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Brad Murphy  @bradmurphy73

Brad Murphy @bradmurphy73

I am High school science teacher with a Maters Degree in Astronomy and Studying a Masters Degree in ICT in Education. I have been teaching for about 20 years in various schools near Sydney, Australia. Professionally I have a particular interest in the use of EdTech in breaking down classroom walls and proving student collaboration and engagement.

Posted by on in Education Leadership


Making Change

Change is difficult at the best of times, but even more so in schools that have busy schedules, traditional pedagogies with the ‘we have always done it that way’ mindset, and a myriad of approaches, methodologies and technologies all vying for teachers’ attention. David Thornburg put it that managing such change, whether it is at a whole-system level, school level, or classroom level is as difficult as trying to rebuild a car engine while speeding down a highway! (Thornburg, 1995). Just because something is difficult, however, does not mean it should not be done. If teachers expect students to embrace a growth mindset then at the very least so should they and part of a growth mindset is to embrace challenges and persist in the face of setbacks (Dweck, 2006).

stan mindset2x

Implementing new technologies and related pedagogies like a Learning Management System (LMS) such as Moodle, or cloud-based collaborative technology like Google Apps for Education (GAFE) requires effective strategy to inform the users of benefits (Aladwani, 2001). Both of these technologies have been introduced to the author’s school over the last two or three years and this would be the case for many other educational institutions. Most schools implement change through a ‘top down’ management approach. Although this is necessary to a point, only using this approach is not ideal, especially when introducing new technologies that require a change in pedagogy in order for transformation of teaching and learning rather than mere replacement to occur (Hughes, Thomas and Scharber, 2006). 

In order to have maximum buy-in by teachers, there must be ownership of the process and the best way to do that is to include a ‘bottom up’ approach. However, such an approach cannot be just a random guess; it must be targeted and specific to the teachers’ own context because the further down the hierarchy the more narrow and specific that context is (Klein, 2006). Bottom up approaches include peer coaching, action research and design thinking, all of which can be used to complement each other. Before a bottom up approach can be determined, there must be a mechanism to ascertain what that might look like for individual teachers. Though this task is a difficult one, it is not impossible. There are two innovation adoption models that can be used to do this – the Concerns Based Adoption Model (CBAM) and Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT). CBAM is the better known of the two, having been used in educational settings for almost 30 years, while UTAUT has only been around since 2003 and therefore has more limited research backing and use (Straub, 2009). Both of these models have their differences, but what they have in common is a method to analyse top down implementation of new innovations and how they are being accepted and adopted. Both approaches will be compared in a future article; however, UTAUT will be the focus in this article.

Assuming research has been done to introduce a new innovation as appropriately as possible, a strategy for change is:

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Posted by on in Education Leadership


“The goal of our transformation process is to prepare students for jobs that don’t yet exist, using technologies that have not yet been invented, in order to solve problems that have not yet arisen”

Lisa Marie Blaschke quoted by (Harrison, A. and Hutton, L. 2014, p31)

The learning space and problem.

My Learning Space is a Science laboratory, originally a standard classroom converted, that I spend most my time teaching in. The constraints of the lab include the fact that it is small and that the chairs and tables must be confined to the carpeted area. I have considered changing the tables from being in rows but gave up due to the space limit issue. This has meant group work is difficult to conduct as the benches are too small for that purpose. Below are photos showing how my lab looked before changing it.

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