This year, I’ve challenged myself to fully participate in the Innovator’s Mindset Massive Open Online Course, so here we go! I was fortunate enough to attend a presentation last spring by the Innovator’s Mindset author, George Couros, and was deeply inspired by the message that he shared. I’m hoping that through this IMMOOC, I’ll be able to dig deeper into what innovation in the classroom really means and looks like.
Each week I’ll be blogging along with thousands of other educators about a specific part of the book. This week, the intro week, we’re taking a look at the publisher’s forward and the introduction. Additionally, I’ll be participating in a weekly Twitter chat to go along with this course. Follow me on Twitter (@bargeintoclass), and I’ll be sure to follow you back!
Why Is Innovation in Education So Crucial Today?
Innovation is one of those buzz words that is all so often thrown around in education, and it is one that can be taken in so many different ways. When I think of “innovation”, I think of making a positive change that makes something that we already do even better. For me, innovation in education means finding different and better ways to engage my students in real-life, meaningful learning experiences. Our traditional system is set up so that students learn in silos – one period of math, one period of language arts, one period of science, one period of social studies, and so on. And while we sometimes do great things that are “cross-curricular”, they’re still never requiring the students to think differently. We need to get our students to start thinking and interacting in ways that will solve problems. They need to collaborate. They need to communicate, both digitally, orally, and in written form. They need to think outside the box.
To accomplish this, we need to be innovative in the ways that students “do school”. Yes, standards are still important. But we can teach these standards AND teach collaboration, communication, and problem-solving at the same time. If we don’t innovate, our students are going to be less and less prepared for life after high school. High-paying jobs will go unfilled because we didn’t teach our students to think differently about problems and not just say, “what do I need to do to get an A”? Without innovation, we will never accomplish this.