Turning the Tides in Eduation towards Innovation

Avenues for learning a new skill or craft has many more options these days.  My son decided he wanted to learn how to play the guitar in middle school.  He attended guitar club meetings and learned some basics. From that point on he went to his favorite training ground, Youtube, and decided to learn from the greats: Hendrix, Vaughn, and a myriad of other famous bands and guitarists.  I asked him if he would like to take guitar lessons, he said he was taking lessons from the greats, and also checking out music theory videos. Today he is performing in local restaurants, working in a music store, writing music, doing what he loves.

The process he went through was a huge eye-opener for me in that the avenues for learning are changing and expanding.  I remember my mom driving us to a house that had beautiful flowers, where each week I along with other children from our town, took piano lessons. Our piano teacher was the only real option I had to learn to play the piano, though to be truthful, I really wanted to play the drums. But traditional roles dictated that I play piano, and as I became more proficient in playing and escalated to the ever memorable �The Dance of the Troll Dolls�, I was secretly hoping I could quit.  What IF I had been given options to choose the music and instrument I wanted to master, and had multiple avenues for learning? Perhaps I would be able to hop on stage today with my son, do a cameo appearance, and play the heck out of some drums. 

How was my experience different than my sons? He was INNOVATIVE in how he to designed a learning path to mastery.  He didn�t want to learn via the traditional path, but blazed a new trail in learning.  My son was inspired, creative in how he learned and mastered a craft, and thought critically about what resources he would tap into for his learning.  He went against the status quo, was not compliant in going the traditional route, rather, he was innovative. As George Couros states (2015), �Compliance does not foster innovation� (p. 5). Ultimately my son�s passion, inspiration, and drive won out, and his design for learning set the trajectory for him to work in the music field and perform for audiences today.  

Through that experience I came to the realization that moving from an environment of compliance to creating one of innovation will be important in today�s schools, and in the work that I do as an Instructional Technology Coach.  Technology for the sake of using technology is not inspiring, however giving students choices of projects, platforms, and presentation will provide a way for students to learn and share their voice in a meaningful way. It will be important to provide teachers PD opportunities to be innovative, and ultimately will help shift the tides in learning environments from one of compliance to one of creativity and inspiration.

Couros, G. (2015). The innovators mindset: empower learning, unleash talent, and lead a culture of creativity. San Diego, CA: Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc.