Image by Alan Levine CC-BY-2.0
Now THIS is a great question!
I have been pondering this question from different perspectives and have decided to comment on 3: culture, the art of teaching and the learning journey.
Culture: I believe organizations can have a culture of innovation. While I am not sure about the potential of measuring this in a precise way other than a sense of the ‘level to which the culture exists’, I think there are definable traits that could be observed and documented as part of a culture of innovation. For example, a culture of innovation would be an environment where new ideas, new thinking and building on existing ideas or remixing are encouraged. The ideas would be received in a non judgemental manner. Ideally, the culture would live throughout an organization – all schools and the education centre in a K12 context.
The Art of Teaching: What does innovation in the classroom look like? – certainly not a one size fits all or a cookie cutter formula. Teaching is an art where educators build relationships, safe environments, and leverage a variety of tools and strategies to craft meaningful and engaging learning spaces using a variety of tools and approaches: inquiry, problem based, real world context, technology enabled, differentiated, global elements, passion based, creating, communicating, designing, choice … well, you get the picture. The craft is creating the ‘right’ recipe — something special for a particular group of students. I am not convinced that the art of teaching or engagement can be measured with precise numbers, but the existence of the elements and evidence of engagement can be observed and documented. Some of my additional thinking about engagement may be read [here].
The Journey: It strikes me that the meaningful part of learning is what happens on the journey. It is the researching, making a plan, perseverance, mastery, creating, modifying, problem solving, reflecting, iterating, conversing, remixing, analyzing etc – the ACTUAL journey that is important. Yet, we continue to live in a world where great emphasis is put on the end game – the final result. In this context, we complete a significant (at least reasonable) amount of data collection and analysis. Perhaps it is this area of education that needs the greatest shift, rethinking and an exceedingly large dose of innovation.
Perhaps education is one area that really does embody that old saying: Not everything that matters can be measured, and not everything that can be measured matters. I cast my personal vote to leverage disruption, honing the art of teaching and focusing on changing practice.
How high will you raise the ‘change bar’? Long live #innovation!!!