- An introduction of your central topic of research, that is, your identified change with digital technology in education.
- A description of the ecology which identifies the relationships between your change and the wider ecosystem
My topic of research is "What support needs to be provided to ensure a successful BYOD programme?"
The change at our school in relation to this topic is that our school went BYOD at the start of Term 2 this year (2015). We now allow and encourage all students to bring a device of their choice, that they own, to school to be used as a learning tool, when and where appropriate. We also provide 5 iPad minis and 5 Chromebooks in every class to top up the amount of devices available for student use.
We believe that moving towards a 1:1 digital device, or at the very least 1:2 programme will enable access to technology anywhere, anytime within the school environment and beyond for our students and that this will enhance their learning experiences and enable learning activities that were previously not possible.
Figure 1 is the artifact that I am reflecting upon. The 'arena of change' model above is created in relation to my own school context, Cobham Intermediate and is based on the work of N. Davis, 2015 and her arena of change with digital technologies. I created this model using Google Drawings.
At the centre of this arena of change is our classroom environment, where the biggest change is visible-children coming to school with their own devices on a day-to-day basis. We have all teachers and students, in ever class affected by this but to differing levels. Some classes have a very high uptake, with almost 1:1, where others have less than 1/4 of students bring a device to class. This, along with teacher confidence and competence, is enabling different degrees of device use in class. Less devices available has hindered some teachers from implementing activities that require or could benefit from device use.
Moving outwards within the arena, to a school level, the level of support provided by the leadership team, parents, BoT and PTA has had a direct impact on the BYOD programme as well. The PTA, along with funds from community charities, have provided funding to purchase additional devices to cater for equity issues. Our BoT has supported the move to BYOD and developed sound policies and strategic planning around the roll out. Parents have been consulted with and communicated to throughout the whole process. The leadership team is integral to planning and providing the necessary professional development needed for both staff and students to ensure new knowledge and skills are being developed. This should also be in conjunction with what is happening in the BLCC - Burnside Learning Community Cluster, as many of these schools feed into our intermediate school or our kids move into theirs. It is important to maximise the opportunities to collaborate and grow professionally as a staff internally and externally, across our wider PD networks, such as the cluster and online professional learning groups (PLGs) open to us, such as on Google +, Twitter, Facebook and the VLN, drawing on the expertise and knowledge of others with BYOD experience and skills.
"PD opportunities within and across schools often support change with ICT-related PD within the school and/or across it's networks of overlapping ecologies" (Davis et. al. 2013.)
In terms of the bureaucratic and political influences, the current Government has huge influence of what is happening within our school environment. The Ministry of Education has fully supported and encouraged the effective use of digital technologies to support learning and the New Zealand curriculum gives us great scope for developing programmes that support the effective use of digital devices for learning. "Schools should explore not only how ICT can supplement traditional ways of teaching but also how it can open up new and different ways of learning." (MoE, 2007, p. 36).
Teachers may have the scope to innovate in their teaching and learning programmes but are still accountable in terms of reporting against the national standards and meeting school student and E.R.O targets, which can influence when, what and why the incorporate the use of digital technologies into their classroom programme. This has been been influenced hugely however since the government invested in the school network upgrade programme (SNUP), ultra-fast broadband in schools (UFBiS) and the Network for Learning (N4L). Having the much needed infrastructure in place was critical in terms of the timing for when our school was finally in a position to move to BYOD.
Finally, the services available also contributed to whether we would go BYOD and of course, of successful the implementation of the BYOD programme will be. When Cobham trialled BYOD in a small amount of classes last year, we also trialled GAFE accounts for all of the staff in the school and just the students in those classes and use of the Hapara Teacher Dashboard for managing the google account in those classes. The success of both of these initiatives was such, it went without saying that when we rolled out BYOD across the whole school this year, all students now would move to GAFE accounts and all classes would use Hapara Teacher Dashboard to manage student work, with Rev It supporting us with the management of our network and hardware.
Seeing the ecosystem clearly identified and visible has been an affirming moment, as well as being able to articulate how the relationships between each layer has impacted on the change taking place within the classroom, or more specifically, impacting on how successful the change has, or has not been implemented and managed within our school and for our students. Seeing the layers of change and how they interact developed my own understanding of the domino effect of change across the ecosystems-you can't get change happening in isolation, "Systems don't change because only one party takes action" (Fullan, 2014, p. 76).
Upon reflecting on how the ecologies exist and interact with each other in relation to my own school environment, it is apparent that our teachers are at the heart of the model and therefore at the 'coalface' for the change. This is where the ultimate success of BYOD will be measured, in terms of what our teachers feedback about how the devices are being used, the uptake of BYOD and most importantly, the impact of student engagement and achievement. This being said, the teachers would not have necessarily been able to make this whole school change without the support and direction from leadership. Fullan (2011) comments that "...for a system to develop it must be led. Supportive leaders become an essential component" (p. 3). In our case, leadership has been driving this change from the outset, allowing for consultation with all key stakeholders, professional development opportunities for staff, providing ample funding for school devices to top up availability in classes and ensure equity for all, as well as implementing a pilot programme so we could slowly introduce the change and evaluate its impact for our staff, students and whānau before making a decision about rolling this out across the whole school. This meant that we were confident that we were making the right decision, based on what our teachers and students wanted and based on evidence gathered around an increase in engagement. We are still investigating any direct links to an increase in student achievement results as this is harder to prove. In my opinion, the leadership support to make this change, for the right reasons and through a systematic, deliberate and well-timed approach has meant the initial stages of the change process has been successful so far.
