Rethinking Learning
conversations about the future of teaching and learning
Barbara Bray
be creative, innovate, take risks, unlearn to learn
Oakland, CA

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My Story with CBAM (Concerns-Based Adoption Model)
By Barbara Bray    November 14, 2009 -- 08:15 AM

I started doing research on adult learners and change in the early 90's for my Masters and am surprised that we still have the same issues today. Have you ever heard of CBAM (Concerns-Based Adoption Model)? Whenever there's an innovation of some kind, people take to it at different levels. This is called Stages of Concern.

 Stage of Concern

 Expression of Concern

AwarenessI am not concerned about it.
Informational I would like to know more about it.
Personal How will using it affect me?
Management I seem to be spending all my time getting materials ready.
Consequence How is my use affecting learners? How can I refine it to have more impact?
Collaboration How can I relate what I am doing to what others are doing?
Refocusing I have some ideas about something that would work even better.
From Taking Charge of Change by Shirley M. Hord, William L. Rutherford, Leslie Huling-Austin, and Gene E. Hall, 1987.

Technology integration is the innovation I used with CBAM. In the 80's, using technology was new to many. It is difficult to even imagine now that very few people had an email address. At that time, email was new and scary. The Internet was taboo and not easily available in schools. Internet access was dial up. Our elementary computer lab was a converted closet with 15 Apple IIes.

I remember being so happy when we received two floppy disk drives for each computer. That meant each computer had 128k and could load Oregon Trail on every computer. Teachers sent their kids to the lab during prep time so their students could play educational games. It was impossible to get teachers to plan their curriculum with the computer teachers. There was no or very little integration with the curriculum.

Does this sound familiar? I am what you call a "Digital Pioneer." My first computer was around 1978. I learned DOS and how to take my computer apart and put it back together. Actually, you had to those days. I was hooked. Just ask my kids and their therapists. I had to have the first Apple computer called Lisa. I think it cost me over $4,000 and it ran on 64k RAM. I was so excited. I lived and breathed computers.

I never started at the Awareness Stage. I began at the Informational stage. I wanted to learn more each day. It drove my family nuts. I think I bypassed the Personal stage because I knew this was going to be my life. From my eyes, the computer could do anything I needed to do, and I believed that computers could make the classroom work more efficiently. I made it my life's work to help teachers use technology. I joined CUE (Computer Using Educators), attended conferences and was selected to participate in one of the first TLA's (Technology Learning Activity) at CTP in our region which was before CTAP. Actually I'm not sure what the A stands for anymore. I think my district sent me to get me out of their hair.

They didn't realize they created a change agent. I had to make a movie so I used my video camera. I think I spent $2,000 on my second camera plus the tripod, tapes, mics, cables, etc. Still cameras were still analog and my husband and I used our bathroom for our darkroom. Back to the video camera. I got into claymation, special effects, and quick and easy videos. I made tutorials. I just knew that if teachers saw how easy this was, they would want to do use this with their students. I showed the teachers at my district, and they looked at me like I was nuts. They not only resisted, they fought me. If I wanted to use video or computers with students, then they could send me their students. I wrote a Technology Challenge Grant, got it, and became the project director of sorts. Actually I wrote that teachers would do this and that. It happened with only a few.

There were several teachers that complained that I was making them look bad. That's not what I wanted to do. I wanted to be in the background helping them and their students use technology to enrich the curriculum. I went on the speaking circuit; creating videos, showcasing projects, and sharing best practices. I did Tips and Tricks. Became an Edutainer. Actually I was pretty funny with the intention of providing ideas, tips, and quick ways of integrating technology in their classroom. After years of doing this, I just didn't think I was making a difference doing speeches in front of large audiences.

As part of my master's thesis in 1996, I created an online assessment for technology integration that generated ILPs (Individual Learning Plans). It took me six months and hiring five people to help me to figure out the algorythms, use Filemaker transferred to Lasso, uploaded to HTML. Lots of money spent and thousands of teachers around the world have used it. I still think it's a good idea, but I had to take it down this year. It needs to be updated, and I just don't have the resources to do it anymore. I created over 250 technology guides
with the help of my team. Still have those as part of My eCoach, but many are for older technology. It's tough to keep up with all the new technology and be a change agent. I thought if you create "Just-in-Time" learning activities, teachers can let go and have their students own the learning process. I'm a constructivist by nature.

I can go on about my story of coaching and setting up My eCoach and ILPs, but what I'm trying to say here is that integrating technology is still difficult; even with the tools being easier to use and readily available. I'm going to write more about this for my readers because I'm seeing that the real numbers of teachers at the Collaboration and Refocusing Stages are still below 15%.

