Sunday, November 6, 2011

Assignment #6: Disruptive Innovation

The assignment for class this week was to watch a short clip and read a small snippet of Harvard professor Clayton Christensen's Disruptive Innovation theory. Having a background in business administration I have studied this theory before as it deals with how consumers always move to the next best thing, and businesses go on a roller coaster for making costumers happy. 

The word innovate means (definition provided by google)
  1. Make changes in something established, esp. by introducing new methods, ideas, or products.
  2. Introduce something new, esp. a product.
In our market, costumers want something that is newer, cheaper, smaller (or bigger) and/or more useful. 
If we look at recent event, we can breakdown innovation theory using Blockbuster for example. Back in the day people could only purchases VHS tapes in order to view them at home for their own entertainment. Then a company came along and had the "innovative idea" of housing hundred of different movies and people would only have to rent the movie (at a cheaper price) then having to buy and store all the movies they wanted to see. Blockbuster was a HIT! I bet you can remember a time in your childhood when you had friends coming over, and you were able to rent a movie for that evening. 
But then again, we know how this story is going to play out. The phrase "all good things must come to an end" support disruptive innovation. For blockbuster, the company Netflix came to take all the glory. Please were "over" going to a physical store like Blockbuster to get a movie, they wanted to be lazy and have the movie sent To them. This new innovation of having a company do all the work for you disrupted Blockbusters successes. It is hard to compete when you can play ONE flat rate for an endless amount of movies AND those movies had due dates or late fees PLUS they are delivered to you! People didn't mind waiting a few hours if someone else did all the work. This left Blockbuster to fall behind and file for bankruptcy multiple times. NOW we also know that Netflix is also now being "outdone" with different companies such as RedBox since Netflix has increased their prices. 

Disruptive Innovation is the cycle that no matter what goes on, there will always be something new around the corner. Usually the "underdogs" or companies that create a new product are most likely going to succeed over big corporations that are introducing a new product. Although this theory seems only tied to marketing and businesses, the theory also can be found in education. In simple terms you can see the transition from chalkboards, to whiteboards, and now touch screen interactive "Smart" boards. These tools have been used for the teachers instruction to the students, but now the disruption is, less about the teachers and more about tools for students! This is where class sets of computers, laptops, iTouch, and now even iPads are being introduced into the classroom. Although Smartboards and iPads are the top of the pack, there will soon be new products and tools that will change the face of education and technology again. I'm interested to see where it goes. 

Just thought you'd like to know!
~Ms. Davis

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Crisis Averted!

In my early blog post from today I was looking for a way to have selected teachers send information to just one teacher, me, but to also have it so the other teachers could see the information that their colleagues included. Why I was so concerned is that I thought that getting some teachers to fill out a Google Doc, or a blog would be a nightmare.

BUT ALAS! Our email system has something called a "briefcase" and you can share folders from your briefcase with selected faculty members on that intranet. They can even gain status to alter the document/presentation, or just be given a "read only status". In a way, its Google Docs using our schools e-mail program. No one from my school (even the tech and admin) knew of this feature, so now I have to give a tutorial on Zimbra briefcase next week for professional development. They have been sending large files back and forth for years!

I just wanted my blog and twitter followers to know that I have solved the tech problem I was looking for help with before. Now to find a way to keep these parents and admin happy... WISH ME LUCK!!

Just thought you'd like to know!

S.O.S. Networking Help!

I'm asking for help from the general education, special education and tech public that can help solve a logistical problem in a more effective way.

I have a student that is currently being tested for ADHD, however the parents are very insistent that he had ADHD and that is why he has not been able to finish any of his work, or this disorder doesn't allow him to pay attention for instructions on his homework. Although we have a LMS (moodle) website for the whole school the parents want each teacher (myself included) to individually email the parents EVERYDAY with the assignments AND detailed instructions of what the student is supposed to do. In addition I need to be "CCed" on all the e-mails from each of these teachers as I help the student during the Directed Studies (a specialize study hall) and I also need to know this information.

