Sunday, April 10, 2016

True engagement in educational innovation

Great guest blog courtesy of Peter DeWitt, written by Michael McDowell, at EdWeek this week on true engagement in educational innovation, with a great title as well:

Why Is Educational Innovation Like Hand-Washing?

In short, the idea is that some educational innovations catch on quickly and spread like wildfire because they're either easy, fun, exciting, etc. such as infusing iPads in the classroom. On the other hand, some innovations aren't as naturally engaging, which leads to, well, less engagement. We're cautioned by the author to not avoid the challenging innovations we may be called to pay more attention to, such as true formative assessment and self-evaluation.

Other than just rehashing the author's perspective and engaging in high school book review style here, I wanted to post as this article reminded me of a concept I had loosely termed "intentionality" or "process-awareness" quite early on in my career. Mindfulness may be another term more currently relevant, but the idea is that - whether in teaching, or life in general, being aware of and focused on the current experience leads to better results. It's far too easy to go on auto-pilot and otherwise "check out" when we do things that we do routinely. Sometimes that's okay, with some things, but we need to make sure we're monitoring our own progress toward monitoring students' progress.

So, that's it - a short one today, but I think a powerful one.