3 practices that support innovation

Innovation is a key part of successful school transformation

school-innovationDon’t let the headline mislead you: This story won’t tell you how to innovate. Still, being open and willing to take a risk or two can put your school district on the path to something great. And adopting new policies or practices can set you on the road to modeling innovation for your district and others.

What works for one school won’t necessarily work for another–success is not one-size-fits-all. But school leaders can follow a few suggestions to spur innovation in their districts.

First, in order to support and encourage innovation, it’s important to realize that today’s “old” tools were once considered the latest technologies.…Read More

Here’s how to scale school innovation

In a new TED talk, Adam Frankel, former executive director of Digital Promise, discusses how technology can help bring personalized learning and school innovation to scale.

After writing education speeches for President Obama, Frankel told the audience that he wanted to get “closer to the point of action,” and “wanted to enact the words on the page.”

It was tricky, Frankel said, because as Roland Fryer (the Robert M. Beren Professor of Economics at Harvard University, a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, founder and faculty director of the Education Innovation Laboratory at Harvard) suggests, conventional approaches to education reform that should work—such as smaller class sizes—haven’t made a huge difference at scale.…Read More

How the government can drive school innovation

The federal government should support, and even offer incentives to, states that move toward competency-based learning systems, Horn writes.

The opportunity to transform the nation’s education system from its factory-model roots to a student-centric version has never been greater.

Online education is growing rapidly in full-time virtual schools, and even more so in blended-learning environments. This is the future of our education system. Now, America must embrace this change to create alternative learning models that maximize every student’s learning potential and improve the outlook of the country’s global competitiveness.

Although this critical issue is a national challenge and opportunity, it does not mean the best way to drive innovative change in education is through the federal government. Most of the funding and decision-making around education in this country occur at the state and local levels. The federal government has limited ability to effect change. That said, what the federal government can do is create the conditions for the type of changes to emerge that put the focus on each individual student.…Read More

Social think tank on innovation in education

I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in Dell’s “Social Think Tank” on Innovation in Education today., says Christopher Dawson for ZDNet Education. We’ll be spending the day talking about how tech can drive new approaches to education. I’ll be tweeting and updating this blog all day as we move the conversation forward.

Update: 11:15 am EDT – How to close the learning gap: What is the learning gap? I would argue that it’s the distance between those students who learn in spite of the system and those who are stymied by the system. Arguably, you could also call the inability of those with poor conditions outside of schools to be able to navigate the system versus those who have the outside resources to make it through…

Click here for the full story…Read More

Forum explores how to spur school innovation

Panelists at a recent forum focused on how to encourage more innovation in education.

Innovation was a key theme of President Obama’s State of the Union address on Jan. 25, and it also was the theme of a recent forum in Washington, D.C., that explored how policy makers and education leaders can encourage more innovation in the nation’s schools.

Hosted by the Aspen Institute, the Education Innovation Forum kicked off Jan. 20 with Education Secretary Arne Duncan calling on states to implement the Common Core standards and integrate more technology into classrooms.

“We’re nowhere near where we need to be as a country,” Duncan said. “The brainpower here, the innovation, the creativity [can help us] get not just incremental change, but … dramatically better outcomes for young people.”…Read More

NSBA’s final ed-tech conference explores school innovation

Elements of T+L will now be part of NSBA's annual conference.

Reflecting the toll that the struggling economy has taken on education, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) said its 24th annual Technology + Learning (T+L) conference, held last month in Phoenix, would be its last.

Roughly 1,000 school board members and administrators gathered in Phoenix for the final iteration of this major ed-tech trade show, which focused this year on fostering school innovation.

Opening keynote speaker S. Craig Watkins, professor and author of The Young and The Digital, spoke Oct. 19 about how to better inspire innovation in the classroom. His advice to attendees: Don’t tell today’s “digital natives” to power down.…Read More

$3.4B for 9 states, D.C. in Race to the Top grants

The Race to the Top program, part of President Barack Obama's economic stimulus plan, rewards states for taking up ambitious changes to improve struggling schools.
The Race to the Top program, part of President Barack Obama's economic stimulus plan, rewards states for taking up ambitious changes to improve struggling schools.

More than 13 million students and 1 million educators will share $3.4 billion from the second round of the federal “Race to the Top” grant competition, the U.S. Education Department (ED) said on Aug. 24.

The department chose nine states–Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Rhode Island–and the District of Columbia for the grants. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said 25,000 schools will get money to raise student learning and close the achievement gap.

The Race to the Top program, part of President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plan, rewards states for taking up ambitious changes to improve struggling schools. The competition instigated a wave of reforms across the country, as states passed new teacher accountability policies and lifted caps on charter schools to boost their chances of winning.…Read More

Cracks in school innovation fund might present problems

Federal officials say schools may find difficulty providing evidence of successful programs when applying to the Investing in Innovation Fund.
Some say schools might have trouble providing evidence of successful programs when applying for i3 funding.

Just days before the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released applications for the $650 million Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund on March 8, education technology researchers and developers expressed some concerns about the i3 program’s procedures and requirements.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) set aside $650 million in the i3 fund for three levels of competitive grants that expand the implementation of, and investment in, innovative and evidence-based practices, programs, and strategies in schools.

ED officials say these solutions should significantly improve K-12 achievement and close achievement gaps, lower dropout rates, increase high school graduation rates, and improve teacher and school leader effectiveness.…Read More