Innovating school: Mapping the change journey – 5 priorities identified by the OECD

According to the OECD, these are the three ingredients for innovating schools and systems:

  • Leadership: strong leaders who establish optimal conditions in their schools
  • Teachers: Confident and capable in their practice
  • Culture: An openness to innovation

Schools for 21stC Learners

OECD Report: Schools for 21st-Century Learners: Strong Leaders, Confident Teachers, Innovative Approaches (2015) by Andreas Schleicher,

This document draws from three sources: evidence from TALIS (Teaching and Learning International Survey) and PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment); and the OECD’s ILE (Innovative Learning Environments) project.

Innovating to create 21st century learning environments (Chapter 4)

Innovative Learning Environments- How do you rate on the five key criteria-

Are the environments in which student learn sufficiently innovative?

Innovation in education is not just a matter of putting more technology into more classrooms; it is about changing approaches to teaching so that students acquire the skills they need to thrive in competitive global economies. (p.63)

Preparing young people for this rapidly changing world means that they are required to be continually learning and are adaptable to change, with the commensurate set of skills and competencies.

The OECD report outlined five key areas that strong leaders need to develop in their schools:

1. Regrouping teachers

  • Collaborative planning, orchestration and professional development
  • Collaboration as a tool for sharing best practice
  • Development of professional learning communities
  • Team teaching to target specific learners within a large group
  • Enhanced visibility, to learn from one another, not hidden behind a door

2. Regrouping learners

  • Learners of different ages, encouraging diversity and enabling peer teaching
  • Smaller groups within larger groups
  • Mixing abilities in small working groups

3. Rescheduling learning

  • Flexibility of time and timetabling, fewer and longer sessions in a day
  • Move from the standard subject-based curriculum
  • Establish new routines and rituals
  • Learning outside of regular school hours – face to face and online learning options

4. Widening pedagogical repertoires

  • Inquiry-based learning, acquire knowledge while practising skills
  • Interdisciplinary learning
  • Real life and hands-on experiences
  • Technology-rich environment provides the necessary tools
  • Integrating a menu of teaching and learning options

5. Culture and policies

  • Create communities and build capacities
  • Collaborate and communicate, wider partnerships and connections
  • Create conditions conducive for innovation, strong leadership is essential
  • Ensure coherence, less top-down, more engaging those most involved with teaching and learning

What is your most pressing priority to move toward innovation?

Innovation transition


@anneknock

From the 3Rs to fast-tracking the 3Es: Entrepreneurial Educational Experience in 4 key steps

AusYearEach year on our national day, there are several categories of award for the Australian of the Year. It is an important event, highlighting significant Australians who have made a difference to the lives of others. The Local Hero Award was presented to Juliette Wright, who founded Givit: Goods for good causes. She is described as a social entrepreneur.

Juliette created the portal to ensure quality goods get to where they are most needed by safely connecting and inspiring an online network of givers. Juliette’s vision, hard work and determination have resulted in donations of more than 126,000 items to disadvantaged members of the Australian community. (Australian of the Year: Local Hero testimonial)

As I listened to Juliette’s story on the televised the award ceremony a couple of months ago, I thought about how technology has enabled so many positive initiatives in our society. The scale of the project could only be achieved through technology facilitating this social enterprise.

Educating our students in entrepreneurship to make a difference needs to be a priority for their future, the World Economic Forum: Global Education Initiative: Educating the Next Wave of Entrepreneurs encourages:

Embedding entrepreneurship and innovation, cross-disciplinary approaches and interactive teaching methods all require new models, frameworks and paradigms. It is time to rethink the old systems and have a fundamental “rebooting” of the educational process. Incremental change in education is not adequate, especially in today’s rapidly changing society. We need schools, colleges and universities that are entrepreneurial in their approach to preparing individuals for the future. (p.10)

This quote sums up what we have been talking about for a number of years – Incremental change in education is not adequate – we need big change. It’s more about taking a running jump across a chasm, than going step-by-step down one side of the gully and clambering up the other side. Then I looked at the date of this report – May 2009, six years ago.

