I just finished “Innovation Age Learning” by Sharon “SM” Sakai-Miller. This book reconfirmed my belief and work for the last few years.
The main idea of the book, that we are now entering the “Innovation Age”, the age where the creation of solutions for unique issues and problems are the cornerstone of real life skills. We have moved from the Industrial age, where production was key, to the Information Age, where we worked hard to make sense of the large volumes of knowledge and data at our fingertips and are heading into the Innovation Age.
The reality of the careers we are preparing students for encourages a sense of entrepreneurship and problem solving. Computers and robots have now taken over the “production” portion of our economy but they still require knowledgeable and competent problem solvers for efficiency and innovation to occur.
Students can find information and knowledge everywhere and anytime they need it. We need students to know how to use this knowledge and information to transform their environments. Teachers are no longer the keepers of knowledge and assessing the ability for students to retain the knowledge they share is antiquated. In order for our students to flourish as they enter post secondary education and their future careers, we need to provide them the problem solving and innovation skills to help them succeed in changing and improving their environments in this highly evolving world.
Unfortunately, very few teachers are ready for this Age of Innovation, where they are the guides to help students create solutions to problems and issues using the knowledge they find. Many of our teachers are just becoming comfortable with the understanding that they are no longer the “sage on the stage” and instead, a “guide on the side”. Teachers, with the help of technology, are just becoming comfortable having students find and explore knowledge to apply it and demonstrate their learning in real life situations. The challenge that exists is now to show teachers how important it is to move past even the “Information” stage and into “Innovation”.
As we move forward, with another year of working with, supporting and learning from teachers in the classroom, I look forward to the discussions and ideas on how to incorporate these ideas into their teaching. There will be challenges as the teachers begin to guide students on the path of innovation, a path that allows students to lead the learning, while teachers find ways to assess and evaluate their learning in a way that makes sense and benefits them. There will be tough conversations, realizations and troubleshooting as we go, but the challenge is one I look forward to.
Let the learning and sharing begin.