Technological innovation as change: are we ready?

[Photo by Fabien Bazanegue on Unsplash]

    In this week’s blog post, we were asked to reflect on what constitutes innovation and the role of technology and change in the innovative processes. Technological change has been a driving force of innovative processes in society over the past century, radically changing the way people search, use, and produce information, as well as impacting the educational processes in general.

    Technological advancements have impacted educational developments, however, not all technological innovations are created equal. According to Dron (2014), “the uptake of technology is not simply a matter of whether people choose to use a technology but whether that technology actually has any real value” (p.244). The author differentiates between soft and hard technologies, based on their flexibility for change and adaptability, stating that more adaptable soft technologies increase creativity and provide disruptive change (Dron, 2014, p. 245).

    While change and creative disruption can be an excellent ground for innovations, I think it should be guided by clear principles and guidelines to avoid making technological innovations a goal in itself. In my opinion, as long as the change fosters creativity, openness, inclusivity, respect, and creative expression, it can foster necessary innovative processes within organizations and embrace its members. Technological innovation calls for responsibility. According to Dron (2014), learning technologies “are not, and have never been, neutral agents” (p. 260), they are situated in the social context, and the change and innovation, thus, are also determined by a variety of different factors. As Dron(2014) states:  “to learn is to change and the changes wrought by and wrought in distance education are, by and large, virtually all manifestations of learning” (p. 261).

     


    References:

    Dron, J. (2014). Innovation and change: Changing how we change. In Zawacki-Richter, O. & T. Anderson (Eds.), Online distance education: Towards a research agenda. (pp.237-265). Athabasca, AB: AU Press. Retrieved from http://www.aupress.ca/books/120233/ebook/09_Zawacki-Richter_Anderson_2014-Online_Distance_Education.pdf

    One thought on “Technological innovation as change: are we ready?

    1. Hi Marta. Great post. Your writing prompted me to consider technological responsibility in the context of my school:

      Change for the sake of change isn’t innovation. In your post, you’ve expressed the importance of “avoiding making technological innovations a goal in itself” (Samokishyn, 2020, para. 3). I agree, and believe this is a critical distinction which may seem obvious on the surface level, but is often overlooked. In my experience working in a school, educators feel a pressure to keep up with the latest technology, lest they be left behind. This pressure can cause them to adopt a technology simply because they see other schools using it. But as you’ve aptly stated, “technological innovation calls for responsibility” (para. 3). Educators have a responsibility to critically examine the changes they seek to introduce. Because learning environments are not “neutral agents” (Dron, 2014, p. 260) and include “embedded processes and techniques” (Dron, 2014, p. 242), it’s important for educators to question which ideologies and pedagogies come bundled with each new technology. When a school introduces change, it should be a decision “guided by clear principles” (Samokishyn, 2020, para. 3) and should align with the core values of the school. I wonder, how can educators encourage their schools to approach technological innovation responsibly?

      References

      Dron, J. (2014). Innovation and change: Changing how we change. In Zawacki-Richter, O. & T. Anderson (Eds.), Online distance education: Towards a research agenda. (pp.237-265). Athabasca, AB: AU Press. Retrieved from http://www.aupress.ca/books/120233/ebook/09_Zawacki-Richter_Anderson_2014-Online_Distance_Education.pdf

      Samokishyn, M. (2020, January 17). Technological innovation as change: are we ready? [Blog Post] Retrieved from https://malat-webspace.royalroads.ca/rru0115/innovation-as-change-are-we-ready/

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