Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Whack-a-Mole of new ideas

Next session was from Abilene Christian University about lessons from their mobile learning initiative

ACU is in Texas and has 5000 students,
They were the first university to establish a comprehensive 1to 1 mobile learning initiative that provides every student with an iPhone or iPod touch.

One driver was innovation and providing something to attract students.
But, the primary driver was the student profile.
Students coming in now were born in 1995, (he made the point that some of us have t shirts older than that)
They've never lived in a world where disaggregation isn't possible; where you can't always pause and rewind live TV.
They inhabit a world where you are always connected. There are more text messages sent now in a day than there are people on the planet.
Consumption spreads faster today, eg it took 2 years for Facebook to get to 50m users. It took 39 years for radio.
Implementation to saturation is very fast. It is only 3 years ago that the iPad was invented.

The world has changed, but have our classrooms?
Are our students engaged?

At ACU they had been trying to address the above two issues. In 2007 the iPhone was released. The Internet could now be in your pocket, all the time.
They set out to explore how this could be used in HE to foster innovation, and decided to give one to very student.

Some myths around innovation that they leaned during this implementation:
Innovation doesn't happen in eureka moments.
Innovation doesn't have a methodology. Need lots of trial and error and risk taking.
Best idea always wins. It doesn't.
People love new ideas. Not all do. Need to give people permission to go slowly. So, when they decided to roll out iPhones to all students, ( and they told faculty staff after they'd announced it),  they told staff they didn't have to let students use them if they didn't want to.

Resistance to change is part of our culture.
Are we playing Whack-a-Mole with new ideas? As they come up, we smack them down.

Organisational cultures are like an iceberg.
Top of iceberg things you can see. Artifacts
Below the surface are exposed beliefs. What we think is important
Down below. Basic assumptions. Things so engrained we can't find words for them. Each bottom one trumps the one above.
Culture eats strategy for breakfast

Only way to change culture is to work together to solve a problem. We need to reframe our discussions into a problem that we can solve collectively.

As you think about innovation on campus, remember that it's not about the technology. It's about the students, and preparing them for  the world they are going to inherit, not the ones they live in now.

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