, I think, is an effective metaphor for org. change. In the Burke text, on page 94, he share Jick's (1990) cautions, and that is something that I was please to read.
We need to respect the individuals in the system, but we need to maintain a grip on that individuals ability to "ride out the storm" whether its changing classrooms, or changing schools (due to school closure). If i have a sprained ankle for example, I get immediate hospital attention, I nurse it for a short period of time (foot elevated, with ice), but at some point, very quickly after, to be able to survive (go eat something or use the washroom), I need to feel the pain of putting pressure on that ankle to function. Most people will work through the emotional states of change, and that is why even dysfunctional top tier organizations still exist; because the majority of component parts know how to function (even if not totally enjoying their environment), the biology of it all is that you have to have a number of broken bones and groups of bones, be malnourished, and hemorrhaging before the environment stops completely.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Individual goals prevail

So today was a day of distraction. I had my house ransacked on Monday, while in class, so after a full night of dealing with what needed to get done I was back in class only for a short time before I went off to make my phone calls, and get "organized". I missed the majority of the discussion, the group norming, and the organizational activities of our Leading change community of learners. I had to focus, turtle in if you will, on my first priorities. Taking care of my home was first priority.
What does that say about an organization if the individual will always put their long term, home, personal life ahead of the needs of the organization, unless of course the two are inseparable?

I need to speak with my fellow learners, to grasp their perspective, I know I am missing a critical puzzle piece but it's hard to find if you don't know what it looks like. Over the next few blog posts, I would like to connect the readings, and discussion, to my growing frustration with the lack of technological change in public post secondary education but i am still looking at things through the individual perspective, since i am currently in the fey fortunate position of only needing to serve me needs.

I realize that this first post has little do do with educational change but it has everything to do with the people involved with educational change/reform. Like the office tower graphic with Teacher located on the first floor of the tower, the principle some place at the middle level of floor and the CEO/President/minster at the top floor, 360 degree city views and all, change must include those that choose to either turn their backs on it or embrace its possibilities.
Why is change in a corporate environment so quick, and although everyone might grumble about it, the change will happen. What did I experience in high tech that allowed everyone to feel involved in the changes that seemed to occur all around, and in fact embrace the concept that the only thing that people could count on when they showed up for work is that something was going to have changed over the weekend.

my first post was lost so here we go again.... kinda

My goals for this blog over the next two week seems simple, but these posts will take me out of my element, so not so simple after all. Meeting a course requirement, can be a tangled web to weave.
Attempting to answer the "so what", investigating "leadership role that harmonize with the way that organizations change" strikes me, at first read, as a very effective space for "real" change to happen (on a personal academic level), but our first day took us down the garden path. I believe that my frustration with the less than logical, and constructive change occurring in higher education is a useful place to scaffold the course contents, and to enhance a perspective that I lack depth, and perhaps, maybe, at that point my frustration will lessen.
The text stresses a critical point about organizational change coming from the Fleishman studies: "the difference between focusing on the individual and focusing on the contextual variable (group norms and org. culture), and the systematic factors (such as structure)". This is where I need reinforcement and so will focus my attention in this are, through my group work, my perspective on the readings, and on my in class discussions.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The beginning of a Leadership Log line of thought

Today begins the second year of my Doctor of Education program. I am in residence, in Calgary waiting for 6pm to roll around so that I can head over to the Keg with my cohort for a nice dinner. The two courses, my final two courses, are Leading Change, and Inquiry and Technology.
The blog will change focus for the next two weeks, so that I can a) meet a course requirement, and b) reflect on how my professional experience has prepared me for change in higher education leadership.
..................and now to the Leadership log portion of our show...............................

Friday, July 2, 2010

to embed my Google Wave communication

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Most memorable to date...

The Internet connection is still dodgy, to quote my auzzie mates, and so I type this from my tiny screened itouch. I will love my upas screen once it arrives ( seen three at the conference so far). Today I enjoyed the google for education sessions, although light on the depth but most enjoyed the THINK global 2 part presentation on their mobile and global grade 9 to 12 curriculum. Will post more later... The Aussie girls just arrived for dinner... Think needs it's own post anyway;)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

renewing my appreciation for Canadian broad bandwidth

So I started my morning with an 8am registration, for the conference, and a breakfast of fresh fruit. We shuffled into our presentation rooms, with the first session being a 2.5 hour workshop entitled "Going global and mobile – Developing media for global learning".
As things go it was very "newbie" centric, and the tools were not what I could present to our faculty at BCIT, if I expected them to embrace the tools "ease of use". Most ironic was the session title, and my growing frustration over our lack of wireless connectivity. My mobile devices where running low on battery and there was only one plug in the room (already in use). So my first session... to summarize, on global and mobile learning, had no access to its resources, had no ability to keep the mobile devices running, and the tools presented where not "easy" to use. Its time to hit the pool and restart this conference with the keynote (in the afternooon).
I am always reminded, when I go to these types of conferences, that we are spoiled in North America with our connection speed and reliability, and I am asking new questions about how to go mobile and global, when the rest of the world just is not so fortunate.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Digital Economy � Homepage

As I have recently documented, I have been thinking more about digitization of data (going back to my roots so to speak), and trying to come to a place where I can feel comfortable researching over the next few years. Then, during a work meeting, I find myself dicussing how we (Canada) have provincial focus but not really any national education focus. Maybe this recent "digital economy" consultation process will meet somewhere in the educational middle ground;)

Digital Economy � Homepage

Friday, May 7, 2010

reinstating android blogger *fingers crossed*

k, so i think since i am reinstating blogger, i should really reinstate mobile posts. i hope this time it posts to the correct blog!

