Innovating in the margins in US schools

Innovating in the margins in US schools

Jul 18, 2012

INDUSTRIALIZED INNOVATION: Mr. Aran Levasseur, Academic Technology Coordinator at SF University High School, takes five in this MindShift blogpost to set the record straight on innovation in US educational systems. Noting that "innovation can't be installed," he warns that simply purchasing iPads won't "usher schools to the leading edge of 21st century education."

Instead we should start with two questions: 1) what are the educational goals of technology integration; and 2) how do "current systems and processes support [these] integrative and innovative goals?"

Just because schools were successful during the industrial revolution doesn't mean that structure is effective today, particularly given the spectrum of ways individuals and teams "can access, construct and communicate knowledge" through iPads and other technologies, Mr. Levasseur argues.

Constantly measuring bits of learning through standardized testing isn't the answer; instead Mr. Levasseur champions experimenting with new roles for teachers to build innovative learning environments--even if the outcomes are still shadowed in uncertainty.

Mirroring the attitudes of all three of our ES-Instruct DILO portraits, Mr. Levasseur suggests that given the current structure of schools, innovation will most typically flourish at the margins. For teachers, that means taking time, say, once a week, to try a new app, or working over a couple of semesters to integrate a new process.

If you have a tool or process that you've innovating with "at the margins," give us a shout. We'd love to share.

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