George Bernard Shaw once said, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” In my previous coursework, I had spent a great deal of time researching the topics of blended learning and makerspaces. Over the past few months, I’ve been fully immersed in implementing my Innovation project. However, this course offered a subtle reminder of Shaw’s words: to make progress, you need to open your mind to change.
In rereading my original literature review, it became very clear that my research was lacking in the areas of blended learning and examples of other places who had implemented (successfully or unsuccessfully) similar practices within their institutions. This led me to dive deeply into case studies that were within a global context, as well as re-examine my own plans to bring innovation to my district. My research was centered around the questions “What worked well?” and “What could have been done better?” This yielded the following results:
What worked well?
-Collaboration= the most successful implementations stemmed from a team of people working together to implement the change
-Dialogue= the reason for the change and the steps for creating the desired change were revisited daily by all stakeholders
-Timing= the best implementations stemmed from a realistic timeline that allowed for processing, training, and reflection
What could have been done better?
-Planning- districts that failed to think about roadblocks or possible challenges often were forced to abandon or drastically alter their initial plan due to pushback or lack of organization
-Technology- much of the case studies that I read failed to fully plan for successful technology launches, whether through lack of infrastructure or lack of training
-Professional Development- so often, a change was implemented without enough support for stakeholders. No matter how passionate the stakeholders felt about the need for change, a lack of support drastically decreased the success of the initial plan
After reviewing the remaining research, I was able to sum up my view through a “Call to Action” video to support the change I believe students in my district deserve.
The completion of this video led to the compiling of my findings in a Literature Review. This review supported the ideas presented in my video, as well as provided a sound base of education practice to present to those in my district who may have still had some questions or concerns surrounding my desire to bring change to my district.
After so much time spent researching, it is only logical that I needed to reexamine my own Innovation Plan and look to answer the question “How can I apply the lessons I learned to my own plans?” After reviewing my own plan and timeframe, I definitely need to add in more options for Professional Development. While my teachers are very much on board with implementing a school-wide makerspace and blended learning, it is a very new concept for them. Many teachers have expressed a level of discomfort or lack of confidence, especially in providing meaningful learning experiences within the makerspace. By providing PD to teachers in this area, I will greatly be increasing my chances of success. One other change that I need to add is the implementation of a common program for blended learning. Right now, we are using so many programs across grade levels, and this is resulting in an inconsistency in student learning. By getting all the grade levels on board with the same program, the students will experience common language and expectations, allowing for an even more immersive and blended learning experience.
I’m thankful for having had the time to deeply research both local and global trends in these areas. It definitely opened my mind, and therefore increased my ability to enact change and spur progress and growth within my district. This is only the beginning, and I know the possibilities that lie in front of me are endless.