Where’s my cheese?

Those in the know may recognise the title of this blog as refering to Who moved WhoMovedMyCheeseCovermy cheese? by Spencer Johnson.  A short allegorical story about dealing with change.  Coincidentally this is also the focus of this week’s OU assignment (Activity 17 – Why analytics may be ignored).

Getting educators to engage with technology in teaching has long been a discussion for debate – how can this be managed effectively?  However Macfadyen & Dawson (2012) focuses more on the reasons for resisting innovation.

Whilst titled as Perceived attributes of an innovation, there is also the underlying question- What are the risks to me?

“Relative advantage” Rogers (1995): looks at whether change will result in something “better” – but how do we measure “better” especially as the lines between formal and informal learning are continuously blurring.  And is the “better” due to the technology or students engaging due to the enthusiasm of the teacher pushing a technology? Anecdotally it is not uncommon to hear teachers describe a class as ‘difficult’ – the teacher did everything the same, but the class simply didn’t gel, the atmosphere was not constructive to learning etc.  If I engage in technology do I run the risk of overwhelming students pushing them to use technology that actually won’t gratly enhance their learning. Is it technology for technology’s sake?

“Compatability”: Does every innovation work for every group or student.  First year students may be perfectly happy and comfortable exchanging photos online, but will this work with older age groups?  And does this fit what students see as ‘effective teaching’.  With student evaluations a requirement for most courses – are teachers willing to rock the boat?

“Complexity”: Why engage in a complex system that I, as a teacher, may spend more time on than on the required task at hand?  Am I going to have to field questions re. the material or the method used to deliver it?  And again will this result in lower evalutations?

Added to this are also the problems of time, expectation to do unpaid work, and perceived incongruent teaching practices.  If as Macfadyen and Dawson (2012) point out:

academic culture still rewards faculty for verifiable teaching expertise, publication output as a measure of research success, and independent achievement.

then innovation will continue to be resisted or resented.

In the meantime, I’m off to find my cheese!  Someone’s moved it again.




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