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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) 29 Mar 2016 5:55pm ()

    Wow Alexia, THANK YOU so much for sharing, actually thank you for more than that! Thank you for being brave to fight the pale, male and stale (I love this), and for having the vision to be such a strong, influential role model.

    Your drive and capacity to be so forward-thinking is going to hold you in good stead in a world full of changing roles and expectations. This is even more important; as technology and robotics rise the predictions are that women will be the most disadvantaged in the workforce. As quoted in
    Robots Will Replace 5 Million Workers By 2020: Report,

    Women will be the biggest losers as their jobs are often concentrated in low-growth or declining areas such as sales, office and administrative roles, the report said.

    While men will see approximately one job gained for every three lost over the next five years, women face more than five jobs lost for every one gained.

    How refreshing and exciting to have young people like yourself, proactively raising awareness for the potential of young women to succeed. Congratulations to your school for providing an opportunity (time) to create moments of 'impact', and no doubt thanks should also be given to your parents - for their support ‘behind the scenes’.

    I’ll be sharing your web links and up-coming Third Wave conference (only $5) as well. Good luck with your endeavours Alexia.

    Image source YouTube

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 11 Apr 2016 11:44am ()

    Hi Stuart, your post is inspiring and a 'wero' or challenge for leaders to become strategic in the way they nudge and nurture teachers to become more innovative in their practice - so that it's the 'norm' rather than the isolated instances of something amazing.

    As a parent, I think this is important too - otherwise it's a hit and miss game if your child will ever experience some truly magic learning experiences - like everyone else has shared in this forum so far.

    This little video shared by Roger Sommerville is a wonderful representation of how to achieve that 'tipping point' you've touched on Stuart.

    Leading Innovation:The 3 carriage train 

    Too simple?


  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 11 Apr 2016 12:18pm ()

    Thanks Annemarie for reminding us there are educational influences, such as current assessment practices that can actually hinder innovation in schools. I think you're right about the importance of innovative leaders to initiate/drive/maintain the process. These graphics sum up some of the thinking behind the characteristics of innovative leaders:

    Innovative mindset


    Characteristics of innovative leaders

    Getting started in an ILE screenshot

    I'm thinking an important part of the process is understanding/knowing what effective and powerful learning looks like, having the moral purpose (like Maurie and Graham have discussed) to drive this shared pedagogy across a school, while encouraging collective/collaborative voices (including student voice) throughout the process. This webinar we ran last week, Getting started in an Innovative Learning environment is a fantastic testimony to how two schools are doing this already (full presentation material can be found in the associated thread).

    Resource and time allocation are extremely important aspects of innovative practice. My wondering is, if ...say a goal is to help students achieve Stage 5 maths understandings, do the learning experiences need to be completed alone on worksheets? For example, could a measurement unit become and authentic Inquiry?  For example: creating a new playground using measurement, scale drawings, model making etc as was the case in this story, Mathematics in a future focused school (ALiM) where "Teachers now plan for rich, authentic learning tasks that give maths meaningful contexts for learning, beyond procedural problem solving." The increased mathematical achievement data as a result of this kind of practice, now speak for themselves.

    What do you think?

  • 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?

  • 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) 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

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

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e-Learning: Leadership

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