Monday, August 14, 2006

M-Learning: Overcoming indifference and lack of support

Caryl Oliver recently made this posting to the M-Learning
discussion group (EdNA groups)
. So if you are feeling
discouraged, take a look at this and Marie Jasinski's
comments that follow.

"How do you eat an elephant?

One mouthfull at a time.......

...
It was really disheartening to read about the reality that
happens to so many innovators who are 'encouraged' to pursue
their interests - provided they still do all the other things they
are burdened with and provided they require no resources
from the organisation!

...Which brings me back to my question at the top. My
elephant
was the overwhelming indifference to
my enthusiasm for mobile
learning and even more
underwhelming response everytime I proposed
incorporating new and emerging technology into
teaching practice.

By small steps, however, I did break through:

- I worked with our coffee academy exclusively to produce a
series of digi-lessons and games for PDAs.
- I lent units to anyone who wanted to play with them for a
while - it didn't produce much except an awareness and
understanding.
- Everytime a teacher did something with a group of students
I insisted on getting a digital story format report. At the end
of the year I showed a compilation to the whole Institute.
- When I wrote our vision for the day in the life of William
Angliss student in 2010 I produced it in digital story format
, with the CEO as the voice.
- To the horror of most teachers I gave 12 XDA IIs units
to VCAL students and they have rewarded me a thousand
fold.
- On Open Day our Event Management students ran the
surveys on PDAs - and had to give a special demo session
to groups of parents who were so impressed!

Each little bite, seemingly so insignificant in the
overall
scheme of things has created two
important things
:
- A growing whisper of curiousty and more calls asking me
to get groups started on some of the new technologies and
ideas.
- A decrease of the fear of trying new technology for fear
of the learning curve involved.

And with the process started this way I can afford to sit
back and look at the bigger picture which, in our case, is
the infrastructure required to accommodate over 400
students who will, this semester, be submitting at least
one assignment by means of digital story telling.

To see the really positive response from students and
teachers, to see VCAL students becoming re-engaged
and to see people walking towards me when I talk about
these new technologies is what makes it worthwhile.
And now, to actually have our IT department right behind
me and supporting the introduction of infrastructure to
facilitate the technology means I am really getting into
the meat of the elephant now!

If it seems too hard to keep battling those who resist
making changes then try my favourite quote from
Janet Holmes a Court:

Resisting change is like holding your breath
- if you succeed you die! "

(Emphasis added - click here for full text and context.)

Marie Jasinski , another powerhouse innovator in flexible
and online learning had this to say in response:

Hi Caryl,

What a woman! Great post - thanks for the insights! The word that
comes to mind when I think of your great achievements - and
those of Marcus, Leonard, Leigh, Vicki, Alex, Terry - and the
host of other innovators exploring the value of different
technologies for learning, is CONATION! I love that word!

"Conation is derived from the Latin verb conari,
meaning to strive! It refers to the act of striving,
intentionality, of focusing attention and energy
and acting with a purpose to achieve a goal. In other
words, conation is about stickability, staying power,
strength, stamina and survival".

(More about Connation HERE)

It's having the will, grit and determination to keep plugging away
- taking it on and seeing it through. To see it through is the
challenging bit I reckon. Sometimes it's about ducking and
weaving and staying under the radar hoping you won't be
found. Sometimes it's being in the full spotlight speaking
in a loud voice. And having the wisdom to know when
to do what!!

The people I particularly admire are the movers as well
as the shakers - those who choose to move on and upwards
when their current context no longer enables growth and
adventure - and watch them fly!

So THANKYOU for providing the opportunities, sharing
your expertise so generously and blazing the trails.
It is much appreciated! "

NOW THERE'S A PLUG FOR JOINING THE DISCUSSION GROUP!

2 Comments:

At 6:16 PM, Blogger Marie said...

What encouragement. Sadly, I am finding the opposite in some instances. While trying to assist our regional teams in consuming the elephant. We have others who feel that it all should have been done yesterday. I don't want us to live in the past but I do see a real need to celebrate the accomplishments and to not become "tool happy". Would love some tips on helping those managers reconnect with the learning that the tool is suppose to assist. Is this my "elephant"? Again cheers to Caryl and Marie J who are out there paving the way for those of us who need to consolidate our learnings and learners!

 
At 7:50 PM, Blogger Ron Passfield said...

Looks like this may be your current "elephant" to consume or remove!

Have you tried involving them in a collaborative evaluation of the the use of the "tools" - action research style? Here the focus would be on levels of outcomes not the specific tool in use. "Course" participants would be actively involved in the evaluation. The evaluation could be justified on the basis of a cost-benefit analysis.

 

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