Innovation in education can be described as teachers trying new ways of doing things to make learning more exciting and relevant for their students. This is no easy feat, it is not something that you can maintain if you have not put some thought and sound pedagogy behind the innovation.
Last year I think there was part of me that felt something was missing in my teaching. I was learning a lot with the in house professional development on offer, which was great, but I was hungry for more. I needed to be inspired by a way of thinking so profound, that it would move my teaching to the next level, and in doing so, give me ways to inspire my students to push themselves harder.
I remember looking through an IT magazine at work and circling a course that I thought might be good for me. It promised those that undertook the study they would be armed with contemporary digital and collaborative teaching practices. How innovative I thought, just what I need. However, when I got to the bottom of the pamphlet and reviewed the cost, I knew it was out of my reach. But, I circled it anyway, ripped it out of the book, and took it home.
So what’s all the fuss about innovation and being innovative? We are now preparing our students for jobs that don’t exist. Many of the jobs that students would have picked up when they leave school, are slowly being filled due to technological advances; jobs once filled by humans are now being done by robots. In Japan they have a hotel called Henn-na Hotel in Sasebo, Japan. completely run by robots! So what do teachers do to help our kids prepare for a life in the 21st Century? We need to innovate, do things differently, and not give up just because it didn’t work out the first time. After all, perseverance is an important quality!
To be innovative you have to be prepared to go places where you don’t know what the outcome will be. Answers often only revealing themselves to you as you stumble down the path. I often get told “You’re a teacher, you should know!” Well guess what, I don’t know everything, and certainly don’t purport to know everything either. What I do have however, is an open mind set and a willingness to learn.
It just so happens, I was to receive an email from my Deputy Principal inquiring if I was interested in taking on a Postgraduate Course. Well knock me down with a feather, I could not believe my eyes….. it was the very course I had wanted to go on a few months back. If I was accepted I would be given the opportunity to earn a Certificate in Applied Practice (Digital & Collaborative Learning), and as an added bonus they were offering scholarships!
So that you don’t die from suspense, yes I was fortunate enough to receive a full scholarship, which has allowed me to get ‘innovative’ in my classroom, and provide my school with an innovative resource – me!
I’m not going to pretend that the course is easy. The workload is heavy but I am okay with this because everything I learn can be used in my classroom, and disseminated across the school. It requires me to open my mind to possibilities that I had not considered before, and in the process I have reached out to people that before this course, I would have felt to shy to do so. Oh the joy of being around like-minded people!
Our students need teachers who are willing to take on the 21st Century skills and find innovative ways of teaching them. This view is also supported by Dr David Parsons, Associate Professor Massey University (2015) who adds that teachers must move on from 20th century education, as students of the 21st century are now living and will work in a completely different world. This view is also supported by Dr David Parsons, Associate Professor Massey University (2015) who adds that teachers must move on from 20th century education, as students of the 21st century are now living and will work in a completely different world.
Gone are the days of standing up the front of the class. But we won’t get me started on that….. another time… another post……