“Sys-STEM-ic Change” - THE RE@L WAY - Part Two-REV
“Sys-STEM-ic Change THE RE@L WAY, Part Two”
Don Rawitsch, Guest Bloger
Editors Note: Thanks to our RE@L colleague, Don Rawitsch, for his response to the question we recently asked in our previous blog, “Building Up Steam for STEM – The RE@L Way! – Part One. Here Don responds to the hanging questions about Systemic Changes and educational software products like RE@L’s STEM Investigations. That said, here’s Don!
First off, schools must pay special attention to the critical dimensions of causing lasting systemic change. There are many pieces of the change process that must be addressed. The current STEM movement is gaining momentum. Evaluating the potential of the movement to create sustained and long term momentum change needs to be examined.
Developing teaching/learning materials for use by a classroom teacher is a significant first step in causing change. Such change does not happen without great attention to the details of creating change on a large scale.
A researcher who has a good product idea, develops and tests a STEM curriculum product and proves the product’s worth does not come near to ensuring significant and lasting use-in and spread-across the country’s K12 system. Causing systemic change is a major undertaking requiring attention to many details.
What is Systemic Change?
Systemic Change is a different way of doing things embraced and implemented by many people for a long time (e.g., recycling trash; no smoking in public spaces;).
What Form Does Systemic Change Take?
Charismatic leaders can often effect systemic change, but they are hard to find and their proposed belief system can get misinterpreted by their followers. Other issues can arise and change it, too, and not for the better.
What Are the Requirements for an Educational Product That Can Bring About Systemic Change?
1) Business Model (RE@L)
- a reputable, trusted provider
- product that can be packaged and sold
- publicity that gets the word out
- product priced to be affordable to the market and generate income to support new products
- distribution system that makes product available across the country including selling, installing and training
- product that includes built-in teacher training
2) Buyer of the Product (educational decision makers)
- product helps educators do what they have been told is their responsibility
- product meets criteria to establish legitimacy in educational market: meets standards, based on accepted research, viewed as a good use of school instructional time.
- product is affordable to buy and support over several years
3) User of the Product (teachers and students)
- product fits what they teach
- product is easy to learn/use; “all parts/pieces in the box”; the “box” referring to an electronic portal model fitting current technology- based delivery)
- product is easy to implement with students
- students enjoy using the product and can see that they are learning
The new product must meet all of these requirements to have a chance at changing classroom practice in the long run.
RE@L has met these criteria in its RE@L STEM Experiences product line. Initial products are positioned to meet all requirements, thus providing the opportunity to support educators in creating continuing systemic change for the students they serve.
Thanks, Don, for your insights the importance of Systemic Change. Students and change is what it’s all about.
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN, READERS: Use Don’s discusson and answers as a starting point and construct your own reply to this RE@L Blog. We are inviting YOU to help us create an ongoing dialogue on this issue. Our intent is to have a continuing dialogue on many topics, from guest bloggers like YOU. Just go to realexperiencesat life.com/contact
Please join us in this continuing venture to improve learning!
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