From geographical changes, landscapes and seascapes, west to east, east to west, there are few spaces in between where change was not written in capital letters. As an educator, I have weathered both the lull before the storm of change as well as the satisfactions and frustrations that changes bring.
Change is a celebration, a gift of life.
As I reflect on the changes sweeping across the USA in regard to the Common Core State Standards, I can’t help thinking that these objectives have always been part of the curricula that I have taught (in other contexts, other places). Nevertheless, the urgency that these same objectives are applied to all levels of education, have never been greater.
Two particular points are most relevant to higher education: the emphasis of life skills across the curriculum and accountability. It is not enough to claim that higher education is to prepare students for the workforce – very often it does not. Ivory towers still remain aloof, wrapped in delusions that technological advances are for others. Responsibility is much more than merely arriving to class on time and following a required syllabus. Life does not happen in a vacuum, much less learning. Learning is inter-woven, regardless of subject or topic. Links are not merely hyper or digital, but factual and real. Ensuring that this transparency of inter-connectivity in learning, is in my view, necessary for every classroom, for in every context and age level, students need to make abstract and intellectual connections of knowledge.
Ignoring the connectivity that open learning brings us today, is ignoring the many changes taking place in the world of education today. Change does not occur in isolation nor do only academic articles published in journals, bring about change. Change is the practice, the implementation, the belief of change. And there are many who to reach out to.
Is there anyone who is possibly reading this now and can truthfully claim that they experience, they witness no change around them? More: can anyone truthfully say that there is no support available? As a curator I daily come across article after article, offering ideas and suggestions for implementing change, whether in companies, professional training or in education. I think it is time to assert that only those who ignore change may state that there is no support; all it takes is will power and a click to open the windows of the many who share, reflect and practice change. They are no outsiders to their world of knowledge nor rebels without a cause. Practicing educators will often offer practical advice.
Where does this leave me in regard to change in education?
In the space visualized above, (taken from Learning Attitudes to #eLearning), where needs merge and inter-twine. I have previously mentioned the role of learners’ motivation; the chart above is a reminder how change is not only for learners but for all, especially those in the field of education – teachers, leaders, administrators.
Godin, reminds readers that,
“Before changing the signal and thus assuming that this will change the outlook, it probably makes sense to understand what will change the causes of someone’s perception and habits, and use the signal as a way of figuring out who needs to be taught.”
In other words, it is not enough though to introduce change without all participants and stake-holders understanding the reason for change – major stake-holders such as learners need to be aware of the role of change, why and how it will affect them. Initiatives such as the introduction of iPadology will not become effective without learners understanding why such shifts are being practiced in their classrooms.
are written on the body.
D’Antoni, S. 2013, A World Map of Open Education Resources Initiatives
Godin, S., 2013, Signal and Causes
Hopkins, D., 2012, Learning Attitudes to #eLearning
Mak, J., 2013, Who are Changing the World of Education and Learning?
Murray, J., 7 Ways Common Core Will Change Your Classroom
Stacey, P. 2013, Open Access