What were the tech trends in 2009

  • Apps take off for iphone [v.3] and ipods
  • Twitter goes mainstream
  • Netbook sales climb
  • Mobile phones get satellite navigation

This report was released the year before the iPad and without the saturation of technology and growth in opportunities that we see as everyday in 2015. So what happened? Six years later we are not seeing sufficient widespread change in the entrepreneurial educational experience of a generation of young people. As the report states,

Innovation and entrepreneurship provide a way forward for solving the global challenges of the 21st century, building sustainable development, creating jobs, generating renewed economic growth and advancing human welfare. (p.7)

It is time to make up those six years – 4 key steps (as outlined in 2009):

1. Transform the educational system

It is not enough to add entrepreneurship on the perimeter – it needs to be core to the way education operates…This requires a fundamental rethinking of educational systems, both formal and informal, as well as the way in which teachers or educators are trained, how examination systems function and the way in which rewards, recognition and incentives are given. (p.9)

2. Build the entrepreneurial ecosystem

Entrepreneurship thrives in ecosystems in which multiple stakeholders play key roles.. the need for multi-stakeholder partnerships is critical for education and even more so for entrepreneurship education (p. 11)

3. Strive for effective outcomes and impact

The purpose and goals of entrepreneurship education need greater clarity. They should be based on a broadly defined set of outcomes… Entrepreneurship education is about developing attitudes, behaviours and capacities at the individual level. Inherently, it is about leadership. (p. 11)

4. Leverage technology as an enabler

Throughout the report, the role of technology in delivering entrepreneurship education is evident, particularly in terms of creating greater access and scalability for entrepreneurship education. (p. 11)

In 2015, school education has the capacity to provide a context where the school-age Juliette Wright may have been able to develop her idea. Yet, a commitment to entrepreneurial education is limited to the individual schools who recognise that it is essential to the future of our young people. It needs a systemic response.

“Preparing today’s students for success and eventual leadership in the new global marketplace is the most important responsibility in education today. … Entrepreneurship education is an important tool to achieving these objectives [and ]… should be universally available to provide all students with opportunities to explore and fulfil their potential.” Stephanie Bell-Rose, President, Goldman Sachs Foundation & Thomas W. Payzant, Harvard Graduate School of Education (2008)

Let’s start. There is a bit of time to make up.

@anneknock

#FutureSchools depend on getting better with #PresentSchools. Learning from boulders, pebbles and breakfast cereals

pebbles and bouldersTwo seemingly unrelated articles caught my attention this week. A great piece by Stephen Heppell on the “School of the future”

“In preparing our children for that uncertain future, we inevitably need schools unlike the ones that prepared their parents”. (Article here)

And the demise of another “boulder”: Kellogg posts $379m loss as consumers cut back on cereal

“Simple food, clearly less refined, if you like – that’s what I think consumers are looking for…”

I think that before we get too caught up in future schools we need to think about present schools, strategically moving on from the (seemingly still evident) industrial paradigm to growing a community that meets current and future needs of this generation, considering the big shifts that have seen the disappearance of Kodak, Borders and now possibly breakfast cereals.

There is nothing special about technology or what it can do – it is a normal expectation of life. An interactive whiteboard, ‘funky’ furniture, iPads/tablets and large open spaces are not necessarily indicators of a future-focused school. It is about shining a light on everything and disrupting practice to better serve the present, as well as the future.

In 2010 Charles Leadbeater a leading voice on innovation and creativity wrote We Think.

Imagine surveying the media, information and cultural industries in the mid-1980s, industries that provide most of our entertainment and so filter access to the world around us and shape how we make sense of it. The scene would have resembled a large sandy beach, with crowds organised around a few very large boulders. These boulders were the big media companies.

These boulders came into being because media had high fixed costs… They were closely regulated and resources… were scarce… Anyone wanting to set up a significant new media business could be seen coming from a long way off. Rolling a new boulder onto the beach took lots of people, money and machinery.

Do you see where we are going, here? (I don’t buy processed breakfast cereal anymore, I make my own.)
Looking again at this text five years later and Leadbeater words ring true:

Now imagine the scene on this beach in five years time. A few very big boulders are still showing, but many have been drowned by the rising tide of pebbles. As you stand surveying the beach every minute hundreds and thousands of people come to drop off their pebbles. Some of the pebbles they drop are very small: a blog post or a comment on YouTube. Others are larger… A bewildering array of pebbles in different sizes, shapes and colours are being laid down the whole time, in no particular order, as people feel like it.

