Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Halfway, Halfway, Halfway

Reflecting on the last couple of weeks I feel a little disjointed. For me personally I have been on holiday for two weeks in Cambodia were I was giving my time and resources to an underprivileged  school I am involved in. Many times I found myself thinking of the benefit that scenario planning may have within this environment to ensure they are prepared for the future. I spoke to Py Py who is the manager of the school and we have decided to action this form of planning for the benefit of the school. Personally I think it is great, as I can see how we can benefit from this, especially in this third world country. Planning to begin in December when we are back, can't wait! Nothing like putting into practice new skills.

I have found myself this week over complicating things. Having been sick when back from holiday (that will serve me right) I have been working through the assignments and the tasks that I missed while being away. Although I have enjoyed this part of the course (SP) it is a lot to get your head around especially when missing some of the collaboration from the tweets etc. Revisiting my tasks it certainly has become apparent that there is so much more learning to do on this subject. At times I can see myself thinking that it is a new approach, but it is interesting to see the range of organisations and people utilising this form of planning now and in the past.

I work for a so called "Global Company" and was having a chat with the Country Manager on SP. It was interesting to discuss how they plan to meet the future. He had not heard of scenario planning which is quite funny really as Shell who I see as a big advocate of SP is one of the main financial partners here in Brunei which the country relies on for its wealth. So I can see one organisation forecasting with set goals and one looking out of the square to be prepared for plausible futures. After talking we decided to set a date to discuss what this planning involves and for what purpose. I certainly am trying to drive ICT here for the future so will be a good way to help plan for this future.

Going back to revisit the assignment one I have really enjoyed reading about the models and theories of change again. Placing the model/ theories into the context of implementing a wiki into the learning environment is really exciting. I am finding it is a real passion now as I am not of fan to date of wikis but by planning/ researching and working with the students I hope to be able to change my own mind and encourage adoption of the technology by the students, staff and management. I plan to use the TAM model as I see that as the biggest obstacle here while relying on Rogers' Diffusion of Innovation to increase the chance of a quicker adoption of the innovation.

As I work through the models and theory and justify my decisions of the inclusions of them I can see the relevance to my topic more clearly. It is interesting coming back to the topic as I felt that we had moved away from this and that I needed to confirm my understandings of what I had already written as well as strengthen my understanding. Davis (2008) arena of change is an area I am linking back into as this holistic viewpoint opens up the need to address the impact of decisions throughout the ecology system.

Sorry Wayne, aim to have completed last Friday but needed to read through and analyse again which for me the revisit has been beneficial to my understanding.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Brunei Loses It's Grip On Education

Who would have thought that in todays world in 2030 Brunei has lost its stranglehold on it's own educational curriculum. A lot has changed as Mohd Hakeem Effendy explains, "Gone are the days when we were an oil rich nation able to support the direction of education in our own country, it has all gone". This is the sentiment held by many in Brunei where it seems not identifying this plausible future has allowed global corporations to hijack and manipulate our education system for their own good.

Dr Bob Bobby Head of Education for Asia is the man responsible for turning our curriculum upside down. As part of the Real World Corporation he has restructured learning to meet the needs and benefits of the company over it seems, the needs of the children. Dr Bobby explains that it was necessary to restructure, closing down schools, teachers and administrative staff being made redundant and shutting down the Brunei Ministry of Education. Without these measures Brunei would be bankrupt in 50 years. By creating online course we have allowed students to learn from home while still interacting with others globally. Although many students and parents we have contacted have embraced this new mode of learning it is widely felt that the Brunei culture will be lost as now it is not been taught throughout the grades.

Dk Siti Farina the former Head of Religious Affairs says, "If we lose our identity Brunei will be finished as a nation" She goes on to identify that the young people will be lost to the global world and as a nation we will be unable to keep them in our own backyard. But many young people we have spoken to disagree, many believed by learning in a more recognised curriculum will allow them to work overseas and bring the wealth back to their homeland. But the risk is the young will not return as the excitement and the advancement of possibilities will be too strong.

This reporter has witnessed the change and was a student when that change was beginning. It has allowed me to open my eyes and see what the world can offer me and what I can offer the world. I have not lost my culture or my drive to succeed instead I share this globally with others and also embrace other cultures and drive. The chance to work collaboratively with my global friends has enhanced not limited my education and my prospects in life.

Scenario Matrix

This is my scenario matrix looking at what education in Brunei may look like in the year 2030. These plausible futures are illustrated through the foods that are  key features in Brunei. My matrix is looking at the way open online learning education may change education in the future. It identifies push and pull factors such as global versus local, corporate versus government.
Within Brunei the banana is seen as a staple fruit, always here and readily eaten. The Bruneain durian is famous around Asia, and is supported by small local and corporate businesses to help with sales and production. Brunei is attempting to grow rice cheaply with the help of global partners. Brunei's shrimp crackers are marketed and produced by a global corporate company with the aim of achieving the best results for Brunei.

