I attended the 2011 annual conference of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) in Jacksonville, FL this past week. AECT is a professional association focused on scholarship in the academic disciplines associated with instructional design. Its members are primarily college professors and their graduate students; members also include school librarians, media specialists, computer center directors, public television and publishing executives.
I spoke on the topic of Secret Handshakes of Instructional Design. My presentation was based on various blog posts I have written on this topic, as well as an essay published in the inaugural issue of the Journal of Applied Instructional Design on said same. It was intended as a gentle yet pointed look at this ID thing that we do. These may be the best of times for those who understand how to create experiences that inspire and enable learning, but our practice may be better served if we make our secret handshakes more inclusive, our practice less theoretical and abstract, and all our designs more actionable.
Here is the deck Download FINAL AECT Secret Handshakes for distrib I used in my presentation. I've removed copyrighted materials. All photos used in the deck come from iStockphoto. This presentation deck is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike, Non-commercial license.
Quick reflections - It was very nice to be back among the scholars. I enjoyed seeing former students and associates. It was great to talk with old friends, some I've known since my graduate school days. It was great to meet some new friends. I was inspired by the big ideas.
And yet, I was reminded that, regardless of our epistemological roots, our professional training, the number of or lack of our graduate degrees or the places where we work, many of us call ourselves IDs. And many of us in this wild and wacky ID practice universe continue to have a hard time recognizing one another. We come at this practice from diferent and various points in the ID value chain.
I was also reminded that big ideas and great intentions, while essential ingredients in successful recipes for change, are rarely sufficient for bringing about the kinds of systemic changes to culture and practice that are required to disrupt and transform.
Education transformation really is a team sport. Old ideas don't just fade away. Old ideas can be stubborn and relentless. Systemic change calls for many contributors. There are many variables to address, much practice and dedication required to develop expert skills. Transformation demands a clear understanding of what is to be changed, AND the will to see changed implemented. And with all due respect to everyone who claims the ID badge...We simply can't afford to all think the same way.
For real change - true transformation - we need all ID hands on deck. Scholars, analysts, artists, technologists, evaluators, and managers alike. Big thinkers. Expert practitioners. Skilled producers. People who can translate big ideas into actionable strategies and tactics driving real results about things that matter to the communities and stakeholders we purport to serve.
Secret handshakes DO help us recognize each other, help us evaluate what we and our fellow practitioners know, and what we don't. Maybe we DO need to make these "know 'em when you see 'em" attributes of our ID secret handshakes more explicit. Maybe we really can use these secret handshakes as a conceptual checklist to find more of the expert practitioners who share ideas, information and practices that are similar or complementary to our own.
When you get right down to it, perhaps the most notable secret handshake all IDs share is the passion for finding solutions that make the world a better place for learning. And that is a great place to begin.