Is chalk and talk past tense – a victim of ‘dash for cash’.

I guess the days of chalk and talk are over, in my view, merely a taste of things to come. From conversations throughout the education sector, there is wide-scale disenchantment and frustration with the system and the apparent breach of promise our politicians speak on school funding will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and bring many to the point of protest – students, teachers and parents.

The question that appears to be wanting in the ‘dash to slash cash’ mindset is changes are needed but what is surviving in the face of technology upgrades is education remains the means of survival and how we learn to fine-tune the way knowledge is delivered.

That said, according to Leanne Mezrani writing for the Project Manager – www.aipm.com.au – in the February/March 2013 edition (but still very relevant) “truly effective teaching relies on the give-and-take between teacher and student. Feedback can be as subtle as a facial expression or tone of voice”.

What is all this based on? Invaluable lessons learnt through industry experience, face to face feedback and deliver using a combination of face to face, online and project based assessment. According to Leanne’s article. So rather than cuts more needs to be spent on knowledge delivery. Especially when we are slipping in world ranking and failing our regional area needs on education.

Is there a revolution or evolution of education delivery though technology? Evolution we think, and if you consider this timeline, also courtesy of Leanne Mezrani:

1911 – first distance education scheme in Australia offered by the University of Queensland and extended to correspondence schools in the 1920’s in NSW and Queensland.

By 1933 – correspondence lessons replace the last itinerant teacher.

In 1935 – All Australian mainland states now have Classroom lessons broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC).

1960 – The school of the Air is established. Lessons are broadcast by radio from the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Cloncurry Queensland.

1975 – The personal computer meant users did not need to rely on mainframe computers for use of education software.

IN the 1990’s – Leaning tools went through a significant upgrade in graphics and sound. CD-ROMs become the preferred method of content delivery.

1993 – Under ownership of Monash University Open Universities Australia was formed as a nation wide means of providing distance education using printed courseware and non-commercial television.

1999 – e-Learning was the term used for internet and other interactive or electronic media sources.

2008 – Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) used as a term to describe an online course offered by a US University. The significance – online classes offered free of charge.

2011 – The Centre of Online Learning Excellence is launched by Open Universities Australia with the purpose of becoming a centre of best practice in online education.

2012 – A total of 20 universities and other education providers across Australia offer 1700 units and 180 qualifications through online courses.

2013 – it is recognized that MOOC was a revolution, but it seem only the highly self-motivated student derive any great benefit from this type of learning. What is now apparent is that is it is an evolution of delivery as the average student is more likely to require motivation and inspiration, and are likely to lose their way in an environment that doesn’t offer scheduled classes or feedback from instructors.

The CO2Land org reads, April 2014 – Australia rates 14th in the place to get a quality education. Rating first is South Korea because of the way they give quality time to students. Since writing this post it has come to our attention Australia is now 15th place according to BBC, 8 May 2014. Also worth noting is that UK is second to South Korea according to BBC.

Does it make you think – dash for cash or offer quality learning? What gives the better future payback?

 

I use to procrastinate – managed to change

I use to procrastinate, but now I am not so sure.  Whenever a new urgent task comes up are you like so many others we talk to find it difficult to say no?  Keeping your focus can be difficult and it gets even harder if you are reaching levels of achievement and you want that to continue your story as your priority.  However, as all project managers will know the problem is change, it is the only constant. If you are an achiever the problem is you risk being called ‘one who procrastinates’ if you seek advice and it seem predicable patterns of behaviour are preferred from us. It is suggested the human brain is hardwired to be predicable, and where groups of people gather there will be change and that can be difficult to manage.

Being a carbon manager requires many skills to be effective and one such skill is change management and to be accredited you must complete units of competency that deal with change.  According to the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) www.aipm.com.au ‘the only constant is change’ and pages 13 to 15 of the Project Manager periodical for October/November 2012, runs the story as such.

The AIPM quotes Prosci (2009) and refers to the Best Practices in Change management where it is said you are six times more likely to achieve your original objectives successfully where you implement change efficiently and effectively, and change management is the structural underpinning of every strategy in every business.

Carbon Management is also about changing cultures and dealing with resistance. To be successful, it needs you to have the team working together. Any other way as an individual will not bring about the necessary change. You also need to be an innovator. Why? Because change must be accepted as an inevitable and as an essential for health and survival and that point needs to be better communicated.

The AIPM also quotes Kotter and Schlesinger (1979) and Trice and Beyer (1993) on ways to change cultures and deal with resistance. The former names – talk of education and communication, participation and involvement, facilitation and support, negotiation and agreement, manipulation and co-optation, explicit and implicit coercion. They even discuss forced change as a last resort and at times essential where speed of action is required. The later authors – name 8 essential considerations for implementing change to an organisational culture.  They refer to the need to find and cultivate innovative leadership.

Contained in the Carbon Management Certificate IV course material run by Carbon Training International (CTI), www.co2ti.com  is an entire unit devoted to organisational based change. They refer to organisational change as defined by Meyer and Bother (2000) as “the movement of people from a current state to a defined state”, and they talk of why change as a concept is relevant. As did the AIPM article refer to Kotter’s resistance to change so do they, only in more detail including the approaches to deal with the resistance to change.  Basic change management strategies quoted by CTI are referenced from Bennis, Benne and Chin (1969) and Nickols (2006) where there are four strategies, namely: Empirical-Rational; Normative-Reductive; Power-Coercive; and, Environmental-Adaptive.

CO2Land org also notes that the key success factors of change management can be determined through 12 critical factors from within. These include: Leadership, Management support, the need for change, participation, defining roles, planning, goal setting, monitoring and control, training, communication, motivation, embedding change. In conclusion the art of project management is as important to the carbon manager as any other strategic discipline, and it takes a strong will and a professional attitude to bring home the importance of the concept of change management.

On reflection, I did procrastinate, but it was more to do with the fear of potential negative consequences, the lack of clear deadlines, and a feeling making a difference was a task that was overwhelming. What changed? There are consequences for delay, the climate and economic situation is escalating and the frequency of change is more evident. Writing this post is an example of the need to change and in part delegating appropriately to someone else, as it is more worrying to do nothing then to act on ensuring the future.