Saturday, 27 July 2013

2.1 e-Activity - Arena of change mindmap

Definition: The arena is a metaphor used to classify and study the ecosystems relating to change with digital technologies in education. Professor Niki Davis.

Professor Davis' video was extremely interesting that I watched it several times - I enjoyed watching the arena and understanding the different layers/stands of the ecosystem. As a teacher being in the centre of the arena in charge of the classroom of students seems to be the hub of where it all happens. But being in the centre you don't realise that the ecosystem of the classroom is basically nestled within the ecosystem of a department, of the school, in the region, within the nation of the global ecosystem. Everything that happens within the classroom can influence or be influenced by the other parts or aspects of the arena ecosystem. The teacher is the keystone species which has influences impacting on them, particularly by the school and more specifically if they are part of a department with colleagues. Other parts of the ecosystem does have impact but they are 'further out in the stands' such as institutional services which come from beyond the school.
I had always realised that being a teacher, part of a department, as a colleague, with management, board members, Ministry of Education, curriculum, global partners etc they were always part of 'the education system' - why we teach, how we teach, what to teach etc but to actually see it as a visual expression as an arena of change really does make greater sense.
Certainly change will have an impact on all parts of the ecosystem - it has to. As Professor Davis emphasises "Digital Technologies education and training are co-evolving together and there are influencing behaviour in all of these ecosystems whether they are at the local class level or at a global level". Change is imminent.

My topic is exploring the educational potential of Facebook to support active learning and collaboration.

 Initial Thoughts Before Venturing into MindMapping!!

So many thoughts about where to start with creating my own mindmap saw me scribbling down lots of ideas from different perspectives. First I thought about the "effects on particular parts of the arena" starting with the central parts eg student, teacher, school, community and international opportunities (because the topic was social media - in particular Facebook). With my topic of 'exploring the educational potential of Facebook to support active learning and collaboration' I wanted to see how change would impact on these areas first and then build from there.

Then realising change is imminent, (next scribbly bit of paper/thinking) what is the flow on effect of this change? With change comes uncertainty and questions, with questions comes a direction, who benefits from these changes, what do we need to consider with regards to the arena of change ecosystem and how does it impact on the influences in the stands?

MindMap created in by Sandra Whipp for EDEM630

Using the mind mapping free software I created a mindmap for my ecosystem. Based on the arena of change I colour coded specific areas to identify:
Celebrate The Change!
Green = Commercial/Information Technology Services
Purple = Political
Blue =    Bureaucratic
Red =    Professional
All of these from an ecological perspective can give direct support to the hub of the arena which I believe is the teacher. However, the teacher is not alone to act and teach the class, but is the most influential participant of the ecosystem. The teacher is the keystone specie which enables calm - keeps it all in balance and has support from the other influences from the 'stands'.
Although I did not directly create layers of regional/national/international stands on the actual mindmap, some of those influences are written on paper eg if using Facebook for collaboration and active learning then participation from others such as parents/heads of departments/school management/international collaborating with other classes globally etc all have a place and an influence and impact, and are within boundaries of the areas in the stands of the arena.
As I had said at the start of this post, all these influences in the classroom happen and it seems it happens naturally without really thinking about it (particularly if you have been teaching for several years). When change occurs it can certainly be somewhat disruptive and it can be a complex process to work through. Having the arena of change change can be managed appropriately, be a positive experience for all involved and with change comes active learners - students of the classroom.  


  1. Fantastic arena blog Sandra. I really enjoyed reading your understanding of it as well as placing yourself within and reflecting on change. Your mind map is clear and your links are carefully considered and thought out.
    I enjoy reading your thought processes.

  2. Kia Sandra,

    Great mindmap post. Good idea to include your initial handwritten drafts -- a great way to visualise and tell the learning story.

    Well done!