W01: Are you a changemaker?

This is a Discussion Post related to the first week of 522.

Are you a changemaker? Most people are uncomfortable with thinking of themselves as an “entrepreneur” or “innovator” or “CEO” or “venture creator” or most of the other labels we have for people who pioneer our future. However, as MET is a graduate program you presumably wouldn’t be here if you weren’t interested in mastering the potentials of learning technologies, and as MET is primarily a professional program presumably you also wish to translate that mastery into practical leadership. MET is a great launchpad, so what is your intended trajectory into the future of learning? (p.s. – It is entirely OK to say you just want to be better at surfing the wave, rather than creating it).

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74 responses to “W01: Are you a changemaker?”

  1. julio palacios
    I found myself staring at my blank word processor for a couple of minutes as I digested this question. I feel the blurb correctly described my reluctance to call myself an entrepreneur. I suppose one way I can see myself aligning to this definition is through the notion, that I, for the most part try to keep a positive outlook towards change. Change, especially when it happens within the industry one works in, can be scary, but when embraced, analyzed and deciphered, change, especially along the lines of educational technology, can afford a variety new possibilities and capabilities. I suppose the direction I hope to grow towards in education is to develop an ability to make informed decisions in regards to technology implementation rather than simply jumping on technology trends. I’d like to have an analytical eye that both keeps me cognizant of digital trends, but also allows me to decipher their worth and to hopefully identify their trajectory of growth. I feel this skill will not only help me create robust learning opportunities for my learners, but it will also help me seek new opportunities within my field that I am hopefully able to enhance or develop.
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    1. EmilyChen
      Hi Julio, I very much agree with you when you talk about not wanting to “jump on technology trends”. In China, language schools are always competing with each other on who has the coolest or newest looking gadgets or who’s developing the trendiest learning tools, it’s been tough for me to stay true to what really helps the kids learn.
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      1. julio palacios
        Hi Emily. Thanks for your feedback. I had a similar experience when I was teaching in South Korea. Many schools were not only competing with themselves, but also had to compete with a very wealthy private after school academy sector. I remember a friend recalling a story of their workplace rolling out big screen tvs and tablets whenever parents came to visit.
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    2. Michael Saretzky
      Julio, I also like that you brought up not wanting to jump onto technology trends, but to make informed decisions. I know when more and more technology was entering the classroom I would put my hand up to be the first to receive it, but after seeing so much wasted money, time and resources I now try and put more thought into it.
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  2. adrian wheeler
    I enrolled in the MET program for the specific purpose of creating positive change and offering greater value for my department. As an IT professional I am often brought in as a “technology expert” on learning technology projects and integrations, only to discover that there is a communication barrier between the technical folks and the pedagogs. Those of us who are experts in technology have little experience or understanding of learning theory, whereas the pedagogs had the opposite problem. I am hoping to come out of this program with a robust and grounded nderstanding of pedagogy as it related to learning technologies so that I can help integrate technology in a much more effective and efficient way here at UBC.
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    1. allan carmichael
      Adrian, I really identified with your comment that “there is a communication barrier between the technical folks and the pedagogs.” You sound like you are describing MyEducation BC.
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      1. adrian wheeler
        Hi Allan, I’ve heard from colleagues both in industry and this course that it seems to be an issue wherever you go. Hopefully, we can all make a small difference and help reverse that.
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    2. Rachel
      Hi Adrian, I shared similar sentiment that there should be a better integration between education and technology. It took me awhile before I feel I’m “on board” with the integration of technology and education. At one stage, I probably acted like Ben Stiller when he saw a computer for the first time, in the movie Zoolander. The first time I actually considered how much technology can make education more meaningful was during a training course on technology and advising. Admittedly, even then I was somewhat skeptical about how technology can fulfill the human focused advising approach. It did generate my interests of learning more and that was how I applied for MET. Learning different learning theories and now discussing learning analytics, I’m fully on board and can’t stop thinking the possibilities of creating a more rewarding experiences for all users!
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      1. adrian wheeler
        Hi Rachel, thanks for sharing your experience! I really think the approach to technology integration is often done poorly. It should be a partnership between educators and IT professionals that focuses on outcomes, rather than a mad push for the latest tech.
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  3. allan carmichael
    Changemaker. Hmm. Well, today I buried my father, and I think I can describe him as a changemaker. His occupation took him to several different towns across the country during his working life, from Kenora, ON to Edmonton, AB to Ottawa, ON to The Pas, MB to Iqualiut, NV to Victoria, BC, and in each of those new places he had to establish a new home for his family, new friends, new pastimes. He was an aircraft maintenance engineer for the RCMP, and once he arrived in Victoria, he vowed to do what it took to never leave. That meant training for whichever new aircraft was assigned to our region, so that he couldn’t be subsequently transferred. That meant a lot of time and effort away from home, after the age of 45, “going to school” at Bell Helicopter or Beechcraft, at their training centres in the US. After retirement, he took up the lathe as a pastime, joined the local guild, and over the next 20 years grew very proficient in this new pursuit that married technology, mechanics, and art. In the two weeks before his passing, he was trying out a new technique he had learned from a guild member. Catharsis accomplished, how does the term apply to me? I’m not sure. Others seems to think it does, as they keep voting me for science department head…or does that just mean I can run a mean spreadsheet and not go over budget with purchasing? Or don’t know when to say no? I was inspired by a former teacher at my school, twenty years ago: I had begun using an exam-design tool called LXR to database previous provincial-exam physics questions, categorized by learning outcome (we call those curricular competencies, now), so that when a student could identify a particular outcome that they struggled with, we could generate a series of worksheets on just those outcomes for us to work through together. I showed this to Ken one spring, and he was intrigued. That summer I plugged my way through databasing a few years’ worth of exams, but Ken, who at that time was four years from retirement, returned in the fall with fifteen years’ worth completed for chemistry, and was using the database more extensively than I was right away. I think because he was able to identify the value to his students of this new technology, he knew he had to adopt the tech and adapt his instruction to take advantage of it. So perhaps a changemaker is one who can identify not only a need, but also a solution, and apply that solution into practical service. I like to think I have been doing that throughout my career, but the MET feels like a way to push me more definitely in a positive, progressive manner. Maybe a little less like playing “Battleship” with the latest thing to come along.