My question is...
Is there any website, interactive calendar, blog, etc that will allow each teacher and the parents to access the page AND each of the teachers can contribute without having to have a shared account. The last kicker is, does this website or whatever have the ability to send reminders to the parents? 

I would hate to receive 6 e-mails a day (minimum) and to also have to organize all that infomation from an e-mail into my own calander of due dates and such. In a way I'm asking if there is a way that I can create my own LMS page for just one students where student and parents can see, but all the teacher information is in the same place (instead of their own seperate pages).

ALSO NOTE! Since this is my own personal view, I can't promise that other teachers will be on board with this idea. I need something simple to use and does not need a whole lot of up keep.

I'll take ANY suggestions!

Also feel free to DM me on twitter.... @MsDavisThought

Just thought you'd like to know....

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

#Edchat 11/1/11

Although I have be a present for many #edchat discussions on Twitter, I never found myself so involved in the discussion until today. This morning the topic, for the noon EST chat, was along the lines of "What is the rift between IT and teachers and how can this problem be resolved?" Initially I thought that this was going to be a very one-sided discussion becuase I was assuming that there would be only teachers in the conversation... BOY was I wrong!
Join on Twitter! Every Tuesday.

The discussion was intense, engaging, heated and widely debated. Teacher, administration, IT personnel, everyone was present! Some people were talking about how IT (tech teams) worked (both positive and negative) at his/her school while others were accusatory of who's fault it was, teacher asking a lot, tech never saying "yes'". I was a little frightened that this was going to be a blood bath on twitter. Then all of a sudden some tweets came out talk about how it is all about communication and both sides need to come to a better understanding of what the other does. This of course started a huge debate of whether IT members should be teachers, or if they should be in the classroom to see how a teacher works. I loved how people were so passionate and realistic in their responses. 

Since I was on my TweetDeck I could see many pairs of people were having side conversations and people were being re-tweeted left and right, but to be honest sometimes I think the deepest thoughts and comments were lost by the increased traffic. Personally I would find a comment to respond to, but by the time I made my comment under 140 characters, the new "hot topic" took center stage. Soon I just focused on tweeting individuals and responding to others that commented on my thoughts, but there were many things that I think were left unsaid. Being a "new-be" I just need to practice getting my ideas out, but for the most part I learned a lot today.

Is there a gap between teachers and technology? What about the IT staff?
The major concerns, coming from a teacher, is that IT has more of the decision making power when it comes to hardware and software in the classroom. Since teachers are the ones using the systems it seems odd that teacher are not given the same input as the IT has. This is were the communication becomes key. Something I kept mentioning is that the war is not between the IT and teachers, but the administration need to help bridge the gap. Personally I think during the summer the IT and teachers need to come to an agreement on next steps, and even have a refection moment of how the year went. I think teacher sometimes view IT as the people who fix our computer or the people that run around when the internet is down, but they are so much more. During the chat there were many IT staff that were present and in my opinion the #1 problem IT had with teachers was that they were being undermined as "fixers" and not "innovators". As teachers we need to take the initiative in the technology we are given and try to play around with it to get a better understanding. We also need to help our peers instead of just asking IT. At my school we have the whole "Ask 10, then Ben". What this means is that before we write an e-mail to IT, we ask a few people (around 5, the 10 was to rhyme with Ben), and if our co-workers or even our students (the biggest techs!) couldn't figure it out, then you can message IT. This gives teachers a bigger connection to the technology and helps create a professional support group. However this may be more of a reality if teachers were trained more with how to resolve technology problems instead of just learning how to use the technology. This is where I see the rift forming, but also where the rift can be resolved.

In the end the #edchat was a very exciting moment of my day. I wish I was not limited to 140 characters, but in the end I'm glad some people are limited! I can see how twitter is a great professional development tool and I think I have made some relationships in the educational world that I will keep in touch with for years to come. The best line for day was about how "teachers need to be teachers, learners, IT, front desk support, and even janitors." I'm looking for the exact quote, but it was still very powerful. As teachers we are so much more than just the person giving grades. We are part of a community.

Just thought you'd like to know!
~Ms. Davis