Shifting to an innovation paradigm in education – the way things currently stand. (Part 1 of 2)

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Today knowledge is ubiquitous, constantly changing, growing exponentially… Today knowledge is free. It’s like air, it’s like water. It’s become a commodity… There’s no competitive advantage today in knowing more than the person next to you. The world doesn’t care what you know. What the world cares about is what you can do with what you know.” Tony Wagner.

These words by Tony Wagner Author of the book ‘Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World’ epitomize knowledge profound impact on our life. Knowledge based economy is growing exponentially. This exponential growth is accelerating the ride to the era beyond knowledge consumption to the one of innovating with knowledge. The digital age is renovating our life, it is the engine of knowledge economy and the driver for globalization. The latter resulted in enormous competitiveness in all fields. For economies to thrive an urgent need exists to having innovative learning institutions that prepare learners for competing and winning in their future careers.

The rise of Innovation age redefined the key skills needed for an individual to be a productive contributor to the society and economy. Individuals in innovation context need to have the aptitude and competence of building new skills and knowledge through the life span. The persistent question that challenge decision makers is: How can we foster an education system that prepare individuals to be creative and innovative labor?

What is innovation?

Innovation is the spark of insight that leads a scientist or inventor to investigate an issue or phenomenon. That insight is usually shaped by an observation of what appears to be true or the creative jolt of a new idea. Innovation is driven by a commitment to excellence and continuous improvement. Innovation is based on curiosity, the willingness to take risks, and experimenting to test assumptions. Innovation is based on questioning and challenging the status quo. It is also based on recognizing opportunity and taking advantage of it. While Sir Ken Robinson put it simply as “Putting good ideas into practice”. He believes that everyone has the potential to be creative and waiting for the right environment in which every person is inspired to grow creatively.

Current Education Paradigm and Innovation: The way things currently stand.

Sir Ken Robinson in Educause 2015 stated:  “My concern is that government policies are focused on improving the old [academic] system, where the seeds of growth for a new system are all around us,” Robinson told the audience“. Moreover, Wagner believes that current education model is obsolete and can take no more reform.

The current situation in schools fosters competition to score higher grades in standardized test and is based on uniformity. Different subjects simulate isolated islands. Creativity which is the stimulus of innovation is not embraced by schools as it should be. With the many reforms taking place in education around the world students are still treated like facts containers which consume rather than explore knowledge to build learning skills to cope with the rapid change in Knowledge sector.

Shifting the paradigm to an innovation paradigm?

For Schools to become innovation learning hubs, Curriculum, Instruction and assessment should be radically transformed and Technology should play a key role in this transformation. Teacher role should be promoted to a facilitation role for the diverse learning models that will evolve. They will embrace more leadership skills.

In Part (2) of this post: Shifting to an innovation paradigm in education – How things should be  , I will unleash my imagination to look at the innovation schools model in the future and discuss what I believe are the critical success factors needed for such a model to flourish. 

Innovation definition retrieved from: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oii/about/definition.html

Copyright 2015 Bashaer M. Al Kilani @bashaierk

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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Innovation in Education (1): A curriculum perspective « E-Learning

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