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    1. Erica Hargreave
      I am so sorry to hear about your Dad, Al. Thank you for sharing your memories of him with us. He sounds like a wonderfully innovative and determined fellow.
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      1. feng mao
        Hello Allan, I am so sorry for your lost. Reading your father’s career path and passion, it shows his eager learning and changemaker spirit must have passed down to you.
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    2. Michael Saretzky
      Hi Allan, I am very sorry to hear about your Dad. That is awesome that he was still learning and trying out new things.
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    3. kathleen mckenna
      Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed reading about your Dad!
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  4. Erica Hargreave
    Chuckling at the “Most people are uncomfortable with thinking of themselves as an ‘entrepreneur’ or ‘innovator’ or ‘CEO’ or ‘venture creator'”, simply as calling myself an entrepreneur or even a venture creator is perfectly natural to me, as I have been an entrepreneur since my early 20s. An entrepreneur is a term referencing someone who “organizes and operates a business”, which is simply one of the words that would be used to describe me in terms of my work. Calling myself ‘changemaker’ though is different. That does make me feel uncomfortable, in part because it seems a little precious, like guru or influencer, and in part as it seems a little egotistical. It also strikes me that not all ‘entrepreneurs’ or ‘CEOs’ or ‘venture creators’ are necessarily ‘changemakers’. So I decided to look up the definition of a changemaker. Here’s what I found: The term ‘changemaker’ comes from Ashoka (https://www.ashoka.org/), a Foundation deigned to both build and fund changemakers. In there words, “Changemakers identify problems and see it as an opportunity to build a solution. They apply the critical skills of empathy, teamwork and leadership to make positive impact.” As Changemaker International (http://www.changemakerintl.com/who-is-a-changemaker/) puts it, “A changemaker is somebody who is taking creative action to solve a social problem!” You can read more on ‘What Changemaking Is’ in this article from Fast Company: https://www.fastcompany.com/3062483/what-is-a-changemaker So returning to the question, am I a changemaker? Yes, absolutely. Changemaking is something I have invested much of my life’s work doing. Does this mean that I am a changemaker in everything I do? No, but I also think that is okay. I have spent much of my career ahead of the financing, so sometimes it is okay for me to pause and focus on work that allows the changemaker in me to experiment and create new things again, by knowing that the financing is looked after through that other work. And sometimes I just need a little break to look after myself and others in my life, and have a little bit of rest and relaxation.
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    1. Jessica Daicos
      Thank you for sharing these great links, Erica! What stood out to me most was in the Fast Company article you referenced: “CHANGEMAKERS BUST THE “LONE HERO” MYTH Not every changemaker launches their own startup. Sometimes it is the changemaker within an existing institution that’s most powerful… Known as social “intrapreneurs,” these are people–like many of us–who understand the mechanics of their own firms and are in a great position to innovate for the greater good.” I must be a changemaker. Not because “I AM A CHANGEMAKER”, but by process of elimination. I notice more and more frustration when I work within cultures that don’t value creative problem-solving. Who don’t, as you quoted, see problems “as an opportunity to build a solution”. In contrast, I’m a person who found potential, possibility and hope in the disruption caused by COVID–a chance to do things differently. My intent in enroling in this course and the MET program is to level-up and step up. My trajectory into the future of learning is still unclear to me (I’m happily exploring), but I hope this journey will lead me to a culture of changemakers. Surfing the wave or creating it, I want to work with people who believe in taking “creative action” to shape what learning can be.
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      1. Erica Hargreave
        I hear you on that frustration, Jessica. And I cannot agree more – re: “found potential, possibility and hope in the disruption caused by COVID–a chance to do things differently.” In general, my outlook is that when things don’t turn out how you wished or you run into an obstacle, is to find the good in that or a different way round. Perhaps that is part of what it means to be a changemaker.
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    2. ben zaporozan
      Hello Erica, Your confidence here is admirable and greatly appreciated. About a year and a half ago I would not have called myself a changemaker or innovator, as though it might attract unwanted attention. I found though, that taking an interest and using a problem-solving approach combined with empathy, teamwork, and leadership (as you mentioned), it is difficult not to have a positive impact on people, processes, or return on investment. These very behaviours have recently helped me to win a seat on a small, cross-functional team dedicated to exploring innovation and the behavioural and cultural changes necessary to help my company adapt its processes and products. We meet once a month with our senior leadership team team and have secured their buy-in to reach some ambitious goals, like offering training in design thinking, agile methods, critical thinking, and strategy, and also the opportunity to apply the skills in every role and to measure success for all of our staff learners as well as our ROI. Ability to influence leaders and the company seems to me to be one of the signs of a changemaker, and with it comes risk taking/management, a few failures, and some interesting conversations that open new opportunities. The team is new and we haven’t had to address any major setbacks yet. I have a sense that how we handle that is going to determine the overall success of the initiative, but I’m confident without apology now.
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    3. Joyce Lo
      Hi Erica, The way Ashoka described in their words, “Changemakers identify problems and see it as an opportunity to build a solution,” resonates with me. Eight years ago, I was a teacher who believed in making a difference in our world through the things I do and teach my students. Now, through my life experience of being a special-needs parent, I recognize problem areas in education for students with disabilities and explore alternative options to solve these issues. Some ideas I have learned so far in this MET program include the importance of: using UDL (Universal Design for Learning), presuming competence, modelling, understanding ableism, and having accessibility of technology.
