Guest blog by Shawn Stone
When I look back at my schooling and compare it to today’s, I can admit we have made progress as a whole. The power of technology for those who embrace it is phenomenal. As I forage the internet for resources and see what others are doing with this innovation, I am humbled, to say the least. The creative, passionate and innovative ways teachers are using this technology will continue to be a seamless part of the everyday classroom.
The Conceptual Age and the Revolution, Mark Treadwell argues persuasively that education has reached a critical point at which it is unable to improve performance without a paradigm shift (Treadwell 2008). He asserts that no matter how much money we put into the system or how much effort we make to improve it, there is no possibility of any ‘substantive increase in performance’. Treadwell compares education to other ‘technologies’ and points out that as technology reaches its upper limit of efficiency, new technologies based on innovation rather than ‘an iteration of present technology’emerges.
Welcome to what we now refer to as a disruptive innovation. A disruptive innovation is an innovation that helps create new ways of doing, knowing and creating while displacing an earlier technology.
The current dysfunction of the entire education system baffles me because the set of competencies, skills, knowledge and beliefs about learning of the past is now almost totally irrelevant in the 21st century. In 2004, the Department for Education and Skills in the United Kingdom presented its Five Year Strategy for Children and Learners. One of the central tenets of this strategy was the personalisation of learning, explained as ‘every student should, within their school, have excellent teaching that suits them, building on what they know, fitting them for what they aspire to, and helping them reach their full potential’ (DES 2004). That was over a decade ago, and the ultimate question is, how has your classroom catered for the innovations of tomorrow?
What then will the new innovations provide for us as educators? It will be based on digital technology that will embrace a more personalised approach to learning. This process encompasses what I call the BLAISZED principles. BYOD that is ubiquitious, learning environments that are dynamic and active, advanced pedagogy with well planned instructional strategies that cater for the Gen Z of the future. Coupled with emerging technology and differentiated learning habits. Holistic education in the modern sense of the word.
Disruptive innovations can be those educators applying the emerging technologies that are developed in everyday applications and mastering the use and how these technologies work for their students. Teachers creating Augmented Reality in a History lesson, using Twitter or Blogging as a research tool for English or Instagram in Art class. We the 21st Century Educator are responsible for seeking disruptive innovations to aid our students in becoming more Digitally Literate.