Pebbles are the new business. The new kinds of organisations being bred by the web are all in the pebble business. Google and other intelligent search engines offer the locate the pebble we are looking for:

Wikipedia is a vast collection of factual pebbles

YouTube is a collection of video pebbles

Social media…allow us to connect with similar pebbles…with shared interests

There is still a lot of business in serving the boulders that remain, providing them with content, finance, advice and ideas… The information and media businesses are right at the forefront of the transition from boulders to pebbles because the web so directly affects them.

And education? Leadbeater continues,

Schools and universities are boulders, that are increasingly dealing with students who want to be in the pebble business, drawing information from a variety of sources, sharing with their peers, learning from one another.

Why are schools and universities boulders? Perhaps because as “institutions” they seem to be fixed immovable objects made up of large cumbersome buildings, rigid standardised testing, fixed regulatory and curriculum requirements and research evidence that looks back without considering rapidly changing future context.

If we could smash-up this institutional boulder and enable school to be more like a collection of learning pebbles, what should it look like? A place of broad opportunity and quality relationships that enables the future.

Ultimately, future schools, or even present schools, provide an education that is not only content-rich, but is meaningful and engaging, focussed on providing the best opportunity for this generation of young people.  It fully utilises the tools and resources available, in a way that ignites a passion and sets them on a path of lifelong learning.

@anneknock

What if school was like Uber? 5 critical disruptions for educating children of the #ubergeneration

UBERUber, on the one hand, under siege from the taxi industry, on the other hand, every second person I speak to seems to regularly utilise the service, whether it’s in Sydney, London or New York. Of course, the under 40s have definitely embraced it. This generation embraces disruption. They don’t watch scheduled TV, they don’t own a CD, and less of them are even bothering to get a driver’s licence. Late Gen X and early Gen Y see the world differently, travel, lifestyle, balance and fair remuneration are their drivers (McCrindle Research).

This is the emerging generation of parents with children starting school in the next few years. The big question is: Will they consider disruptive thinking about the learning environment and context of school for their own child, or will nostalgia inevitably kick in?

In 2011 I was asked to write an ed-op-ed piece for the Sydney Morning Herald. At the time I had raised the issue of nostalgia playing a part in parent’s view of the education they seek for their own child, I wrote:

“Outside the school gate, our young people experience a dynamic, innovative and creative world, yet so often it is a foreign environment… Nostalgia often paints a picture of the school that parents may seek for their children. This picture can be informed by happy memories or the sense that ”it didn’t do me any harm”…” (Knock, SMH, 2011)

I’m curious to know how the Uber-generation will think about school, once they are parents.

This morning, I read an article by James Valentine, a late baby-boomer and technology embracer on his recent experience of Uber:

This is where it started: Saturday night Christmas Party, beachside suburb of Sydney. 1am. Time to go home. Or time to stay and get ugly. We decide to go. I use the m2 taxi app. I enter the address. I enter where we’re going. I book. A tag comes up reading “WAITING FOR DRIVER TO ACCEPT”. Nothing happens.

I wait 10 minutes. Nothing happens. (Valentine, SMH, 2014)

The so-called ‘tried and true’ methods, those with a monopoly on service no longer cut it.

I open Uber. The address I’m at comes up instantly. I tap in the destination, it figures out I want my home address. I book. Instantly I’m looking at a map showing an animated swivelling school of Uber vehicles. Seconds later I get a message from a driver who says he’s three minutes away. His vehicle separates from the school and starts heading to me. His phone number pops up. A little portrait of him arrives. I get  a countdown. Two minutes away. One  minute away. At the moment of arrival, he rings me. We’re already at the front gate.

At the end of this journey, I paid $14. I haven’t paid $14 for a cab journey anywhere in Sydney for 20 years

(Valentine, SMH, 2014)

This is the kind of service and connection that we are now expecting. It’s why AirBnB has revolutionised the accommodation industry and Spotify-like services, the music industry.

