The Need for an Innovative Approach to Education In Niagara

Why the Niagara region needs an innovation approach to education:


  • Results for the Canadian Education Association, What did you do in school today? survey indicate that:

  • Although many students are engaged at school, overall levels of social and academic engagement are quite low.

  • Levels of intellectual engagement – which tap into students’ sense of interest, feelings about the relevance of school work, and motivation to do well in class – are significantly lower than levels of social and academic engagement.

  • Levels of student engagement decline steadily throughout the middle and secondary school grades. 

  • Adolescent learners experience high levels of intellectual engagement when they encounter school work that is challenging, has practical and intellectual value, and engages them in authentic tasks similar to those that mathematicians, artists, or other professionals would pursue (Canadian Education Association, 2012 )
    • Speaking during the Ontario Town Hall: Establishing our Economic Roadmap: Securing our Future, Walter Sendzik, CEO of the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce had a chance to present findings of the identified the key pillars Niagara needs to improve upon in order to return to a prosperous state: 
      • The first pillar, is the creation of a 21st century workforce with a focus on education - from elementary students right up through post-secondary.
      • Pushing Niagara forward as a supporter of innovation incubation and entrepreneurship is the third pillar Niagara This Week
    • How can schools teach students to be more innovative? - Wall St. Journal
      • Most of our high schools and colleges are not preparing students to become innovators. To succeed in the 21st-century economy, students must learn to analyze and solve problems, collaborate, persevere, take calculated risks and learn from failure
      • Learning in most conventional education settings is a passive experience: The students listen. But at the most innovative schools, classes are "hands-on," and students are creators, not mere consumers. They acquire skills and knowledge while solving a problem, creating a product or generating a new understanding.
      • Mandating that schools teach innovation as if it were just another course or funding more charter schools won't solve the problem. The solution requires a new way of evaluating student performance and investing in education. Students should have digital portfolios that demonstrate progressive mastery of the skills needed to innovate. Teachers need professional development to learn how to create hands-on, project-based, interdisciplinary courses. Larger school districts and states should establish new charter-like laboratory schools of choice that pioneer these new approaches.
    • The Rise of Educator-Entrepreneurs: Bringing Classroom Experience to Ed-Tech - MindShift

      “Teachers are usually the last people to be consulted on many of these education technology companies.”
      Most teachers are happy doing their job — helping kids understand and make sense of the world around them. But there’s a growing number of educators who are wading into entrepreneurship, frustrated at the lack of tools they need, and wanting to extend their sphere of influence. As technology becomes more widely used and accepted in the classroom, teachers are taking their ideas about how to improve learning environments, sharing them online, and creating web-based tools to benefit teachers and students.
      At the same time, the fact that the multi-billion dollar ed-tech space is exploding has not gone unnoticed by investors. Programs like Imagine K12 run crash courses in ed-tech entrepreneurship, connecting fledgling companies to Silicon Valley venture capital firms (and staking out a six percent equity).
      But, as most educators know, while tech entrepreneurs can sometimes hit gold, not every newly minted site or software is useful to teachers. That’s what sets educator entrepreneurs apart — they have relevant classroom experience that can’t be gained any other way than by doing the hard work of teaching.
    • Redefining Teacher Education Programs for the 21st Century

    • Let's Radically Improve Teacher Training (and Stop Fighting About It) - Chronicle of Higher Education
    • Building a Better Teacher - NY Times

    • “The world no longer cares about what you know; the world only cares about what you can do with what you know,” explains Tony Wagner of Harvard, the author of “Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World.” (NY Times)


    • The Possibilities

      High Tech High - Four Integrations That Make up High Tech High

     Four Integrations That Make up High Tech High
    1. Integrating students across social class. 
    2. Integrating head and hand (making and doing things)
    3. Integrating school and community
    4. Integration of secondary and post-secondary education
    New Tech Network - Video 
    New Tech Network is a nonprofit organization that transforms schools into innovative learning environments. Our project-based teaching approach engages students with dynamic, rigorous curriculum. Through extensive professional development and hands-on coaching , our teachers evolve from keepers of knowledge to facilitators of rich, relevant learning. New Tech Network is re-imagining education and the student accomplishments speak volumes.The New Tech design provides an instructional approach centered on project-based learning, a culture that empowers students and teachers, and integrated technology in the classroom. Our hands-on, multi-year approach gives schools structure and support to ensure long-term success.

    Sydney Centre for Innovation in Learning
    Sydney Centre for Innovation in Learning actively promotes excellence in education by providing new learning opportunities for students and future-focused Professional Development for teachers. Established as the research and innovation unit, SCIL runs a range of programs and research projects that seek to transform educational thinking and practice both at NBCS and in the wider educational community.

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