Sunday, 9 October 2011

Appealing to the Elephant and the Rider

If I am able to demonstrate the ease of use of Web 2.0 in the inclusive classroom, I will have to thoroughly research each tool to provide rationale for its use, and only then can I be assured that many on staff will give Web 2.0 a try. Chip and Dan Heath in their book, Switch: How to change things when change is hard liken the change process to that of a rider and an elephant with the rider representing the rational side of our being and the elephant representing the emotional side. (2010, p 7). They note that
if you want to change things, you’ve got to appeal to both. The Rider provides the planning and direction, and the Elephant provides the energy. So if you reach the Riders of your team but not the Elephants, team members will have understanding without motivation. If you reach their Elephants but not their Riders, they’ll have passion without direction. In both cases, the flaws can be paralyzing. A reluctant Elephant and a wheel-spinning Rider can both ensure that nothing changes. But when Elephants and Riders move together, change can come easily (p 8).
I know that I must provide inspirational motivation to appeal to the Elephants, but absolutely must also provide research and rationale to appeal to the Riders or none of this change either with Web 2.0 or inclusion will come about. I expect to measure my achievement in this endeavor by firstly viewing the number of staff who take on the challenge to use Web 2.0 tools to enhance their teaching and secondly to see engaged students in the classrooms. Berger and Trexler describe “active, engaged learning [as] one of the major benefits of integrating technology into the curriculum” (2010, p 11) and Rose and Meyer (2002) further explain “the task for educators is to understand how students learn and use the technology available in this digital age to provide selected supports where they are needed and position the challenge appropriately for each learner. In this way, we can engage more students and help every one progress” (para 4). I know staff want to have highly engaged students in their class and find it inspiring when this is the situation (The Elephant) but they will need the rationale for incorporating the tools (the Rider). No small task. . .

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