So if we are educating the children of the Uber-generation, what might they expect from a school experience for themselves as parents, and their child, that reflects the world we live in. Here are five critical disruptions for educating children of the Uber-generation

  1. Communication: relevant, timely, meaningful and intuitive. Not waiting until the formal reporting schedules for parent-teacher interviews, but setting in place a system for feedback that is manageable and helpful.
  2. Tracking: Following from the previous idea, providing a progress monitoring mechanism that enables real-time information flow.
  3. Breaking the monopoly: While defined outcomes, NAPLAN and formalised testing aid in the big picture, these have now become an industry themselves, rather we need to focus on authentic and purposeful learning.
  4. Relationship: Student to student, student to educator, educator to parent, parent to parent – all these relationships matter. The desired outcome of the clear relationships and roles will reap benefits not only at the individual level, but as a community.
  5. Destination: Taking the students where they want to go, achieve their identified goals and aspirations.

There isn’t a single industry in the world that doesn’t have to deal with this kind of rupture. If the new thing doing the rupturing is better, then the old thing needs to improve. Fast. (Valentine, SMH 2014)

@anneknock

Happy New Year!

My top 10 challenges to become an innovative school #revisited

A couple of years ago I wrote a post about my top 10 ideas for an innovative school, its been the most viewed post.  Although it’s not definitive, it’s helpful to have a guide that can shape strategy. This time I’ve added a few challenges.

Revisiting the ideas, and updating for 2014:

1. A vision for learning is incessantly and clearly communicatedOrestad Gymnasium

  • What is your vision? Make sure you know where you are going.
  • Find ingenious and relentless ways to communicate it.

Who are the keepers of the vision?How do you empower the carriers of the vision?

2. Learning is future-focused

  • Shape the learning context for change
  • Observe the students, see how they work and communicate

How can you have less fixed and more flexible features?
What is happening in the world of work that can directly relate to school?

3. Culture takes time and persistence to embed

  • Once you have the vision – prioritise your steps. Change will take time and strategy
  • If you believe it, be resolute. Help those who are struggling to change, but stick to your guns.

Do you have a shared language?
What are the non-negotiables of culture?

4. Engaged and motivated students are the goal 2011-03-03_0088

  • Put current practices through the ‘learning’ filter – do they still belong?
  • Think about your own conditions for productivity and creativity, maybe it’s same for students

What strategies will make learning relevant and authentic?
What practices
disengage and de-motivate students?

5. Equipped and supported staff are essentialIMG_1218

  • Vision + ‘Learning’ Filter = Regular PD to support through change
  • We can’t change the way teachers teach until we change the way teachers learn

How much teacher-talk is OK?
What is the baseline expectation for IT proficiency?

6. Technology is an environment for learning, not the driver

  • This is not about who has the most bright shiny toys
  • Students live in a world of technology – the school-world needs be relevant

Is technology almost invisible?
Are you embracing the opportunities that the cloud opens?

7. Relationships matter

  • In the midst of all the learning, technology and activity nothing matters more than quality relationships
  • Students need to belong, be known, valued and accepted. This is only achieved through relationship

What activities deliberately get your teachers working (and playing) together?
Is relational learning seen to be important in your culture?

8. Learning is authenticNEMO

  • Set in a real-world context, skills will be learnt readily when there is purpose
  • Provide opportunities for students to be world-changers

Are your teachers passionate and infectious about their subject matter?
Does school feel like the real world or school-world?

9. Spaces for learning are welcoming and comfortable2012-10-03 13.27.20

  • This is not about bright shiny spaces and colourful furniture, it is about aesthetically pleasing environments where students (and teachers) will want to come to learn
  • Not all spaces (AKA classrooms) or furniture need to look the same

 

Have you visited a workplace that shows new ways of work?
Have you looked beyond the school furniture catalogue?

10. Creativity and innovation have expressionThe Zone

  • There will always be barriers to innovation, find ways to break or go around them.
  • Make this your culture, give it voice, take risks, embrace failure

 

 

 

What’s blocking innovation in your school?
What’s your next step?

@anneknock

What’s in the ‘secret sauce’ of an innovative school? The SCIL story

The ZoneNorthern Beaches Christian School (NBCS), on the suburban fringe of Sydney has gained a reputation for innovation. There are many components that make this so, including, engaging learning programs, the physical spaces and places around the school, passionate and engaged students, and motivated and inspiring teachers.

