innovation list

7 reasons why we need innovation in schools

Innovation is something educator strive for, and for good reason—it will shape society and the workforce for our students

Innovation is more than a buzzword today—it’s something educators strive for in their classrooms, schools, and districts.

We can’t test students on their innovation, but we can encourage them to explore new concepts, look at challenges from all sides, and embrace failures as opportunities to try again with more knowledge.

We also want to make sure you know about our Distinguished Innovator Awards program, which recognizes educators, leaders, schools, and districts that are embracing personalized learning, closing equity and opportunity gaps, and using groundbreaking strategies to improve education in every classroom. If you have a minute, enter the contest or nominate a colleague! The contest is open until November 30.

It’s important to recognize innovation when we see it. Here, we’ve highlighted some excellent examples of innovation in schools across the nation, and we’ve linked to more information about each example.

1. Young people who aren’t exposed to innovation are “lost inventors”—those who have tons of potential but are much less likely to pursue careers as inventors due to this lack of exposure. Addressing this gap is critical for the nation’s future.

2. At Atlantis Charter School in Fall River, MA, educators are taking an innovative approach toward education to help ensure that happens. Working with a coalition of partners from higher education, business, and industry, educators designed a high school curriculum that addresses the growing skills gap that exists in education today so that students are prepared for what is expected of them in college and beyond. The cornerstone of the high school is five school-to-career academies.

3. Inventiveness—the bridge between inventions and innovations—gives students license to use their creative imagination. And today’s classrooms need more of it. During ISTE 2018, educational technologist Kathy Schrock presented a variety of tools and strategies to help boost inventiveness in the classroom. Invention is the creation of a product or the introduction of a process for the first time, while innovation occurs if someone improves on an existing product or process. The link between those two, Schrock said, is inventiveness, or the ability to brainstorm, be flexible, elaborate, and see original ideas come to fruition.

4. Future Ready Librarians are essential leaders and educators in 21st-century schools. They offer students, teachers, and administrators an inimitable combination of skills and abilities. Vancouver (WA) Public Schools enables and empowers Future Ready Librarians with a few lessons learned along the way.

5. As we continue to embark through the Information Age, it’s crucial for educators to implement new strategies that will meet the needs of both students and industries. Thanks to recent technology and innovative solutions, students are gaining more and more access to education outside the classroom, thereby expanding their learning and career opportunities in a variety of ways. Technology and innovation are a growing priority in school districts nationwide, and there are three tactical tools educators can use to transform their classrooms.

6. As technology and innovation become first priority for school districts, it’s important that students are offered creative learning spaces to expand and challenge their knowledge and ability to create. Technology can help students boost their concentration, retain information, and encourage individualized learning programs. Students can also begin to advance their collaboration skills through online projects.

7. Innovation is a trait that I desperately want to instill in my students, and many teachers I talk to seem to share that goal. In the current climate of high stakes testing, state standards, and prescribed learning outcomes, it can be incredibly difficult to foster an atmosphere of innovation and creativity that inspires students. But rest assured, it is possible. Here, I outline eight basic principles for the “Innovative Classroom.

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Laura Ascione

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INNOVATIONS in K-12 Education


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