Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Plus One Challenge!

This summer my entire faculty read the book Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath. The book lays out some clear ideas for how to make change in an organization. The authors use a metaphor of an elephant, suggesting there are three things you need to do to affect behavior:
  1. Direct the rider: Be very clear about what you want people to do, make it as simple and concrete as possible.
  2. Motivate the elephant: Appeal to the heartstrings and the emotions. Give vivid examples of why people need to change.
  3. Shape the path: Make it as easy as possible for people to complete the challenge. Figure out what is getting in the way and try to remove obstacles.

On Friday I presented the "Plus One Challenge: to my faculty:
  1. Direct the rider: Add one technology project to your repertoire this year.  If you do zero right now, do one, if you do two, do three etc. It could be anything. You could do the same thing twice. Just add one.
  2. Motivate the elephant:  We need to keep up with our peer schools. We can't be left behind. 
  3. Shape the path: I will make this as easy for you as possible. I will meet with every member of the faculty by the end of the first semester to see what you are doing and how I can help.
So there you have it. I'm excited to start a new year and see what happens. I hope it works!

The Elephant and the Rider

Image Soure:


kschaefer said...

I am about halfway through this book and am loving it. I realize now where some of the initiatives I have tried in the past failed. I forget to get the Rider on a Path as I clearly had the Elephant. Happy Change.

Amanda Killough said...

My name is Amanda and I am from EDM 310 out of South Alabama. From reading your post the book you required your faculty to read will help improve your teachers' success in the classroom with your students. Sometimes after teaching for a while I think teachers forget that "link" I will call it. This book seems to help make that "link" possible again. The fact that you are a willing member of the education department of your school also speaks highly of you. You want and will make the connection with each of your individual teachers and help where help is needed. Good luck with your "Plus One Challenge".
Our class blog is
and my personal blog is

lilkisha20 said...

My name is Nikisha and after reading your post I am interested in reading the book. I try to assist technology illiterate teachers with ways that will meet the students' needs and not with what they are accustomed too. I look forward to following your blog to gain great advice and tools to assist with my classroom and for my school.

Thank you for your time,


Educational Technology said...

i must say its very promising book
after reading he comments i am very much impressed by this and i am very eager to read it ASAP.

Keep blogging!!


Anonymous said...

I love the way you make it sound achievable. I've recently changed schools and would like to move people early on - I'm impatient. Thanks for sharing the book, the ideas and your own approach.

Jolly Isaac said...

a very good application of what you read in the book. Keep us posted of your success or challenges in bringing about the change. Would get a copy of the book.

Gretchen McPherson said...

I am Gretchen McPherson, a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama, and I must say, "Bravo!" You took on a challenge, surely, but it's manageable when you are armed with a plan; just three steps that synchronize a whole staff's (class's) agenda can impact the dynamics of any group. Your "One Plus Challenge" sounds like a good start in implementing change. Good luck, and give a report on your success!

My class blog is