Lara's Entry

Factors and isues that should drive change in education
When looking at teaching methods, it seems that there is some stagnation, and teachers continue to teach in the way that they were taught, because they are assured that that method works. Teachers present a mound of knowledge to the students and they expect them to memorise it. That is learning for a number of teachers. But is such a method really working for today’s students? Has it ever been working for students of the past? Are such methods beneficial to the development of intelligence of students?
I think not. We are not giving students enough space to construct their own knowledge. We are spoon feeding them and as a result they are losing interest in researching things on their own. It’s no wonder that some students do not like school. We are not giving them the chance to a proper education, where they learn things out of curiosity, where they research, where they are not forced to learn.
Furthermore the way we teach today, while maybe relevant in the past, is not anymore today. We teach using materials that were ideal to use a decade ago such as charts. Today’s students however use the computer for anything they need to accomplish... so why not in education too? We do need to change our methods, but we change should be done not for the sake of change but because there is a real need for it. The change should occur in a way that will be most beneficial to the students and through this change the students should be able to learn in the best possible way.
Incorporating e-learning in the education system, will be a good move because we are moving to an area that is comfortable with today’s students. It all depends on the way it is implemented and the way teachers look at it. Teacher’s reaction may influence the attitudes of parents and in turn both of these influential persons in a student’s life will certainly influence a student’s perceptions about e-learning.

Plan for e-learning platform
If the e-learning platform is used in a good way, then it could be beneficial for the teaching and learning process. Furthermore, some administrative work on the part of the teacher could be facilitated (such as marking) and thus the teacher could have more time to focus on teaching itself.
Implementing an e-learning platform for about 7,000 teachers is not easy task, especially since not all of them have the same attitudes towards e-learning. Some have accepted it, others are indifferent and others are against it. The first thing to change is thus the ideology of teachers – not through force, but by showing them and helping them find on their own the benefits that can be taken from e-learning. If teachers have more or less accepted and understood that e-learning is needed for a healthier learning environment, then training teachers to use it in their lessons will be much easier.
My plan for implementing the e-learning platform has five steps.

Step 1: A meeting is held for each school where the basics of e-learning systems are mentioned. The purposes of e-learning are discussed and then teachers have a practical session were general items such as creating and grading assignments are done. Thus the most administrative things about the e-learning platform would be addressed as a school.

Step 2: Schools hold workshops for their teachers were they discuss ideas about how they can incorporate the e-learning platform in their class. This workshop should not be restricted to teachers of the same subject. In my opinion, groups should be made up of teachers of different subjects and they would all give each other ideas about how to use e-learning in the respective subjects. This would help teachers appreciate that some creativity is needed to incorporate e-learning in different subjects. Teachers could also decide to do some collaborative lessons when teaching certain subjects. This step, if successful could help enhance the notion of community within the school.

Step 3: Workshops for teachers of the same subject from different school are held. This would be in the form of a competitive meeting where all the groups are given the task to use the e-learning platform to teach a particular topic. Groups, which are made up of teachers coming from different schools, work together to produce an innovative and creative idea of how to teach the given topic by using the e-learning platform. Each group could also create a prototype of this idea and then demonstrate it to the rest of the groups. The notion of sharing of resources could also be introduced to help to create a community of teachers teaching the same subject. The resources created during these workshops could be the first resources to be shared by the teachers.

Step 4: Follow up meetings of teachers by subject are held, even through forums, blogs and wikis, so as to enhance the e-learning environment even from the part of the teachers. This step should help teachers to keep in touch and have the support of other teachers, not necessarily from the same school, when they encounter problems. They could also continue sharing resources through such meetings.

Step 5: From time to time, even after the e-learning platform is introduced in schools, schools should hold seminars for their teachers to present what work they have done so far and to come up with new ideas. Such seminars should not be all about talks but it should give teachers the space to work in groups and to discuss and to be able to come up with ideas of how to continue using the e-learning platform effectively.

I believe that these meetings should be held from time to time; otherwise teachers will become accustomed to using the same methods and will not make much effort since they would believe that they know it all. If this happens, only the tool to teach would have changed. Learning would be in danger of stagnating yet again and students would still feel that education is disjointed from their lives.
Elaine's Entry

Factors and Issues that should drive change in Education.

Technological developments can provide the impetus and platform for the improvement of existing services on the individual school level as well as on the overall educational system level (Carter & O’Neill, 1995)

According to Menchace et al. (2005), a successful management of systemic change include theses factors essential for an effectively implementation of
eLearning:
(a) transformational leadership and advocacy from top-level administrators,
(b) regular communication among all institutional stakeholders (which includes department, principles and school administration)
(c) professional development programs to help faculty incorporate collaborative
and technology-enabled learning into their teaching methods,
(d) robust technology infrastructure capable of supporting new learner-centered educational methods, and
(e) training students on eLearning.

Menchace et al. (2005) developed a model in order it provide an insight of the processes working and system components. The syntax of the model was taken by Ross (1977) where the that is the graphic boxes and arrow notation. The model consists of the central process of eLearning, input, output and constraints. The inputs are what the activity uses,such as administration, technology, students, staff, and classrooms. The constraints consist of the elements that limit the activity insome way, such as funding program priorities, or feedback results. The outputs are the components that are produced or result from the activity, such as students with a certain skill. All the outputs become inputs for the next eLearning cycle.
A picture view of the model can be seen in Figure 1.







eLearning_Adoption_Systemic_Change_Model.jpg





References

Menchaca, M., Bischoff, M., & Dara-Abrams, B. (2005). A Model for Systemis Change Management in Education. Retrieved on 26 January, 2012 from
http://www.iiisci.org/journal/CV$/sci/pdfs/P706915.pdf