Innovation in Education

As you can gather from the rest of the 3Di website, we’re very keen on innovation and forward-thinking in education. Anyone who fails to grasp that motivation, learning and creativity are being hugely impacted by new generations of lightweight and compact laptops and tablet computers, not to mention smartphones, isn’t really paying proper attention.

Here are some extracts from yesterday’s Guardian report on a conference which took place this week.

           How to tackle innovation in education

Technology offers the chance to re-imagine teaching, speakers at the Innovation in Education conference found
by Louise Tickle
guardian.co.uk, Friday 18 November 2011

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/nov/18/innovation-education-conference

Hosted by the Guardian, the Innovation in Education conference on Thursday demonstrated one thing above all: transformative changes in how the most dynamic countries educate their young people are already upon us, and we are falling behind.

Keynote speaker, Lord Puttnam, warned that “we have not prepared ourselves for the rate of change or the consequences of change,” adding that politicians he’d recently met in the Department for Education “aren’t looking at the reality of our current context but instead are looking at education as they wish it was and as it used to be”.

The danger, he said is that education itself will suffer, “and young people will give up on us”.

Teachers and school leaders who bravely grasp emerging opportunities to re-imagine how teaching is expressed and experienced, however, will be serving their pupils the very best they can.

New technologies and the creative opportunities they offer teachers who want to innovate were a central focus of the day; it was acknowledged however that the journey will not be easy or comfortable.

The critical role of school leaders in accepting innovation that may challenge traditional authority structures was discussed in one panel session, with NAHT general secretary, Russell Hobby, noting that “technologies are subversive so it needs a whole new way of thinking about where you get your authority from. Leaders will have to develop a degree of humility.”

Professional development must also be urgently re-imagined, with emphasis on how teachers are to be supported as they strive to adopt new ways of working as a core part of their job, urged Stephen Crowne of Cisco.

True innovation isn’t about the sophistication of your technology, discussion at a Q+A session concluded, but is about an unstinting willingness to welcome new approaches into classrooms.

It also means school leaders being open to new ideas, and positively keen to foster the dynamism and creativity teachers and pupils face, as they work increasingly as co-learners in a fast-changing education journey.

After such a positive article it’s sad to report that most of the comments which are posted on the website under the article are nothing less than dismal and depressing. Maybe we should all try to post some positive comments on such reports to cancel out the negative nonsense which website trolls love to dump on anything remotely challenging and forward-looking.

Having had personal experience of using tablet laptop computers in school some 5 years ago we’re well aware of the power of these machines – for example to convert handwriting into print in a Word document. Speech recognition and transcription have also been available for many years – but still aren’t commonly used. More and more children are becoming familiar with how to shoot and edit digital video, even on smartphones, and use it in presentations.

We’ve also had experience of setting up after-school “computer clubs” which allow pupils to work informally on networked laptops in their own classrooms after the official end of the school day. Offered these sorts of opportunities to work individually and collaboratively on self-chosen topics and projects,  facilitated by paid teaching assistants, there’s no doubt that enthusiastic pupils will pursue their own creative learning agendas till they’re literally forced to leave and go home, with the fortunate ones also being able to continue with what they’ve started when they arrive home.

Which is where the distinction between play and work really breaks down – when pupils are writing, doing mathematics, researching and learning across the curriculum for their own pleasure and satisfaction.

If any teachers would like to report on how their innovative practice is making a difference to pupils’ learning and motivation we’ll be glad to showcase it here and on the 3Di website.

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About 3D Eye

Gary Foskett and Clare Blackhall are educationalists, writers and consultants. We work with schools and other organisations who share our vision of how schools, businesses, etc should work in the 21st Century. We also run courses and contribute to conferences - speaking about our three dimensional model of intelligences and how schools, colleges and universities can develop the full potential of all their staff and students. We also offer consultancy for businesses and public sector organisations to support staff training and organisational change and development. For more detailed information read our blog at https://3diassociates.wordpress.com/ or see our website at www.3diassociates.com.
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