Change is a really difficult thing for me to put my finger on. For example is it when we do something that isn’t part of a routine that gets a big reaction either positive or negative? Or is it more about the lasting transformation of the person or organisation. If that is the case then what exactly is the change the introduction of the new or the adaptation to the new.
I work at the Macquarie ICT Innovations Centre in Macquarie Uni. The centre is a joint partnership between the university and the Department of Education and training. We explore very innovative technologies such as mobile technologies, virtual worlds and e-learning. We spend our time asking kids if they enjoy using these technologies, we work with teachers to develop strategies for integrating them in classrooms and we talk to academics about the significance of our experiences in the broader educational context.
The purpose of our Centre and our roles as project facilitators is to navigate a landscape of constant change. We work with highly contrasting activities that pile one on top of each other to help us understand the application of technology in the broader educational context. Some activities are continued, some are discarded but all are very useful in understanding the whole.
A recent example of this progression is I have worked with a number of schools asking students to take on the role of a learning designer. I have worked with teachers and students to use e-learning tools to design learning for each other. This is highly complex work that involves understanding the logistics of sharing, technology skills as well as a good understanding of pedagogy and how to teach pedagogy to children. Recently instead of taking new schools and teachers on board with me as the facilitator I have asked a group of teachers and students to manage the process themselves and receive funding for making this change.
The best and worst part of this type of change is balancing perceived success and real rewards. Perceived success is the part where if you do something well because you have experience over a few iterations of designing something everyone breathes a sigh of relief and says that is fantastic because no-one had to get grumpy or frustrated. The real reward is when you can take a bigger risk and you can see that this pays off with a significant shift in understanding, and you feel the real reward of having worked through a frustrating or challenging situation.