The horizontal axis identifies two uncertainties  that will impact on education in the future in Brunei. With the future in education looking possibly towards more online learning, will Brunei provide these opportunities for their students? Who will fund these new learning communities and at what cost to the community. Will the Government and the religious sector remain in control?  
The vertical axis looks at the local and global curriculum content. Will Brunei stay in the safe confines of their local curriculum or will a global curriculum open up and provide students the skills and learning opportunities needed to succeed in the wider global knowledge age?

These scenarios I will describe below:

Banana- In this scenario the learning is centred around the Islamic culture. Government and the religious sector steer the direction of the of the curriculum to meet the perceived "local needs" of the community. Technology is not embraced to create knowledge but rather to regurgitate existing knowledge. Connection between religious leaders and students becomes more widely accessible through technology with compulsory tutorials held everyday online. Although online learning will play a bigger part in a student's life,  schools will still exist to meet the majority of subject requirements. Limited money is spent on professional development to meet the changing ways of teaching and learning. These professional development sessions will remain in the control of the government where by so called "leaders" in the field will have very basic knowledge and understanding of the tools they are teaching the teachers how to use. Online learning will put pressure on the infrastructure of the network providers and will cause many frustrations for both students and teachers.  Free internet will be provided to all homes that have students residing in them.

Durian- This scenario is where corporate meets the local market. The corporate sector moves in to revolutionise teaching and learning. Education is fully funded, supported and delivered by the corporate sector.This is supported by local and international educational businesses aiming to open up educational markets online and face to face. Funding is performance based, where grades play a pivotal role. Standardised online assessments are administered with little to no formative assessment being recognised. Online learning is the recommended choice of students where they have access to online tutors and resources. Students will be using applications and tools created by these corporations to promote the corporations brands and products.

Rice- this scenario represents the Government working alongside global partners to produce a curriculum that meets the needs of Brunei and at the same time open up opportunities for global learning. Religious studies are now integrated throughout to keep the strong foundations that have been previously set by their parents and grandparents. Students will now have access to online courses at home, on their mobile and even through  holograms. Teachers are trained to deliver programs online and on going professional development led by local and international experts keeps them up with best practices. Education remains free, although extra incentives are given to high academic achievers. Online collaboration between local and international students as well as  teachers are common and are part of everyday life.

Shrimp Crackers- Due to the oil running out Brunei officials have opened up the market for education. It is too expensive for Brunei to run their schools and provide quality international teaching and learning opportunities. Open online learning is now the norm for Brunei. This is led by corporate businesses around the world. Options of asynchronous and synchronous modes of learning are available, however most integrate these two forms of delivery and learning. Education is now fully user pays and scaffolded costs are determined against achievements. The higher grade the less cost. High risk situation caused by the user pays system puts off many students who are unable to gain high grades limiting their discount of fees. Knowledge, is now "global knowledge" it embraces what is "out there". Students are self motivated to achieve and earn recognised badges to gain access to employment worldwide. Future employers have access to student learning to mentor and help guide students with the aim of a cadetship for the student. Learning is now in the hands of the students where teachers help to guide and support creation of knowledge. Standardised assessment is no longer used, it is now badges of achievement based on formative and self assessment of learning.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Enjoying the Ride

So far it has been an interesting ride. I find myself thinking about terms such as forecasting, scenario planning, lens, uncertainties and trends without even realising it. Too give credit to this course I am enjoying this challenging change in mind set. With having a breakaway  with the family in Cambodia  where we help to sponsor a school through financial and time support I constantly see myself reflecting on the meaning of scenario planning and how it could benefit these wonderful children. I want to walk away from this course with the knowledge that I am able to use these skills to help plan a future for the better in this context. Is it going to be tricky? Sure is. But I think to work and collaborate in an environment where there are less barriers in relation to imagination and creativity I think we can help to map out a better future for the school.

I feel I am slightly behind as I now need to work on my matrix. It is an interesting proposition as I want to utilise it for the better of my educational situation in Brunei. I am not a creative or imaginative person rather a black and white sort of guy who is determined to succeed through strategic planning and goals. But, as I have discovered this is a predetermined focus of where I want to go and the need to diversify plausible possibilities will help me I think to have a better "go forward" plan.

