There’s a common belief that innovation in education is only related to technological advancements. However, in reality, innovation in education transcends technical expertise. The words ‘Innovation’ and ‘Learning’ are synonymous with human nature and tendency. Both these words are beautifully interdependent on each other. While the stress on innovation can’t be higher, it is a well-established fact that innovation is driven by learning. The foundation for preparing Creative Leaders of the future starts with innovative learning. In this article let us look at the innovation in teaching.
Creative Thinking and Design Innovation finds its application across industries and sectors, including the education sector. The introduction of innovation in education allows students to expand their minds and develop skills outside the textbooks. As Albert Einstein has aptly quoted, imagination is the real sign of intelligence. Hence, it is quintessential that we change and improve learning, educating, and teaching methods according to society’s changing dynamics. Innovative teaching methods are necessary to channel innovative education and to help learners understand and solve modern-day challenges, break futile social constructs, and grow towards a sustainable future.
We have compiled diverse thoughts on educational innovations, innovation teaching, and innovation schools from a multi-cultured set of people across all demographics. Some of the most uplifting ideas are listed below.
Education is not and must not be bounded by classrooms, examinations, and grades. Our current education system is slightly rigid towards following a strict course structure and is validated by tests and concluded by performance & grades. As stated by research studies and a significant public opinion, flexibility in students’ assessment piques interest towards a topic. It’s the interest that rushes curiosity and then grows the human tendency to explore and learn more about the subjects, thus making more room for newer ideas and innovations.
A child’s tendency to ask questions must be preserved and propagated. Innovation in education is walking outside of the box, questioning our methods and approaches to encourage all learners’ success. This difference can be little or can demand groundbreaking changes. In any case, it enables the learning community to practice innovative learning.
Quite often, due to the continuous changes taking place in the world, quite often, the current curriculum and examination fail to meet the practical learning requirements of society. Also, they impose performance pressure and pressure of failure in a slow manner, giving the idea behind assessments a different, unsuccessful meaning.
Innovations in education are the only method to make them flexible and create a safe place for students to learn, try, fail, succeed, and take risks. It’s the growth of the art of learning, which expands a student’s risk appetite to meet their curiosity and become a Creative Leader in the future.
For example, the world is shifting towards research and applications in Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, the entire Industry 4.0 Revolution, but our current education methods do not entirely do justice to teach students about these topics or move ahead of textbook problems. This primarily happens due to the slightly obsolete curriculum, inflexibility in learning methods, and undue importance to examinations.
Innovative learning is the process of creating an atmosphere where students learn about new things regularly, question them, and think of new ideas on their own. It can involve using technology like – Augmented reality, Deep Learning, or something as common and necessary as the Internet to let students explore and understand things. It could be inclusive of more practicals and DIY projects to let learners take risks and learn by doing. It can also facilitate group explorations that can help in developing skills like learning from others, growing, and developing harmony amongst themselves, which will later help them in the future while managing a huge team as a Creative Leader.
Primarily, the idea of educational innovations revolves around one fundamental question – What do you mean by education? If it’s the art of learning things, then the current curriculum should be more flexible. Also, it must involve the encouragement of the use of technology and to learn by exploring. It should reward risks and failures and give lesser validations via grades. Innovation in education should teach us to look ahead of our current practices and make way for newer approaches.
Nowadays, there is a treasure of information lying around for use, in the form of MOOCs, blogs, and other resources, to open endless opportunities and propagate innovation in education. Startups are booming in the EduTech sector, deploying the use of Augmented Reality, Neural Networks to make learning more engaging and enjoyable, which can promote curiosity and nurture innovation in education. Specific open source communities are also gaining popularity where discussions on new ideas are encouraged as well as rewarded, and anyone can present themselves, irrespective of their age.
Teachers build the spirit and nature of the room. Innovative teaching ideas, which support learning, questioning, exploring, and taking risks, form the foundation of innovative education.
For example, giving responsibility to learners is an excellent learning method. Experimentally, once a teacher let primary school students pick their chapter to study and asked them to develop practical use cases and real-life connections of the topic they learned in the lesson at the end. Another teacher asked students to self-assess their work and understand where they made a mistake or a wrong assumption. The students loved these methods, got excited, loved being treated as adults & given responsibility, and hence, they embraced innovative education in an open, curious manner. This is also known as the ‘Flipped Classroom Model.’
In another of the innovative teaching ideas, the teacher used an immediate feedback system and asked her students to get a second answer based on the feedback given to them. This removed the stress on getting good marks to excel and introduced a new method of rewarding risks. According to her, students were excited about the opportunity to explore and preferred innovative teaching. In a paper ‘Learning from Errors’ by Janet Metcalfe, a veteran psychologist, the classic rule of avoiding and ignoring mistakes at school is heavily criticized. She heavily emphasizes the argument that portraying failure as a negative word not only holds back an individual learner’s growth but of the entire education system.
In yet another of the innovative teaching methods, a teacher twisted the idea of finding a solution to finding problems. Problem-finding is similar to problem discovery and demands a learned and imaginative vision to investigate the missing components or additional layers to improve something. This is similar to creating products that impact the lives around us. Using this strategy, he provided his students with the opportunity to think deeply, ask critical questions, and apply creative ways to solve problems.
Some teachers have also mixed technology with textbook learning for better results. The use of videos, graphic books, story-telling, robots, etc., is intrinsically grown around the idea of innovation school. For example, a student is more likely to retain a lesson when shown practically than taught vocally, for example, introducing graphic novels and storybooks for history lessons.
Alternatively, a thorough approach is to apply the Design Thinking process for innovation in teaching and educational innovations. The ‘Design Thinking Process’ is a structured strategy that identifies challenges, collects information, generates potential solutions, refines ideas, and tests solutions. This process is implemented in five phases – Discovery, Interpretation, Ideation, Experimentation, and Evolution. In reference to innovative schools and innovative teaching methods, the teacher can begin by dividing students into groups and challenging them with a problem (might be related to the lesson).
This will motivate them to think out of the box and think creatively. After exploring all possible information, the students must be encouraged to formulate their thoughts to list potential solutions. This is an excellent approach in innovative education and demands students to interpret their learnings. The teacher should then push the students to see the opportunity in the problem at hand and create something with their potential solutions. This process will involve a lot of questioning, self-reflection, teamwork, peer learning, and curiosity. When the students come up with their final solution, the teacher must provide feedback and ask students to reflect upon how it could improve their solution.
This entire process is so open that it enables students to question, explore, risk, fail, and uniquely learn new things.
As the great scientist Thomas Edison once said, “The value of an idea lies in the use of it.” Hence, our education system must stay efficient as well as relevant to the progress we are making and the challenges our world is facing now. It is time we promote innovative learning so that students learn a lot more than what is contained in a textbook. If you are interested in learning more about Design Innovation & Thinking and its application across domains, don’t forget to check out Jigsaw Academy’s Post Graduate Certificate Program In Design Innovation & Strategy, a 5.5-month online instructor-led program that enables learners to Design Innovation and Creativity-led Entrepreneurship.