Change is a way to help organizations improve

Years ago, my father said to me: “The only thing that is always the same, is change.” I spent very little time trying to figure that out, because it didn’t seem logical. After graduating from college, the concept of change became clearer to me. Since the early years of my career in education, I have come to view change as an instrument utilized by organizations to improve.

Ed Saxton
Ed Saxton

At times, human nature is in the driver’s seat, avoiding change at all cost and for any reason. Perhaps the following statements are made: “Change? But we’ve always done it this way!” “Change? Why do we need to abandon a perfectly good process?” “Change? Why change at all?”

If the word improve is substituted for change, the meaning of the statement is not only different, but more appealing as well. It is common for people to resist change, but rarely do we resist plans for improvement. Achievement and improved performance are the focus of today’s educators.

Generally, the willingness to improve is a positive attribute. Speaking from a school district perspective, the educational arena can be an ideal setting for teaching the importance of adjusting methodology. Why are we so concerned about cutting edge concepts? Great question.

If the goal of education is to equip students with the intellectual tools they will need to be successful, it would logically follow that staying current and being willing to explore options could serve our students well. How does that tie into our current course of study?

Much of the shift is on the forefront because of technology advancements. Because information is available to students anywhere and anytime, our teaching tasks have changed dramatically.

As teachers, students and parents experience the technology surge, it is clear that we each have a role to play in this renaissance. Students are, by nature, curious and completely fearless when exploring “gadgets.” Teachers and parents have varying degrees of comfort depending on their own personal experiences.

The critical element upon which success hinges is our ability to orchestrate the technology integration as seamlessly as possible. Schools have the ability to introduce students to this new adventure. Parents have the ability to foster the energy needed to keep up with these tech-savvy learners. The students add elements designed to get the answers to questions that may or may not exist just yet.

Let us entertain one more variable that could come into play depending on family dynamics. There may be a grandparent, an uncle or another family member who would be more than willing to engage electronically. Phones, iPads, apps, Skype and FaceTime may play some part in the process of learning. These tools, along with social media, are changing, and I would suggest improving our ability to interact in the educational setting.

Parents are asked at conferences, “Do you have this app on your phone? It could really help Timmy work on his math facts.” We are now looking at technology as a tool to improve the experiences our students encounter day to day. This is not a movement as much as it is a shift; a shift in thinking, a change, an improvement adventure are all accurate ways to describe this technology infusion. Enjoy and engage this exciting transition.

My father had his own ideas about change. I might reference improvement as an alternative, but similar, experience. He is 90 years old, but I’ll ask him what he thinks of substituting improvement for change. I’ll send him a chat message in our Words-with-Friends match.

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