Innovation in Teaching and Learning

Decorative: Four light bulbs -- one upright, lit, and brightly colored


"Why Innovation is Crucial in Education #Podcast" (post) addresses three misconceptions about innovation to outline a more useful framework (especially helpful in light of Lakehead's new Teaching Innovation Award).

  • It also provides a simple visual model for "The Process of Innovation in Teaching and Learning" (see 4 below).

See also

1. The Misconceptions

  • "Innovation is About How You Use Technology"
  • "Innovation Is Reserved for the Few"
  • "Innovation Is Solely a 'Product'"

2. The Key Truths

a. "[I]nnovation is a way of thinking, not merely the way we use technology."

  • "[T]here are many ways that educators are innovative without using technology."
  • Even with technology, "it is what you do with it that creates the innovative practice in the classroom."
  • "Dispell the myth that 'technology equals innovation,' and you will see more educators seeing that many things they are doing in classrooms right now are incredibly innovative, with or without technology."
  • "Innovation is about 'mindset,' not a skillset."

b. "[I]nnovation in teaching and learning is ... a process we should all aspire to as educators and learners."

  • It "does not mean you get rid of what you were doing previously, but always [be] evaluating "[I]s it working for your students[?]"
  • "This is not something that should be done by the few but should be the norm in school."

c. Innovative products follow innovative thinking (e.g. the iPhone, Uber, Airbnb, iTunes, etc.)

  • "Innovation happens in the thinking to create these things in the first place; they did not come to fruition on their own."
  • "Many people have great ideas, but making these ideas happen is the innovation." 

3. "Innovation in Teaching and Learning" (Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education [STLHE], from their "D2L Innovation Award in Teaching and Learning" file)

"Examples of innovative approaches in teaching and learning include":

  • "Classroom and course management innovations, including new ways of teaching that promote student engagement, reorganization of a course(s) that improves students’ ability to apply what they learn, course content that clarifies historical changes in theory, novel assignments that lead to increased student engagement, student publications, and/or activities that bring students from diverse backgrounds together."
  • "Leadership in innovation that forges new paths and inspires others within and beyond the institution, including mentoring colleagues about innovative approaches, working in administrative and service positions to promote innovation, actively participating in committees to promote or create innovation and other pathways that enhance learning."
  • "Championing new visions of teaching excellence through the scholarship of teaching and learning, including professional contributions to discussions, presentations, newsletters, publications, and other modes for sharing innovation."

4. The Process of Innovation in Teaching and Learning

"Innovation in Education starts with this question: What is best for this learn? and considers the following interacting factors: Innovative Practice (What does this learner need? What can I develop with what I know?), Best Practice (How is this meeting the needs of learners?), and Reflex, Revise, Remix (What could I do differently? What was successful and why?)


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