Sometimes when we’re out and about and people ask us what our roles are, we tell them we work in in the TLI department in Fife. And of course we’re asked what the heck TLI stands for. Teaching-Learning-Innovation. Most people get the Teaching-Learning part. In our little shed down here, we define learning thusly, “Learning results in a permanent change in thinking or behavior.” So…one has learned something when a permanent change in thinking or behavior occurs. Turns out, for example, I never actually learned about photosynthesis. I held the information for a while, until the test, then gave the information back, and went my merry way. No permanent change in thinking or behavior. And of course teaching is everything that great educators do with/for kids to create learning. And everything that great educators do create learning for themselves.
How about the innovation part? Well we get our definition for innovation from an educator named George Couros. He wrote a book called The Innovator’s Mindset. I’ve probably mentioned over 1000 times that this is simply the best book about the learning world I’ve ever read. A career changing mind blower. Couros on innovation, “I’m defining innovation as a way of thinking that creates something new and better. Innovation can come from either “invention” (something totally new) or “iteration” (a change of something that already exists), but if it does not meet the idea of “new and better,” it is not innovative. That means that change for the sake of change is never good enough. Neither is using innovation as a buzzword, as many organizations do, to appear current or relevant.”
Something is innovative if it creates something new and better.
We have examples of innovation all over the place in our district! One of the questions we encourage ourselves and our educator colleagues to consider is, “When was the last time I did something for the first time?” That’s a decent place to start thinking about something new. But not new for the sake of new. That’s dumb. New and making something better.
Here’s a perfect example. Mr. Beddes, SLMS principal, wanted to focus on the educators at SLMS and improve communication to our community. So, he decided to give podcasting a try. Podcasts, in and of themselves, aren’t new. But Mr. Beddes made them innovative in how he used them, and in doing so, made communication about SLMS better. New and better.
Here’s his latest podcast, where he interviews Mr. Kratzig. It’s a remarkable and insightful interview.
Way to model innovation gentlemen!