George Couros recently posed the question: “Should Every Educator be an Innovator?” He bluntly offers his one-word response that resonates with most: Yes. Highlighting the need for an innovator’s mindset in every single classroom, Couros brings a crucial topic to our attention. In an era filled with buzzwords and claims of ‘revolutionary’ innovation, how important is it for educators to pay attention? 21st century education has been undergoing some major changes, with technology accelerating a move towards the student-centered classrooms of the future, despite the fact that many education systems remain the same. This is because much of this reform is happening within the classroom, with innovative educators taking matters into their own hands to form the kind of education that digital natives both need, and expect. Among this innovation, we’re seeing an increase in flipped classrooms, BYOD, and blended learning, along with more skills-based approaches to assessment. But why, you may ask, do we really need classroom innovation?
#1. To challenge a rigid system modelled on industrialization
Sir Ken Robinson in his infamous TED Talk explains how our education system is “modelled on the interests of industrialization, and on the image of it”, highlighting the need for more focus on creativity and innovation in the way we teach and learn. Challenging our rigid system lies in the adoption of more innovative methods that harness the power of technology. With mobile learning breaking down school walls, and the flipped classroom re-evaluating the role of the educator, we’re seeing first-hand how classroom innovation can make a difference.
#2. To teach the value of a growth mindset
Fostering the beliefs of Carol Dweck in the power of a growth mindset, 21st century educators are looking for new ways to teach its value in the classroom. With the understanding that students with growth mindsets have the power to develop their basic abilities and intelligence, as opposed to those with fixed mindsets, its importance in education is clear. Portraying the educator as a lifelong learner while maintaining a focus on skills, classroom innovation teaches students the importance of a growth mindset in order to continue learning and developing in every aspect of life.
#3. To harness the power of creativity in education
Having established the importance of creativity in education, Sir Ken Robinson set the pace for education reform. Placing an emphasis on the 5 C’s of 21st century education, classroom innovation is re-enforcing Robinson’s belief, asserting that in today’s workforce, employers expect more than mere “yes men” with high GPAs. Rather, they expect innovation and difference in a job market more competitive than ever before. With the help of education technology, innovative educators are empowering students to think different, to learn different, and to be different.
Image credits: Ramdlon / CC BY 2.0