Innovating in Education, Educating for Innovation

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Presentation at the 7th EDEN Open Classroom Conference, Porto, October 15, 2009.

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Innovating in Education, Educating for Innovation

  1. 1. Innovating in Education, Educating for Innovation OCTOBER 15, 2009 The European School 2.0 – The seventh EDEN Open Classroom Conference EDEN – European Distance and E-Leaning Network
  2. 2. How can we incubate creativity? How can we develop in our children the capacity for innovation?
  3. 3. After more than 25 years of experience in the use of technologies in education why have we progressed so little in developing creativity and innovation in our schools?
  4. 4. 1. TYPES OF INNOVATION 2. INNOVATING IN EDUCATION 3. EDUCATING FOR INNOVATION 4. A SOLUTION 5. CONCLUSIONS
  5. 5. 1. TYPES OF INNOVATION 2. INNOVATING IN EDUCATION 3. EDUCATING FOR INNOVATION 4. A SOLUTION 5. CONCLUSIONS
  6. 6. 1. TYPES OF INNOVATION Two radically different types of innovation: incremental innovation disruptive innovation If we mix them up, innovation doesn’t happen
  7. 7. 1. TYPES OF INNOVATION INCREMENTAL INNOVATION Incremental innovations build on existing thinking, products, processes, organizations, or social systems They can be routine improvements or they can be dramatic breakthroughs but they address the very core of what already exists
  8. 8. 1. TYPES OF INNOVATION INCREMENTAL INNOVATION Examples of incremental innovations: •  Airplanes that fly farther •  Batteries that last longer •  Televisions with clearer images •  Computers that process faster •  Schools where students learn better by regularly using the Net
  9. 9. 1. TYPES OF INNOVATION DISRUPTIVE INNOVATION Disruptive innovations are addressed to people who do not have any solutions They take root in simple, undemanding applications that are not breakthrough People are happy to use them, in spite of their limitations, because no other solutions exist They do not compete with anything
  10. 10. 1. TYPES OF INNOVATION DISRUPTIVE INNOVATION But as they gain strength in the realm of non-competition they evolve very fast and end up replacing the traditional solutions
  11. 11. 1. TYPES OF INNOVATION DISRUPTIVE INNOVATION An example of disruptive innovation: The personal computer is an example of a disruptive innovation In the 1970s the professional computer market was occupied by 100,000 € minicomputers produced by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), Data General and HP. The first personal computers (like the Spectrum and the Apple II) were ridiculously limited, and completely out of that market.
  12. 12. 1. TYPES OF INNOVATION DISRUPTIVE INNOVATION They were supposed to be used mainly as toys by children and their parents. But they quickly grew up, in this unexplored market Ten years later, in the 1980s, they were much more powerful, and starting to erode the minicomputer market Twenty years later, in the 1990s, the minicomputer market collapsed in favour of the PC market DEC and Data General don’t exist any more
  13. 13. 1. TYPES OF INNOVATION 2. INNOVATING IN EDUCATION 3. EDUCATING FOR INNOVATION 4. A SOLUTION 5. CONCLUSIONS
  14. 14. 3. INNOVATING IN EDUCATION From the point of view of the sociology of innovation educational systems are networks of actors that reinforce each other into stable configurations These stable configurations tend to prevent change
  15. 15. 3. INNOVATING IN EDUCATION
  16. 16. 2. INNOVATING IN EDUCATION Some experts in innovation claim that in such conservative echo-systems it is impossible to produce innovations with lasting effects the inertia of the system dilutes or distorts the innovations and converts them to the reigning uniformity It is like pouring water in the desert
  17. 17. 2. INNOVATING IN EDUCATION I don’t share this radical view Incremental innovation in educational systems has a high failure rate but it can be explored if sound innovation strategies are crafted and managed relying on dependable social theories, such as Actor-Network-Theory Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2005
  18. 18. 2. INNOVATING IN EDUCATION The promising path to innovation in the educational systems is through disruptive innovation that quietly grows in the margins of the system, unobtrusively until it starts changing it, irreversibly Clayton M. Christensen is an inspiring author on this topic McGraw-Hill, New York, 2008
  19. 19. 2. INNOVATING IN EDUCATION Examples of disruptive innovations in the school systems: •  Courses provided on-line to a region or a whole country, namely: •  courses for gifted students •  enrichment classes for special-needs children •  optional courses in the languages, arts, humanities, economics •  distant support to homebound and home-schooled students •  private tutoring