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      1. joseph kwan
        Hi Joyce, I enjoyed reading your post & have witnessed you become a “changemaker” in recent years. Joining the MET Program is a wonderful start to this journey. Similar to yourself, I have experienced change since becoming a special-needs parent. I appreciate Dr. Vogt sharing that “most people are uncomfortable with thinking of themselves as an ‘entrepreneur’ or ‘innovator’ or ‘CEO’ or ‘venture creator’ or most of the other labels we have for people who pioneer our future”. I find myself becoming goal-focused and driven in recent years, joining several board, steering and advisory committees to further the cause of social justice and change. I look forward (with excitement and perhaps some anxiety) in venturing into the unknown… creating new pathways for special-needs families such as ourselves and for others… hopefully creating value, promoting education and increasing awareness along the way. As mentioned in W04.4 “The Right Stuff”, perhaps another family (or brilliant individual) will carry on our work and take it to new heights. We must put our “pride and ego” aside to let the venture evolve and benefit those it was meant to serve in the first place. That, to me, captures the essence of being a true “changemaker”. Joe
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  5. skye ferguson
    I would 100% say I want to be a change maker. I became a teacher because I would to help future generations find their passions and be successful. Being in the classroom for a few years now I see some changes I want to make. We are in the 21st century, therefore, I feel that digital literacy is an asset that our future generations must possess to be successful. Therefore, I feel like being apart of the MET program will help me make the different I want to make in the classroom and within school divisions. I hope to push for a stronger emphasis on digital competency and literacy within all curricular programming.
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    1. adrian wheeler
      Hi Skye, I really appreciate your attitude and commend you for being so student focused.
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    2. raafa abdulla
      I totally relate to you Skye. I was working as a physics TA at UBC for few years. I found even the students who were accepted at the university are lacking many learning skills. I remember one day, I was thinking that it is too late for the university students, but I can have a chance with the secondary school students. The next day I applied for the education program to be a teacher. I am now math teacher and I am glade that many students are seeing math from a different angle.
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    3. Michael Saretzky
      When you mentioned the 21st Century it reminded me of my admin from few years ago who kept talking about 21st Century Learners and that we are going to need to teach them for technology that doesn’t exist yet. I must admit I was quite intrigued by this thought, but then I started to question, “How? We don’t know what will be out there and if I did maybe I would be a lot wealthier.” However, after some pondering I realized that I need to keep myself up to date on what is out there, something this program has really helped with doing. In turn, we must help keep our students up to date as well and when possible we need to bring some of this technology into the classroom. Although, as I stated in another response you do want to make sure you make informed decisions and not waste time, money or resources.
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  6. Vijaya Jammi
    For me the trajectory of change signifies a consistent, conscious and constructive effort towards the desired goal. And the desired goal of all ed tech professionals would obviously be to impact future learning. I have been reading reviews of some of the top Ed-tech companies, often projected as top 20 or top 30 companies in the world. I noticed that a majority among them deal with tools for classroom engagement, knowledge organization and other multi modal production tools for digital learning. Whereas, supporting behavioural and cognitive engagement of learners in the process of learning is scarcely being attempted by the companies in the field. The success of ed-tech companies as I mentioned above is measured in terms of millions and billions in annual turn over. If this measurement of success can be redefined based on the qualitative accomplishment of learning globally, then the ed-tech pioneers will have no reason to shy away from their titles as referred to by David Vogt. I believe, that the learning theories, learning design and technology together ideally make up the composite construct for the framework of learning. Hence the ed-tech pioneers, when they are experienced in educational field can wield this construct more impressively. Given the pedagogical experience, and knowledge of the enormous potential of technology, the pioneers in this field can impact learning in meaningful and a big way. My intended trajectory into future of learning, would be to aspire for such accomplishment through my venture
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    1. Alexandra Scott
      It is extremely sad that ed-tech companies only view themselves as successful based on their turn-over instead on their impact in the classrooms or on individuals. And I think you are right that pioneers would not shy away from stepping out there if the focus was not on turn-over but on positive impact and the accomplishment the education has for students and teachers on a long-term basis.
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  7. Alexandra Scott
    Are you a changemaker? My first instinct is yes I am a changemaker because I am a teacher and everyday I make a change in someone’s life everyday even if I am not necessarily aware I am doing it. So based on that definition we are ALL changemakers. But if you go by the definition of Merriam-Webster : “a device that mechanically supplies change in coins of desired denominations upon the operation of the proper levers or keys”. Then I have to be honest and say no I am not because I am not a bank that supplies coins in the desired denominations, however if we view this more abstractly I can say I do provide coins of knowledge in a desired subject upon the operation of the proper teaching methods or pedagogies taking into account the students needs and desires of their desired learning style. Therefore, I think as teachers it is part of our jobs to be changemakers and adapt and manipulate things as we can to improve the situation for our learners. I believe many teachers have shown incredible innovation and initiative during COVID times as they have switched to online and have just learnt as they go along and have tried changed to the times we find ourselves in by being willing to learn, collaborate and innovate. What is my intended trajectory into learning? Wow, well in many ways it is to try and stay relevant and be part of the movement of where educational technology is heading and not fall behind. It is to gain knowledge so that I can make myself useful in the teaching position I am in as well as to learn for improved teaching practice and to the benefit of my students. In many ways I want to take the knowledge I learn and apply it and test it out to see how and if it works. In the last two days I have already pushed my learning boundaries by figuring out how to work a Macbook and connecting Macbook TV so that I can teach, which is things I am not used to. I have also started using Microsoft teams as this is what is required of me, in many ways I also want my learning trajectory to be one of I feel confident and comfortable to play around with technology and test it out in order to see how it works and if it works for the correct reasons that it works but also to be able to do this quickly. In many ways I also am willing and wanting to learn from others, which includes the students in front of me who are born with technology at their fingertips. So in essence learning more and more to become a relevant and fast changemaker is a goal to attain.
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    1. Erica Hargreave
      Thanks for the chuckle that the definition in the Merriam-Webster dictionary gave me, Alexandra. Loved all your thoughts on educators as changemakers, and while I think there are many teachers that are changemakers, unfortunately there are also many that resist change.
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      1. Joyce Lo
        I agree with you, Erica. “…Many teachers… are changemakers, unfortunately there are also many that resist change.” I remember reading an article about how to be a teacher in the 21st century, one must be flexible, embrace technology, and keep learning. During the start of the pandemic last year, all the teachers were expected to do online teaching. I remember it was easy for some, but extremely difficult for others. A few gave up and even decided to go on early retirement because change came too fast. Change became more of a problem for them instead of a solution for finding alternative ways of teaching.
