Research authors Michael Fullan and Katelyn Donnelly
based their recent paper, “Alive in the Swamp: Assessing
Digital Innovations in Education” on the question, “What
does good look like?” (published by UK-based foundation
Nesta). The researchers evaluated a variety of criteria to
arrive at the following recommendations for creating an
innovative digital learning program:
1. Maximize the integration of technology, pedagogy, and systemness.
2. Lead with pedagogy: Put pedagogy in the driver’s seat and use technology to accelerate
learning relative to particular learning outcomes.
3. Develop capacity with respect to system support: This includes implementation assistance,
leadership (especially at the school level), assessment, and the use of evidence on student learning.
4. Focus on scale and embeddedness. There are countless ‘learning’ apps and Web–based
tutorial videos. Don’t get distracted by shiny gadgets. Spend time and resources on the
innovations that will be truly system transformative.
5. Be open to surprises. Treat the next period as a cycle of continuous improvement where one
needs to simultaneously focus on quality implementation and openness to new ideas.
6. Clarify what it means to be a learner in the 21st century: Be specific. Keep it simple, keep it
focused, and keep learning.