Saturday, February 9, 2013

Become part of the change...

Classroom Horner Avenue School 1916In the business world, change management is something that is covered frequently, and businesses that don't implement some kind of change management, usually regret it in the long run.  Even within IT management there is particular attention paid to change.  Unfortunately, change management is not often a topic covered within the K12 community.  Working within educational technology for the last 16 years, I have had the opportunity to see a lot of change occur within both the technical and curriculum sides of education.  On both sides, change is implemented in a very TOP down authoritative manner, with little or no understanding of the overall process, and from what I have witnessed, very little to no feedback and control process.

Before I continue, let me be clear.  This is not about implementing a change management process (although it should be done), but about being an leader in education technology.  Historically, the K12 IT group has had a business focus, and while that works great for the business aspects of education, it doesn't lend itself to the job at hand.  Supporting educators in educating children.  Yes, I know that in the last few years there is a trend to understand the educator and the classroom, but in my opinion, it is taking too long, and is still subjugated by the IT world's various "Best Practices".

Yet again, within K12, there is change happening in the form of Common Core, but there is a slight difference.  This time both sides agree that there is some common ground in where collaboration is needed, and this is encouraging.  But, I am starting to see a clear line that is forming.  There is a lot of emphasis and discussion among K12 IT folks on the technical support of the TEST, but little emphasis and discussion on support the student, class, teacher, or admin on implementing Common Core on a continued basis.

Ok, lets get back to change and leadership.  How many IT leaders have taken the time to observe a classroom, or have a teacher explain what their curriculum goals are, or talked to the EL teacher?  How many IT leaders have gone to an overview of Common Core as it relates to the classroom?  One of the biggest components about change is that it requires people to affect it.  The people that are going to have the most influence on whether or not Common Core will be a success will be the teachers.  Technology is a big part of the Common Core, and the IT community can help teachers and students by helping teachers and admins to recognize where technology will help them in their lessons and help them in learning how to effectively use technology within their classrooms.  But, that will not happen unless there is relevant communication between teachers and IT leaders.

So the bottom line is that IT leaders in K12, need to be proactive in talking with teachers and admin about what is their curricular goals to be, and then help them by suggesting solid technology to help them reach it, by providing ongoing professional development that is tailored to their curriculum goals, and by constantly getting feedback that will assist the admin team with the overall calibration and resistance management of the Common Core implementation.

Image attribution by Ontario Ministry of Education [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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