As part of the work that I do I get some great opportunities to do some fantastic things. Something I’ve been involved with over recent months has been in the role of a Google Innovative Mentor and so can I please introduce Sam Gibson from New Zealand who I’ve been working with. Sam is an educator from the #LON17 cohort who become one of the Google Certified Innovator ranks. I’ve been inspired by Sam’s mission to help bring creative innovation to education. Sam’s been working on his project and we thought it would be good to share it via the site. I won’t spoil Sam’s words below but if you could take the time to complete his short survey at the end it would really help. I thought I should add too as an innovative educator, I think you’d like his blog too where he shares hints, tips and ideas around teaching and learning with technology. Check it out. Thanks! Mark…
Creating Tomorrow’s Innovators
“Eighty percent of jobs that will exist in 2025 don’t exist today; we have to prepare our students and graduates for a world that’s essentially not possible to prepare them for”
Professor Martin Boehm
This is one of the biggest challenges we face in education today. Teachers and educational institutions are at a crossroads of trying to transition from analogue to digital – or in other words, from what we have always done to what we now need to do. All of this is happening as many students are entering the workforce without the future-focused skills they will need to be successful in an uncertain world.
In a traditional classroom setting, it has been the teacher that has been the source of all knowledge. The internet has changed everything. With content now so readily available, it is the process of learning that is most important. This process of learning is heavily reliant on providing students with opportunities to work on future-focused skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity. These skills are the building blocks to creating tomorrow’s innovators.
The case for change
Within our education system, it is often seen that schools at junior levels provide students with many opportunities to be creative, to think critically, to collaborate and to communicate with each other. Ultimately, these schools are giving opportunities to their students that allow them to be innovative. Unfortunately, I also see that as students move onto higher levels of education, they are assessed at an ever-increasing rate. This assessment is usually based on knowledge rather than future-focused skills, and as such, they are given fewer opportunities to be innovative. This begs the question – does assessment kill innovation? Or are we simply assessing content knowledge over skills?
What am I doing about it?
These questions have led me to my own Innovation Project – Creating Tomorrow’s Innovators. I am lucky enough to be collaborating on this project with the awesome team at Priority One in Tauranga, New Zealand. Priority One has led the successful Young Innovator Awards in Tauranga over the last few years – a great program that gives students the opportunity to innovate by choosing a problem and working towards a solution to that problem. Unfortunately as the age of students increases, so does the drop-off in numbers for this event. No doubt this is a result of the pressure of assessment at senior level and the time constraints that students have.
So our challenge? How can we create integrated courses at senior levels of the school curriculum that can be assessed and that will give students an opportunity to work on the future-focused skills that they will need to be successful in the future? Simply put, we want to create an ‘Innovation’ subject that can be included in senior levels of the curriculum throughout New Zealand.
Can you help?
It’s a long journey ahead, and in true design thinking fashion, I would love to get as many viewpoints as possible so we can decide on our best options to move forward with. If you have experience with or are involved with any programs around the world that are assessing the ability of your students to be innovative, I would love to hear from you.
One way that you could be hugely helpful would be if you could fill out a quick survey at the link below:
Survey: Creating Tomorrow’s Innovators
It would be truly great to hear from you and thanks in advance for taking the time to complete the survey.