Talking Innovation

Earlier in the week I gave a talk about the Innovation Project I was involved in. Speaking in front of people is something which I have always struggled with. I hate it. But it is also a necessary evil of what it is that I do. Generally speaking (pardon the pun) I am okay – as long as I am prepared and there isn’t a microphone. Well this week at least I felt prepared.

The notes I wrote in preparation for the talk are scribbles in the first point, which moved to sentences and then finally notes to accompany the presentation. The process of writing this down, of having to order my thoughts and put together a meaningful message that I wanted to get out about innovation and ICT in education. But this wasn’t the forum for what it was that I wanted to say. Perhaps this is.

What I would like to have told the assorted leaders in the room is that there are times they need to get out of the way and let the innovation happen. Having your boss breathing over your shoulder while you are trying to teach is hard enough, but having your boss leaning over your shoulder while asking you where your innovation is, is it working, how can it be measured and are the students engaged, while you are trying something new makes the process even harder.

We need to let innovation fail. There are times when on pure enthusiasm alone teachers will try something, and it may not work out quite the way that is should. Assuming that there was no real harm, there will be things which can be taken from what the outcome was going to be that (perhaps) will lead to greater things. In the classroom we encourage students to try… surely it isn’t too much to ask that the teachers be afforded the same encouragement.

The final concept I actually said.

We need to move teachers to the post-Microsoft Office age

For too long integrating technology has been the act of typing up assessment or having students present a PowerPoint of their learning. We need to move beyond this, and quickly.

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