Andrea Vasquez

Opportunity For Change

Pepperdine University

Web Portfolio

Final Reflection

To initiate the change process, I began by assessing the current environment. Is the environment primed for a coat of transformation? Are others ready to learn and absorb the process? It appeared that alienation and scheduled team meetings were the norm in our school. Things were moving rapidly but no one really stopped to reflect and truly delve into a needs assessment for the school. Teachers were in a moving car attempting to look at flowers.When I stopped to locate needs in our school, I uncovered a need to build an online curriculum and technology resources for our classrooms. Yet I also uncovered a need for dialogue and natural collaborative relationships. To understand how to cultivate a truly collaborative environment that would essentially embrace change, I began by reading Tao Mentoring. Introducing different elements to an environment could lead to an openness to change. Specific elements tied to the process include discovering a common ground between adversaries so that a win/win solution takes place, an ability to learn from mistakes, an ability to enable others to reach their full potential, and igniting the passion and enthusiasm that exists within us.

Providing a platform for these opportunities comes with showing others that there is a need and by helping them understand the gravity of that need. Once there is a common understanding of the need, moving forward can be initiated with dialogue. Here are some of the key actions in my change proposal:

  1. Assess needs of school in regard to technology in the classroom
  2. Assess current environment to understand school cohesiveness and how teachers were collaborating
  3. Get others on board by helping them understand that there is a need for change
  4. Turn teacher's lounge into "teacher's sanctuary" by redecorating, playing soft jazz, and introducing it as a place to relax and detach
  5. Facilitate productive dialogue emphasizing a safe, nonjudgmental platform where all points are truly heard (listening without resistance)
  6. Introduce the importance of knowledge building and collaboration
  7. Locate skilled members that will be useful resources for this change
  8. Quick faculty meeting showing potential uses of technology in the classroom, in addition, email all resources to staff
  9. Introduce the notion from Tao Mentoring that "to be a good teacher, one must be a good student. To be a good student one must learn well what he or she will teach." This will be the mantra of our new technology implementation plan (learning web 2.0 tools)
  10. Begin implementation of activities

I firmly believe that a 21st century learning environment addresses the needs of the teacher and students. I understood that there was a need for technology resources and lesson ideas that would help launch students into the new reality but I also saw the need to enlist teachers and staff. The lack of cohesion and isolation that I witnessed would not be the best catalyst for change. In the coming year, I see myself creating a sanctuary for the staff, a place where they can gain a sense that they are valued and appreciated. I also see myself facilitating meetings where I model productive listening. I will nurture staff ideas through productive dialogue and knowledge building; this will provide the learning and leadership opportunities that will be the basis for confidence and empowerment. Through this opportunity, I will enlist technologically skilled members to my tribe of resources. These members will have the opportunity to informally mentor other staff members. Due to the fact that I am a patient, skilled and flexible agent of change, I also foresee myself providing hands on, individualized trainings.

Initial Summary of Opportunity for Change

I came across the opportunity for change when I was creating a science unit on plants. Our school is newly equipped with technology and I was looking to implement that technology in the plant unit. I stumbled across some dated Educational Technology resources and was quite disappointed that there were minimal lessons and ideas that would help implement Educational Technology in our district. I feel as though I possess the key that will unlock the world of Web 2.0 in our school. Teachers are not using the new technology to create dynamic and engaging units of study. They simply do not know what to do with it.

Our district has less than 7 sample lessons posted on the district website. They are primarily in PowerPoint and Excel. Teachers need to see that there are other mediums that students can utilize besides the Microsoft suite. Our district technology standards have a focus on limited applications, primarily Kidspiration and Microsoft. Teachers should know about Web 2.0 and the amazing things that they can create with their students. I will create my sample lessons to start a movement. Students can collaborate to create dynamic lessons. Skype is currently banned in my district and it would be interesting to pitch the idea that Skype is a great way for classrooms to interact. Teacher responsibility would play an integral role in the implementation of Skype in the classroom. I am planning on creating a curriculum that utilizes web 2.0 tools to display the learning, foster collaboration, and primarily to show teachers that there is magic in technology just waiting to be unlocked.

Learning Context

Teachers give the impression that they are eager to implement technology in the classroom and I would like to capitalize on that momentum.

Learning by me:
I would begin by carefully planning a series of lessons that can be used in the classroom. I will learn to develop a teacher friendly and simple online curriculum with web usability principles in mind. In addition, I will key in on Ubd and essential questions. I would also like to develop a pacing guide for using the lessons; this guide will also help with meeting technology standards in our district. Such a guide is nonexistent for technology yet exists for all other subject areas.

Learning by teachers:
Teachers will learn to use web 2.0 tools as well as the devices already in their classroom to develop their own lessons. I will begin by scaffolding and eventually allowing the teachers to develop lessons on their own.