My journey through the lens of a secondary teacher (year seven and eight, primary in New Zealand) will I think be interesting. Although I will not be here to witness and meet these new plausible futures in Brunei, hopefully by sharing and incorporating this form of planning will provide better opportunities for staff and students within my school. Although planning is mainly directed by the MOE, Principals are having more say. Is it a plausible future where Brunei Principals  have the control to plan/ map out their own plausible futures under the umbrella of the MOE? I don't think so but maybe it will happen. What will that mean for the use of technologies in education? I think it will have a huge impact as my Principal has been impressed with the easy introduction of tools for learning such as AVAILLL and Blogging.

Onwards and upwards as we take a break for 3 days on the beach before heading back to Phnom Penh. Next goal to do my matrix!!!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Two Major Trends Which Are Relevant To My Context

Openness is a major trend in my context as it is allowing teachers to not only gather suitable up to date resources for teaching but it is also allowing students to use these resources for their learning. No longer should resources be kept under cloak and dagger it is freeing up time and helping to support the education community to achieve it's goals. This is important in Brunei as resources are very old and outdated and students have been kept in this  demotivating learning environment with these demotivating resources.
Online learning/ collaboration environments is my second major trend to look at. With the world now in the "Information Age" we need to move away from the concepts and models that supported the "Industrial Age". It is important that these skills of creating knowledge are transferable to allow students to be capable of effectively working and learning in the future. Online learning environments provide students in Brunei to work together asynchronously. It allows them time to think and create their answer or opinion carefully. It is also a way for teachers to meet the needs of the students, by being able to identify early and correct any misunderstandings. It can be a powerful tool in this context but with success comes the many barriers to overcome.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Scanario Planning Through the Lens of a Secondary Teacher

My decision making context: I am reviewing the scenario through the lens of a secondary teacher in Brunei. My school has poor infrastructure and resources to deal with the needs of our "digital natives". Education in Brunei is not to give the skills for the future, rather it seems it is to give them old knowledge so they do not look to move forward and work towards a more independent life.

Overview of the scenario: This resource looks at the way the education community needs to adapt for the plausible 2025 future of education. The main focus is on the teachers and how their new role will evolve from a more traditional approach where learning experiences supposedly fit all students to a more creative, open and innovative way that will suit the future needs of society. It identifies the major drivers of change as being; informal and formal learning, teacher training, teacher networks (collaboration), 21st century skills, changing roles of schools, data protection and the widespread use and availability of technology. The scenario chosen by me is the diversified teaching career. The main focus here is to provide opportunities for students to learn in an environment that suits them. It identifies the drivers of change as being society, students, technology, role of the teacher and  by the need to create more personalised learning.

 Cachia R, Cao Y, Cuong Pham M, Fetter S, Garoia V, Klamma R,  Punie V, Rajagopal K, Redecker C, Sloep P, Vuorikari R, (2012). Teacher networks today's and tomorrow's challenges and opportunities for the teaching profession. Brussels, Belgium: European Schoolnet.

Brainstorm list of recommended decisions: Generate a bullet list of the decisions you would recommend based on your reading of the scenario, taking into account your decision-making context above.
  • Teacher education- training and support now for the future
  • Student education- identifying and exposing students to these new environments so an educated choice is made on their preferred learning environment.
  • Implement of support mentoring (varying levels of position where participants do not have an influence of position)
  • Educate society on advantages of these decisions for the future- this to include all stakeholders (education community, MOE, teachers, etc)
  • Create personalised e-portfolios for students (teachers will have training on these new tools)
  • "Model Schools" to help identify challenges and solutions to these. Also for these schools to be used as a support mechanisms for other schools.
  • Principal "Knowledge Net"- allowing for Principals to be leading from the front as a driver of supportive change
  • Access and trial technologies that will be suited for student use
  • Encourage better and cheaper access to the internet thus providing choice for students
Two most important strategic decisions: Education of new technologies and it uses for teachers and students is vital. Firstly in my context if teachers do not have that support throughout this new change in direction it will fail because they will make it fail. The local teachers are not motivated to learn new strategies but with guidance and support change has a good chance of being implemented successfully. Student education is also vital, if students do not understand how to utilise these new tools to suit their learning style then they may remain in a less motivating environment that pushes them towards failure. By educating students fully they have a chance with teachers to revolutionise
the learning environment.
Second major strategy will be to support the Principals in this new future. With an increase in power given to Principals here as opposed to being fully directed by the MOE it is important that these drivers of change are supported with the knowledge to motivate those in our community to implement new strategies. The culture within Brunei gives open respect to people in higher positions but behind closed doors the culture has the sharpest knifes in their drawers.

