I received a really great question the other day from a teacher regarding the notion of “innovation” and how I see it as something that is both “new and better” (with the emphasis on the “better”).
I discussed this concept from “The Innovator’s Mindset” in the following paragraph:
For the purpose of this book, I’m defining innovation as a way of thinking that creates something new and better. Innovation can come from either “invention” (something totally new), or “iteration” (a change of something that already exists), but if it does not meet the idea of “new and better,” it is not innovative. That means that change for the sake of change is never good enough. Neither is using innovation as a buzzword, as many organizations do, to appear current or relevant.
A few things I have been pondering:
- I focus on innovation as more of a “mindset” than a skillset. What is “new” to one person or organization might be considered a norm in another space, but the focus is always on is this “better” in a way that it is helping our students move toward their own success.
- Seeing innovation as either “invention” or “iteration” is crucial to education. If have certain strategies that work for reading that I use, but they don’t work for a specific learner, I might take something I already know and tweak it to assist (iteration) or come up with something new to help the learner move forward (invention). The idea of this being a “mindset” is that we actively look to create solutions to help those that we serve.
- “Innovation” and “best practice” should work hand-in-hand, but when people cite evidence that a certain practice helps something like “90% of students”, my first response is, “what are we doing for the other 10% that it doesn’t work?” Educators bring certain tools and strategies to their work every single day, but when those things don’t work for all of our kids, we have to look for ways to support all students to become successful.
If we are talking about personalizing learning it is important that we also talk about personalized success. Not all learners (adults too) will do the same things at the same time (or at any time) but success is a very personal concept and is too often defined by others for people. If we want to truly empower our learners to find their own path to success, it is important that we assist them in defining what that path and outcome can look like for themselves.
Just some thoughts I have been pondering.
Source: George Couros