I was very excited to get to visit the LINQ Precinct at Sheldon College today while attending my second Full STEAM Ahead event. I have been wanting to check this space out for some time and I really enjoyed having a tour around the building and then working in the space during the day.
The LINQ Precinct houses the Business Enterprise Centre, Design Technology workshop and flexible CAD, prototyping and robotics labs, the LINQ Creative production facility, an interactive / collaborative space with full operable walls; forecourt and breakout areas; a large group lecture and exposition space; and the LINQ Video Wall for group presentations, venue signage and virtual video collaborations.
Some photos I took on the tour and from my day working in the collaboration space:
I found the space really impressive and enjoyed working in the collaboration/ interactive space during the day. It was versatile and could be divided off into three separate spaces with sliding glass doors. The furniture was colorful and modern, but also presented variety of seating options. Some also incorporated power ports into the furniture which made it perfect for working with technology. The room incorporated a lot of glass which has been used for brainstorming and instructions. The whole space had an airy feel with plenty of natural light. Sliding black glass doors acted as a board also while hiding away the Maker Space materials, which were neatly housed in colourful drawers. Smaller group work areas allowed privacy and quiet while still allowing a supervising teacher to monitor productivity. I also enjoyed the addition of famous and inspirational quotes around the building and the thoughtful incorporation of plants.
Other highlights included the robotics lab, astronomy deck and full auditorium. I also really liked the full glass display cabinets that were similar to shop display windows. The business Enterprise Center hardly looked like it belonged in a school with proper conference room and display of student created products which have been successfully sold. Overall an impressive building and an asset to the college.
In my current role as eLearning Coordinator, instigating change is part of my job description. With the speed that technology is evolving, its use in the classroom is constantly changing and improving. This is essential in order to enable our learners to participate in a digital world.
This is not without its hurdles of course. Any person in a position of management trying to implement change can find it difficult. Understanding why change is not going smoothly can help you to address these hurdles.
Knoster’s premise is that the six categories of Vision, Consensus, Skills, Incentives, Resources, and Action Plan all need to be present in order for complex change to occur successfully. Perhaps most interesting is what can go wrong if one of the categories is not present during the process.
CONFUSION RESULTING FROM A LACK OF VISION
Sharing your vision with those with whom you are trying to enact change with is very important. Staff will not understand why they are pushing forward without vision. Sometimes this vision is enacting larger strategic goals. If this is the case, being transparent with reasons why things need to happen will prevent confusion.
SABOTAGE RESULTING FROM A LACK OF CONSENSUS
I think management can assume too often that they alone have the power to push through a change when in reality it is the staff that makes it happen - kind of like pushing a car up a hill without the wheels. You have to be a bit of a salesman and get the "buy in" from those that are, in reality, going to be on the ground level making it happen. This does not mean 100% approval of course…it does mean setting the vision strongly enough and having enough hallway and informal conversations to win hearts and change minds.
ANXIETY RESULTING FROM A LACK OF SKILL DEVELOPMENT
Trying to enact change without upskilling them is like throwing staff into an athletics competition without training. Ultimately when they begin the race, they are going to fall over and fail, thus ending the race.
RESISTANCE RESULTING FROM A LACK OF INCENTIVE
Teaching can be one of the most selfless jobs in the world in the sense that they will always want to do what they think is best for their learners. Often, that is enough of an incentive in itself. Providing the evidence and examples of why something is valuable will help. Also, everyone likes a bit of praise or a nice big carrot to work towards....
FRUSTRATION RESULTING FROM A LACK OF RESOURCES
Technology is notoriously under-resourced and often lacks the infrastructure to support it. This is a frustration in itself and often takes a bit of creativity and persistence to work around. Physical resources aside, one of the most valuable resources is actually time. Not creating time to work on complex change can be equally challenging.
RUNNING THE TREADMILL AS A RESULT OF NO ACTION PLAN
Great leadership energy, plenty of financial backing, and a superb vision is not enough without an action plan that is shared with all and easily understood. Without having a measurable and reasonable goal to achieve, you never actually "get there" - it's a race without a finish line, which is exhausting!
Read all about my thoughts on teaching in the 21st Century, my experiences with technology in the classroom, running a Maker Space, launching STEAM and Design Thinking with students, coding, robotics and much more!
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