Monday, May 3, 2010

I'm back on the doctoral train, and it will be making lots of stops

I am going to start using this space again to answer lots of school related questions that will crop up over the next few months. Lets see where this takes us;)

In conversation with Dr. C I was asked to consider game changers, and the iPad, over the weekend, and so that's just what I did! I mostly reflected on what I thought about the term "game changer", and how I have experiences the changing communications "game".

My end product:
Is the iPad a game changer or simply the tool used to play the game that has been gradually changing for at least the last 20 years? I think that the iPad is best associated to that tool that will effectively display, and allow you to interact with, the significant changes that have occurred in our approaches to communication.

I participated in the evolution of the printing industry. I started my career in the early 1990’s when film reigned supreme. I shot pasted up pages on huge horizontal cameras that spanned two rooms lengths. That film, in complete darkness, would be moved through a series of chemical baths that would wash away the non exposed areas to give me clear mylar spaces that light could shine through. I would take them, splice many of them together so that each future page of Wired magazine would start as one very large 24 inch by 36 inch piece of film, and four versions of this same set of pages would also be produce along side. It would go through many more processes, thanks to the invention of the printing press (and the elimination of early type setting forms of print production), to produce Wired magazine for the average media consumer.

I participated in the evolution of print as a result of the game changer that was the desktop computer, and the graphic user interface. This step produced such applications as Pagemaker and Illustrator almost immediately, and was soon followed by Photoshop. The invention of the digital scanner quickly led to the demise of the horizontal camera, the light table, and many other, at the time, game-changing technology’s in the printing industry. The way that we dealt with what would be printed, and distributed, changed forever as a result of making computer technology accessible, and the ability to digitize pretty much any 2 dimensional object/item. We moved quickly away from digitizing printed material and film, and evolved our hardware so that it could capture digital data directly.

Since then I have seen so many game changers outdone by the next step in media and communications evolution. The industrial printing press that exists today, if your company can afford it, requires almost no human intervention, and has no analog processes remaining, just digital data, a set of applications and hardware, and the ability to transfer data from one terminal to another. The game changing printing press that we all connect to communications historical revolution no longer exists, and we didn’t even notice it being phased out because we were all surfing the information super highway.

Every so often in history, a new technology rewrites the rules of the game. Like gunpowder, the printing press, or even the atomic bomb, such revolutionary technologies are game-changers not merely because of their capabilities, but rather because of the ripple effects they have on everything from our wars to our politics. They force us to ask tough social, military, business, political, ethical, and legal questions.

The cameraman still needs to take photos, and the graphic artist still has artistic license over the look and the feel of the page layout but even if it is determined that the item is still worth producing in a “hard-copy” format, it is certain to be found, and able to be consumed online as well on any of a dozen different devices. I was at the forefront of this evolutionary change and experienced the change in power that occurred first hand, and appreciate my simple, cheap, high quality home printer more than most as a result. I understand the magnitude of what it took to make that happen.

The release of the iPad will seriously impacted magazine distribution, with companies like Bonnier, makers of Popular Science, redesigning their magazines for digital delivery on a device able to do justice to its display “to-scale”, thanks to the display size of the iPad mobile device.

This photo, “making popular science+, image 7”
is copyright (c) 2009 Apple Inc.

As a result of the success of Popular Science+, Bonnier will be rolling out hundreds of magazines to the iPad and other devices. Should the iPad be attributed to the evolution of magazine distribution or should that credit go to the ability to digitize our communications, and the ability of those with forethought to “go with the flow” of this change in the communications game?

The only thing that solidifies evolutionary change in my mind, and game-changers, is efficiency and effect. So how does this effect my current industry, and teaching and learning? Of the three communication revolutions in human history (emergence of writing, invention of printing, and convergence of telecommunication, computers and digitization) that I see continuously referenced by scholars, the convergence of telecommunication, computers and digitization is where I feel institutions of higher learning, stumbling blinding through the process of integrating into the practice of teaching and learning.

A revolution effects a change in the societal power structure… writing undermined the power monopoly of the elders, who preserved in oral form the accumulated knowledge of preliterate people… printing ended the information monopoly of the church, the clergy and the mandarins, depending on the social context. The invention of digitization may change the societal power structure in ways yet to be seen.

What would happen if, as formal learning institutions, we let go of our need to control student access to the world outside, while in our classrooms? What would happen if we no longer required textbooks to be purchased for our course? What would happen if we allowed our students to bring whatever device they wanted into the classroom to access whatever online/web based resource they wanted/needed to support their learning?

We would need to focus more intently on facilitating the achievement of the course outcomes and less on the containment of “variables” in the teaching process. We would need to decide where the responsibility resides for each of the elements required to participate in formal learning. What would happen if we, in formal learning environments, decided it was time to embrace the potential to change the game? We would need to change the rules we created, and kept pretty much the same for the last 100 years, to play the game.