The beginning of the school year –always so busy. But when isn’t it so busy? Is there ever such a time for us? I have not been able to find it, except for the occasional journeys to a deserted beach. (but then – those carnivorous sharks on the prowl, talk about redistricting!)
I am hopeful the column Innovation Wave can become a destination, a respite of sorts, for finding or encountering information to inspire you, to share with staff and parent groups –or to share with your Board.
I wish it could be as grand as the awe-provoking Brain Pickings (Maria Popova). It won’t be, sadly. Like you, I too am always trying to balance the more technocratic aspects of the work with opportunities for thinking about the meaning of our efforts in the context of a world in transformation.
Innovation Wave is meant to be a collective effort. By that I mean, if you would please send me links to interesting articles, podcasts, book reviews, and/or some commentary you would like to share with colleagues about your vision for designing, encouraging and leading the way along the pathway of innovative practices.
In my humble opinion, innovation is about our capacity as humans to adapt. As creatures we adapt to survive, and as moody sentient beings we adapt to find pleasure in our existence. We innovate. We plant gardens, invent musical instruments, systems of writing, and the internet. We harness electricity. We make weapons.
It is said we are already in the 4th Industrial Revolution (I highly recommend we all give a listen to presidential candidate, Andrew Yang, on this, whether or not you are interested in voting for him.) Although we often hear (or are told) that our public schools look just like they did in the 19th Century, I don’t buy it.
“The Fourth Industrial Revolution, finally, will change not only what we do but also who we
are. It will affect our identity and all the issues associated with it: our sense of privacy, our
notions of ownership, our consumption patterns, the time we devote to work and leisure, and how we develop our careers, cultivate our skills, meet people, and nurture relationships.”
Klaus Schwab, The Fourth Industrial Revolution
We have all been a part of substantial changes and innovations in the designs we use to organize and deliver instruction, how we measure learning growth, and how we incorporate true student voice and choice into the work. And then there is the use of ever-evolving tools.
No, we aren’t locked into the 19th Century and Horace Mann would be disoriented if he did a walk-through in one our many schools. But, in 2019, we may be confined somewhat by 20th Century models. We are in transition. Our practices and tools – even our mission. As David N. Perkins (Harvard Graduate School of Education) writes in Future Wise – Educating Our Children for a Changing World (2014) we must consider the “return-on-learning” (ROL) when designing our offerings for students.
That is what Innovation Wave is for. It is a space where we can share and propose our respective visions of what innovation and adaptability mean to us as school district leaders on our small planet that is getting warmer and more crowded.
While I am generally peace-oriented fellow, like all of you I like to read outside of our professional journals.
The new Marine Corps Commandant, Gen. David Berger, issued an updated Commandant’s Planning Guidance (July 2019). He writes: “ We cannot afford to retain outdated policies, doctrine, organizations or force development strategies.”
He is planning to lead his forces to adapt to the new challenges, threats and opportunities his forces may confront.
So it is with educators. Our job as leaders charged with preparing our youth for the future requires us to co-create the future with our colleagues, our staffs, our students and communities. We need to encourage much of the state’s political leadership take their eyes off of the rearview mirror.
Resources for your consideration:
On Linkedin? Check this out
Thinking about strategies for weaving technology into more personalized learning approaches and aligning your work to their well-thought-out standards? iNacol is tremendous!
Thinking about innovation in light of social fragmentation? Check this out Or, check this out
Do we need better, more intentional and meaningful multigenerational interaction? (better the occasional chorus visiting a senior center) Check out Encore.org