Saturday, October 5, 2013

Final Reflection

Having never studied change models before, the initial focus of the course eluded me. This being the last course in my postgraduate studies, I have to admit that I experienced a fair amount of anxiety: because of my naiveté, I felt that I was going to have trouble making connections between my research interests and the change models. Although I didn’t quite see the big picture at first, I took some advice from a mentor teacher I once worked with and told myself to “trust the process.” In doing this, the clever design of the course led me to begin to understand the models of change and how they could relate to digital technologies.

In the beginning, I was fixating on having studied about the benefits of ICT and e-learning over the course of two years and yet still feeling powerless to help facilitate positive change in my own context. I was asking myself: what is the big picture? How does e-learning and ICT in schools relate to what is truly important to our students – how is it relevant in their context and how can we get teachers on board?

In discovering the models, especially Roger’s Diffusion of Innovations and the Technology Acceptance Model, I found myself frustrated that I hadn’t been exposed to this aspect of e-learning and ICT in schools until now. My own experience with change in digital technologies has been working in an environment where PD around e-learning, ICT and especially new initiatives like and LMS have been well-intentioned, but scarce and often inadequate or poorly facilitated. I found myself wondering if utilising these change models could have improved the rate of adoption amongst my fellow teachers and improved the overall outlook on ICT and e-learning.

As I said before, much of the content was completely new to me. I had never heard of scenario planning before, and working within the mooc was an incredibly new experience as well. However, the way participation has been organised in this course has shown me that I can be engaged online in a way I thought, for me,  was only possible through face-to-face environments.

I appreciated the video signposts and mind mapping activity – having everything available only through readings would have made it more difficult to get excited/passionate about some of the topics. It brings home the important of including a variety of resources for our students when learning online/through an LMS.
Having never done research on this scale before, locating/remember where the pertinent information is in the articles has been difficult. Colour coding has helped, as well as the search function in adobe reader. However, I still feel that there is so much out there for me to still discover and that it won’t be until the course is over that I discover those perfect studies/quotes/insights.

I can see the connection of the change models to all aspects of change for education. Though I am at the start of my career and don’t have experience working at many schools, I am surprised that these change models are not common knowledge among educators and senior management teams across the world. I also feel that the models are not necessarily better or worse than each other, but that they could be used in tandem to give schools a breadth and depth in their perceptions of change with digital technologies.

The most significant thing about this course has been the feeling of empowerment that I have gained. I feel informed about the issues around e-learning and digital technologies in schools and I feel inspired to keep reading research, participating in forums, discussing and staying abreast to what is happening with technologies in schools. But even more so than that, I feel that I can help make a difference – both on a small and larger scale – to help the educators I work with appreciate the complexities as well as the value of change with digital technologies.

Thanks to Wayne, Niki and everyone for making this a fantastic last course in my postgraduate journey!