Open Education Europa had the pleasure of meeting Dr. John Stav at Online Educa Berlin last week. Dr. Stav's platform, One2Act, fosters student interaction and engagement in the classroom using their personal mobile devices. He spoke about the roadblocks to implementing innovative changes in education.
Dr. John Stav at Online Educa Berlin
The open education movement has yet to make waves in the Norway.
“We don’t do it in Norway,” Dr. Stav said. He explained that educators tend to work independently and that they lack mechanisms to foster cooperation. Perhaps as a result of working within a conservative education system, teachers themselves are hesitant to adopt changes.
“It’s a fight at practical levels with the teachers in Norway,” said Dr. Stav. Meanwhile, students are eager to see change and even contribute to change, as long as they see the benefit.
Dr. Stav shared with us some of the lessons he has learned about implementing change, especially in the case of new technology.
Focus on the implementation phase – Choosing who to target for the implementation phase is a crucial decision. The early adopters will make or break a new approach depending on whether or not they recommend it to others.
Encourage sharing and replication - Widespread change occurs through a cascading system, when users themselves help to spread and multiply the new approach among their networks.
Show and tell – An idea is more powerful when you can see it and touch it. Dr. Stav helps teachers to adopt his new platform by holding physical meetings to talk to the teachers and giving demonstrations on its usages and methods. If a face-to-face meeting isn’t possible, he offers support during the implementation phase via Skype or videoconference.
Take small steps – It could take years to see a significant change become widely adopted in the education system.
Location, location, location - Each country has a different education system. Even within countries, there is a huge diversity in the methods used in different schools! There is no single approach that would work everywhere, so the specific conditions in each location must be taken into consideration when implementing something new.
You can find out more about One2Act on the project’s website.
Dr. Stav is an Associate Professor at Sør-Trøndelag University College, Faculty of Technology, in Norway. He has led many European R&D projects in the Lifelong Learning sector, particularly the development and implementation of ICT solutions for education.
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