For the many hundreds of educational visitors who come to the school each year these things are clearly evident. They visit NBCS hoping to learn from their experience, keen to implement ideas into their own teaching practice in their own school.

TofflerYet, what they are experiencing on any given day is the result of years of dedication to the vision to reinvent ‘school’ accompanied by a dogged determination to grow the capacity of educators with, as Toffler described the it, the ability to “learn, unlearn and relearn”.

In 2005 the principal at NBCS, Stephen Harris, began to think deeply about the impact of technology on the future of school and learning. The journey of innovation started in a couple of key ways. Firstly, he put the building blocks in place to enable online learning, and secondly,  established Sydney Centre for Innovation in Learning (SCIL), a ‘place’ where teacher innovation and professional learning could have expression. Each of these weren’t just good ideas, but seen as essential parts of the vision of education for the future.

As the vision and culture of NBCS was embedded and the learning spaces transformed, the school started to attract attention from across Australia and around the world. It started with educators who wanted a tour of the school, then the SCIL team shaped the innovation as professional learning packages for other educators. From 2010, SCIL began to broaden its reach, PD programs for teachers and school leaders, international study tours and executive consultations began to be developed.

Innovative teachers often feel the constraints of those who fear change, they may have great ideas but are regularly told, “No, we don’t do that here.” or “No, the government won’t let us”. The original iteration of SCIL provided a place for innovative educators at NBCS to bypass potential discouraging responses and play with their great ideas.

Professional learning can even be fun!The culture at NBCS gives permission for innovation to flourish. This is accompanied by professional learning that empowers teachers to embrace change. It is one thing to cast a big vision, and another to maintain it. On a weekly basis, all staff at NBCS participate in PD, with content and delivery sourced from the wealth of internal capacity. An important part of growing a great staff is their ability to share with and to equip colleagues. The beginning of each new school year time is set aside for whole staff PD – to cast vision and set priorities for the year.

This experience has had the added benefit of enabling the teachers to lift professionally. When visiting groups spend time talking to teachers, it is fascinating to hear them articulate and re-articulate their approaches to learning, how they use the spaces and engage with students. It is second nature for the teachers to use the language of innovation, as they are surrounded by it on a daily basis.

The secret sauce? When educators come to NBCS they often make the comment, “I thought I was coming to see buildings, and now I know it is so much more.

Quote

That “much more” is the seemingly intangible element, how the vision for an innovative school is continually cast by the principal and then lived and breathed across the school. Essential to this, however, is continual professional development that is focussed on current and future learning needs of the educators, addressing the identified priorities. The educators at NBCS have the responsibility to equip a generation of young people who are independent, engaged and passionate about making a difference to their world.

A responsibility they do not take lightly.

@anneknock

Internet of Things: 4 challenges for school leaders in 2014

We live in a world that is fact-paced and technology-driven, the Internet of Things is all around, gathering data, sensing trends and improving services, yet  school can still be like entering your grandmother’s living room. It’s comfortable and predictable, it hasn’t changed much in the last few decades. In 2014 Granny might even have an iPad because she likes to watch catch-up TV, play scrabble and email the grand kiddies.

The comfortable and predictable at school exists:

  • We can manage students in lots of about 30
  • We all have our designated place/desk to work at – student, teacher, principal
  • It’s simpler to just teach discrete subjects
  • The day starts at 9am-ish and finishes at 3.30pm-ish
  • The principal/headteacher knows everything and tells us what to do.
  • Our behaviour management system keeps the students in line
  • We upload websites and Youtube videos to the portal to control the content
  • We have a one-to-one laptop/iPad program
  • The IT team manage our technology

Just like granny’s living room, we know what to expect everyday, every week, every year, whether we like it or not.

Is 2014 your year for change?Internet_of_Things_Infographic
It is time to think differently about technology – we are in the era of the ‘Internet of Things’. Check out the Cisco Infographic.

  • The world is not 1:1 technology, in fact, during  2008 the number of things connected to the internet exceeded the number of people on earth.
  • Technology ‘things’ can mean a myriad of devices – not just laptops, tablets and smartphones
  • Data collection enables more effective use of time and resources
  • Sensors provide analytics and improve health and life outcomes
  • User activity is tracked for improved experiences

This video from IBM explains the Internet of Things

Link to video

Link to video

These ‘things’ collect data and connect meaning, providing the relevant information to improves services, connecting aspects of life, to make human activity more efficient and providing the basis of innovation. New insights and activity can be generated.