Why? That's what I'd like to figure out with your help, and then come up with strategies to create programs that help resistant teachers understand technology and how to integrate it into their classrooms. It is easy to say to a teacher "just let go and have students construct their own learning." It is another story to make it happen.

Categories: "Cbam" "Concerns-based Adoption Model" "Stages Of Concern" "Innovation" "Technology" "Integration" "My Ecoach" "Ilps" "Individual Learning Plans" "Constructivism"

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Comments: Add New Comments
By Phyllis Bartosiewicz      November 15, 2009 -- 04:00 AM
Good morning, Barbara!
I understand your frustration in realizing the low percentage of teachers using technology with students in a constructivist model. I find the teachers I work with are frustrated just trying to do all that is required of them by administration and still maintaining balance in their personal lives. Teaching is a challenging career that seems to take up more time than the 40 hours most people work at their jobs - without the high pay. In addition, teaching is misunderstood by the population, as a whole. The general public sees the summer break and time off for the holidays and spring break and doesn't see the very long hours teachers are spending during the school year. I know that Michigan teachers have been attacked often in the newspaper. It has the impact of knocking the wind right out of our sails.

However, teachers have an inner drive that makes them want to go the extra mile and help students learn. I think that inner drive can be tapped by a combination of administrative mandates, adequate time dedicated for technology pd, and exposure to projects teachers have already created and are using with their students. My eCoach goes a long way in providing the atmosphere necessary to accomplish this. What has been missing, at my school anyway, is the administrative elements. I've worked at GA for 10 years and only this year is our administrator requiring teachers to have some kind of a personal web page. He is a young man and the teachers are resistant, but they complied. I am also hopeful because he wants to get teachers into My eCoach. I can't help but think the teachers will be thrilled to see the resources available in the library. I think these resources will help them make real progress in adopting a higher level of technology integration! After gaining confidence in using technology, I think they will be better equipped and more apt to create their own projects.

BTW - I was at a technology leadership team meeting this last week and my old principle (now at our elementary building) made a plea for a techie nerd to come to his building. He was referring to me and the way I have rescued him when he needed it and encouraged teachers to try new things.

Reply to Phyllis Bartosiewicz

By small Barbara Bray      November 15, 2009 -- 09:56 AM
Phyllis - I'm looking forward to working with you again and bringing your teachers on board. Teachers have the toughest job and don't seem to be appreciated for all that they do. Teachers are doing more with less and expected to do so much. We'll help you with your teachers' websites. It really is important to provide a support system.That's why we set up a coaching program to help teachers do their job. The Universal Builder allows teachers to integrate their assignments, standards, pictures of student work, and more. Check out Russ Knopp's Learners for Life (6th grade) and Mrs. Drummond's Class (5th grade). We created a system where teachers can easily clone a template, match standards, embed slideshows and interactive sites, and work on their own learning goals with their eCoach.

Both Russ and Angela use the Universal builder to create projects and then link to them from their class site. Russ also runs a class team with his students so they can blog in a private area online. This is his second year doing that. Some of his teachers in his district are just starting to create class sites. What I found is that it takes time to integrate technology and lots of time to keep up with it. I am so glad there are people like you, Russ, and Angela out there and many, many more in My eCoach who we plan to feature and showcase. Thank you for all you do!

Reply to Barbara Bray

By Russ Knopp      November 15, 2009 -- 11:04 AM
   Thank you, Barbara for your kind words.  We are blessed to have the resources you provide through My eCoach. 
  I understand the frustration discussed in the blog and comments, and although it may sound trite or even corny, we do what we do because it is good for students. If I weren't able to see (on almost a daily basis) students learn and grow, I might also question the "value of the fight". With My eCoach and other sites my students experience, I am no longer the "only teacher." 
  Please feel welcomed, even urged, to call on me to help teachers (from any location) whenever there are questions I can answer, experiences I can share, or other opportunities to learn.  More and more I am understanding the need and value of collaboration, not to mention the synergy it can generate.  In today's world distance seems so much less a barrier. 
  Best wishes to all!

