Cleveland schools CIO advises districts to 'fail forward,' embrace new models
- Cleveland Metropolitan School District CIO Rod Houpe tells EdTech: Focus on K-12 that school districts must act now to fully prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a currently ongoing period of disruption embodied by the digital shift and the rise of the Internet of Things.
- In "Mastering Organizational Change Management to Drive Digital Transformation in Education," Houpe and his co-authors argue in favor of embracing the T3 Framework for Innovation for measuring educational technology's impact, as well as a willingness to "fail forward" through trial and error while celebrating success and growth as it occurs.
- By also using organizational change management models, Houpe says districts can become more nimble and efficient, training employees with new skills and abandoning processes and systems that don't produce results rather than repeating a cycle.
While the shift to digital has had its share of bumps in the road, it stands to significantly transform and improve education over the long haul. This has already been seen to some extent with the rising prevalence of models like project-based and flipped learning, as well as the increase in one-on-one time teachers in some schools have been able to provide students.
But there's still much work to be done, especially in schools that still lack the resources to make these transitions. For the full impact of these tools and models to be felt, the playing field must be leveled. From a funding perspective, for example, affluent schools and districts might leverage their successes to help make the case to policymakers for additional funding to bring those same tools and opportunities to their lower-income peers. But it must also be kept in mind that those schools and districts might still lack the network infrastructure to make some of these changes possible, necessitating upgrades.
Of course, even schools with the resources to pursue new methods and technologies aren't free of stumbling blocks. Educators in these buildings can sometimes still feel anxious about embracing change and trying new things, as the cost of failure in experimentation can be high under high-stakes policies that have often tied teacher and school evaluations to annual standardized exams. To some extent, the Every Student Succeeds Act has alleviated those concerns, but getting truly innovative ideas out into the world, whether they succeed or not, may need to come with the caveat that potential failure won't result in dire consequences. Learning from and improving upon mistakes is dependent upon that at the very minimum.
- EdTech: Focus on K-12 Q&A: Rod Houpe Uses Evidence to Drive Change in Schools
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