An Innovation Venture!Nouha Johnson
Come February and the mental swing toward radical or incremental changes is very much palpable around our campus. This, after all, is Innovation Month! Along my principle of “lighting the fire and not just filling the pail”, this seems like an exciting opportunity to further engage my students in their own learning and to do so in a rather meaningful way. The plan had to be quickly hatched and to ensure its success, intrinsic impetus had to pave the way.
Ready, Set, Go!
Millennials pupil’s interests and motivation in mind, a question begged to be asked: “as students you almost never get to choose what you learn, how you learn and where you learn? Do you agree? What would you do to change this?” This strange question loomed large on the classroom white board and as students came in, almost all students did a double take; this was not the usual classroom warm-up.
The first spark ignited, students were already conversing about their perfect setting, their inventive tools and what kind of content is worth learning. To help matters along, over the past three weeks, I took my students into quick educational tours; mini lessons on innovation and showed them what others –the world over- are doing to innovate. I kept it focused (education), simple (choices) and interesting (social media, videos and colorful presentations) and it all came together.
Students’ output went beyond the expected product; their creative potential was unleashed. Engineering students with their smart tables, chairs and lockers, EMT students with their outdoor nature learning for a better health, business students with their glass classroom open concepts, and education students with their assessment and test free content in favor of more practicum. The beauty of it all, is that this tremendous productivity was intrinsically motivated as students knew full well that their efforts will not be”officially” rewarded (grade or certificate).
In the midst of our need as educators to constantly test knowledge, we tend to forget to appeal to our students’ sense of wonder and discovery and yet, “real” learning does not fully occur without a spark of some sort. Albert Einstein would wholeheartedly agree, after all he ascertained that the true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination”.