COVA is an approach that was implemented through the DLL program. To sum it up, COVA stands for choice, ownership, voice, and authenticity. I knew at the beginning of this program that this would not be like anything else I’ve done in my life.
In EDLD 5305, the third class of the program, we were tasked with choosing an innovation project to implement at each of our schools. I went with something that I thought was “easy.” There is no easy when it comes to changing the way teachers teach and use technology in their classrooms. My initial reaction to choice was fear. I was taught to follow directions and do my best to fulfill what the teacher expected of me. I expected this master’s program to be the same. (There should be a warning to forget everything you know about conventional think and learning at the beginning of the program.) Having the ability to choose every aspect of my project was a completely different way of thinking that I am still adjusting to. Ownership and voice were not difficult concepts to grasp. I feel like I leave a part of myself in everything I do. Authenticity is another concept that was not necessarily difficult, but it’s challenging to make every assignment and teaching concept an authentic learning experience.
Using COVA as a classroom teacher is easy compared to using COVA as a professional learning design model. I know the educators who are apt to change and who the resistant ones are. Giving educators a choice and ownership is easy. Making their voice heard and giving the PL authenticity would be the tricky task. Change is scary, but necessary. No one wants to be the change leader because then you’re the one to blame when it all goes south. Teachers expect change decisions to come from administrators, not their fellow teachers. The change that needs to happen at my school would be resisted by most and accepted by few.
CSLE is a term that was first introduced about halfway through the program. CSLE stands for “creating significant learning environments.” We used Fink’s 3 column table and Understanding by Design as a “backwards” way to create lessons with the end goal always in mind. I designed a lesson around my innovation plan which was the integration of iPads into the classroom. I chose this plan which has been done at many other schools, but never at mine. I had hoped for it to change the way classroom teachers thought about and used technology with their students. Inevitably, they reverted back to what they always knew and what they were comfortable with. When I teach, I use PBL (project based learning). Students get choice and ownership of what they want to present and how they want to present the information. Since going through the program, my learning philosophy hasn’t changed so much as I’m now more aware of how my students and I both learn.
I will continue to use choice and ownership with my students through PBL activities. For my students, projects we create in the lab are always a part of what they are learning in their core subject classes. Students may not always get the choice of what program they want to use, but they feel ownership and the projects are authentic.
My students are somewhat used to COVA, but the teachers will have a hard time adjusting to getting choice. I want to be able to use COVA with the teachers on my campus. I want teacher to be able to choose PL courses that are applicable and meaningful to them and their classes. It will take time to adjust, but overall I think they will enjoy getting the chance to choose, take ownership, and make it apply to their classrooms.
Some teachers, and students, are like me. Tell me what, how, when, where, and why so I can do it the “right” way. Breaking the out of that fixed mindset will be the biggest challenge I think I will face.
Cummings, C., Harapnuik, D., & Thibodeaux, C. (2017). Factors that contribute to ePortfolio persistence. (In Press) – ePortfolios_COVA_IJeP_Final In Press Draft.pdf
Harapnuik, D. (Retrieved on 2017, February 5). CSLE [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.harapnuik.org/?page_id=849
Harapnuik, D. (Retrieved on 2017, February 5). COVA model [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.harapnuik.org/?page_id=6615