Organizational Change - Datta Kaur Khalsa, Moderator : LUSENET : WiredDiscussion : One Thread

* Organizational Change Dynamics: How can we effect systematic change? In Chapter 4 you note the importance of decentralization in relation to innovative teaching applications. Can you expand on this? Any examples of steps taken to ‘even the playing field’ of student computer literacy.

-- Anonymous, February 11, 2001


Classmates, I know that the problems of individual k-12 school districts sometimes are all that we can see. But let's pull back a bit and look a the big picture. I find the idea that k-12 education isn't delivering computer literate students into higher education interesting and disturbing.

Dr. Bates makes the point that the desire to improve teaching drives a lot of technology use. The best k-12 environments are all about good teaching. Organizations like the ISTE have been in place for years working to integrate technology and teaching. Publication efforts like NETS are out front creating national standards that would serve higher ed just as well as k-12. (See the ISTE NETS site for more information groups are active in many states. All of these efforts spring from the energies and commitment of k-12 educators.

At the same time tradition crippled schools of education still pump out new teachers who know little more than word processing. Teachers are learning technology integration on their own or through district sponsored inservice. Seems to me that the action in k-12 technology integration is way ahead of Higher Education -- inspite of growing accountability demands and minimal tech support budgets.

Dr. Bates has explained a lot of why higer ed is behind the curve when it comes to learning and technology. Let's hope the competitive pressures and breathtaking opportunities of the next few years mean changes in higher ed that at least match the action going on in k-12!

-- Anonymous, February 14, 2001

How can we effect systematic change? Vision: knowing what is possible and what is desirable; leadership: showing what can be done and supporting those with a vision; communication: dialogue and discussion and hopefully convincing others - and being convinced ourselves of other's ideas; rewards: recognition, more money; process: ensuring that desirable change is constantly supported and maintained. Read Everett Rogers on change processes.

Decentralization. This comes down to my belief that the best innovation comes from good teachers who (a) really understand their subject matter and the needs of their students (b) can see how technology can be used to improve the quality and effectiveness of their teaching. This means empowering teachers at the level of the class or learning group. It also means providing local support for teachers to use technology (even if this comes from a central unit).

Incidentally this is why I don't like centralized curricula, even, or especially, in schools. It is really hard to use technologically innovatively if the curriculum is pre-determined in great detail. Technology changes what it is possible to teach. Let me give you an example. Einstein's theory of relativity is normally taught at graduate level or at best in the fourth year of a physics program, because a very good understanding of mathematics is considered necessary. However, the British Open University was able to successfully teach the main principles of relativity to first year undergraduate students using brilliant animations and film on television, through its partnership with the BBC. This doesn't work if the aim is to teach mathematics (or to prove the theory of relativity), but if you want to understand one of the main principles of the universe, then it does work to teach it differently through technology.

-- Anonymous, February 13, 2001

Dr. Bates, it is an honor to have you join us for these discussions. Your statement, "It is really hard to use technologically innovatively if the curriculum is pre-determined in great detail. Technology changes what it is possible to teach" touches the heart of a dilemma. In order for students to be, at the least computer literate, and ideally, independent and responsible learners, they must begin the progression to independent learning in early grades so that by high school and college they are able to take responsibility for their learning. It is of great concern that, with all of the state standards now in k-12 schools, there is no time for innovative teaching. In a letter to the editor of the Richmond Times Dispatch, on February 12, 2001, H.L. Cothern, Superintendent of Goochland County Public Schools, states that "…I have directed that all activities not contributing to core-area instruction be either eliminated or redirected to other time slots (lunch period, before or after school, etc.)." On the surface, this may seem a sound practice. However, teachers say that they are tied to a rigid daily lesson plan determined by the county and have no time to use technology to enhance learning beyond a token lesson occasionally.

It is becoming evident, even in my small private college, that students are entering higher education with little to no experience in using technology to further their learning. How is this lack of innovative teaching in K-12 affecting colleges and universities? What recommendations do you have for higher education instructors who are faced with large numbers of students who do not know how to do simple computer research or use a word processing program?

Thank you.

-- Anonymous, February 13, 2001

Leslie and Dr. Bates - I am hoping not to repeat my response in the first question. Leslie I can imagine your frustration with college students who are incapable to use word processing applications. I agree that some instruction needs to stem from K - 12 teacher, however I can tell you from experience ( I am a K - 12 teacher ) technology is not a priority in many public school systems. Primarily, the funding does not exist in public schools to support elaborate computer systems and secondly, even if it did, many of the teachers are not qualifies to help instruct their students. It is a sad reality that I am bothered with daily.

-- Anonymous, February 13, 2001

Hello Dr. Bates,

I want to thank you for taking the time to contribute to our class in this way.

On page 83 and 84 you make reference to the "academic requirements" of an institution relative to the "administrative requirements". I understand that both will differ somewhat from institution to institution but can you offer some examples of specific academic requirements as they relate to technology? Also can you offer examples of clearly defined academic priorities that you refer to on page 84?

What advice can you offer faculty members and individual departments who are trying to figure out how to integrate technology into their programs?

Thank you,

Chris Le Baudour

-- Anonymous, February 14, 2001

Thank you Dr. Bates for the reference to Everett Rogers. Combining ideas on change agents, a vision process and decentralization issues, there was a mention of the kind of community created within the building. In the "calculating costs" thread you have given a great description of the dream team, but could you also describe your vision or experience with a "dream space" that would serve the most effective change towards technology usage, the decentralization of curriculum, computer availability and literacy and the building of community?

Thank you.

