So many schools I work with say to me, “One of our core tenets is innovation.” They’re excited; they’re committed. But when I ask them what that means, I usually get a canned answer: “Robotics!” or “Learning about innovation.”
I get it. Schools need to at least talk about innovation, or they’re already behind the market. But few schools invest the time to explore what innovation means to them - at their schools, in their communities, as part of their particular culture. Few organizations and experts can agree on one definition of innovation; I certainly don’t expect schools to have it figured out.
What I do think, however, is that deciding to invest in innovation should mean a willingness to explore and craft what it means for a particular school community. How will you embrace tradition and innovation? What does it mean for the citizens of the world you’re trying to shape? How does it translate in your philosophy about learning and teaching? What is your school’s take on content versus skills?
I am a roaring advocate for schools embracing innovation: as a curriculum, mindset, culture. But to get there, I believe that schools need to create an innovation strategy: an explicit set of beliefs about what innovation is, how it should manifest in that particular community, and how it aligns with the school’s overall educational philosophy. Without that strategy, it’s far too simple to just become another traditional school with a robotics club.