How do we plan for ICT-related change? This is probably one of the most prominent questions relating to education in the 21st-century, replacing the question of whether or not to consider the use of ICT in schools. Hargreaves et al. (2010: xi-xiii) refers to the late 20th-century and reflects on what society has learned in these last two decades by stating:
“It is time, now more than ever, for a New Way of educational change that is suited to the dramatically new problems and challenges we are encountering. This New Way should build on the best of what we have learned from the Old Ways of the past, including those of the past decade, without retreating to or reinventing the worst of them”.
To many, it might seem that educators have no place in this process. That the “dramatic problems and challenges” are debated at the executive level of our schools and educators are just swept along in the current of the decisions made on their behalf. In a speech on the 5th of February 2008, former U.S president Barack Obama said the following:
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
These words were profound for Obama’s political campaign and they are just as true for the 21st-century educator. With change being central to the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution educators cannot simply be passive observers during this process. Educational change is a necessity in the development of our students for the realities of the 21st-century and rather than struggling against this change, educators should strive to be champions of change.
ITSI offers a comprehensive course on change management and the different roles during the change process. Within these roles, we identify some characteristics that are important for educators embracing their responsibility as champions of change. Four of the most essential characteristics includes:
A person who inspires excellence – An educator who inspires people to excel and sacrifice individual interests for a higher purpose. Educators need to inspire colleagues to work together in ensuring that change is managed properly for the sake of the students in their classrooms.
Encourage innovative thinking – Encourages people to find new and exciting ways of doing things. Educators who are also champions of change know the value of encouraging fellow educators in seeing the positive possibilities of change.
Sense of urgency – An educator who drives the change and motivates others to action. These educators understand that timing is extremely important in the process of change and they act with a sense of urgency to make sure that all parties involved have a smooth experience.
Approachable and accessible – An educator who others feel comfortable to engage with. Change is a process that requires collaboration. Remember, we are the ones that we have been waiting for. You can be the change that you seek!
If you or your school need guidance in the process of ICT-related change, consider enrolling for the ITSI course on Change Management.
Nicolas Matthee is an educational researcher at ITSI. His work focuses on Cognitive Psychology, Educational Neuroscience, and Pedagogy. He further specialises as a Ritual Studies specialist with a focus on Ritual, Liturgical and Thanatological Studies and how they relate to different technologies and cyber contexts.
He is a research associate at the Department of Practical Theology at the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Pretoria. Non-academic related expertise includes game and 3D graphics development for computer and mobile environments.