Reply to Russ Knopp

By Cheryl Vitali      November 15, 2009 -- 07:34 AM
Morning Phyllis & Barbara,

Phyllis I think you have mentioned much of the current problem with education and technology at present.  I have just spent my Sunday morning inputting data on a spreadsheet for tracking growth on my special education students. It took me hours of downloading data just to get what I needed to fill in the grid, and I can now see I will still need to go back and download yet again on a few students to have every grid filled in successfully.  Our students are now assessed so much of the time we work with them the amount of time we have to actually teach is quite a bit less than it was in the past.  On average, I easily spend 12 hours a day on my classroom throughout the week and that is not having any time left over for the type of innovative and creative things that I did in the past.  At a certain point of the day, I just want to be able to spend some time with family and doing some of the things I enjoy.  When I talk to my colleagues in my school, or elsewhere in the nation, I hear similar stories, sometimes what I hear absolutely astounds me.  One friend mentioned that at her school if a teacher takes maternity leave or extended sick leave for surgery or other similar reason, they are still expected to do the lesson plans for the substitute, grade papers, and so forth. 

Every teacher has a minimum it seems of at least one extremely disruptive student in the classroom or a group of students that are making the actual process of teaching far more complex.  This seems to be increasing from what I have seen in the past and going down to lower grades in the types of behaviors that are noticed.  I have always had rowdy and tough students in education, yet what is happening is different.

Also, in these tough economic times, having the resources desirable is often just not possible.
For example, since we opened a new school right when everything was coming undone in the economy, none of the classrooms have what I would call really functioning student stations in the classroom (although the school does have a computer lab). I find the little laptops they have available almost impossible to read with my eyeglasses on.  Imagine my frustration when I was used to trailblazing technology in the past for my district.  I have learned not to let it get to me. 

One reason I am not investing more time in My eCoach at present is I do not currently have the resources to use it efficiently with my students in the classroom.  It may be at least another year before our school has that established, and I truly hope that happens.  Another reason is simply a matter of time and maintaining balance as Phyllis says. 

People outside of education, even immediate family members, do not have a clue how much time and energy most teachers invest in the classroom and the amount that they care about their students.  I know that the teachers at my school would spend more time if they had it available.  Many of us spend part of our weekend on campus working, I spent all my supposed vacation day last week on the computer working with paperwork.  

The why?  A lot of it is the amount of time spent in mandated workshops, training, implementation, and follow through on what is being expected for each teacher to track with their students.  It is quite extensive at this point in time. 

I'd love to be trying some new things again, if only there was sufficient time to do so.

Cheryl Vitali
Resource Specialist

Reply to Cheryl Vitali

By small Barbara Bray      November 15, 2009 -- 10:12 AM
Cheryl - you have done so much for so many years. I don't know if people realize that you were awarded Internet Teacher of the Year. I know how much time you put into your classrooms and teaching. It is unfortunate that we are deep into a economic downturn and how it is impacting our students. Like I wrote Phyllis, teachers are doing much more with less. I am talking to other Special Education teachers who are interested in a safe place online to discuss issues so we are planning to set up a free team for Special Education teachers. We are looking for 2-3 Special Ed teachers who have used My eCoach to co-lead the team, add some content, and moderate discussions. Is this something you would be interested in?

Reply to Barbara Bray

By small Cheryl Vitali      November 15, 2009 -- 06:16 PM

I must admit it is tempting, I didn't mention Internet Teacher of the Year 2000 because it seems so long ago I was able to do the things I loved to do with technology.  I am definitely interested only with starting up this new job, teaching 8 grade levels (9 next year), limited resources, a son getting married soon, ... I am a bit hesitant to put more on my plate for awhile as I am not sure how much time I would be able to give it to be quite honest.  And I am not comfortable without doing something to my best.  I have some rather complex students in my classroom as I am sure other Special Education teachers do.

That said, I have moderated Special Education discussions for years online and had forums. I am convinced the need for dialogue may be greater than ever before and the resources online are fairly amazing these days and sometimes overwhelming in the amount of them.  I know that I would be interested in what other Special Education teachers have to discuss and share.  I love being back in it in many ways, however the job is way too much at times. 

Whatever I do online though will be with My eCoach. I am not sure that any of the work I did online is there anymore as the district has completely reconfigured things, and I can find nothing of all the projects and things I generated with students.  I do have some of it backed up on a CD, but I do not think I have my Planting Hope project on disk and some of the most interesting things I did with students.  Barbara would know how much time, effort, energy, and dedication went into all that work. 

Keep me in the loop and I will think about it.  Once I retire, I will definitely jump into things online a whole lot more.  Still haven't decided when that will be though.


Reply to Cheryl Vitali

By small Camille LoParrino      November 15, 2009 -- 09:49 AM


The answer to your question about buying or not buying into technology changes is siimple.  We are not equipt to do so.  Not through any fault of our own, or lack knowledge.  Our schools do not all have computers laptops for every student.  The ones we do have are getting old.  They are not serviced on any kind of regular basis, nevermind updated.  And there is also the fact that a well planned lesson never materializes simply because our building is "not on line" on that particular day.