Transferability of recommended decisions for the scenarios alternatives: Education of students and teachers fit for the first three scenarios as well. By looking at the teachers as the change agents it is important for them to upskill and be confident with the plausible future. The fifth scenario lends itself to the teachers knowing and responding positively to collaboration which for some teachers does require education to change their understanding and mindset. By providing Principals (Managers) with support and knowledge can assist with the teacher recognition as indicated in scenario one. Scenario two  looks like a form of LMS and from personal experience by introducing this to my Principal last year it was decided that all staff would be allocated school email accounts. Not an LMS but now social networking within our school. By Principals working alongside other Principals their knowledge of new systems such as informal learning camps and the intelligent agents will be greatly accepted as a positive change which in turn will support teachers on the ground floor.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Be Prepared The SP Way!

I like the methodology of SP. I think as change agents we need to think into the future and identify decisions that we need to make now for that future. I think the fact that it provides a holistic approach helps in the "now for tomorrow" direction. The advantages for me are a plenty. I like the way it is inclusive as that is where the creativity will stem from. By gathering ideas and knowledge through another lens you are able to identify factors that may affect the future whether it be political, economic, social, intellectual, cultural or technical. Overall I am positive about it as I think it takes that next step from where I sat which was strategic planning. Although there is a definite place for that in many cases and context I have been in SP would have been more appropriate and successful. With SP you are taking into account many more possibilities of the future where others such as forecasting do not.

Biggest disadvantage for me is the buy in from stakeholders. You need 100% commitment in the believe of this approach. People involved need to know that the decisions now will prepare us for the future. Creativity and imagination is another disadvantage. Some people just can't do it and certainly if you are in a room with people this may limit your confidence to be open to this form of process. It takes time for the process of scenario planning and again may limit buy in.

For my context SP would enable me to work alongside the people within my ecosystem that hold adoption of technologies and education back. We would be able to work together to factor out scenarios and make decisions now for the future. They would become part of the process which is an extremely important thing in this country even if they do not know what they are doing.

For the online workshop I would like the process to be broken down and that we actively create a scenario for a particular context. I think in groups would be best to share the knowledge and understanding.

How will scenario planning help with my use of the wiki to enhance collaboration?

Scenario planning will allow me to identify and consider possible futures I may face and in doing so I can make decisions now based on these plausible futures (Freeman, 2009). It will allow me to make my decisions encompass multiple plausible futures allowing me to be prepared for not just one possibility. By thinking creatively and imaginative it will allow me to open up and visualise the possible scenarios that could work in my context although this will take me out of my safe thinking zone it will allow me to be prepared to meet the future effectively.

By including everyone that is involved in the process of my study I will be able to gain new insights and strategies that may not have been available without this process (JISC, 2008). The inclusion of these stakeholders can help to recognise and adapt to changing aspects of our present environment. This for me will drive the management to be more positive with the adoption of new technologies.
Shell it seems has been at the forefront of scenario planning, their CEO Peter Voser explains that organisations that implement scenario planning "find it easier to recognise impending disruptions in their own operating environment". This is a big factor for me as politics is a major player in my environment especially as being an "outsider". Availability of technology and internet coverage can also be "hit" and "miss". By making decisions now for this plausible future will help to make the research and experience run smooth as I will be prepared for this disruption.

By using the scenario planning model I will be asking as Freeman (2009) states, "what will I do if this happens in the future?" (p.3). The great thing about it is, I will know, I will be prepared and the adoption of using the wiki for collaboration will be given every chance to succeed because these plausible futures have (hopefully) been thought of and decisions made now to be prepared for them.


Freeman, O. (2009). Scenario planning. BUSINESS21C

JISC Infonet. (2008). Retrieved from http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/infokits/scenario-planning/potential/

Voser, P. (ND). Retrieved from http://www.shell.com/global/future-energy/scenarios/what-are-scenarios.html

"'Scenarios can’t predict the future, so what’s the point?”

Scenario planning helps organisations to understand what may lie ahead in the future by encouraging them to think the unthinkable. It is a strategy tool to help identify potential future environments and identify the affect that decisions made now have on an organisation in the future. These plausible future scenarios allow us to make better decisions that we can apply now to help with preparations in the future. If the future does eventuate then they have an action plan to put in place. Scenario planning identifies long term trends and projects their likely trajectory in the future.
It is a strategy that supports the inclusion of all decision makers so they have a better understanding of how different factors can shape the future. It also allows for ideas to be shared where other strategies may tend to only use a specific group of people such as management who may not have knowledge of factors which may be important when looking into the future and making decisions.

This planning allows for decisions now to cover a range of scenarios in the future. It is not looking at a goal for the future as strategic planning does. It allows for companies to be imaginative, creative and engage with the uncertainties of the future.