7 Things to Consider When Considering Adopting Another School’s “Big Idea”

Great idea -- but will it work in YOUR school?
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Great idea -- but will it work in YOUR school?

So, you’ve visited a school, and seen its new “big idea” in action. The reception area of the school proclaims, “We are an X school!”, where “X” is the big idea: Flipped Learning, Bring Your Own Device, One-to-One, or anything else. It looks great – wonderful, in fact – but will it work in your school? Here are seven things you need to consider.

Great idea -- but will it work in YOUR school?

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The Hawthorne Effect

This is the effect named after the experiments in the 1920s in which researchers turned the lighting levels up in factory, with the result that productivity increased. Then they turned the levels right down -- and productivity just kept on rising. Some people explain this by saying that the workers knew they were being observed. Possibly, but an alternative suggestion is that workers were consulted, instead of just having it done to them.

Whatever the actual reason or combination of reasons, it implies that when you see something great going on in a school, part of the explanation could be the Hawthorne Effect. That, in turn, means that perhaps you could get similar results with a different idea, or a less expensive one. In other words, the results you are seeing may not be due to the intrinsic qualities of the idea itself.

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cross-posted at www.ictineducation.org

Terry Freedman is an independent educational ICT consultant with over 35 years of experience in education. He publishes the ICT in Education website and the newsletter “Digital Education."