What does it really mean to be ‘innovative’?? I hear schools often saying that they are. Can’t say that I always agree, although I’m not necessarily qualified to judge. Who can determine that anyway?
Perhaps it’s a matter of context. If nothing else nearby is a stand-out, then perhaps they are. At least, according to them.
I recently visited a Year 9 to 13 public school called Unlimited. Can be found in Christchurch NZ. Really worth a closer look. This is their foyer in the picture. Would have to admit, at least from my perspective, they’re innovative. Especially for a secondary environment. Cruise the site, and you’ll see what I mean.
I’m facilitating a session on ‘Innovative Teachers’ at the U-Learn conference in ChCh (that’s Christchurch, just in case you were wondering) in a couple of weeks, and so I’ve been doing some thinking on what to offer. Does this mean that I’ll have to make the session innovative in itself?? A bit hypocritical if it isn’t, I suppose. whew.
So for now, I’m sorting through a few examples of what might constitute ‘innovation’.
Is this innovative (Take One)?
The 2009 Open Architecture Challenge for Classrooms. Some fantastic designs here. However, I sometimes wonder just how much the pedagogy alters as a result of the new building. Basically, it too often doesn’t… unless the teachers adjust their paradigms. Which is what troubles some of us in Aussie with our BER (Building Education Revolution). Megabucks spent on new halls and classrooms (which, of course, is fantastic in itself), yet there’s no guarantee that the learning itself will be accentuated.
Is this innovative (Take Two)?
What about Plastic Logic?? There are now a number of e-Readers on the market. They’re sure going to mess up the textbook industry!! Here’s a 90-sec take on their use.
Is this innovative (Take Three)?
Had the pleasure of walking through a Leonardo da Vinci ‘machines exhibition’ on the weekend in Brisbane. Whatever innovative means, this guy was IT. How did he develop this stuff 500 years ago? Perhaps one of his most famous inventions was the aerial screw. The precursor to the helicopter. In his designs, Leonardo determined that it would be powered in one of two ways:
1. By four men who would push levers as they ran around the base; or
2. By means of a rope that was quickly unravelled from around the axle.
By those means, it never would have flown. However, with a stronger means of propulsion, it indeed would have taken off.
And finally (for now), is this innovative (Take Four)?!!
Is it ever! Google Wave will become one of the most powerful means of personal communication on the planet by mid-2010. Just imagine email mixed with FaceBook mixed with Flickr mixed with Google Translate.
Ponder this. You could be writing a message to 10 different people around the planet. As you write, they can read your text live. Not only that, those 10 people could be from 8 different countries. No issue if they speak and read and write in a different language. Google Translate will instantly translate it for them. And when they reply in their language, it will immediately be translated back into English for you.
More at http://wave.google.com/ The video goes for 80 mins. However, you can get a fair sense of it in the 1st 8 mins or so. As you watch, ponder what you’ll be able to do with this!