#Change11 What sort of changes are required in our education system?

This week’s topic and presentation on Managing Technology by Tony Bates sounds interesting to me.

Slides of Managing Technology to Transform Teaching by Tony Bates.

Recording of the Managing Technology To Transform Teaching Blackboard

Jenny responded with her post in Is our education system in crisis?  Others who have responded to Tony’s topic included:

Jenny mentions that it may come from within and without.  If it is coming from within, then “it is crucial that we can facilitate change from within – mainly by empowering people and inspiring them with a powerful and shared vision.” Matthias shares that change may come from within and the salient technological affordances cannot be prescribed by some higher power.  I couldn’t agree more on this, as I do see blogging and wiki allow for full autonomy for learners, thus liberating the learners to share his or her views and have such voices heard. 
 
As I have shared in my previous post on Future of Education and Online LearningFuture of Education, and Future of Higher Education Part 3, I do think there are needs for changes in Colleges and Universities in response to the urge for better and cost-effective education in most developed countries.   
 
These urges were also the result of ubiquitous use of new and emerging technology (including information and communication technology) in various areas of business and industries, some of the schools, and the rapid development of social media and the related tools during the past ten years.  These, coupled with the demand of more highly skilled and knowledge workers in society in many countries, both developed and developing ones, have created a demand of a more technology based working, educational environment where a great education has become an important benchmark for global competition.  

Governments are also looking for an agile, more cost effective and responsive education system to serve their society, and community.  This creates an enormous pressure both for the education authority and institutions to strive for better way of educating its population, so as to add value to their social capital – the people, which is one of the most valuable assets in the world.  
         
“Can universities or colleges change from within, or do we need new institutions for 21st century learning?”

I think universities or colleges can change from within, and would also benefit much from the changes from within.

Reasons:

As shared in my previous post, change usually involves three aspects; people, processes and culture.

People: Who are the people initiating changes?  Would the changes be initiated from the top or would they be initiated from the bottom (grass roots – staff and learners) level?   From a historical perspective, we witnessed most successful changes were initiated from the top, though there had been some “emerging” cases where changes were initiated by the grass roots, or those not based on the “formal institutions”

Culture: Has there been much changes in the education culture?  We seemed to have accustomed to the teaching as the main way of educating the learners, especially in a school setting.  In an online environment, we may be having a very different culture, where education is taking up a totally new form – with peer-to-peer learning, facilitated by volunteer scholars and educators – like that with University of the People, Wikiversity, or the provision of resources in the form of  Free Online Courses and MIT Open Courseware.

What sort of cultural changes is required in Universities and Colleges?

This requires a change in the way how people view Openness, Open Education, Open Educational Resources, and Digital Scholarship.

How to create and facilitate such changes? Leadership from within and without.

How about a change towards Servant Leadership based on serving other people as the fundamental principles when practicing leadership?

Process: Nothing will change unless the process of education is changed. However, this is easier said than done.  Why is changing the process of education necessary?  Currently there are Standards stipulated for Online Teaching and Programs:  Standards for Quality Online Teaching and Programs:

National Standards for Quality Online Teaching

National Standards for Quality Online Programs

Others skills frameworks include 21st century skills and Framework definition: Partnership for 21st century skills.

Aren’t these standards and frameworks good enough?  These standards are wonderful for school and online education, but would they be able to cater for the technology enhanced education and learning in social media?  I am not that sure on this.

Photo: Google Image

In my previous post:

The education system that we once cherished has been founded on an economic funding model, based on mass education, cost effectiveness and education efficiency for the particular nation, where a centralized education system is valued and mandated, and accreditation of education would only be granted if the course and curriculum are quality assured.  The current paper on Quality Assurance in Asian Distance Education: Diverse Approaches and Common Culture well illustrates the importance of quality assurance relating to distance education in those countries.

Now these paradoxes surfaced out of the education system posted new questions and challenges relating to (a) the values of traditional testing of knowledge based on rote learning, (b) the adequacy of grouping students, subjects against fixed curriculum, (c) the impact of new technology and social media on the nature and structure of formal education – in particular Higher Education, (d) the authenticity of learning at school with a curriculum based on content knowledge, with subject structure of – language and literacy, numeracy and mathematics, science, and information technology, arts and religion etc. (e) the need for new media literacies and their application in our daily life, or that in study or at work, in response to the changing needs and expectations from all those concerned – including employers, colleagues, customers, educators and peers, (f) the development of metacognitve, critical thinking and sensemaking skills that are often required to solve complicated and complex problems, individually and collectively, with technology as an affordance.

Photo: Google Image

Postscript:

Thought Leadership would also be required to facilitate those changes and tackle the challenges due to the changes.

See this wonderful presentation by Stephen Downes.  A great summary on MOOC, Connectivism and PLE.

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#Change11 On Educational Leadership

What does educational leadership mean for educators?

Should educators be focusing on technology enhanced education and learning in colleges and HE?  How should the pedagogy be shaped, in response to the emerging social and technological landscape and most importantly the changing needs of learners and educators?

Should the pedagogy relate to how educators teach, and the strategies adopted? What should be the vision, mission and focus of educators at this digital era?

For those of us who are working in an educational institution, what are the challenges, in times of “crisis”?

I reckon the number one challenge is Leadership.

And leadership relates to pedagogy.

1. Which pedagogies would suit our and society’s needs and expectations, in times of rapid changes, in face of

– global and local financial crisis

– budgetary constraints on education and teaching

– technological affordances

– social developments

– global issues –  global warming, climate changes, ageing population, social equities

2. How should educators practice leadership?

As Jenny puts it nicely:

“Ultimately each person has to adopt the change for him/herself, but with the right leader and the right leadership style – and for me that is not a hierarchical style unless it is a crisis situation in which in case it might be needed/justified, such as in failing systems. But outside of a crisis situation ‘Distributed Leadership’ might be a better model, although other models might also be considered, such as ‘Servant Leadership’.”

Many theorists and researchers espouse Servant Leadership as a valid model for modern organizational leadership.  However, Servant leadership theory is still undefined and not yet supported by sufficient empirical research.  Servant leadership nevertheless offers the potential to positively revolutionize interpersonal work relations and organizational life.  Does it work in social networking?  How about its application in MOOC?  Has it worked?  And will it work?

I reckon it is fundamental for each educator and learner to adopt a leadership style that would be most conducive for leading the changes one would like to pursue.

Finally, I love these quotes.

“Success is not key to happiness.  Happiness is the key to success.  If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” Albert Schweitzer.

Postscript: