Thursday, July 14, 2011

Innovation In Teaching Follow-Up

Earlier I asked for y'all to tell me what you though innovation in teaching and in the classroom looked like.I got a ton of great responses. Here are a few that stuck out to me...

  • Innovation is about flexibility, adaptability and related to that infamous "with-it-ness" that educators are supposed to have. Ideally, being a thought ahead of learners (anticipating the question or the problem) is related, but what you do to address these is the critical point.While we can "solve any problem" with technology (just go with it), identifying the problems is more of the issue than using the tools.In a commercial application, innovation is about opportunity, but the same holds true in the teaching and learning environment. Capitalizing on momentum (like the teachable moment, current affairs, etc.) as well as following trends to anticipate those events.
    If nothing else, points to ponder. -@chrisbath1
  • I believe once an educator moves from type 1 instruction (learning from technology) to type 2 (learning with technology) to create PLE's--for herself and her students--it's the first step towards innovative methodology. I work at a school where this is encouraged and supported. Are we edu technology innovators? Yes, in our local community we are considered to be innovative. Are we innovators in comparison to the national educational community? We are not. Moving towards innovation has to be nurtured and defended and perspectives maintained to prevent discouragement.  -@lkjohnson09
  • Innovation while teaching is creating community in the classroom. Building trust and make the classroom a "safe place" by setting ground rules and instilling the importance of respect and allowing students to have a voice.  These ground rules create culture. The best way to begin to build culture is by asking the students what would the optimum learning environment "look like". Colaboration is key. This is how leaders are born and learning flourishes.That is when the magic happens, walls come down and teaching begins. Sometimes I am the one who learns the most. -@SpeakToChildren
  • I think it involves giving our students a set of skills or relevant information and then an opportunity to use EVERYTHING they know to create solutions, develop their thoughts and ideas, create interesting and meaningful art, etc.  I think innovation is related to critical thinking and the application of knowledge.  The key is keeping our students from thinking there is one correct answer.  I want my students to have an idea and be able to explain its worth, hear the questions and comments from others and then be able to revise or build on their idea.  I want them to be thinkers before, during and after our learning. -@jackieobright

You can read the rest of the responses in the spreadsheet I have embedded below.

A few takeaways from reading these...

Collaboration was mentioned more than once. But collaboration isn't a new skill, right? Kids have been collaborating for centuries in one form or fashion. What we need to do is get that collaboration in our classrooms, build upon it there, then let them collaborate with folks from around the globe.

Another thing I read was about moving away from technology as a focus to more of technology as just another tool to use. Look, there is virtually no difference in the pencil and the computer. (Ok, some slight differences but just go with it for now...) They pretty much do the same thing. If I want to write a paper I can use either. If I want to design something I can use either. So I don't remember PD centered around how to integrate pencils into the curriculum. We need to shift our thinking and our PD away from being tech centered and move it to more curriculum. And that is where I believe we will see innovation happen.

There is lots of innovation in schools and classrooms everywhere, everyday. It may not have anything to do with technology. It might just be a teacher, who cares about kids, who wants the absolute very best for them everyday and will do everything in their power to make sure they have what they need and they have the opportunities to challenge their thinking. Innovation is less about action and more about attitude. But it is our attitudes that turn into positives actions that drives real change in education.

Direct Link To This Spreadsheet:

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