At the start of IC2. Reading, reading, reading. Disconnect to reflect.

Some thoughts at the start of the new module: IC2. Innovation and Change 2.

In my TELIC adventure, a new chapter has started. Last Thursday, we started the new module IC2. IC2 stands for ‘Innovation and Change 2’. The main aim of the module is to ‘enable me to further develop my understanding of change management in relation to interpersonal and group aspects of change and to project management.’

I’m looking forward to my learning in relation with the tutors and the other participants. I’ve been giving this course a lot of thought the last few days. When working in the garden, when driving the car … when I’m disconnected. In a Dutch program some time ago, there was an interview with a professor Theo Compernolle. The conversation was about the illusion of multitasking. Our brain functions in linear processes, and we actually cannot multitask. ‘Disconnect to reflect’ are his words. Twitter followers, now you know the reason behind my reduced tweeting activities ...

At the startup of the new module, we received lot of information distributed through the wiki and in the first online Collaborate session. A lot of reading resources, summaries in PowerPoint presentations. This was a good start to construct my own learning path at the beginning of this module. Here’s what my disconnected mind came up with.

1. Reading, reading, reading

From all the reading resources I selected two to start with: the NMC horizon report 2014 because I believe that this will be very interesting for our ICT approach in my school. And secondly the book ‘Leading Change’ by John Kotter. I came across this video some time ago. It intrigued me but I never read the book. So, I decide to read this first. Honestly … it was also the very first book of the reading list that I could find in the library.

Next on my reading list are ‘Making Sense of Change Management’ by Cameron and Green (book is on the way), and ‘Schools That Learn’ by Peter Senge. Making Sense of Change Management is a classic, and it offers insights in a a lot of frameworks. This referential work is very promising and comprehensive, instead of focusing on one particular framework. Schools That Learn on the other hand focuses more on the contexts of educational transformation. It is a fieldbook for educators, parents and everyone who cares about education.  

2. Comparison of some project management tools and pick one.

Objects and technologies are equal partners in networks and systems. When well designed, a technology translates a major effort into a minor one (Latour, 2005). We received some tips on the use of project management software. I tested some: > I’m not interested in another installable application, I prefer a cloud-based one.

In my school, we work with Google Apps as a social learning system. Ideally, we work on our projects inside this system. Of these four none convinced me. Arguments? Not in Dutch. Not free, not open-source. Setup in Google Apps dashboard did not work. Only one project or limited five users in the free version.

This German project seems promising. I set it up on my own domain name. Since my innovation project in the workplace mainly involves external partners, I will test this one out in my workplace innovation.

Pro: ease of use; Dutch; not too complicated; basic features such as milestones, tasks, file sharing, time-tracking; agenda seem sufficient enough.

In the future, I will further investigate the necessary features and the design of good project management tools and setup something of my own in the current Google Apps environment. Probably some combination of shared Google Sites templates with Spreadsheet functionalities. Keep you posted.

In the meanwhile, we also have to prepare a small presentation on how we would realise the vision of this  XP Doncaster innovative school. Working on this with Claire … Will share our presentation later.

About being hungry, feedback and seeing differently #telic1

Reflection after session 3.

At the end of each #telic1 session we are asked to give a keyword that expresses our feeling. Last Thursday I said ‘hungry’. Not only because I really was hungry :-), but mainly because the word expressed my feeling of wanting answers to the difficult Lave paper. This paper contains a lot, and we all read the paper, reflected on it, created digital artefacts and presented them.

But what do Richard and Guy think of this? What is the essence of this paper we should take with us? Should we try to grasp everything in this paper? Are we on track? Etc.
Feeling in need for feedback…  A feeling I’m expressing in this post, but will also mention that to R & G  in person.

It is a fundamental fact of human nature that we are inquisitive. We want answers! 1

Why is that?

Because having answers creates order in our conscious minds. The scientific quest is to discover the order in the external world of space, time, energy and matter. The spiritual quest is to discover order in our consciousness.2

On feedback.

Feedback is one of the most powerful influences on learning and achievement, but this impact can be either positive or negative. (Hattie, 2007)3 It is essential how I  look towards this experience. I can either push this towards an opportunity to learn, or I can point towards R & G for not giving me feedback.

Not ‘what’ overcomes us, but ‘how’ we look at it makes us feel as we feel.

Secondly, the type of feedback is less important. Nearly any type of feedback can be valuable, only if there is a logical link with the challenge in which my mental energy is invested.4

Two types of feedback brought me back to the optimal experience of flow in the telic Msc programme:

1. I looked differently at the reading assignments. It is not per se about “all” the contents in the papers, but they contain links with the summative assignment of writing a paper: 'Learning always takes place in social contexts but is inevitably an individual achievement'.

2. My fellow-in-critical-reading-three Claire was smart enough to ask for feedback. After having contacted her (thanks Claire) she told me it was better to focus on one aspect in a paper than trying to tackle the whole thing. And relying on our common sense and instincts is more important.

I’m looking forward to reading the next paper this week.

It’s a puzzle, Richard said. Well, let’s start with the corner pieces: instinct and common sense, learning, social, individual achievement.  




4. (freely translated from) Csikszentmihalyi, Optimal Experience of Flow, 1999, p.85