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    2. raafa abdulla
      Totally agree with you Alexandra. I am still wondering how teachers were able to adapt to online learning within few days. Some of my students even mentioned that the online learning was more engaging and very organized as compared to actual lessons. Teacher demonstrated high risk-taking skills during Covid-19 pandemic and still doing that till now. With social distance and sanitizing procedures, (without taking much time), we just adapt and accept changes.
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    3. tiffany ku
      Well said Alexandra! I am always amazed at the resilience of my co-workers and their ability to adapt so quickly to situations, especially when we switched to eLearning in the matter of just one week! Sometimes when the days feel redundant I think about how change making is a ripple effect- how students will take what we are offering to them now and possibly one day become change makers themselves in the spaces of their passions/ interests. And like you said, you may have planted the seed/coin! I know this is a daydreamer’s thought in an ideal world but its what gets me by sometimes.
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  8. sarka kubelikova
    I believe I am an innovator and a change maker….and therefore sometimes a rule breaker. Questioning norms dosen’t always make one popular but is a necessary step towards innovation and making change. How does one help others see that change is necessary? That is a question that I continue look for answers to and I am hopeful this course will help. I often find myself pushing changes in education . Many times that is a lonley and vulnerable place to be. Having data and user(student) feedback has been vital in getting others on different initiatives. I am persuing MET courses to be surrounded by like minded individuals who have more questions than answers and are willing to grapple with unknowns and question current norms.
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    1. EmilyChen
      I agree with you… Seeing that something should be changed for the better is one thing, but helping others see that, and motivating them to take part in that change can be quite challenging. I’ve noticed that unless what needed to be changed affects them a lot, most people would rather leave things at status quo, because they are in the habit of doing things a certain way. The unknown generally makes people uncomfortable, so I tend to tell myself to be patient and take baby steps. Thanks for sharing! I think you are absolutely right in saying that many times leading change is a lonely and vulnerable place to be. Good luck with everything!
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    2. Erica Hargreave
      There are so many hard truths in what you shared here, Sarka. Often creating change takes bravery, conviction, and a willingness to speak up and stand on your own if necessary.
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    3. tiffany ku
      This is so true Sarka! I try my best to embody this mentality when I teach but it is definitely easier said than done. I tend to experiment a fair amount on my students (sorry kids) but luckily they’re old enough to be somewhat understanding and can give constructive feedback. But it definitely is a lonely place, especially when things clearly are not working and you want change but there is no support put in place to help you find a sound or sustainable solution. Its hard doing this solo. That’s why I’m here as well!
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    4. Joyce Lo
      I really like how you said, “Questioning norms dosen’t always make one popular but is a necessary step towards innovation and making change.” This is true and I have experienced it within the context of my workplace. Looking back at my teacher training, I was trained to teach typical children how to read and write. When my non-verbal son started kindergarten, I asked myself and his school if anyone knew how to teach him to read and write. No one knew. In the past, I remember seeing other non-verbal students just sit in class and that was considered “inclusion”. But that was not what my husband and I wanted for our son. We wanted him to be able to communicate with others and have friends. We believed there was a way, we just needed to find it. We did research to find the right program to teach students with disabilities and contacted different professionals for advice. My son is in grade 3 now. Through years of therapy sessions and practice, he can read and write! He is the first one at his school to have these skills. I hope to learn more through this course to keep pushing and make change for those who need it.
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  9. JamieTooze
    In my profile I shared the quote, “Be open to change – there’s nothing about this current moment in history that allows for stubbornness.” I am in MET because in 2013, I attended an advising conference at Maastricht University in the Netherlands and I was deeply impressed with how my counterparts in Europe and the USA provided advising services to students using education technology. I was also introduced the the seemingly obvious concept that advising and consulting is teaching. Not only do I recognize the need to teach more effectively using technology, I also see the importance of being ambassadors of educational technology because change is often confronted by stubbornness and uncertainty. My second reason for studying edtech is because in many ways, I envy my daughters Ema and Maya. I envy them for all the amazing technologcal developments they will witness in their lifetime and I want to help them be part of the changes ahead.
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  10. Laura Ulrich
    Without a doubt, I am a changemaker. When I came to my school, there was no communication between our educators and the IT department. I put myself forward to be a liaison between the two. I also spent a year as an “unofficial” department head of a Digital Technology Department that did not exist. I am happy to say that the four courses are now recognized as a department, though we are still fighting to get any kind of budget. I revitalized the digital arts programs, and am fundraising for a new vinyl machine that will raise both the floor and ceiling for student creation and school initiatives. I do not expect to be a teacher forever, and I want to leave the school better than how I found it. Two years ago, a dismayed grade 11 student told me that they knew more about how to use a computer in grade 4 than they did that day. It broke my heart to hear that, because, to me, a computer is a portal to an infinite array of spaces— from community halls, to galleries, to great workshops, and beyond. And this student’s lack of opportunity to explore had made their journey that much more daunting. I want to make technology more accessible to learners and educators. I want to show them that they CAN be great technological tinkerers and content creators.
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  11. Michael Saretzky
    Recently, I have done a lot of self reflection of my journey through the MET program and where it has brought me in my career, as such I would say, yes I am a changemaker. When I first began as a technology coach at my current school, which I believe this program helped me get, I thought it was best to keep showing my colleagues all of the new gizmos, gadgets, apps and tools (many of which I learned about in the program) and demonstrate their use in the classroom, which some of them enjoyed and brought into their own instruction, there were definitely a few who were quite happy with pen and paper. However, now one of these more traditionalists is probably using technology more than I am. With this one particular staff member I found that just being there for her when she had a question, because she was trying something new (to her) was more important than bringing in something that is new to me. In other cases COVID was the changemaker with getting some staff to use some of the newer programs online that they may have been hesitant to use.
