Monday, April 20, 2015

Inspiration Plus Creativity Equals Innovative Teaching And Learning

Source: ASIDE, 2015
Education is smack in the middle of an earth swell of change. No matter how hard the system tries to maintain a rigid set of evaluative assessments, something has to give. Otherwise, we will lose too many teachers over restrictions, and worse, too many young people who know that outside of school the freedom to learn, experiment, and create exists.

Source: ASIDE, 2015
Sure, we know that the fundamentals of reading and writing are key to understanding complex information. We are not advocates for throwing the baby out with the bath water. But perhaps the recent change in Finland to dump teaching subjects in favor of topics should send shockwaves through a system that constantly tries to reinvent itself with nothing more than new standards.

Source: ASIDE, 2015
One of our mantras over the last few years with our learners has been to, “Look at more stuff. Think about it harder.” We don’t claim to take this as our own, but recently we felt compelled to revisit one of our favorite books, Look At More: A Proven Approach to Innovation, Growth, and Change, by Andy Stefanovich.

While we know that schools are not businesses, we also know that the insights Stefanovich tries to bring to companies apply to any institution with the desire to promote innovative thinking. His ideas and concepts cross over into any discipline. His fundamental formula:

 I + C = I, or Inspiration + Creativity = Innovation


This equation also applies to education. We seek to inspire our learners to use creative thinking to come up with innovative ideas; likewise, we hope to do the same with our approach to teaching.

To inspire others is, after all, why we teach. We rely on inspiration as the fuel for engagement. Just like a business, we want to encourage an environment of productivity for learners. To do this, we can no longer sacrifice inspiration for efficiency.

Source: ASIDE, 2015
The framework behind LAMSTAIH includes five key drivers, including mood, mindset, mechanisms, measurement, and momentum to push the thinking and change the behavior in order to extract new ideas.

The concept behind each “M” not only provides a way for leadership to look at the needs of an institution, but it also helps to promote innovative ways of teaching and learning. Educational conversations circle around many of the same ideas.

So perhaps we could learn a thing or two by looking at more, including the insightful description of the three kinds of curators mentioned the book. On the one hand we have the traditionalist, who is the keeper of objects with the role of making sure that people of the future benefit from the collection of knowledge, and the Zeitgeist curator, who captures the essence of today and connects it to the not too distant future. This sounds like the role of the teacher. And then there is the hunter-gatherer curator, who constantly searches for anything that interests him or her and shares it with the world. Sound familiar? This represents most of the learners we teach.

Source: ASIDE, 2015
So where are teachers and learners as curators? More importantly, where do we want to be? At the moment, many educators are in the middle, yet our students outside of school are hunting and gathering.

Life-long learning is far more like the migrating hunter-gatherer, and technology has opened that door. We need to harness that energy, that inspiration, and that understanding of the power of connections to explore ideas. We can’t keep kids from exploring, connecting, and learning; we want them to be inspired, creative, and innovative.

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