Christy - do you know Peter Gow? He is big into innovative teaching. He just posted this on ISED: "Beaver Country Day School invites interested educators to learn more about the NuVu Studio program, a new educational program developed in partnership with doctoral students and professors from MIT and Harvard. NuVu is an innovation center for middle and high school students whose pedagogy is based on the studio model and geared around multi-disciplinary, collaborative projects. NuVu nurtures creative problem-solving, collaboration, and presentation skills, all critical for student success.
The NuVu program has been piloted and launched in partnership with Beaver Country Day School, and we are ecstatic with the results and with the unique opportunity our students have to work on a daily basis with PhDs from MIT and Harvard as well as other experts from a diverse range of fields.
Conceived as a magnet innovation center, NuVu is giving students the opportunity to work collaboratively with other students and PhDs on the campus of MIT."
Sure thing. Think about this stuff all the time. If you go on twitter you can find all kinds of educators who are into innovation. Two friends of mine - Alex Ragone at Collegiate in NYC and Arvind Grover at Hewitt - are superstars in this area. Check out what they do: http://edtechtalk.com/21cl
I suppose you can define innovation in many ways - we too often think about technology only. We look at innovation this way - how do we find new ways to capture kids interest? Here are a few ways:
Math 8 class is entirely lab based. No text book, all group work, all labs. Making it hand on and group based makes it meaningful and more exciting.
English 7 - this fall, the class wrote persuasive essays to their teachers trying to convince them to go on a field trip. The trip that persuaded the faculty is to the MOST, an amazing science museum here, for a Harry Potter science lab day followed by the new film in 3D. I can't wait
History was doing Egypt so they teamed up with Science in grade 6 this year to work on decomposition and mummies. Lots of lab/group work here too. the math class then built mathematical models of pyramids to further engage kids.
English uses Google Docs every day and G Chat. This has been seamless.
Life Skills Class in grade 6 focusing on community is a huge new hit. We are engaging kids in conversation about bullying head on here, with dialogue and projects aimed at showing more about each student on a personal level. The more you know about someone, the less likely you are to bully them.
These are off the top of my head - it is really about purpose - getting kids to understand the purpose of the work and engaging them where they are. I am sure I will have more for you later…
In terms of incentives, it is tricky. Money is a real issue in Syracuse - we are not in NorCal. But we do have summer grants where faculty can create new courses and curriculum. I am also working with the CFO as I type on a pilot online course. The incentive is a small stipend only. I have found the only way is to tap those who love to learn, to lead and to grow. If they add to their plate, I insist they take away something. This goes a long way with teachers here. That seems to be the biggest incentative. Teachers here love adding something interesting and innovative and having me take a way something mundane like studyhall or bus duty.
Hey CD! We are trying all the time. I have really pushed innovation in the MS this year - I rolled it out in the fall as the theme. There aren't too many roadblocks in the MS (no AP's, kids can read and do math by now, no college apps yet) so my motto is "why not?" If I get people dragging feet, which I really haven't, I try "humor me."
Hey Christy - how are you? Love to go to the Harvard conference. Thanks for contacting me. Lots of great things happening @ school this year. Really excited for the start in a few weeks. Hope you are too.