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    1. Rachel
      Michael, I love your reflection on how your attitude of helping/sharing knowledge with colleagues has changed and you bring up a really good point: everyone has a different pace in learning. Also with the rate technology is going, it is difficult to keep up and stay comfortable with all the exciting new tools! It is considerate of you to provide the space for your colleague to explore and be there when she needs assistance. You’re a great colleague!
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  12. sundeep lail
    I believe i am a changemaker. Just looking at my time at work, most people will ask me about any upcoming technological advancement that could be used in the classroom, any issues with our in-house Moodle courses are directed to me, I was also the first person to be the technology mentor at my work. If there is a way to change something, I will push for the change to be made online, as opposed to the more traditional pen and paper way. However, more importantly, I think what I have learned throughout my career is, to be a changemaker doesn’t mean I have to constantly pave the way, it also means I need to see what other people are doing and make sure they are being given the opportunity to showcase their knowledge and their expertise.
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    1. sundeep lail
      Sorry, I posted my comment before I finished answering why MET and where am I heading with it? Truth be told, I am not 100% sure. I know that being in the field of education, with a technology background, is an exciting time. I see all these amazing apps and different software being developed, I see changes in pedagogy, and an overhaul in a very archaic educational system which is all cause for excitement. I want to use this new found outlook on education to help, not only the students, but the teachers as well. I feel the teachers are in as much need of educational technology as the students. However, where exactly I end up, remains to be seen.
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  13. Yannick Wong
    I think a changemaker doesn’t necessarily have to be an entrepreneur, innovator, CEO, or venture creator. The entrepreneurial and business side is definitely important in pushing the edge of educational technology, but as successful as their marketing can be, they aren’t always penetrate the market thoroughly or efficiently. One of the biggest pushbacks is institutional bureaucracy; those who have worked in relatively large educational institutions like me would know that most of them are typically at least a decade behind in technology compared to the private market. I’m not necessarily talking about hardware and software, but rather teaching and learning strategies based on technology. This is partly due to the inherent lack of agility for big institutions but also parly due to unnecessary bureaucracy and infighting. Entrepreneurs don’t make this easy either. I recently was searching for a new LMS for my institution that’s more lightweight and agile to replace the “traditional” (read: outdated) LMS we’ve been using for more than a decade now. It was a hassle and a half just to find out what features are available and to get a price quote. You’d think those would be the things that sensible businesses would advertise first and foremost. Now that I’ve had my rant, my goal (or wish) is really to be the bridge between these two parties – institutions and entrepreneurs: to introduce institutions to the possibilities of educational technology (an admittedly tall task) and to ensure the entrepreneurs have products and services that adequately support the needs of institutions. This operates on the assumption that institutional, centralized learning is not going away soon, something I’m willing to bet on at least for the next couple of decades. This is what I feel like how change can really happen in the field of education, since it is still dominated by institutions; there have been no large-scale disruption from the private sector like Netflix, Uber, Airbnb, or the like.
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    1. Erica Hargreave
      This was a great rant, Yannick. It had me nodding throughout, as I know all too well that which you speak from both my experiences working in post-secondary education and working with some other entrepreneurs.
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    2. JamieTooze
      I totally agree Yannick. It reminds me of a quote that Tony Bates often refers to in his works, “Universities are like graveyards. When you want to move them, you don’t get a lot of help from the people inside.” Source: Sangrà, Albert & Bates, Tony. (2011). Managing Technology in Higher Education. Strategies for Transforming Teaching and Learning.. If you any one is interested in the history of this analogy see: Brankovic, J. (2020, June). “Changing a university is like moving a graveyard”: A history of an analogy. ECHER. https://www.echer.org/changing-a-university-is-like-moving-a-graveyard/
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  14. kevin ohearn
    I believe that educators are in a great position to make changes in the lives of their students. When I think back to my time as a student, I remember a few teachers and coaches who had a very positive effect on my life. A big reason I because a teacher is so that I could be that positive influence in the lives of my students. I am rather early in the MET program (this is my second course) so I don’t necessarily feel as though I have the knowledge to consider myself a change maker in the world of learning technologies. However, my hope is that as I progress though the MET program I will continue to learn and grow as an educator so that I can better serve my students.
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  15. Grant MacLeod
    Creating change is something that I have always been passionate about and I do feel like I am trying to do my part to make change for the better. Over my career I have been able to incorporate new technology into my profession and I feel that it has benefited my students and trainees. Currently, the team I work for is an R&D type of group and we are tasked with implementing technology to improve our operations. Most of the tech is third-party but some is developed in house. Part of my current role is to train individuals in how to use the new technology. Although I am not a developer by trade, I think I have good ideas and I would like to be able to develop some of them myself, its just sometimes there seems to be too many hurdles to overcome. I am hoping that this course will give me some insight and guidance so that I can become a better change maker.
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  16. kathleen mckenna
    First, I know that I am a maker. I make food. I make relationships. I make objects, solutions–even problems. But am I a changemaker? Perhaps a changemaker is not concerned about a product, or the impact on someone or something. Abstractly, a changemaker is a mindset. It is someone who uses their discovery and “makes” in some capacity. As a changemaker, I am less concerned about my impact in the physical space, and more interested about the mindset I have to “make”. I am still working on that mindset. I still have to remind myself that I make decisions every day that have both negative and positive implications on others and the world around me. I find it interesting that people have interpreted the question to mean something positive. Many technology companies create a product that has the potential to harm individuals and communities. Many of these companies have the desire to make a product that benefits society yet retrospectively causes negative implications. I think these individuals are still changemakers–they have made a change in how the world functions, haven’t they? To me, this is why being a changemaker is a mindset rather than an outcome.
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  17. Alice Shin
    I read one definition of a changemaker as being someone who is able to inspire others, is able to adapt to the changes around them, and is able to be the change they want to see happen. Hence a changemaker doesn’t have to be a modern day superhero, so a lot less pressure for me when I try to answer this question. Have I been able to inspire others? I’ve been told by colleagues and people I’ve worked with and, without going too much detail here, I’ve been told I did inspire them. I’ll believe them for now. Have I been able to adapt to changes around me? Absolutely as shown by the multiple pivots I’ve managed to traverse throughout my life. Am I the change I want to see? That’s the big question! And a reason why I’m in this course at all – not only to understand that things are changing, but to formulate a path to allow myself and others to move forward together and thrive. So I’ll say I’m 2/3’s of the way there.