In my school teachers are expected to share a lapcart of 24 computers by moving this incredibly awkward cart to the classroom.  Itís clumbsy enough with the computers, but it also has a huge printer on top of the cart which doesnít even work because it does not have an ethernet piece.  In this case, if you want to copy your studentís work, you must copy it to your own flashdrive and print it out somewhere else.

Bottom line:  Frustration is exactly the reason for such low percentages of tech integration.

Hope this helps to answer your question. Let me know if you need more details.


Reply to Camille LoParrino

By small Barbara Bray      November 15, 2009 -- 10:17 AM
Hi Camille - I have an idea. How about creating your lessons online using our Universal Builder? Anything you create within My eCoach can be published online for your students. I believe students have access to the Internet outside of school. If schools are not going to help us with access, then ask your students to use the library, their cell phone, or on their computer at home. Lots of our kids at different economic levels, play games online. How do they do that? I would like to set up a survey that all of the teachers in My eCoach send to their students to find out real data about access to the Internet.
What do you think? Barbara

Reply to Barbara Bray

By Roxanne Clement      November 15, 2009 -- 11:44 AM


Most of my teachers hover between collaboration and refocusing on most instructional topics except technology integration. Technology in our district and within our school is a sad story. We opened 16 years ago as a "technology school", with the latest and newest technology at the time. We have been in a slow decline over time, with aging computers and an unstable district network system (to be redesigned this year thank goodness). If you ask teachers about technology they say they use what they have available, but don't count on it from day to day.

As a Media Center Specialist in our school library, I teach library skills and technology all day long, but when my students ask me why the system is so slow, and why we can't access the same sites they do at home, I find myself doing overview and introductory lessons with them and ask them to complete the work at home where they can actually accomplish the work in a fraction of the time.

I utilize my school website front page(district assigned) as a starting point where I use Universal Builders for almost every unit of study, activity, or event we do and link them to that front page. My students use the links and pages 24/7 and comment frequently on specific pages or activities. Even my first graders have bookmarked our library media center page at home for quick access!

But my teachers are a different story, and I don't blame them. They are barraged by district mandates to fulfill NCLB requirements, textbook adoption implementation, and increasingly more testing. The data we receive is often unworkable in its raw state, we have high performing kids, so we must dig deeper into the data to find pieces of meaning. This all eats away at the very minimal amounts of time outside the teaching day that teachers have available to them. So fussing and "tweaking" an unstable system, computer station, or lab is just not high priority on their agenda because there is no guarantee that it will work tomorrow.

I believe that it will be our kids that actually set the pace for our growth and use of technology and I try to teach them the ethics they need to use tools as good digital citizens. But I'm convinced the users and the change agents in many ways are our students, so I am currently spending the majority of my time with them, and updating my teachers along  the way as best I can.

Bay Farm Media Center website

Reply to Roxanne Clement

By small Barbara Bray      November 18, 2009 -- 08:33 AM
Teachers and librarians are so overwhelmed with all the mandates and testing requirements. Your websites are amazing and it is really apparent that your students are benefiting. I really enjoy seeing and hearing the comments from your students from all ages. I hope other librarians see what you have been doing with the My eCoach tools and Web 2.0. Let me know when you are ready to add some of those to our eLibrary. I agree with you that our kids will set the pace. It is their future we're playing with. It's time we listen to them. I created My eCoach to support teachers, librarians, administrators, coaches, and others who work with any type of learners. I am very lucky that you are part of My eCoach and have created such amazing projects for your students.
Thank you

Reply to Barbara Bray

By small Janice Friesen      November 17, 2009 -- 06:19 PM
Thanks for this post. It hit a nerve deep in me. I think it is because I have doing this almost, but not quite as long as you have and even though I do see progress, there is still so far to go.

I have written about some of my thoughts in my blog- I am finding it hard to express all of the things that I am thinking. I hope this discussion continues.

Reply to Janice Friesen

By small Barbara Bray      November 18, 2009 -- 02:16 PM
Found a few more resources on CBAM you might find interesting:

CBAM Stages of Concern
A Model of the People Development Process:

CBAM Survey:
Need to be part of a program to take the survey based on specific innovations - this is what I based my Technology Integration Assessment on. Planning to incorporate something similar into our ILPs

Measuring CBAM levels - questionnaire

Measuring Stages of Concern: new study

CBAM: A Model for Change in Individuals

Dealing with Change

Reply to Barbara Bray


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