Leading a Little Change

A brief late-night thought on leading change in a secondary setting.

Last year I introduced Google Apps for Education to the staff at my school in a whole-staff PD session. The reception was mixed. The ability for multiple users to be working on the one doc (which has been happening for years) was a novelty to many, but I was surprised that so few of them could see how this could be used in their classrooms. I don’t think I did a bad job of selling it. I certainly focussed on teaching and learning, not tech, but they just didn’t warm to it. One teacher in particular told me that she couldn’t see any application for this in the English classroom (which I found astounding, but there you go).

Since then I’ve managed (with massive help from the one of our techs) to get our email moved over to GAFE and (whether they know it or not) we have about 1400 active users in the domain. I’ve been too busy setting it up to actually do any PD with staff. All we’ve done is get everyone’s emails working the way they like.

However, I’ve fallen in love with Google Classroom. The way that it integrates with drive and allows me to see how my students are going before they submit their work is a huge improvement over systems where you only see the work once the student has turned it in, by which time it’s too late to help them fix it. The ability to drop in on students while they’re working simulates what I do in the physical classroom.

And today, the very same teacher who couldn’t see an application for GAFE in her class found me and asked me to talk her through some finer points of Classroom. It transpired that some of my year 11s had asked her if she could use Classroom instead of Edmodo, and she’d tried it and liked it.

Now this could sound like an “Aren’t I clever, I was right and you were wrong, I told you so” story, but that’s not why I’m setting it down. My point is this: When leading change in a secondary setting, the only people you really need to convince are the students. Once they can see the value of something, they’ll do the evangelical work. That’s it.