Why do we need innovation in education? The question is not so simple, even though many school boards still believe that the installation of interactive whiteboards in classrooms is the way of the future. These technological « solutions » come from the belief that simply adding technological equipment to the classroom is enough to enhance teaching and learning. We have not spent enough effort to go to the heart of the pedagogical approaches needed to optimize this material.
Seymour Papert illustrated this way of thinking with the image of a stagecoach with two propulsion rockets, with the caption « Applying technology to an old model of learning and teaching just does not work. Many well-meaning educators still believe that by continuing to tidy up the diligence, we will equip our students with what they need to learn to succeed in the world. Perhaps we should give up this attitude of « not having to reinvent the wheel ». I think, in fact, that we should get rid of the wheel!
It is important to note that the accountability of school boards in Canada focuses primarily on student achievement and completely ignores innovation. Unfortunately, our educational system tends to value compliance and complacency more than innovation.
No innovative approach is a panacea. The winners of our Ken Spencer Awards – featured in the special issue of Education Canada– give us an idea of how teachers, principals, directors general and community leaders can work together to push boundaries and redefine the structures of teaching and learning. More often than not, when policymakers are asked to expand the scope of these types of initiatives, we hear « it’s really interesting » and then the decision makers go back to what’s already there. I have been asking for a long time what we can do to make people pass from the stage of being impressed to being convinced that they must radically change practices. Now.
CAOT invites you to share your experience in the form of a blog post to help us understand why we need innovation. We want to start a discussion in order to begin to build a consensus of our collective expectations about the innovation needed in education. How can we come to an agreement on this?
Questions for students, parents, managers, policy makers, researchers, and anyone interested in educational innovation:
- Do you believe that we have the taste to innovate?
- Why is innovation in education so important?
- How can we optimize the diffusion of innovative ideas?
Questions for teachers:
- What was your most beautiful teaching moment?
- What allowed this moment?
- When did you feel that you had succeeded?
- When did your classroom buzz with activity? Tell us about these optimal moments of learning and teaching.
We need you to « anchor » our ideas in practice. We need examples of educators who put into practice their vision and ideas of what the school could be and who had the latitude to do it.
- What assumptions and personal and institutional traditions have you questioned in order for your innovation to progress?
- What did not work?
In the case of teachers like Graham Johnson of Kelowna, who reversed the organization of his class, the awakening came gradually . Others, like Craig Morrison, founder of the Oasis skateboard factory, were convinced from the start that it would work and knew how they wanted to proceed. How is this going for you?
May your thoughts and ideas inspire us!