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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



  • vickycrawford (View all users posts) 18 Mar 2016 11:17am ()

    Hi Maurie

    I like the way you ask for student input prior to designing your curriculum. Something for me to consider going forward.

    My name is Vicky Crawford and I am Head of Social Sciences at Albany Junior High in Auckland. My passion seems to be about providing the space for student driven initiatives. I love allowing them to create and lead their own initiatives and I am constantly surprised about how mature they are when they are given responsibility for something they love.

    In terms of student voice one of the initiatives I have started this year is an online forum (much like this one) on our Social Studies at AJHS website. Every week I post a new topic which I have noticed students talking about. Topics this year have included: A new flag for NZ? Who should be the next US President? We had 80 students commenting on the flag post so I can say that at this stage it appears to be working. All the teacher has to do is get students to join the forum once and the student will then be regularly updated online. I really like this initiative as it helps in building a school wide Social Studies community (rather than individual classes who rely on the teacher to ensure students engage).

    The motto for Social Sciences at AJHS is Activism not Apathy and I'm hoping that our SS forum is a step in the right direction in improving youth participation in civil matters.



  • vickycrawford (View all users posts) 25 Mar 2016 9:44pm ()

    Hi, my name is Alexia Hilbertidou and I am a Y13 student at Albany Senior High School in Auckland. My school is innovative in the way it allows its Year 11-13 students one day a week (Wednesday's) to complete an Impact Project of their own choosing. 

    This year my Impact Project is an initiative called GirlBoss NZ. My mission is to encourage young women to dream big and consider fields in which they are under-represented such as STEM, business and governance - areas in which they can create large scale change which benefits us all. I want young women to become educated about the Third Wave of feminism and to develop strategies to overcome potential challenges. I want to tear down the pale, male and stale patriarchy of old. I want women's voices (and other under-represented groups) at the table so that policies reflect the diverse nature of our society.  Yes, I'm a millennial and I'm not afraid to want, want, want!

    I have been passionate about gender politics, tech, leadership and entrepreneurship since I was 14. At that age, I was the only girl at my school's first Tech Team meeting. When I was 16 I was the only girl in my year level taking Digital Technology. And this year, at age 17, I am the only girl in my year level taking Physics for Engineering (Advanced Physics.)  These years have allowed time for reflection and to consider why so many girls are discouraged from STEM fields. I believe it is due to: a lack of women role models; lack of community and support (in a male dominated area); and misconceptions of difficulty.


    On the GirlBoss website, you can see some of the initiatives we have set up to start addressing these challenges, including GirlBoss PODS at other school's, regular facebook updates linking to relevant news and events, and a conference featuring inspirational NZ women such as Jacinda Adern, Theresa Gattung, Michelle Dickinson and Mimi Gilmour.

    I am excited to be able to work on something that I am so passionate about and which I feel can make a massive difference to the lives of thousands of high-school young women.

    If you or your students are interested in attending our upcoming conference at AUT in Auckland please follow this link The Third Wave conference.

    To become a  member and gain access to GirlBoss education and events teachers and students can join our organisation and like our Facebook page.


    I am so grateful to my school leaders for allowing space in the curriculum for students to create innovative projects like these. The skills I am gaining are invaluable and I am so lucky to have a secure environment in which to learn and develop.



    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    I'm on the left! 
  • vickycrawford (View all users posts) 25 Mar 2016 10:27pm ()

    Hi Tony,

    Thank you so much for your encouragement and for spreading the word. 



  • vickycrawford (View all users posts) 31 Mar 2016 3:06pm ()

    Hi everyone,

    It was great to see Tessa referencing the World Economic Report, and its focus on the implications of technology on the future workforce. I was so inspired by the articles and information which I read about this issue that I wrote a Social Studies Unit which all of my 500+ Year 9 and Year 10 students at Albany Junior High are currently working on. It is called "2025: Will a robot steal my job?" and it brings together careers education, social science and technology just beautifully.

    Our students and teachers have been fully engaged in comparing and contrasting jobs today with 2025; identifying skills which will remain relevant - creativity, decision making, negotiation ...; looking back at the impact of industrialisation in the 1800's;  and exploring the positive and negative potential consequences of the Fourth stage of Industrialisation in which we are now living.

    I will attach the unit and assessment tasks here and hopefully others might want to play with it for their own classes or share it with their Careers advisors. We need to educate students about how they might package themselves in an increasingly short term, contractual workplace in which they will be competing on a global scale. We need to encourage them to look forward rather than back (at what their elders did) and to be aware of the impact of their choices on their future prosperity, lifestyle and opportunity. 

    Link to Unit Plan, Assessment and Resources - "2025: Will a robot steal my job?"

    Vicky Crawford


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e-Learning: Leadership

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