Sunday, February 15, 2015

What will be the most significant classroom innovation in the next 10 years?

This blog post was featured on the Huffington Post Education Blog 'The Global Search for Education: Our Top 12 Global Teacher Blogs'. To find this blog with other educator's ideas from around the world please visit:

Andrew Mead – Andy is the Principal at George Waters Middle School in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They are within the St. James-Assiniboia School Division.  Andy was recommended to answer February’s question by Top 12 Teacher Blogger Lisa Currie.

What will be the most significant classroom innovation in the next 10 years?  By Andy Mead

In the history of schools there have been many ‘innovations’ that have claimed to improve teaching and learning. Even within my own career over the past eighteen years I have been presented with many different initiatives that were said to make me a better teacher or administrator. What I have found is that these innovations are not sustainable because they are always displaced by the next new shiny device or idea.

The devices that are soon to be in the hands of students (or on their clothing or around their wrists) will likely be amazing tools to help young people and teachers create, share, and communicate. These tools will continue to evolve and become more accessible and less expensive. These technologies, however, don’t necessarily improve teaching and learning in the classroom. Good teaching doesn’t depend on these tools; these tools just enhance good teaching.

Therefore, the most significant classroom innovation will not be a gadget but rather, the teaching of higher level thinking skills and a concerted effort to focus on students as individuals. Schools and teachers will find new ways to foster strong relationships with students that will create a culture of learning. This will include ensuring that schools take into consideration how we approach mental wellness and happiness of students. Lessons will be individualized and have a hands on, project based, experiential approach. The teaching of lower level thinking (knowledge and comprehension) will be a thing of the past.

Furthermore, this innovation will come in the way we engage young people in higher level thinking skills (application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation). Schools will ensure we teach young people to think, solve problems, ask questions, and create – not just regurgitate information. Young people will be in charge of their own learning by creating and learning through their own experience.

Innovative practices in assessment will also be more common. Skills like creativity, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, citizenship and character are inherently difficult to fairly assess or put a number or grade on. The focus of assessment will be on the learning process, not the final product.  Assessment of these skills will be done by answering questions like:
  • What does the child know?
  • How does the child communicate and share what he or she knows?
  • What must improve?
  • What steps will be taken to ensure the child meets the expectation or standard?

Although these things are currently happening in many places, in ten years these will be the widespread norm. The device of the moment will forever be changing - what won't is that schools are about people. The biggest innovation in classrooms within the next ten years (I hope) will be a change in how we teach young people how to think, take care of each other, and take care of the world. To do this, schools must find ways to build strong relationships with people to create a culture that focuses on learning in a fun, caring, and collaborative environment. Schools will focus on learning, the process of higher level thinking and questioning  more than just the next big thing.

Check out other big ideas on the educational innovation in the next 10 years here.

No comments:

Post a Comment