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  18. Alice Shin
    I read one definition of a changemaker as being someone who is able to inspire others, is able to adapt to the changes around them, and is able to be the change they want to see happen. Hence a changemaker doesn’t have to be a modern day superhero, so a lot less pressure for me when I try to answer this question. Have I been able to inspire others? I’ve been told by students, colleagues and people I’ve worked with that, without going too much detail here, I did inspire them. I’ll believe them for now. Have I been able to adapt to changes around me? Absolutely as shown by the multiple pivots I’ve managed to traverse throughout my life. Am I the change I want to see? That’s the big question! And a reason why I’m in this course at all – not only to understand that things are changing, but to formulate a path to allow myself and others to move forward together and thrive. So I’ll say I’m 2/3’s of the way there.
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  19. Kay Kim
    Perhaps one of the reasons why people get uncomfortable by the question “are you a CHANGEMAKER?” is because the word is one that is being used everyday to describe “who you should aspire to be,” or perhaps a worldly renowned, massively successful person that we see on social media, along with the suggestive words, “…and how you can be one too!” The word, as well as the expectation around it, has been built up to the point where people find it as awkward to call themselves a “Changemaker” as calling themselves a “global superstar.” That should not be the case. I see Changemakers everywhere – whether it be in the retired gentleman who volunteers as a crosswalk watch for a local elementary school, a military veteran who runs an after school program for troubled or disadvantaged youth, a student council representative who petitions for a more equitable accommodations program, and in anyone and everyone that gives a little more to go beyond the status quo and make a positive improvement and impact on those around them. The reason why I’m in the field of education is because I want to make education a little bit more accessible, a little bit more attainable, and a little bit more enjoyable for the students that are under my wing. I’m not focused on making my school the best college/university in the State, country, or the world in any way. Rather, I believe that since organizations and institutions are made up of people, if I can do my part in creating enough of positive influence so that those around me may in their turn also do the same, improvements at the organizational/institutional level will be a natural byproduct that I can be proud of. In a way, what determines a Changemaker is not so much about the end result of what you were able to change or influence. In my own conceptual definition, being a Changemaker is precisely that – “BEING” a Changemaker – meaning, it’s always in a present progressive form, a continuation, and it’s more so about the process and the action of making change as opposed to the degree or scale of which I was able to change something. So, am I a Changemaker? Yes, I believe so. Is it still a little awkward to say it out loud? Yes, I think so. Should it be awkward to say it out loud? No, it shouldn’t. Are YOU a Changemaker? Yes, you probably are.
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    1. tiffany ku
      Thanks for your very honest and spot on sharing! I really resonate with your statement that the term “changemaker” shouldn’t have any formalities to it. Rather, anyone that has a vision of what the world could be and should be can in fact be one! This is something that I hold dearly in my preparation for my lessons and when I think of new projects or assignments. How do I teach kids to be changemakers in their own communities and circles through the content or curriculum?
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  20. Neal Donegani
    Well, I could simply say that I am better at surfing the wave, rather than creating it. However, in just passing off the main question of “are you a changemaker?” like this would be remiss to ignore that each person brings their unique style when riding waves, and that this style comes from how the rider innovates when riding waves. Further, every wave is different, even at the same surf break: tides, winds, currents, swell, bathymetry, crowds all change how a wave breaks. Therefore, a rider has to improvise and offer what they can at a break on any given day. Rather than call myself a changemaker I feel that I actively make changes with what is presented to me. So, I’m not making a change as a pioneer storming for the horizon; instead I make changes that work best for me in the now. But perhaps in doing so I am a changemaker, as my changes may eke their way into something more mainstream. Simply, I like to see something, add my style and experience, create something new that I can call my own, and offer it to others to use and improve, just as you would at a surf break.
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  21. RyanSilverthorne
    This question is a very interesting one as I realize that my position as a principal is largely due to my passion to be a better teacher and more specifically, my passion for educational technology. Literally what drove me in this profession was my desire to “change things.” I didn’t want to be a teacher unless I could be one that could have a profound positive impact. As I progressed I became obsessed with all things education and was known for constantly proposing ideas and starting initiatives. One of these was pushing for a more vertically aligned approach to literacy. At the time I was working in the middle east for a BC Offshore school and professional development was scarce. When I contacted the publisher of the literacy program we were using to see if she had any seminars in the summer (at that time most BC Offshore teachers returned to BC in the summer months) the reply was “no, but if you wanted to organize something I’d be happy to do one.” From there I started putting on events and eventually started my own small company to promote educational events during the summer. As the years passed I continued to expand my scope beyond the four walls of my classroom, seeking to work with other educators to improve practice. Technology integration was one of my greatest passions and my first formal leadership position was based on this as the “Educational Technology Coordinator” of my school. This eventually led to other administrative opportunities in Korea and now in Thailand. While I never sought out to be a leader I believe this naturally occurs when you have passion and ambition for something. I sought to become the best educator I am capable of being and this is a pursuit of mastery. My passion for leadership did not prompt me to pursue educational technology. My passion for educational technology and progress is what prompted me to become a leader. In the future my hope is that I will be able to be a voice for positive change and student centred learning in the years to come. In my transition back to British Columbia I endeavour to continue to engage and push for growth and mindfulness. My career has largely been defined by my desire to be as progressive as possible and to truly be satisfied I do not see this changing.
