One of the most read posts on this blog is Hidden in the blue box, a post published about this time last year. At the time I was pretty hopeful about actually clearing the box, finishing the thesis, publishing it, and adding some more letters to the end of my name. But it was not to be.
Following a series of unfortunate events (which include a retirement, the moving on of teaching staff, and the reorganisation of an entire faculty), I was unable to finish things off at the university I started at in another state. In the middle of 2012 when I was informed that I would be unable to submit my thesis with that institution as there wasn’t anyone left to examine it, I went into what could only be described as a bit of a temper tantrum – I may be almost 40, but trust me there is a 2 year old in there too (but then under some conditions I think we all have one). One of the things which was suggested to me was that I change universities, to the one which is actually within walking distance of my house. Made sense really. So that is what has happened.
In the meantime, things have changed. My focus at the time was looking at the introduction of digital tools designed to assist students understand their learning styles and how using technology could change that. Unfortunately due to, shall we say challenges… the focus became how the change was managed within the school, and how the communication between the school and the students was done and how effective (or not) it was. Essentially it was change management, and how it was handled. But that was research I did some time ago now, so things have moved on a little from there.
Change is continual in education. Teachers, parents and sometimes students lament that things are not the same as they were. Teaching practices, curriculum, technology and a myriad of other things change – sometimes in cycles, sometimes not. But one of the things which remains constant is that you need to keep up, it isn’t like fashion where eventually they will do things your way again.
As I look through the subject selection listing at the units I have to choose from, I was struck that I am not really looking at things which I would have chosen 5 or even 2 years ago. Recent experiences such as #etmooc are pushing me to look more globally than I have in a while, and the subjects which are interesting me are the ones which are looking more widely.
#etmooc started as my attempt to do something for me and my professional development – to build connections and lift my skill set, but I am now seeing that it is coming right at the time when the perfect storm is forming for me. I just hope that I don’t drown in the process.