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FORUM: What does innovation look like in your school? | An Enabling e-Learning event

Started by Nathaniel Louwrens 16 Mar 2016 9:24am () Replies (81)

Innovation in schools of any type needs to start with the idea that the goal is not to force kids to abandon their passions and interests for our curriculum.

- Will Richardson, Stop innovating in schools. Please.

blue orange Dictionary.com defines innovation as:

  1. Something new or different introduced

  2. The act of innovating; introduction of new things or methods.

There is so much innovation going on in our schools. Leaders and teachers are coming up with new ideas, and new ways of doing things all the time. But what innovation looks like to one school could be completely different for another as each school has different goals and philosophies.

George Couros states in Innovation and best practice, that his “belief is that innovation in teaching and learning starts with empathy; truly trying to understand those that you serve.” He expands on this to say that it’s “not only a starting point, but a continuous part of the process”.

As with all things in schools, we need to ensure that student learning is foremost on our mind. This includes in how we innovate. Will Richardson made this very clear when he says,

To put it simply, innovation in schools today is far too focused on improving teaching, not amplifying learning.


Join the discussion

  • What does innovation look like to you?

  • What does innovation in your school look like?

  • Are the innovations in your school amplifying learning? If so - how?

  • How is digital technology supporting innovation in your school?

  • Where do the tensions/challenges lie if any?


Image source: Thom Lunasea - Flickr CC BY-2.0



  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 11 Apr 2018 12:31pm ()

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 02 Feb 2017 5:20pm ()

    I'm glad this platform has provided you with a lens on developments across the country Yvonne. That's exactly what this space was set up for - teachers and educators to come together share ideas, experiences, wonderings - wherever, whenever.

    Have any ideas ignited/inspired different ways of working/innovating/disrupting for you in your school? smiley

  • Yvonne Catherwood (View all users posts) 16 Jan 2017 3:00pm ()

    Innovation in a small school can be quite daunting as the number of staff is small and it can be challenging motivating one another and trying to come up with new ways to do things in your class especially if you are the only teacher teaching a particular year level. I have found that reading what other people are doing in their classroom helps enormously to make me more aware of what is going on out there in the big wide world. 

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 01 Dec 2016 3:27pm ()

    For all those who missed it, Alexia's webinar presentation yesterday was very inspirational. For a group of young women to have this much vision, passion and energy to grow an important project like this across NZ is truly inspiring. View the following recording and find out more about GirlBossNZ  and the push to help girls into more areas of STEM education and careers in New Zealand.

    Why girls? Because as Alexia shared, if all we see in the sciences, engineering, maths, technology, gaming, coding, social media fields is men - then, "We cannot be what we cannot see."

    Screenshot of Innovation in school webinar

    Webinar: What does innovation look like in your school? (11/2016). Part of this thread: FORUM: What does innovation look like in your school? | An Enabling e-Learning event Please view, feel free to spread the word to others and provide feedback on this event.

    In a hurry to see more? Then why not watch this Youtube clip of Alexia's presentation to the Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka Awards where she was a finalist.

    Thanks again Alexia Hilbertidou for sharing and good luck with those lofty goals. We'll be watching in anticipation. 

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 29 Nov 2016 10:02am ()

    GirlBossNZ website screenshot

    In her post above Alexia Hilbertidou shares how she has set about to encourage young women to become empowered in 'under-represented areas such as STEM, business and governance.' Come and find out what innovation looks like when it’s student-driven and motivated to meet the needs of young women in education. REGISTER NOW to meet Alexia and her mum tomorrow in, LIVE WEBINAR: Innovation in your school, 3.45pm, 30 November.

    Just to elaborate on STEM...

    STEM is the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. It is a multidisciplinary way of looking at curriculum with the understanding these form a sound basis for learning and…with the high-tech era fuelling job growth in STEM areas, more and more, a degree (or equivalent) is seen as the minimum requirement to enter the workforce.” So why the STEM push? 

