Leadership Day 2014: A Call to Innovate

Leadership Day 2014: A Call to Innovate

A comment made during this week’s #edchat, for which the topic was “What are your 2 specific top priorities that you would put in place today for education reform? has inspired this writing for #leadershipday2014. Justin Buckner (@bucknerclass), a 4th grade teacher from San Antonio and author of the Everyday Project Based Learning blog tweeted:

I wonder how many schools and districts have some version of the word “innovate” in their mission statements. I also wonder how many of those schools and districts are prepared to back their teachers who truly want to innovate, within a system that is becoming more rigid and inflexible every year.

Innovation, as defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

A new idea, device or method, or is the act or process of introducing a new idea, device or method.

This is not research-based best practice if it is “new.” Because of this, there is a certain element of risk involved. Will it work for one student? For some? For all? Teachers need to know that their educational leaders “have their backs” as they try to implement new tools and strategies in pursuit of helping each individual student to maximize his/her learning.

There are so many incredible technology tools available –and more are introduced every day. These tools open up a whole new world and the possibility of truly transforming learning for our students. “Best Practice” needs to give way to “NEXT practice,” as students are learning through technology in ways that were never possible when those “best practices” were identified years ago.

Dr. John Sullivan describes it this way:

Best practices only allow you to do what you are currently doing a little better, while next practices increase your organization’s capability to do things that it could never have done before.

Educational leaders, empower your teachers to innovate, so that they can help students in ways they never could have done before.

cross posted at Innovations in Education

Nancy White is the 21st Century Learning & Innovation Specialist for Academy School District 20, providing professional development on 21st century skills and technology integration, and working with the IT-ES team to carry out the district’s 21st Century Learning Plan. Nancy served on an ad-hoc team to help with the integration of 21st century skills into Colorado’s revised content standards, and co-authored The Colorado Learner’s Bill of Rights. Read more at Innovations in Education.