I would like to encourage others to view and reflect upon my arena of change. I would love to receive some feedback as to other perspectives in relation to my model and any similarities or differences other school contexts face in relation to the implementation of BYOD at their schools.
As I become more knowledgeable about correct APA referencing and annotated bibliographies I may need to edit this post and correct any errors I may have made.
I have aspirations to share this model with the staff and leadership team at my school, or perhaps even better, work through a collaborative activity where groups, which could include staff, leadership, governance, parents, students etc could create their own change arena for our school. Having mixed groups could broaden the perspectives brought to the table and identify different influences the others may not have considered. We could then share the change arenas and identify the similarities and/or differences as well as the possible implications and opportunities.
Davis, N., Eickelmann, B. and Zaka, P. (2013), Restructuring of educational systems in the digital age from a co-evolutionary perspective. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 29: 438–450. doi: 10.1111/jcal.12032. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.ezproxy.canterbury.ac.nz/doi/10.1111/jcal.12032/epdf
Description: This article recognises the increasing range of radical restructuring resulting from the co-evolution of education and digital technologies in school systems and related activity in the global ecosystem. It explains the co-evolutionary perspective of ICT in education, sharing learning from a case study of a rural secondary school in New Zealand and explores resistance to restructuring with ICT, the co-evolution of virtual schooling in the U.S and summarises the restructuring of schooling systems in the 21st century.
Evaluation: An excellent article that uses a wide range of evidence informed research to supports its statements. It clearly articulates and defines the relevant terms and describes how the interconnected ecosystems relate to each other however I also found it to be written to a high academic level, therefore it takes careful thought and consideration to be able to process and understand the concepts. This article has been essential to supporting my topic of research as I have used the arena of change model as the basis for understanding my own school context and the various ecologies and influences surrounding and impacting on my own school perspective.
Fullan, M. (2011). Learning is the work. Unpublished manuscript. Retrieved from http://www.michaelfullan.ca/media/13396087260.pdf
Description: This paper outlines some of the traditional forms for teacher development and the lack of success these have had in terms of making a real difference to improving teacher practice. The overall theme for the paper is how collaboration is the key to substantial and effective teacher development and that this collaboration occurs regularly and across various levels. It is in the day-to-day conversations, support systems, feedback and feed-forward and professional conversations that happen between and across staff, leaders, students and parents. This also extends outwards to between and across other schools, networks, organisations and collaborative networks. It details how innovation will come from teachers working in collaboration and leaders developing an interactive system.
Evaluation: This paper comes from a well respected and internationally known educator (one of my favourite experts to learn from). It is short and succinct, making it easy to read and process. The results are linked to Canadian and American examples but I still found the information relevant and applicable to my own experiences within the New Zealand education system. The key concept of collaboration is extremely relevant to our school context as it is a key focus across the school to develop and enhance student and staff collaboration. This also is very relevant given the move to Learning Community Clusters (LCC) and the Investing in Educational Success (IES) policy where our schools is now needing to collaborate across several schools within the Burnside LCC.
Fullan, M., & Langworthy, M. (2014). A Rich Seam: How new pedagogies find deep learning. Retrieved from http://www.michaelfullan.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/3897.Rich_Seam_web.pdf
Description: This report discusses three new forces impacting on education today and going forward into the future. The first force is 'new pedagogies' and relates to the new learning partnerships that develop between and among students and teachers when resources and digital tools become 'pervasive' The second force is 'new change leadership' which 'merges top-down, bottom-up and sideways energies to generate change faster and easier than anything seen in past efforts at reform'. The third force is 'new system economics' where the essential and powerful learning resources and tools which accelerate the first 2 forces become more affordable for all. The report gives the background to why change is happening globally, what the new pedagogies are all about, how they can be viewed in modern education and what the possibilities are if the new pedagogies model is developed in schools.
Evaluation: This report is an excellent resource for anyone in education. It comes from a well respected and internationally known educator (Fullan) who has numerous highly regarded books and papers published in relation to key educational concepts within future-focused learning like change management, leadership, collaboration, digital tools etc. The report is well structured and references a huge amount of research, both from international experts as well as New Zealand experts, which I found reassuring to know there were links to our education system. One of the most beneficial aspects of this report was the numerous school stories, including teacher quotes, statistics & data, tables of relevant information etc as I was able to directly link and substitute these examples with some of our own information in relation to my school context. I believe this report is an essential resource for education leaders and all teachers to read as it is engaging, informative and very motivating. You come away for a better sense of the immediate need for change and the possibilities the new pedagogies model could provide us with.
Ministry of Education. (2007). The New Zealand Curriculum. Wellington: Learning Media.
Description: The New Zealand Curriculum document, alongside Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, is the key document which sets the direction for student learning in primary and secondary schools throughout New Zealand. It provides essential information and guidance schools need when designing and/or reviewing their school curriculum.
Evaluation: The New Zealand Curriculum document is viewed positively by many and is widely considered as flexible, practical, more child-centered and an improvement on its predecessor. Some express uncertainty due to the reduced prescription and increased professional autonomy.