As we prepare for the new Lower School Collaboratory and the Center for Innovation set to open in August 2017, I have been sharing the importance of innovation in the educational journey.
At its core, innovation is the process of making things better. Whether it is a small improvement for one person or a breakthrough for society, persistently asking curious questions and having the resources to develop solutions pushes us to strive for a better future.
On the largest scale, innovation creates a shift that affects many aspects of our lives. There are numerous examples of innovative shifts that have disrupted the norm and expanded our abilities and opportunities as a society, such as railroads, cars, airplanes, electricity, radios, televisions, antibiotics, computers, Internet, and many more. These innovations “rewired” our lives and our view of the world.
So when I’m asked about the future and what it may look like for our children it is impossible to answer. It will undoubtedly be a future that has technological capabilities unlike anything we might imagine now. Yet technology is not the same as innovation.
Technology has no aim. Technology does not solve world problems. It is the creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, empathy, and leadership of our students that will harness the technologies to come into life-changing innovation. Our most impactful action is to educate students to be curious learners, risk takers, and doers. We must offer students authentic learning experiences that prepare them for the challenges that lie ahead and engage, equip and ready them to lead into the 21st Century. Our students must move beyond just the simple consumption of all that is around them and into being the innovators that produce the ideas, products, and solutions for a better world. The great educator, John Dewey explained this almost 100 years ago when he said, “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.”
So, I am inspired by the actions we are taking as a school to open transformative spaces across campus designed to inspire, encourage, and compel students to become designers, developers, collaborators, and 21st Century leaders ready to lead into the future.