This final reflection on my learning in EDEM630 is a chance to synthesise what I have learnt about change in education due to technology and how the new knowledge can be applied in my own educational context, now and in the future. EDEM630 has been an asynchronous e-Learning course on Change with Digital Technology in Education. One of the most valuable aspects has been the practical context of actually experiencing that change for myself as I used various new technologies to enhance my own learning. For example, creating and maintaining my own blog was challenging initially but the value of the tool for sharing and reflecting on learning soon became apparent. It and my fellow learners’ blogs are now resources I find myself returning to repeatedly to help clarify my thinking.
I enjoyed the flexibility of the online course. It suited my learning style as I like time to ponder on the material and what has been said by others. The asynchronous format allowed me to think more deeply about the issues, and writing the public forum forced me to consider my responses more carefully. I also liked the variety of resources, from written to visual and audio, and what I thought were a well-scaffolded range of activities. So, while I read about the impact of technology innovations on teachers and students as part of the course work and for my research article, I find myself critically reflecting on some of the findings. For example, I share Hrastinski’s (2008) views that asynchronous online learning is more appropriate for cognitive participation, including individual reflection and critical assessment of peers’ ideas.
We started by looking at change with technology from an ecological perspective. It was a good starting point as I immediately understood how complex innovation adoption is and the range of stakeholders that affect and are affected by it. I have seen time and again the truth of the teacher as the ‘keystone species’ (Davis, 2008). In the tertiary environment, the institutional ecosystem definitely exerts a powerful influence also as technology enhanced learning is driven as a strategic goal. As I refined my topic and reading it’s been reassuring to find empirical evidence that supports some of my own observations, for example that IT stakeholders often have the power to promote or restrict technology adoption (Davis, 2008).
We also looked at theories of change with technology in the personal context. We looked at conceptual frameworks that stress the process of innovation adoption and the individual concerns and priorities at different stages of the process. I focused mostly on the Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM) and, to a lesser extent, its refinement in the Learning Adoption Trajectory (LAT). I currently find myself at the beginning of an innovation project with Microsoft tablets (nothing to do with my research topic). As I prepare a staff capability plan, the CBAM has been helpful in reminding me to identify personal concerns and implement professional development and support that directly addresses those concerns (Evans & Chauvin, 1993). It’ll be interesting to see how the theoretical framework plays out in reality.
One of the most rewarding aspects of the course for me was the scenario planning. This was because it was also the most challenging, stretching my limited creativity to the max. After a false start with my matrix, I revised my axes to better effect. I enjoyed focusing on my own vocational tertiary context as it forced me to examine the key drivers of change in the region. I think scenario planning is a very useful tool for forcing decision makers to look past current trends and assist planning for longer-term, possible futures.
The final topic of learning was Marshall’s (2007) e-Learning Maturity Model. It is a self-critiquing and reflection tool that can be used by tertiary institutions to evaluate their levels of maturity in five dimensions that categorise e-Learning. It is based on assessments of current normal practices, so is highly reliable. However, it is a very complex assessment which would require considerable resourcing and time commitment. One ITP had been using it for six years to benchmark its capability (Marshall, 2012).
Most of all, what this EDEM630 course has given me is the ability to be a knowledgeable participant in my workplace. I have been able to synthesise my learning about change theories, technology trends, scenario planning and the eMM and feel I can now make a more informed contribution to the direction, implementation and assessment of our Technology Enhanced Learning Strategy.
Davis, N. (2008). How may teacher learning be promoted for educational renewal with it? In J. Voogt and G. Knezek (Eds.), International Handbook of Information Technology in Primary and Secondary Education (pp. 507–520). Amsterdam, Netherlands: Springer.
Evans, L., & Chauvin, S. (1993). Faculty Developers as Change Facilitators: The Concerns-Based Adoption Model. To Improve the Academy. Paper 278. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/podimproveacad/278
Hrastinski, S. (2008). Asynchronous and synchronous e-learning. Educause Quarterly, 4, 51-55. Retrieved from http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/EQM0848.pdf
Marshall, S. (2012). E-learning and higher education: Understanding and supporting organisational change [Case study report]. Wellington, New Zealand: Ako Aotearoa National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence.
Marshall, S. (2007). E-Learning Maturity Model: Process descriptions [draft report]. Retrieved from http://learn.canterbury.ac.nz/mod/page/view.php?id=186287