Datta Kaur

-- Anonymous, February 14, 2001

Dr. Bates, The high school at which I work has just received a new grant called the "Digital High School Grant." The money is being spent on new computers for student and teach use, updated software with site licenses, and the installation of cable line into all of the classrooms. Our school was recently equipted with LAN lines compliments of Qualcomm, a local business. What should our next step be? I think about the future of online education and its place in the traditional high school. I am left thinking that our best strategy is to implement hybrid courses that combine f2f and online learning. Is this the best approach? What other things should our school look into as ways to spend the grant?

Thank You, Ker

-- Anonymous, February 14, 2001

Vision is what will continue to drive online education. I consider myself the 'lone ranger' at my institution.I was wondering if you had any words of advice when confronting political organizations which respond poorly to the internet for getting continuing education credits.

I am involved with the chiropractic profession which is governed by individual state mandates regarding postgraduate continuing education and most do not want to give credit for online because they can't verify that the doctor actually did the work.I was wondering if you have experienced this frustation before and if so how you dealt with it. Thank you , Sherry McAllister

-- Anonymous, February 14, 2001

My institution is also in the midst of technological change. As with many others, we are receiving grants left and right to implement this change. One of the major problems I see with adopting technology is in many cases (me included) you are trying to teach an old dog new tricks and this requires a lot of training.

Most of the grants we receive have specific guidelines and I have yet to see “training” as a major guideline and inclusion in these grants. I think part of that is equipment is a tangible thing whereas training is not. Yet, without the training I have seen computers just sit and look pretty.

-- Anonymous, February 14, 2001

Sherry and Dr. Bates

I too consider myself the lone ranger in my insitution. So far the faculty interested in online enviornments are flying by the seat of our pants. It is great to have a vision. But, due to the fact I have a tendency to be a visionary, my employers have sometimes told me that I am ahead of my time. My question is, how do we get the administration to bye into the vision of online education?

-- Anonymous, February 14, 2001

Hola Dr. Bates – It is an honor to “converse” with you

Trying to bring technological change and innovation to my collage has meant overcoming the “old guard.” I have been fighting for change for five years and just in the last year have we seen administrative support via staff training money, OL course development grants and release time. Do you know of an organization that has a “Good” faculty support model in place?

Thank You for Your Time – Mario :)

-- Anonymous, February 14, 2001

Beth, it sounds like you are a change agent. Dr. Bates suggested reading Everett M. Rogers in reference to this dilemma. In his book, Diffusion of Innovations, Rogers describes, "A change agent is an individual who influences clients' innovation-decisions in a direction deemed desirable by a change agency." 2_1_99.html

Change agent face two main problems: (1) their social marginality, due to their position midway between a change agency and their client system

(2) information overload, the state of an individual or a system in which excessive communication inputs cannot be processed and used, leading to breakdown.

Seven roles of the change agent are: (1) to develop a need for change on the part of the clients, (2) to establish an information-exchange relationship, (3) to diagnose problems, (4) to create an intent to change in the client, (5) to translate and intent into action, (6) to stabilize adoption and prevent discontinuance, and (7) to achieve a terminal relationship with clients.

-- Anonymous, February 14, 2001

Dr. Bates: I want to echo the words of appreciation expressed to you for participating in this online discussion.

Doing research for your book, you were able to observe a number of institutions which is invaluable. Looking 5 to 10 years ahead, which institutions are more likely to be successful in adapting to technological change, large public universities or small private colleges ? Do you see more institutions drifting toward an Open University format where most instruction will be delivered through many different mediums ? What do you think of the totally online university concept (Jones International University, Capella University etc.) ?

Thank You

-- Anonymous, February 14, 2001

One of the themes which seems to be running through this discussion is student and teacher preperation to use technology effectively in academic settings. In California,as elsewhere, we are pushing "standards", but no one is telling us HOW to teach them, just to make sure they are taught and understood by students (i am refering here to K-12). I do not have any objection to that,on the other hand, this is all so new (relatively speaking) that most teacher I work with do not take them seriously yet,nor, for the most part, do they take technology seriously. Your views on the future of higher education are enlightening, but like Leslie, we are struggling at the K-12 level to prepare students for the university level. Any pearls of wisdom for us?

-- Anonymous, February 15, 2001

Kerry and Donna, I was blessed to be part of a grant program that not only brought us technology but required (and provided) the best professional development on technology integration that I have ever seen. This is the crucial piece, and you are right Donna, it is not usually a part of the grant requirements. The U.S. Dept of Educ says 30% of a district's tech budget should be spent on teacher training. Often districts like mine, are funding a number more like 5%. Without good technology integration professional development we will continue to see computers "sitting and looking pretty." Kerry, my suggestion is to find, or create, some good training for your teachers.

-- Anonymous, February 15, 2001

Dr. Bates:

With regard to partnerships or consortia with private sector organizations, you warn (on page 174 of "Managing Technological Change") of the dangers of being tied into use of a firm's technology or software. As you know, Professor David Noble has penned numerous articles decrying what he sees as the trend towards the commercialisation of education and online learning in particular. you've also written that "for consortia to work the members really need to be of roughly the same status...". (p. 172). I wondered if you therefore felt that Professor Noble's views had a certain validity? Is it in fact inevitable - especially in partnerships formed with the new, often mega-corporations of the knowledge economy - that the corporate vision will overwhelm and place in jeopardy the wider academic agenda of the relatively smaller educational partners?

Geoff Goolnik

-- Anonymous, February 15, 2001

Sherry, you spoke of the legitimacy of "doing the work" in relation to the Chiropractic Industry courses. For so many years the chiropractic industry fought for recognition of legitimacy for their entire profession. I could see why they would have these initial concerns, not wanting to jeopardize their reputation once again.

-- Anonymous, February 16, 2001

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