How will you address the learning needs and challenges?
I will begin with a faculty meeting that will address any questions they have. I will also assess their current technology level and provide them one on one, hands on training when necessary. I will likely designate a technology representative in each grade level that can continue assisting with any needs.
I will also develop a wiki for any questions that arise and for teachers to communicate.

Resource List

Faculty- All faculty is equipped with laptops, internet access and projector. I must train them on the use of free online tools.
Students- Students have access to school computer lab and laptops
Members of the Educational Technology Community- Must approve all decisions
Various Free Online Tools
Books: Understanding by Design, The Book of Learning and Forgetting, The Art of Possibility

Total Cost-0

Time Line

Year One

Introduction and initial activities:
Tools Introduced: Google Groups, Edublog, Wikis Survey Monkey, Twitter
  • Introduce Objective: Create online curriculum using various tools. This curriculum will inspire creativity and innovation amongst students.
  • Activities will help staff learn the tools as well as the design model
    • Sign up for Gmail and join the google group to discuss Understanding by Design
    • Sign up for EduBlog to blog about The Art of Possibility
    • Sign up for WikiSpaces to input information learned within The Book of Learning and Forgetting
    • If help is needed they can send a message through Twitter, email, or instant message through district provided messenger
    • Survey Monkey will be utilized to request feedback

November, December, January: Continue activities. Begin Tool Search
Teachers may work as a team or in groups to locate a tool that they would like to use in the classroom. Discussion on how to use the tool will take place on Ning, teachers will sign up and build a Web 2.0 forum on their tool findings.

Building curriculum/Research
  • Discuss ways in which tools can be used to inspire students to be innovators.
  • Discuss ways in which tools will also be used to help students learn district standards. Post on wiki.
Begin creating curriculum and post on district site for others to access

Podcast Transcript:

Acting as An Agent of Change

Link to Podcast:
Upon reflection, I came to the realization that change is slow and can have the possibility of becoming somewhat static if follow up is not maintained and members are disenfranchised. I often ask myself, what does it take to keep the momentum alive? Implementing change is a special process that requires small steps, reflection, an openness to critique and the wisdom of the crowds. These factors are necessary for the livelihood of change. I have realized that anyone has the power to make a change but what separates true agents of change from others is the ability to sustain that livelihood through action and taking calculated risks that support the betterment of an organization.

As a self proclaimed agent of change, I can see possibility in everything and everyone. Possibility coming to fruition is the change in action. In addition, I have learned to listen without resistance, through this, I have acquired the ability to enlist others in my “tribe”. With this form of listening, the gift that each person can impart is highlighted. I have learned the importance of relationships; without them, change is virtually impossible. Relationships are developed and change occurs when members are empowered in a non-coercive environment.

To evaluate this change, I will use qualitative and quantitative date. I will ask others for feedback on how they felt as a leader in addition to how comfortable they feel with implementing this into their own classrooms. Survey Monkey will be a good tool to measure this feedback.
Quantitative data will analyze rates of use and satisfaction.

Managing the Change:

Keep the momentum alive- A skilled, enthusiastic, and encouraging manager is essential to the progression of change. Consistently following up on projects, providing timely feedback and developing trust will help keep things moving. Helping others see that change is a process and not something that happens overnight is also a momentum tool, members must understand that in order to learn and get something out of this experience, they must be engaged in the process and not consumed with the final goal. They must understand that there is a need for change in order to engage in the process. Learning occurs within that process.
Modeling- Daily modeling of expectations is also vital, to model use of technology in the curriculum, I will go into classrooms and teach lessons. I will come into classrooms in a non coercive way in addition to asking teachers and students for feedback on the lessons. In addition, I would provide online samples and professional development based on teacher needs and interests.
Start a tribe- Listening to others without resistance, having compassion and really knowing what members of the community are about, will give the manager the opportunity to locate members who will be core catalysts of change. They must be committed members who possess essential skills in order to make this change occur.
Get administration on board- By having a clear and convincing proposal for change that clearly has the betterment of the organization in mind, you can get administration on board. With the head leaders on your side, it will be likely that those who would normally not want to be involved, will be involved.
Facilitate leadership and learning opportunities - Create successful learning opportunities so that members of the group become empowered, confidence should prompt them to assist others in the learning process. By encouraging dialogue and acknowledging all ideas, learning and leadership opportunities will also occur naturally. When the best ideas are synthesized and attempted, members become franchised in the process. It is imperative to show others the value of change and help them see the value in themselves
Create an honest and open environment- All insight and critique should be valued and the construction of new ideas should be at the core of this dialogue. The sign of a healthy school environment is when you see a member venting about an issue and others jump in to troubleshoot instead of egging the person on or turning your back on the person.