Innovation. You can’t read an article about education, hear a politician speak, or even watch a car commercial without hearing “innovation” dropped at least once or twice.
So, what does innovation mean to me? Well, what I know for certain is that is does not equate to technology use. At least that’s how I feel today. And to be honest, if you asked me 5 years ago I may not have felt the same.
More recently I believe I have reached what I call “peak technology” in my classroom. In fact, I may have actually scaled back on my, and student, use of technology. It started recently after attending two memorable professional learning workshops with two different organizations. At each workshop I arrived early, got my MacBook and iPad out, got WiFi set up on both devices, and settled in for a day of learning. In both sessions I was not provided with an opportunity to use my technology. At all. Ever. My devices just sat there all day.
Was I upset? Surprisingly, no.
Instead I worked with others in small groups to uncover a real problem, understand and appreciate the complexity of the problem, propose feasible (and not so feasible) solutions, realize constraints, iterate, rework, discuss, argue, compromise, make pitches and presentations, and receive feedback. The work was meaningful and in short, it was “innovative”. And yes, although a new technology (or the use of technology) may have been the end result of the process it didn’t drive the innovation.
Innovation is a mindset, an attitude, a way of thinking, and definitely not stuff. We need to empower our students to solve complex problems, to use technology (yes technology) to create content and share their learning, and provide them with the skills and tools necessary to innovate.
What does innovation mean to you?
Check out how some of my fellow innovators answered this question: