Innovation in Pursuit of Developing the Learner

Here is a snippet from “The Innovator’s Mindset” that sets the stage for the book:

Speaking of success, if you are looking for answers to create higher test scores, you might want to stop reading this book. Although I understand that we still work within a system, that’s not what I choose to focus on. I believe it’s possible to have kids who are deep thinkers, creators, and innovators, and still do well on their exams, but I do not want to forsake those critical elements for the latter. Twenty-first century education is not about the test; it’s about something bigger. My focus is not on whether kids can knock it out of the park on some science test in grade three. What I care about is that kids are inspired to be better people because of their experiences in my school.

I do not believe that innovation in education and teaching the curriculum have to be contradicting ideas to one another. I believe how we teach the curriculum is the innovation.

For example, a student in your class wants to be a YouTuber, but you have to focus on teaching certain concepts within the curriculum.  So why not have the student create a YouTube video sharing their understanding of the idea? They not only can develop a deep knowledge of the concept, but we are also helping them tap into their interests.  Could you see the following video (linked below)  created within the context of the classroom?  Could this also lead to student success in the traditional measures of education as well?

You might be thinking, “But then I have to learn how to create and edit videos?” to which I would respond, “Have the student figure it out.” School is a place for learning, and that means educators do not have to teach everything. In a world where information is everywhere, it is sometimes best to step aside and have the student figure out their own path than you create it for them. Finding your way is necessary for developing lifelong learners.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak on the “Vrainwaves” podcast and I had the opportunity to share the importance of understanding learning from the viewpoint of a learner first:

The notion of being a “learner” first has shifted my thinking on education. It has helped me focus on the importance of being empathetic and thinking of the viewpoint of others, learning how to think instead of what to think, and how we create our own path in our growth and development.  We can easily lose sight of developing the person in pursuit of the score but it is not an “either/or” scenario. The innovation in education is in the process of teaching and learning, not necessarily the product.

Source: George Couros