What do we mean by “innovation”?

The educational field is abuzz with a quest for innovation. Public and private dollars are pouring into a frenzied race for “disruptive” changes and silver bullets, with many of the approaches heavy on technology. There’s flipped classrooms.  Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS).  Big data.  And of course, more STEM (science, technology, engineering and math.)

There’s value in all of these things.  But too often, something’s missing: applications and connections to the actual issues defining this century.  Where’s the emphasis on solving food and water challenges?  What about climate change, global conflict, and creating healthy communities at home?  Tools that could help solve problems too often become high-tech ends in themselves.

Eco-InnovationSo what would be innovative?  Here’s what I’d like to see:

  • Technologies and solutions that are evaluated based on their ability to contribute to overall wellbeing
  • Incorporating arts into STEM to create “STEAM.”  This more integrated approach should also address the ethical applications of STEM.
  • A mindset that values “traditional” technologies or solutions as well as new ones.  Let’s bring back (or create) courses that provide students with skills such as building, sewing, or food preparation.  Paired with entrepreneurship training, these skills can be gateways to new businesses, careers, post-secondary pathways, and community-centered economic development.

All that’s new is not innovative, and sometimes the most innovative thing is to revive a time-tested tradition.

Like what you’re reading? Learn more about education for sustainability and why it matters for your future.
http://www.creativechange.net/education_for_sustainability/what_is_efs/

Innovative education depends on innovative curriculum content.  Learn more: http://www.creativechange.net/our_approach/content-that-matters/