It’s all plugged up!

In George Siemens’ article Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Agehe states:

“Information flow within an organization is an important element in organizational effectiveness. In a knowledge economy, the flow of information is the equivalent of the oil pipe in an industrial economy. Creating, preserving, and utilizing information flow should be a key organizational activity. Knowledge flow can be likened to a river that meanders through the ecology of an organization. In certain areas, the river pools and in other areas it ebbs. The health of the learning ecology of the organization depends on effective nurturing of information flow.”

Without communication, which is the flow of information, school districts become stagnate with their technology integration. Time that should be spent training teachers on how to implement the technology into their curriculum is wasted on deciphering messages between the departments. Each department unwilling to let go of the information so they release it drop by drop, bit by bit. Why? Is it the fear that they won’t be needed once their knowledge is released? I’ve heard the old cliché “Knowledge is Power”, but this is only true when it is allowed to grow and evolve. When members of an organizations hold their information so tightly that information stops flowing, the organization fails to fulfill its purpose. The IT department needs to communicate freely with the curriculum (Teaching and Learning) department so that each can complete their mission. Each department is all part of the same pipe, only touching the information long enough to keep it moving.

Another chokehold in the flow of information in a school district is the people who fail to follow the chain of command when looking for information. Let me explain, say that you’re a classroom teacher and you need an answer about the new technology that was included in your curriculum.

What should you do?

  1. Send your question to your curriculum resource instructor (curriculum specialist) or
  2. Send your question to your curriculum resource instructor, the IT Director, the Director of Instructional Technology, your site principal, and the school nurse.

If you picked option 1, great job. If you picked option 2, you have now muddied the waters and caused a potential bottle neck in the information flow. I know that many times our “needs” appear to be monumental and we just want help.. .NOW! Unnecessary emails cause distractions. They force people to put their hands into the river of information causing it to slow down and sometimes diverting it in the wrong direction. Within any organizations each person has a job to do to make the system work, when they get distracted the system slows down and sometimes stops. If the person above you doesn’t reply in a reasonable time (24 hours), go to the next person above them. If they reply with an answer you disagree with, follow the procedure put in place to voice your disagreement. But rarely will there be a problem you’re going to face with instructional technology to justify sending a mass email. Group emails are meant for group projects where the recipients are collaborating. No one likes forced collaboration. 🙂






Education Reformation

In our history we have had many great events that changed the way people viewed their world. When Martin Luther nailed his the 95 Theses in 1517 to the church in Wittenberg, Saxony, it sparked a new way of thinking in the Christian faith. This act was motivated by events in history before that time that changed the way people viewed the Roman Catholic Church. The Black Death and the Western Schism which eroded people’s faith in the church. Europe didn’t have media like we have media today, but people still talked and many perceptions became fact and people were ripe for change. Today we live in a world of massive media influence which has painted a picture of the educational system that is much like the picture painted of the Catholic church 500 years ago. Just like then, some of the perceptions are correct, (technology is influencing everyones life for good and bad) and some that are sensational; the students today learn different and the majority of them are very technologically savvy. Instead of 95 theses, we have countless lists of 21st Century Skills and blog posts on how different students are today. Even before reading this week’s articles on Digital Natives, (Bennett, S. & Maton, K. (2010). Beyond the digital natives debate: Towards a more nuanced understanding of students’ technology experiences. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 26. 321-331.
Bennett, S., Maton, K., & Kervin, L. (2008). The Digital Native Debate. British Journal of Educational Technology 39(5). 775-786.)
I always found myself annoyed when educators made the assumption that all students are great with technology. That’s like saying that the entire Roman Catholic Church was corrupt back in 1517. No matter, technology is here, and there’s going to be change. Will it totally change the way we educate children? I hope not. Did the reformation rid the earth of the Roman Catholic Church? Did the world become a better place because of the reformation? I tend to believe so. Does technology have the ability to enhance the world of education? Most definitely.