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  22. raafa abdulla
    I was thinking about this almost every day if I am a change maker. I start listing all my major decisions and whether they anded up to be the right one or not. I dont like to be outside my comfort zone and I would always try to keep the same routines, yet I have been always forced to be challenged in deciding a major change in my life. I think it will be easier to be single and with no family who will be affected by your decisions. I think if we dont choose to change eventually we will be forced to change and to choose a pathway that we may want initially. I ma lucky that I am forced to choose major decisions. I am moved to Dubai without any potential job just after declining an offer to teach in London/UK. I moved back to Canada again unemployed after declining an offer in Dubai. In both cases, I am glade that I follow my illogical decisions because I ended up in a better place. I am thinking now maybe “teaching” just help me making decision without logical backup. We simply know that there is a good chance a method to which we are changing, may work so we just move with that. Eventually, when we customized our teaching style to maximize students’ learning, I think it a major change has been created. So Am I a change maker? I will say yes! We change to optimize our life. If we don’t want to, life will find a way to force you :).
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  23. Tamara
    The Urban Dictionary defines a changemaker as “a person who desires change in the world and, by gathering knowledge and resources, makes that change happen… [they] are defined by their ability to take ideas into action…”. By this definition, I would say yes I am a changemaker in my field (although on a small scale). As the tech coach of my school, my job is to take a piece of technology (the idea) and put it in action in the classroom. I gather and seek out the technologies (or ideas) to best use and share with my colleagues. I try to promote positive change in teachers’ classrooms through various adaptive, assistive, and other educational technologies and support teachers as they learn to better support their students and meet their various needs. I entered the MET program as I have a passion for educational technologies and my ultimate goal is to be working as an emerging technology leader in my district. For me, it started with my motivation to level the playing field for the learners who were behind and now it’s transformed into so much more. Not only now are emerging technologies for those who have special needs or are below grade level, they are about providing voice and choice for all students, delivering engaging and motivating lessons, and unleashing students’ hidden potential by allowing them to shine using platforms, tools, and technologies they are familiar with. So if being a changemaker means fighting for all students to have the best/ most successful educational experience possible, then yes, I am proud to be one 🙂
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  24. Josh Wood
    Only a couple years ago I don’t know if I would have said “yes” to the question “are you a changemaker?” As I dove into the world of educational technology as an inexperienced Ed Tech coach, I often felt imposter syndrome. I’d ask if I had the skill set to fully serve my community, or wonder if my work had a significant impact on teaching and learning. Through this experience I have learned that I am in fact a changemaker, and so are all educators in some way. When I hear the word changemaker, my initial reaction is that this change must be profound, and have significant value to a large number of people. I have now shifted my thinking to understand the idea of creating positive change can happen with actions or innovations on a smaller scale.
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    1. analesa crooks-eadie
      Hi Josh, Your post resonates with me! I personally believe once you are a constructivist teacher you are a change maker. I also reflect on my personal contributions over the years catering to diversity in learning and the truth is, not every child is able to process what is being taught due to developmental disabilities and/or have access to many resources. For situations like these teachers provide support and offer personalized learning instructions for all students to ensure equity in learning.
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  25. paul johnson
    I think that I am a change maker! Maybe that is too bold, but the work I do for my district has had major impact on practice, policy, and culture. Creating new reporting and assessment systems, training and guidance for implementation of technology use, creative use of technologies to facilitate interaction between systems to enhance data access and use, conference presentations which have cued others to utilize existing tools in new ways; these are a few things that my work has included that I feel have had some ‘change making’ capacity. Calling myself a “change maker” does seem too bold though. Perhaps the great work my colleagues do and the openness they have for my ideas and methods are really the behaviors which have created the aforementioned change. Have I been part of change? Absolutely. Am I a change maker? I am not sure.
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    1. markmpepe
      Hi Paul, I caught your point about creating new reporting and assessment systems. I’ve been using Google Classroom to send and receive work, and as my grade book. It then gets cumbersome when I have to report out. I’m working at two schools, at one I have these Word document templates, and at the other I send a spreadsheet to the teachers. If you wouldn’t mind sharing, I’d like to hear what you’re doing. Mark
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      1. paul johnson
        The logistics of information can get complicated quickly. Classic systems integration issues. This is where we have utilized automation between systems and the provincial SIS to overcome some of the building-to-building barriers that exist. the real kicker is that the provincial SIS does not have any data import capabilities which is major hold back; however, this is where creativity and utilization of tools developed by other industries comes into play. We lean heavily on unit testing strategies to overcome the data transfer limitations that the provincial system provides. So, what this means is that teachers work where they work but final marks and comments are automatically transferred to the provincial system and included in the generated report cards. I know this is not a straightforward answer, but the solutions often exist in the availability and realities of our work environments. I know Google has some pretty good export capabilities, that tied with a mailer program could potentially relieve the complexities you face with distribution of information. Use of Microsoft’s power automate tools combined with a .csv of data from Google may also provide a solution in that the forms and spreadsheet creations could be automatically created and distributed.
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        1. markmpepe
          I agree, you are a changemaker! By “provincial SIS,” do you mean myEdBC? I’m going to dig a little deeper with Google’s export capabilities, and I just looked up Microsoft Power Automate too. Thanks for sharing, I really appreciate it.
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  26. Adrian
    Am I a changemaker? That’s a tough question to pull apart. I can certainly say that I love exploring new and interesting ideas – if it’s been done before, I have less of a drive to personally do it. So with the regards to creativity and lateral thinking, I would say yes. However, when it comes to influence I would say no. Like Josh wrote above, I feel imposter syndrome, especially by being young and at times working with individuals who hold doctorates or other high status. Maybe that boils down to a lack of confidence or that ‘entrepreneurial grit’? As teachers however, we are leaders, and translating that skill set into becoming more of a changemaker is not too far of a leap!
