Month: September 2017

Why Innovation? #IMMOOC

Why Innovation? #IMMOOC

Culture of Change

It wasn’t so long ago that most of us led fairly predictable lives. Change was an upset in the flow of things. A rock in the river. A crack in the dam. Then our environment started to change. I remember a time even more recently when it felt like an accomplishment just to be able to say, with some verity, “I embrace change”. Now, it seems that we need to be change seekers, or even change creators. And, of course, whatever we create or innovate should make an old idea “new and better” as defined in The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros. Innovation is crucial today because the way we live in this world is changing so rapidly, that to maintain any kind of social existence we need to reinvent effective ways to communicate and that includes teaching and learning.

Innovation in Education is Crucial

Most of us in education were not born into a culture of change, but the students that we teach were born into it. Many are born innovators. I haven’t had a class yet in which a student didn’t surprise me by the unique way he or she would use an educational tool be it low tech or high tech. Just look at the way students communicate using Instagram or Snapchat. They are masters at back-channelling and selfie-taking. Social communication apps are constantly changing and the kids change with them, finding new and creative ways to share information with each other. So, If we as teachers do not become master innovators, how can we teach innovators how to innovate better? How do we teach them to innovate for the good of the world? We can’t. It’s that simple.

Fight Adversity with Innovation

The definition of education is the process of facilitating learning. The use of the word “facilitating” here hints that a certain level of adversity is inherent in education. Everything from limited funding and over-emphasis on standardized testing to lack of parental support and student preparedness creates hurdles that many teachers, me included, sometimes feel powerless to overcome. However, innovation has helped with some of these hurdles. One of my hurdles was the logistics of giving homework. There was a unique dynamic to this problem. First, our student population includes those who have limited resources at home, and therefore, can not do homework at home. Second, there is a trend to lessen homework or get rid of it altogether. And last, I wanted to start flipping my classroom, but students would need to do their homework. This made flipped learning inequitable for our student population. Then, I stumbled upon Jennifer Gonzales’ video that explained The In-class Flip. This method of lesson delivery is perfect for my students because our school just evolved to having 1to1 student Chromebooks. Therefore, each student has access to my video lesson at the start of class, and can replay it as needed while they complete the related tasks. This frees me up to walk around and facilitate, and makes learning more equitable. Adversity solved with The In-class Flip!