Change before you have to
One of the key ideas we deal with in the Masters of Digital Learning and Leading program at Lamar University is change and how to use technology as a catalyst to bring about change in the learning environment. Reluctance to change is one of the most difficult challenges that most of us who promote the use of educational technology have to wrestle with. Ideally we would all like to work with only highly motivated colleagues and students but this is not the world we live in.

In response to a student request to share links to useful articles dealing with reluctance to change I did a quick search on my blog to find a couple really good articles or posts to share and I was surprised to notice that I have over 226 posts that are tagged with the word ”change” and dozens more posts that simply include the word change. I have several hundred notes in Evernote about change, dozens of links to articles on change in my Zotero reference database and I and hundreds more links related to change, reform, and innovation related to technology in education in my Diigo bookmarking tool. Can’t forget to mention the dozens of books about change I have in my hardcopy and digital libraries. This includes at least 6 books by John Kotter the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership, Emeritus, at Harvard Business School, who is widely regarded as the world’s foremost authority on leadership and change.

Out of all this how to do I find the just a couple of articles, posts or links that will be most useful. I started to review some my favourite academic articles and posts and after a few hours I was reminded by my wife’s caution

when people ask you for a recommendation they aren’t asking for a literature review and they more than likely don’t want to read all the books and articles that you have read…they are just looking for an answer to a problem.

So what is the problem that my student wants to address?

How do you deal with people who are reluctant to change?

The posts listed below are what I like to refer to as intellectual mash-ups because I take an assortment of ideas and combine them together to address the problem. Each post has many embedded links to the original sources so I am confident that the perspectives presented are supported by sound original insights.

The Head Won’t Go Where the Heart Hasn’t Been
This post points to the fact that while we like to believe that we make decisions based on rational thought the reality is that we are much more emotionally driven and as the title suggest that head won’t go where the heart hasn’t been.

People who like this stuff…like this stuff
In this post I point out the key factors for why people often reluctant to change and outline my 4 step process for organizational change which has become the foundation for the graduate course Leading Organizational Change I teach at Lamar University

The following three posts are also compilations of ideas that deal with the mindset one requires to embrace change. In addition, I address the fact that we often need to model or embrace change by living it.

Sense of Urgency: Create It Now or React to It Later

Pick Two – Innovation, Change or Stability

Practice Change by Living It

It is most important to remember that while change often is a constant part of 21st century living we don’t have to fear it or just react to it and let it adversely impact our lives. If we are proactive we can embrace change and use it as an opportunity for growth and development.

Summary of the key points of this short clip can viewed at:

It has been observed in a frequency all too significant that students upon submission of their written assignments have been inclined to have chosen a manner of composition that is too often far from one that is direct enough to be understood as conveying meaning in a fashion that is most expedient.

HUH??? I would be shocked if this wasn’t your initial response to this sentence. Chances are you had to read the sentence several times to discern:

Student’s writing is difficult to understand when they use passive voice.

Obviously the first sentence is a ridiculous exaggeration I created to make a point about passive voice and vague writing. If you have to stop and re-read sentences or paragraphs multiple times to get to their real meaning you are not alone. Too many writers use obtuse or vague writing and I provid recommendations for avoiding this type of writing in the post Our work doesn’t have to be obtuse to be important. The focus of this post is editing our writing from the passive to active voice.

Identifying Passive Voice

Rather then try to explain that passive voices occurs when a noun being acted upon is made the subject of the sentence I will use the following example:

Passive voice
The technology was Implemented

The technology is receiving the action but because it is the subject of the sentence it makes the sentence passive.

Active voice
Teachers implemented the technology.

Teachers are performing the action of implementing the technology which makes the sentence active.

There is an easier way to test to see if your sentence is passive or active. Just use Rebecca Johnson’s “by Zombies” test. If you can add “by Zombies” after the verb and it makes sense (grammatically), you probably have passive voice.

“by Zombies: Test
Consider our two earlier examples:

The technology was Implemented “by Zombies”. – makes sense so it is passive

Teachers implemented the technology “by Zombies”. – doesn’t make sense so it is active.

Warning – the Zombie test works for many examples but it doesn’t work for all. For more examples of sentences written in passive and active voice refer to:

Examples of Active and Passive Voice

For a more sophisticated assortment of examples of fixes for passive voice refer to:

7 Examples of Passive Voice (And How To Fix Them)

The Idiot’s Guide to Smarter Coffee Drinking