Saturday, September 10, 2016

#IMMOOC Why is “innovation” so crucial in education? What impact will it have on our students and ourselves long term?

I think in order to answer these questions, we must first define what innovation and education mean.  I think of innovation as something exciting- something that eliminates the old and tired.  I think innovation involves a think-outside-the-box mindset and the willingness to take risks.  So, I ask myself, "Do I not wish that for students in our schools?"  If I'm waving a magic wand, then yes- I want schools to be rid of the old and tired, and I want educational experiences to foster creative thinking and confidence in risk-taking.  I want students to know above all, that due to their own critical thinking skills, they can problem solve their way out of any situation, and therefore, feel safe in taking risks.

Education has to revolve around the #1 priority of preparing our students to live in the world beyond high school.  Whether it's a college or career path, our students need essential skills to be successful, including the ability to communicate, create, critically think, and collaborate with others.  Those skills facilitate the ability to innovate- and I think that those skills don't always just come naturally to every person.

Our school system needs to teach those skills to every student.  Our schools need to model what those skills look like and provide strategies to students with opportunities to practice under an educator who's providing coaching and guidance and allowing for divergent thinking with multiple right answers.  We can't keep educating our kids of today with methods and practices from the past that are no longer relevant.  Things evolve.  Things change.

I think innovation in lesson design and delivery is especially crucial in order to have a prayer of meeting our students where they are.  Students of today are different.  Their brains have had different exposure to technological advancements than students of days past.  Different connections are made, neurologically, and with that comes different ways of thinking and different expectations and hopes from students regarding what "school" is.  Many of today's students want to "do school" like they "do life"- fast-paced, interacting with peers online, and accessing information from a device anytime they want

Schools are always going to have the advanced kids who will succeed and excel in their classes despite the most boring (and outdated) lesson design and delivery. I think that innovation in education levels the playing field and allows everyone a way to win.  In the long term, that produces a greater pool of people who have better skills for dealing with future jobs and situations- a greater pool of people beyond "the top 10%".  Roughly half the high school students (9th-12th) of today came into the world in the early 21st century, yet are subjected to teaching styles- in some classes-from the previous century.  And they don't understand life before the Internet.  We all need to evolve what we're doing to be relevant to students, and we don't have to have it all figured out first in order to move forward.
#IMMOOC, #innovation, #education, @sherylgarman


  1. 'Many of today's students want to "do school" like they "do life"- fast-paced, interacting with peers online, and accessing information from a device anytime they want"

    Powerful statement! Far too often they see them as separated and I think we are a part of that. Thank you for the reflection!

  2. I am curious about your thoughts about innovation in lesson design itself ... I suspect you mean, thinking of how to make change or iterate. But reading your comment literally (which sometimes can be a mistake), you had me thinking: what would a model innovative lesson plan format look like? (maybe George addresses this in the book. I just started it)
    Thanks for sparking some thoughts.