So here I go! I’m joining the #IMMOOC (Innovator’s Mindset Massive Open Online Course). I’ll be learning and sharing about innovation in education with over a 1000 other educators!
When I hear the word innovation, it automatically takes me back 20ish years to the time when I had to teach my dear dad how to double click when using a mouse. With a bit of practice he soon learned that click, pause, click does not constitute double clicking and he has been click-clicking ever since. Despite not having a computer in the house for most of my student life, since then he has done a great job at keeping up with innovative technology and could now probably teach me a thing or two. He troubleshoots when he encounters tech problems, and navigates his smart TVs, iPhone and elaborate karaoke system mostly with ease. There is no hint of the challenges he faced when learning to double click (Sorry dad, but it was either this or your learning about airbags).
Although innovation often relates to technology, I share this story not for that reason, but because it illustrates the importance of resiliency, staying in the know, keeping up with the times and stepping out of ones comfort zone, in order to learn new and better ways of doing things. To me, this is what being innovative is all about. It is about not accepting things a certain way simply because that is the way we’ve always done them, and instead continually questioning and reflecting on our ways in order to do better and not get left behind.
So why is innovation important in education? How could it not be?! Do you know anyone who would opt for the least innovative and up to date surgeon, or a lobotomy versus more modern treatment? Why should it be any different in education? We are educating future innovators! When I think of the importance of innovation in education, I think there are two things teachers need to consider:
- The importance of remaining innovative in their strategies, techniques and approaches, and constantly reflecting on and improving these.
- The importance of modelling an innovative mindset for their students.
So how do we do it? Here are some ideas I humbly suggest:
- Always be curious. Ask questions. Do this in front of your students.
- Don’t feel you have to be an expert at something first, in order to share it with your students. Learn FROM your students and WITH your students. Model lifelong learning.
- Be brave, take chances. Model risk-taking for your students.
- Don’t be afraid to fail. Model failure and resilience for your students.
- Network and collaborate with other educators. Throw your ideas out there.
- Take advantage of professional development opportunities and stay in the know about new practices and trends.
- Don’t fall behind with technology. It progresses and changes quickly, and the farther you fall behind, the harder it will be to catch up.