What does innovation look like?
Tony Wagner at AASL Hartford, CT
Tony Wagner, author of Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World gave the keynote presentation. A few highlights:
Three challenges in education today:
- Democratization of information means that anyone has access, so teachers and librarians and adults no longer hold the “keys.” What, then, is a teacher? What is a school? What is a library?
- The nature of jobs is changing and so our graduates need to be able to create opportunities for themselves.
- Unlike school, learning from the Internet allows student to be the architects of their own learning
What skills will our graduates need to prepare them for college/career/citizenship?
- Critical thinking and problem solving as evidenced by their ability to ask good questions
- Collaborative skills and the ability to lead through influence
- Agility and adaptability to accommodate change
- Initiative and entrepreneurship
- Effective oral and written communication skills
- Ability to access and analyze information
- Curiosity and imagination
Instead of manufacturing things, they need to be able to manufacture ideas.
Five stark contrasts:
- Schools reward individual achievement BUT the future calls for teamwork
- Schools compartmentalize knowledge BUT innovation happens at the margins and intersections of disciplines
- Schools are passive environments BUT the future calls for creating, not consuming, ideas
- Schools reward extrinsically BUT the motivator is making a difference
- Failure in schools is typically considered bad, but it is from failure that many innovations occur.
Additionally, while schools focus on grades and test scores to determine achievement, other more authentic evidence is important—and is increasingly valued and used by employers in hiring.
One idea for changing school culture: Every school needs a research and development budget to stimulate and support creativity of educators.