K-12 innovation comes in many forms, but there are certain things that help it on its way in classrooms and schools

Here’s what helps–and hinders–K-12 innovation

K-12 innovation comes in many forms, but there are certain things that help it on its way in classrooms and schools

A personalized, learner-centered educational experience is one of the main drivers of K-12 innovation and extraordinary student outcomes, according to CoSN’s annual innovation survey.

The survey includes three categories: accelerators that pave the way for teaching and learning innovation in schools, hurdles that hinder it, and tech enablers are tools that districts can leverage to surmount hurdles and embrace accelerators.

Accelerators of K-12 innovation include:
1. Personalization: As the consumer sector has exploded with new ways to customize user experiences and products, schools are also finding ways to provide customized learning and support at the individual level.
2. Social and emotional learning: A core function of education is building skills and understanding mental, social, and emotional well-being, including empathy, grit, persistence, flexibility, and adaptability.
3. Learner autonomy: Learner autonomy is all about student agency, encompassing anything from letting students choose how they access content, to how they organize their learning, to how they exhibit their learning.

Tech enablers that support K-12 innovation include:
1. Digital collaboration environments: Digital systems, tools, technologies, connectivity, and pedagogy that enable high levels of collaboration and support online and in-person learning.
2. Untethered broadband and connectivity: Ubiquitous broadband internet and the underlying technologies that enable robust connecting learning–without requiring devices to be physically connected, such as via cables.
3. Blended learning tools: Digital tools, technologies, and pedagogy that enable learning experiences through a mix of face-to-face and online interactions.

Hurdles to realizing and expanding K-12 innovation:
1. Digital equity: This includes three interrelated components: digital foundations, conditions for learning, and meaningful learning opportunities.
2. (tie) Scaling and sustaining innovation: Whether it be practices for effective teaching and learning, organizational businesses, or technology usage, schools are challenged to engage in and effectively scale innovation.
2. (tie) Evolution of teaching and learning: The teaching and learning landscape is changing, opening up the opportunity to move toward a better balance of teacher facilitation and student learning.

CoSN explores K-12 innovation trends through its Driving K-12 Innovation initiative. The initiative relies on insight from K-12 leaders, practitioners, and changemakers as they discuss major trends and themes that drive, hinder, and enable teaching and learning innovation in schools.

“Year after year, CoSN’s Driving K-12 Innovation series offers the global edtech community a comprehensive analysis of the latest technology trends. In today’s COVID-19 era, this information is more critical than ever before, as teaching and learning evolve rapidly and tech-based solutions are the catalyst for educators and students around the world,” Keith Krueger, CoSN’s CEO, said in a statement.

Laura Ascione

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