Innovation In Education
Innovation in Education, especially during the past few months, has become one of the most popular and challenging topics across the globe.
Innovation in Education - The Perception
Technological Innovation in Education means different things to different people.
For example, for an educator it means new effective ways of delivering content to learners.
For a student it might be a measure of how interesting or boring a subject seems.
However, for a guardian, it may boil down to the balance between investments made in a child’s education versus the technological solutions deployed in classrooms.
The Education Technological Evolution And Readiness
In one of my interviews with a local Television station in the United Arab Emirates, I spoke about the journey that led to the domination of mobile devices in the education arena.
When the UAE announced the Smart Learning Project initiative, it was a strong message to everyone in the K-12 industry, not only in the UAE but around the whole region: “Change is inevitable”.
Innovation and the latest Information Technology started to pave the path forward.
A Wake-Up Call
Consequently, it was very clear that select policy makers are far ahead of the game.
The pressure would surely filter out the incompetent and the technologically unaware. It would put out of classrooms educators who will resist the unstoppable change loaming on the near horizon.
Interestingly, Innovation is revolutionizing the way we communicate and conduct business.
However, when it comes to education, arguments suggest that it is rather sluggish, inconsistent and undetermined to truly take foot in our schools’ curricula.
In fact, till now, schools in certain geographies are still introducing innovation to learners as an option.
But innovation in education is rather a total integration and redefinition of the methods teachers use to deliver lessons.
Yesterday Versus Today
Actually, the reality of the matter is, nowadays young learners are growing up in a world much dissimilar from what their grandparents and parents experienced. It is a world of mobile devices, apps, computers, software web applications, and wireless access to abundant information on-the-fly.
Moreover, in an exciting era where man visits Mars, learners surely require a different set of abilities to succeed. Therefore, it is without doubt worth while to investigate the role technology plays in our education systems.
Naturally, studies reveal that the use of innovation in the classroom is highly advantageous to students and instructors. When using innovation, students are more likely to share their experiences with other fellow students and in doing so, promoting peer-to-peer tutoring and decreasing the pressure teachers feel when being the only source of student support.
Of course, money, time and in some cases know-how, limit schools, making it difficult to present anything new, specifically, costly technologies. Innovative new technologies require constant routine service and upgrades. If schools look at their overall program and revaluate how to accomplish the exact same tasks while making use of innovation, there might be more space to maneuver than originally believed.
As such, a parent’s best bet is to find out how open the school is to change and how actively they are perusing these changes. Therefore, when the chances emerge to integrate innovation, the school will be more likely to embrace them. Parents surely, like schools, want the best for their children.
Concerns When Assessing Technology Initiatives
This is far from the long list I kept at the top of my desk at the office. However, it is a good way to start.
-> Is technology in the classroom a school policy or a specific choice that the teacher makes?
-> Has the school designed its distant learning infrastructure relying on its own resources?
-> Identify the technology skills the school expects instructors to have?
-> Does the school, on regular basis, provide training on new innovations to instructors?
-> Which kind of projects that promote using innovation, will learners need to complete?
-> Is there a computer lab or does each class have a single system that students share?
-> What preventative on campus measures ensure students’ safety when surfing the Web?
-> To learn about best practices, does the school typically seek help from qualified consultants?
Innovation In Education Boosts Competitiveness
Obviously, for the private sector, main goals include the ambition to operate schools at maximum capacity. This means that every vacant seat represents an unwelcome loss. Further, schools would focus on acquiring all resources required to please the regulators and their inspectors in the race to the highest ranking. Money is good.
As such, ranking decided partly by innovation, would mean the ability to apply higher fees. For an elite few, correlation exists between higher fees and good education. It is a fact, when applied fairly. Stakeholders would re-invest a good portion of the fees in making their schools better all the time.
Meanwhile, many Information Technology manufacturers, the software and hardware vendors, race their way to such top schools to secure as many slices of the pie as they possibly can. But does expensive always mean the best?
What's In It For The Learners?
In fact, in an era where distant education is the new norm, how ready are our schools?
Sadly, some top rank institutions, we hear, still force their learners to sign-in on up to three different platforms to access the school’s “online system”! Seriously?
Three credentials to access the virtual classroom, the digital learning material and finally the exams.
Pathetically done, I will not even mention assessment here. I decided to dedicate a whole separate space to cover it.
The Positive Experience
Conversely, some schools argue that they offer online education. However, they are yet to solve their Single Sign On (SSO).
Further, they have not deployed a Learning Management System. They do not utilize existing proven assessment tools.
Furthermore, they do not yet have software to offer real-time teacher-learner simultaneous and interactive writing and drawing, with saving capabilities.
As such, what experience do learners grow up with?
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