Week 2 Discussion: What does innovation mean to you?

by Teresa Dove, Ed.D. – Saturday, February 22, 2014, 12:11 AM

Share your vision of innovation. In your post, include what personalized learning means to you, characteristics of innovation that you have identified and the challenges associated with thinking outside the box. The due date for the discussion post is Tuesday, February 4.

Social-InnovationInnovation to me means new, but according to the article “Innovation” (“Innovation,” n.d.), it can also mean “renew or change”. Innovation has many forms, some successful and others failures. One innovation is beneficial, yet another detrimental. Often times if an innovation originally fails, with a few tweaks it succeeds. Many educational innovations began poorly or misunderstood, but with persistence, and educators who persevered, these innovations became acceptable to colleagues making room for even more innovations.

Personalized learning is one such innovation. In the report by Software & Information Industry Association (Wolf, 2010), “True personalization goes further and requires a major shift in focus from an institution/teacher-centered approach to an authentic, student-centered approach.” Students appreciate instructors meeting educational needs and listening to concerns. This shows that their success is important to instructors. However, for instructors, personalizing learning for students can be time consuming and some students adopt an attitude of entitlement. Instructors want students to succeed, but some are unwilling to apply themselves to simple tasks. Instructors who personalize learning for students have an arsenal of techniques to choose from when facilitating student learning. Instructors successfully implement personalized learning by establishing responsibilities, learning strategies, and competency requirements beneficial to individual students. In today’s educational climate, instructors help students modify their opinion of their ability learn and adopt elements that support personalized learning. In Thom Markham article, “10 Ways to Teach Innovation” (2013) he says, ”education should focus on fostering innovation by putting curiosity, critical thinking, deep understanding, the rules and tools of inquiry, and creative brainstorming at the center of the curriculum.” Even though these elements benefit student learning, many instructors must be innovators who intentionally leave their comfort zone, alter established teaching practices, and answer the naysayers in order to transform their classroom into a more personalized learning environment.


Innovation. (n.d.). Retrieved January 29, 2014, from http://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Innovation.html

Markham, T. (2013, April 1). 10 Ways to Teach Innovation. MindShift. Retrieved January 29, 2014, from http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/04/10-ways-to-teach-innovation/

Wolf, M. A. (2010, November). Innovate to educate: System [re]design for personalized learning; Software & Information Industry Association In collaboration with ASCD and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Retrieved from http://www.siia.net/pli/

3 thoughts on “Week 2 Discussion: What does innovation mean to you?

  1. Shannon,

    Wow… your vision and statements here are very powerful and very well supported. It is true that in order to create a more student-centered and student-oriented classroom, the teacher must give up control. This, however, is difficult for many as teachers (for the most part) as still trained in traditional programs that have the “sage on the stage” mentality or they have been teaching for a number of years and do not want to give up that control. Take me, for instance. When I was approached to take on this course this Spring and found out it was 1) currently still undone and 2) was being redone to the point that it wants the instructor to take a complete backseat approach, I had to really think about if I wanted to undertake the course. It is really uncomfortable for me to come into a course when I cannot see all of the modules already done (yes, I am a control fanatic!) and to not have control over where discussions go (I have no idea what the topics are going to be for discussions from here on out as those are up to you all smile), etc. It really takes a different mindset and the ability to “let go” so that students can take control of their learning. With adults, you have a little more confidence in the “professionalism” and the appropriate nature of topics so you can probably give more leeway than you would with younger children, but I can still see how even giving a little wiggle room can be cause for alarm for some high school and middle school teachers.

    • I think that control of the learning/classroom is definitely one of the biggest hurdles for educators to overcome. I also think that another significant hurdle is fear. We spend so much time being the givers of knowledge that we struggle with the idea that a student very likely knows more about the technology that we are trying to use. We need to embrace the knowledge that our students have and cultivate the co-teacher mentality, especially when it comes to meaningful integration of technology. I think more often than not, if we asked our students, “How can your iPhone help you learn?” they would have a list of responses. So, why wouldn’t we use that knowledge as part of our personalization process?

  2. I think you hit the nail right on the head with the Markham quote. Gone are the days of memorizing the dates of significant events in history of evidence of learning. We are now in an age where information is at our fingertips and students need to be challenged to interpret mean from events and not just be able to indicate which letter is the correct answer for what happened in 1812. Personalizing education definitely requires us to look at different ways to engage students and to find meaning in past events as they relate to their present. Great articles!

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