  20. 20. 2. INNOVATING IN EDUCATION •  Pilot schools trying out new school models •  Special schools for students wishing to follow project-based learning •  Experimental schools aimed at changing transformationally the degraded social communities to which they belong
  21. 21. 2. INNOVATING IN EDUCATION These are examples of opportunities for disruptive innovation that don’t clash against the mainstream educational echo-system In this way, innovation can incubate at leisure until it matures up to a level where it can be transposed to the mainstream system
  22. 22. 1. TYPES OF INNOVATION 2. INNOVATING IN EDUCATION 3. EDUCATING FOR INNOVATION 4. A SOLUTION 5. CONCLUSIONS
  23. 23. 3. EDUCATING FOR INNOVATION Educating a creative and innovative generation requires other concerns besides those related to language, maths and science Ten years ago, in the early days of the Blair government, a commission led by Sir Ken Robinson produced
  24. 24. 3. EDUCATING FOR INNOVATION Educating a creative and innovative generation requires other concerns besides those related to language, maths and science Ten years ago, in the early days of the Blair government, a commission led by Sir Ken Robinson produced a 240-page report on how to make progress in the creative and cultural development of young people NACCCE, UK, 1999
  25. 25. 3. EDUCATING FOR INNOVATION Unfortunately, the report has been ignored Last May, the BBC celebrated the 10th anniversary of its neglect Studies and research reports keep being produced all over the world insisting, for instance, on the importance of the epistemologies of Design and of the Visual Arts Arts Council England, UK, December 2008
  26. 26. 3. EDUCATING FOR INNOVATION The formative role of the engineering paradigms are also being stressed namely in the United States The distinct epistemologies of science and engineering “science explains what exists” “engineering creates what never existed” and their complementary roles in education have been stressed National Academy of Science, USA, 2009
  27. 27. 3. EDUCATING FOR INNOVATION Very innovative experiments, engaging thousands of teachers, are under way such as those conducted by Kieran Egan’s Imaginative Education Research Group (IERG) But they all have one thing in common: Yale University Press, 2008
  28. 28. 3. EDUCATING FOR INNOVATION If they remain at the margins of the conventional educational echo-system following a disruptive path or if they are based on very cautious, strategically managed, incremental innovation they succeed and produce lasting effects
  29. 29. 3. EDUCATING FOR INNOVATION Otherwise and that’s what we witness most of the time they fail and leave no lasting effects HOW CAN WE IMPROVE THIS SCENARIO?
  30. 30. 1. TYPES OF INNOVATION 2. INNOVATING IN EDUCATION 3. EDUCATING FOR INNOVATION 4. A SOLUTION 5. CONCLUSIONS
  31. 31. 4. A SOLUTION STILL ONE PROBLEM: In a world that keeps changing, who knows how to progress? Who teaches who? How can we set up an organic, reflective follow-up process, that analyses difficulties, assesses consequences, and clarifies how to progress?
  32. 32. 4. A SOLUTION MY ANSWER: By establishing lasting partnerships between research units and school communities around action-research and design-research projects conducted by mixed teams of academic researchers and school teachers in a reflection about how school curricula and pedagogical practices can evolve in this changing world
  33. 33. 4. A SOLUTION These projects should be financially supported and assessed on the basis of their contribution to sustained: •  system innovation and cultural change •  enhancement of didactical approaches •  improvement of educational practices
  34. 34. 4. A SOLUTION The national and international publication and presentation of the results of these projects, by members of the mixed teams and the dialogue and mutual help: •  face-to-face (at conferences) •  at a distance (in social networks) strengthens sustained reflective practices and further mobilizes all the parts
  35. 35. 4. A SOLUTION These projects also provide: •  contextual alternatives to teacher training •  opportunities for MScs and PhDs “in the field” •  “authentic” opportunities for teacher assessment
  36. 36. 1. TYPES OF INNOVATION 2. INNOVATING IN EDUCATION 3. EDUCATING FOR INNOVATION 4. A SOLUTION 5. CONCLUSIONS
  37. 37. 6. CONCLUSIONS If we want lasting innovation in the educational systems 1  and our children to be more creative and innovative we need to reinforce our emphasis on disruptive innovation projects These should be action-research and 2  design-based research projects conducted by mixed teams of school teachers and academic researchers
  38. 38. THE END The slides will be available at: Innovating in Education, Educating for Innovation http://www.slideshare.net/adfigueiredo OCTOBER 15, 2009 The European School 2.0 – The seventh My Webpage: EDEN Open Classroom Conference EDEN – European Distance and E-Leaning Network adfig.com

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