Bringing Innovation to School – Empowering Students to thrive in a changing world by Suzie Boss

Cross Posted from original blog –

Bringing Innovation to School – Empowering Students to thrive in a changing world by Suzie Boss

Book Cover from Amazon

Reading the first half of the book, I couldn’t put it down. In my limited spare time, I have completed the rest of the book this week. My first response – Wow. With some reflection I see that Wow as affirming what we have already been moving towards and that it is a very practical book to help us get the rest of the way there.

With chapters like: See Educators as Innovators, Growing a New Global Skill Set and Seeding Innovation this book so resonated with my beliefs and my actions for the past several years as a district helping teacher or consultant.

This was one of the books that I had to keep something to write with nearby while I was reading. So many ideas were generated, and honed that I had to stop reading until I wrote them down.

Some Affirmations
– We have been working for 3 years to provide Innovative Learning Designs projects with a focus on inquiry. While the projects are extremely varied, they look for unique solutions to the differentiated needs of the classes involved. The whole project has created an incubator for innovation to occur in our classrooms.
– The climate within our team has been “Yes and” thinking. We have worked to make the impossible possible – When barriers to learning were identified, we strive to eliminate or minimize them.
– We have provided iPads to teachers that have taken on leadership roles within the schools as Information and Media Literacy Representatives. They have been able to explore, tinker, take risks before schools purchased class sets.

New or Extended Ideas
– As a large district, it is hard to do things small. We have started to create amazing networks through our larger events; however, we need to empower smaller networks. For relationships and trust to build, we need to foster groups of 12 or less.
– A favourite expression of mine that will be used more often

What would it look like if …

o We helped coordinate / host book groups of up to 12 with fantastic books like this one
o We provided and supported additional (inexpensive) resources such as Computers for Schools computers targeted as Tinker Stations. These could be single purpose machines for tinkering.
o We provided low cost computers to be used as Display Kiosks – What would it look like if we left a cheap computer at the front lobby to display student work. Photos, programs, movies, multimedia would constantly fill the entrance to our schools
o We need to bring students into our Professional Development. If we are to change from the holder of all knowledge to the connector, we need to stop being the holder of all knowledge.
o We hosted Innovation events for students and teachers. We could celebrate success and share failures. We could encourage risk taking. We could encourage out of the box thinking.

Each idea we explore, risk we take, opportunity we offer we have done to benefit the learning culture of our district. We have a great resource in this book to catalyze additional opportunities, explorations and risks. I am charged up to return to my position as an enabler of innovation in our district.

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