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  27. markmpepe
    For changemakers and innovators I think the likes of Jack Dorsey, Jack Ma, and Whitney Wolfe Herd who brought great change in tech and business – if it wasn’t for Whitney Wolfe Herd, I would not have met my future wife! Though change and innovation doesn’t have to be at that elite tech CEO level but it can be at the grassroots level as well. If we master these learning technologies during our MET studies we can make life easier for ourselves, our coworkers, and our students. We might take for granted our technological skills but if we can pass it on that’s bringing about change. One direction I am heading, and enjoy, is doing real time assessment. I use Google Classroom for my Music and French classes. I post my assignment for class, in Docs or Slides, then teach my students the lesson, and give direction for the activity. I then look through their work, and assess, while they’re working. For example, I could notice that my students are not preceding their nouns with an article in French, or they’re going in the wrong direction with their Instrument of the Orchestra project. I can nudge them the right direction so they can fix errors, and not prolong that wrong path for the duration of the assignment. So far, this style has been working for both my students and myself. Furthermore, this also reduces the amount of time that I’m assessing out of class hours. Google Classroom allows me to give instant feedback rather than sitting on a pile of papers to sort through and mark. The goal is for less class time used for going through work sheets and making corrections, and more time for activities and learning of substance. That way, when teachers and students go home, we have that precious amount of time to work on and do what we want. I guess, in my example, it’s not changing the technology itself, because I feel I’m using it to it’s potential, and may even have room for more. But using technology efficiently to make life easier, and hopefully, pass it on to my students and coworkers to bring about a modest amount of change.
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  28. Joyce Lo
    I believe that I am a changemaker, but I have not always been this way. I grew up being a follower which helped me become flexible, patient, and cooperative. Later in life, I became a teacher with the belief that everyone can make a difference. After becoming a special-needs parent, that really changed me and I took on the role as advocate for my son which ultimately led me into this MET program. MET is indeed a “great launchpad”. I aspire to take educational technology and converge it with assistive technology making learning accessible to all students. This is not an easy task as there is push back for many reasons among educators, administrators, and parents when the word “technology” is brought up.
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  29. shaun holma
    I am inclined to think there are no normal or abnormal ways of reacting to change. I view change as more of an attitudinal element and one that reflects who I am. My attitude is in this sense is to embrace change by recognizing the things that must be let go of and making room for innovation and new beginnings. My path of learning thereby is not so much understood in terms of mastering the potential of learning technologies but more in line with adopting strategies that facilitate positive digital learning experiences. For this to happen, I must be open in my expectations, aware of my surroundings, and creative in my approach.
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  30. Simin Rupa
    As I read through these posts, I find many incredible reasons, however, I don’t see my reason for joining the MET or my goals. When COVID hit, I saw the large divide between established educators’ abilities to teach online and mine. I always knew I loved incorporating tech into my teaching, keeping up with new apps/websites and tools. I assumed others were at least aware. I was wrong. When my district closed, I was flooded with “help me” emails. That’s when I knew. I want to be the changemaker that guides current educators through the changing field of technology. The one they can access every day, for any small thing. A one-time PD session 2 years ago is not enough. A changemaker seems bold, perhaps that’s what it is, wanting to teach the teachers -an impossible group by all means-, but I truly believe it is the only way forward. Technology moves too fast for those who are not keen to follow, they need a guide to test drive/solve/simplify the tools. That is my goal and my reason for joining MET.
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    1. Joyce Lo
      I agree with you on this: “Technology moves too fast for those who are not keen to follow, they need a guide to test drive/solve/simplify the tools.” 21st century teachers will need to be open to change and learn new technology because I believe that is where we are headed.
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  31. Lyon Tsang
    My boss likes to say that our team is “structured for change”. I didn’t understand it entirely when I first started my job, but it makes a lot of sense now that I’m almost 2 years in… When you work at a university long enough supporting instructors and their courses, you realize that the schedule is quite relentless. A term passes by in the blink of an eye — you get a couple quiet days off. and then you’re onto the next one. A lot can happen in the day to day. In the past year for example, we’ve had to deal with with (1) software being replaced or even banned, (2) emerging issues with overseas access to course content, and of course (3) the overnight shift to remote learning because of the pandemic. It’s helpful for me if I think about change as a constant in the business — the job is to be prepared, and maybe even embrace it!
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    1. shaun holma
      Lyon, I agree with your sentiment: after all, as the adage goes, if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Nevertheless, how do you go about embracing something that hasn’t happened yet? To me, I look at change as a situation, say moving to a new car. On the other hand, I look at transition as a process. Transition, in this respect, is where most people struggle as it’s a matter of learning how to use the change.
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  32. menghan guo
    When I think about the answer to this question, I spend several minutes going through the past five years in my mind. I cannot say I am a changemaker, but I am trying my best to be a changemaker. Now I am an online math teacher, and I love teaching. At the same time, I also hope I can make some changes in the Chinese education industry. Compared with Canadian and American education, Chinese education focuses on learning results more than the process. Students have to study hard to get better scores to get the chance which might change their life. However, this mode of pursuing only scores will easy to make people become a machine that only learns and obliterate their original personal characteristics and the passion for learning. It is understandable for a developing country with a huge population, and I still want to make some efforts to balance this phenomenon. That is why I choose MET and this course. I want to learn more in this field and find or create a more suitable technology for current students to improve this phenomenon if possible. I know this will be a long and challenging road, but as long as there are enough changemakers, it will definitely be changed.
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    1. Philip Ihewuokwu
      Hi Menghan, I think you have made a good step by recognizing the difference in the educational process from your traditional approach and the North American system. Like most comparable systems, there are always upsides and downsides, and creating a balance would ensure the benefits of both educational systems is maximized. I wonder if you have a chance to think about how creating a balance of both education systems would be beneficial to students with a Chinese educational system.
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      1. Menghan Guo
        Hi Philip, Thank you for your valuable suggestion. At present, Chinese education has begun to change and improve. In recent years, there are some good educational technologies trying to help students in different and innovative ways. As you mentioned, I have been looking for the balance of both education systems and trying to bring some teaching models from North America into my own class. For example, I often adopt group study and presentations as the central part of my class. However, I haven’t really found this balance point yet. I hope that after I finish this course, I can go further in finding it.
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  33. Connie Sim
    I would say, “Well, it depends”. With my students, more often than not, I am open-minded, creative and resourceful in the classroom. When we transitioned online, the instructors faced many setbacks. However, instead of complaining and whining, a few colleagues and I got together and worked on digitalizing our paper-based learning material. Within the bigger context, however, I am usually hesitant to challenge the status quo. Unfortunately, unquestioning the status quo will create a ripple effect of not being able to observe significant changes and leads to the absence of great innovation and substantial achievements.
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