    Our country (and the world’s) economies revolve around maths - accounting, economics, etc. Advancements and developments in science, technology, and medicine are rapidly evolving, therefore building a solid STEM foundation through a well-rounded curriculum is the best way to ensure that students are exposed to math, science, and technology throughout their educational career. https://teach.com/what/teachers-know/stem-education/

    The Ministry of education is implementing a number of initiatives to help promote STEM subjects in schools (SNUP, N4L, Communities of Learning, A Nation of Curious Minds – He Whenua Hihiri i te Mahara because;

    As demands for innovative thinkers and STEM specialists increase, so does the need for initiatives such as the ones in place already to encourage and support students and educators in these fields. So why the STEM push?

  • Sophie Ralph (View all users posts) 29 Oct 2016 1:03pm ()

    Kia ora Leanne,

    Great to hear your reflection on starting in a new school and working in a collaborative environment. I have recently started at a new school and we are currently putting together our collaborative teams and through much professional reading and rich discussion it is interesting to see the differences in the practices and perceptions of 'innovation' and what this can/does/will look like in our kura. I came across this blog post today on twitter (a great collaborative workspace!) discussing how to be a 'Reimagineer' in your learning area and beyond.  The blog points out the brightspots and challenges of working collaboratively and poses some good questions for us to think about as we undertake this adventure. 


    Innovation in my current kura is going to be through collaborative teams of 2-4 teachers delivering 3 decent blocks of learning per day in a learner centred environment. I am looking forward to learner agency being at the forefront of everything we do in our kura. I am also mindful of the depth we need to encourage in our learners how do we ensure they go deep with their learning? More reading to do here I suspect!

  • Graham Young (View all users posts) 06 Oct 2016 11:19am ()

    Ha, ha Bill, I wouldn't call it growling!! Just pushing the boundaries too hard (Oops, now I am getting defensive). And your question is a good one! "I just want to know how that would/could look like at that level...." It is a good question because it is the same question the teachers you are leading will be asking of you! That is, I understand the theory... but tell me/show me what it actually looks like in a classroom.

    Simply, the theory is.. when we teach to NCEA, we stay in a narrow paradigm, which often requires students to prove they are competent.... we are achievement focussed and usually many of the assessment 'of' learning tools are stuck in the 20th century, eg; a 2 hour written test. When we shift the focus to learning, whereby students are constantly seeking to improve their competency, achievement will follow.... But, Bill, what does that look like in a senior school classroom? To help teachers with this there are numerous things that leaders can do... for example: 

    As a leader you need to help develop teacher’s ‘assessment of learning’ capabilities. For example: so that assessment drops out of what teachers are teaching rather than teaching to an assessment

    What else Could a leader do to support their teachers and help them to see "what it might look like/be like in a classroom"?

  • Bill Godbout (View all users posts) 06 Oct 2016 8:57am ()

    Hello Kaye,

    That sounds very interesting. How is the self direction aspect of this going? How is this working in conjuction with NCEA requirements? Can you give me an examples of what a happens at each stage of the licenses?

    Thank you

  • Bill Godbout (View all users posts) 06 Oct 2016 8:53am ()

    Hi Neil,

    You make a very good point about innovation and pedagogy. For you, innovation comes through collaborative planning and teaching between learning areas,  and strong student voice in helping to guide the direction that the student's learning takes.

    I am having a difficult time moving this up to the high school and dealing with NCEA. I know Graham growls at me when I bring it up but I just want to know how that would/could look at that level. Any suggestions.

  • Kay Stephenson (View all users posts) 05 Oct 2016 9:07pm ()

    Thanks for the interesting posts and discussion regarding innovations.  i teach in a small rural school which does not have the physical environment that can be called MLE, but we ( senior school teaching team) have been tying out some different ways we can encourage our students to become self directed learners, which will help them to transition to MLE if and when this happens.  We have introduced Self directed Licenses - whereby students begin with a Learners Licence and can move through the restricted, then to a full licence. The full license enables them to choose their works space within  the school and allows them to have more control over their learning.  We see this as innovation in our school that is focused on pedagogy rather than physical buildings, and will allow our students to develop the key competencies needed to be self directed learners.

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e-Learning: Leadership

e-Learning: Leadership

Exploring leadership for change, vision, policy and strategy that integrates ICTs into learning.