The below tweet from Edutopia was shared over and over again through social networks yesterday, because of the power of the idea.
“Alright stop, COLLABORATE, and listen.” pic.twitter.com/ZGVV9fhUsC
— edutopia (@edutopia) September 14, 2015
This is a great idea in theory, and obviously one that educators should think about, but often I hear that there is no money to make this happen in schools. How are we to provide this type of opportunity in organizations where resources are scarce? Where does theory become reality?
If we start with the question, “If we know that educators observing the practice of one another will improve practice, how do we provide opportunities for this on a regular basis?”
Brainstorming ideas (or some variation of it), or even the process of “brainwriting“, might lead to ideas that are not necessarily tied to money, but a shift in thinking. For example, could we not simply have administrators (principals and superintendents included) take time with classrooms to provide coverage for teachers to be in the classrooms of others. Not only would this provide the opportunity for other teachers to learn from one another in real-time, it would also strengthen relationships between students and administrators, while also creating (hopefully) an empathy from the administrator that would have the opportunities to teach students, and understand their classroom.
Now this idea might not be innovative to many schools that do this same thing already, but honestly, some schools have never thought about it. Innovation is something that changes over time to become consistent practice. If the innovative idea (new and better) does not become the normal practice, it probably was not very innovative in the first place.
The point of sharing this example was to provide the reality that although resources are helpful, it is our thinking that will create meaningful change in schools, not any one technology. The tools that were once considered “innovative”, will always eventually collect dust in the corner of our rooms. Innovation will always be about a way of thinking, not the “stuff”.