Monday, December 3, 2012

Are you an innovative educator?

Teacher showcase | Microsoft PIL photostream
Teachers who were finalists from more than 80 countries came together at Microsoft's Partner's in Learning Global Forum to showcase and celebrate the innovative work their students were doing. I was pleasantly surprised to see the results as I met with many of the teachers. This appears to be a great framework for fostering innovation.

Below is the criteria that teachers journeying down the path to innovative education incorporated into their projects. 

As you take a look, think about what you already incorporate into your work and what new things can be added.

1 - Collaboration
Students share responsibility and make substantive decisions with other people. Their work is interdependent.
2- Knowledge construction
Students construct and apply knowledge. That knowledge interdisciplinary.
3 -  Student regulated
The learning activity is long-term. Students plan and assess their own work, and revise their work based on feedback.
4 - Real-world problem-solving and innovation
The learning activity requires solving authentic, real-world problems. Students’ solutions are implemented in the real world.
5 - Use of information communications technology (ICT) for learning
Students are active users or designers of an ICT product for an authentic audience.
6 - Skilled communication
Students communicate their own ideas regarding a concept or issue. Their communication is supported with evidence and designed with a particular audience in mind.

At the Global forum event, projects were judged on how well teachers incorporated the innovative criteria into their work through the following lenses:

Planning and Design of the Learning Environment
The planning for learning environment should facilitate the development of different dimensions of 21st century skills e.g. knowledge building, use of ICT for
learning, problem-solving and innovation, self-regulation, collaboration and skilled communication.

Presentation of the Project – Evidence of Learning
Student work demonstrates different dimensions of 21st century skills e.g. knowledge building, use of ICT for learning, problem-solving and innovation, self-
regulation, collaboration and skilled communication. Clear evidence of the learning process engaged in by learners including ground breaking use of ICT.

The learning activities require students to work with other people, sharing responsibility while making substantive decisions for developing a joint product, a design, or an answer to a complex question. Students may be collaborating with their peers in the classroom, or with adults or youth outside the classroom.

Knowledge Building & Critical Thinking
The learning activities require students to move beyond reproducing what they have learned to building knowledge through interpretation, analysis, synthesis, or evaluation. These learning activities ask students to create or explore information or ideas that are new to them and to connect information and ideas from two or more academic disciplines.

Extended Learning Beyond the Classroom
The learning experience is not bound by classroom walls, time-frame of conventional lessons, subject parameters. The project addresses real world issues (i.e. authentic situation and data from outside the classroom). The students’ ideas / solution are innovative in that they are implemented in the real world and have meaningful impact on communities locally and / or globally.

Cutting Edge Use of Technology for Learning
Students use ICT in ways that support knowledge building, collaboration, or learning beyond the classroom. ICT use enables new knowledge-building/collaboration/learning beyond the classroom opportunities that
would not have been possible without it. Digital tools been used in imaginative and ground-breaking ways to support learning processes.

Educator as Innovator and Change Agent
The educator has significantly changed the learning process through the use of ICT and made a difference beyond their own classroom. The educator demonstrates evidence of continuous improvement in their professional practice, models lifelong learning and exhibits leadership in their school and professional community by supporting other educator’s development and understanding of the impact on learning of the effective use of digital technologies.

You can learn more about the rubrics and research behind being an innovative classroom at  You can learn about the teacher projects at

1 comment:

  1. This is very cool! Way to go teachers and students for putting in the work and being open to try so many new things. I also think this is a very clever way for Microsoft to be investing its money. This reminds me of the Pepsi Refresh Everything campaign. I hope that more and more of our international, Fortune 500 companies see the value in investing in such community projects as these--they not only bring much needed financial support to a worthy cause, but the amount of positive exposure is worth every penny.