Monday, September 3, 2012

This Year, Turn Your Classroom into an Idea Factory

Over at MindShift, I recently posted an excerpt from Bringing Innovation to School, highlighting eight strategies to turn your classroom  into an idea factory.
My basic argument: PBL offers an excellent framework for teaching innovation:
Across disparate fields, from engineering and technology to the social and environmental sectors, innovators use a common problem-solving process. They frame problems carefully, looking at issues from all sides to find opportunity gaps. They may generate many possible solutions before focusing their efforts. They refine solutions through iterative cycles, learning from failure along with success. When they hit on worthy ideas, innovators network with others and share results widely.
In the classroom, this same process corresponds neatly with the stages of project-based learning. In PBL, students investigate intriguing questions that lead them to learn important academic content. They apply their learning to create something new, demonstrate their understanding, or teach others about the issue they have explored. By emphasizing key thinking skills throughout the PBL process, teachers can guide students to operate the same way that innovators do in all kinds of settings.
Read the MindShift post to learn more about these eight strategies:
1. Welcome authentic questions
2. Encourage effective teamwork
3. Be ready to go big
4. Build empathy
5. Uncover passion
6. Amplify worthy ideas
7. Know when to say no
8. Encourage breakthroughs

With the new school year just getting underway, now's the perfect time to introduce innovative thinking to your classroom. What are your strategies to help students become better thinkers and doers?

Photo credit: (CC) Johannes H. Jensen

1 comment:

Mike Reilly said...

So completely agree that PBL is place to foster innovation Suzie. While it can be so frustrating for those new to it, we have had some amazing conversations when we start with "There is no definite answer, what do we want to try based on our principles?" It's refreshing for true professional educators.