Most importantly, we need to know where we fit in. The IBM video explains the DIKW-Pyramid. Data, information and even some knowledge can be gathered by technology, we need people who can make sense of it, bring their wisdom, be ethical and innovate. Ultimately to find solutions to big problems and improve lives.

DIKW Pyramid IBM

Four Challenges

There are new skills and expertise required, to ensure that  students are well-prepared for the present and an unfolding future. So where does that take our learning focus? Some thoughts to ponder:

  1. Is technology viewed narrowly as a subject or a 1:1 device program? Otherwise the scope of the possibilities open to students is limited.
  2. Do your teachers only use devices as an input and output repository for content? The potential enables them to solve problems, be entrepreneurial.
  3. Will school administrators invest in a robust wifi network? Without it you are limiting the possibilities of learning, innovative ideas and expression
  4. Is your IT Team/Department  separated, rather than integrated in making the decisions about technology in your school? If separated they are more likely to confine the breadth of their own knowledge and expertise.

So as you think about the 2014 school year – it’s probably time to move out of granny’s living room and rethink what it means to provide a meaningful education for 2014 and beyond. Where  students are equipped with the skills, values and attributes that will help them make sense of their world and then prepare for the generation to follow them.

@anneknock

Resources: Cisco, IBM

Silence is golden? Perhaps it’s measure of good-old-fashioned teaching. But is it the measure of great learning?

This headline caught my eye: “Australia’s classrooms among world’s noisiest”

As I talk to educators and school leaders about rethinking the way we contextualise education the question of noise regularly rears its head. There is a generation of educators and parents who are under the impression that a good education (teacher-centred) can only occur in an environment of silence. I believe that great learning (student centred) requires noise.

An international study* has found 43 per cent of Australian students reported ”noise and disorder” as factors in their classrooms. One-third said they had to ”wait a long time for the students to quiet down” and 38 per cent said students ”don’t listen to what their teacher has to say”. (SMH: 8 December 2013) *Study not cited.

I believe that these are factors of teacher capacity and school culture, rather than a problem of noise. However, later in the article, the voice of reason:

But Michael Anderson, associate professor in education and social work at the University of Sydney said it was important for teachers to distinguish between productive noise and distracting noise. ”Noise can be productive when it comes out of collaborative learning opportunities that the kids are involved in,” he said.

oldschoolThe idea of working in silence, and by inference, individually, is an industrial-era paradigm of productivity. During my own teaching career, I would relish those moments when I looked around the room to see and hear the buzz of productivity as students explored, you could almost hear the learning happening. I would joke with my colleagues that we would schedule a handwriting lesson for a little bit of structured quiet – no communication, heads down.

Great learning needs connection, conversation and ‘aha’ moments.

As we walk around the open learning spaces at NBCS we ‘see’ learning accompanied by noise and productivity – yet the question from visiting educators is almost always one who asks about noise levels. They tell me about teachers’ headaches and unruly students. We need to ask ourselves, is this fear and trepidation concerning noise a question of teaching or learning?

There are two important points to make:

  • Noise levels should be planned for and managed – From an acoustic management perspective, there are ways to  manage the sound in a room. The beauty of open spaces is that there are less walls for reverberation, yet lack of attention to this and low ceilings can exacerbate the problem. (In this short video I am talking about the importance of acoustic management.)

  • Educators need to become comfortable with noise as a condition for learning – When education was teacher-centric, there would be silence for the words of the oracle to heard and digested. But today, when students are exploring and challenging concepts, when they are developing passion projects noise is necessary

SCIL Building20 years ago I wanted a classroom that buzzed with learning and exploration, but it took time to reach this. As students and teachers take time to adapt to the new culture it can be tempting to give up before this goal is reached.

In the first two years of The Zone at NBCS there was a traffic light noise system, to remind the students when the voices were too loud. As the culture of respectful and productive noise became the norm, the traffic lights were no longer necessary.

Here are my conclusions:

  • Finding the right levels of noise for learning takes time and strategy for the right culture to take hold.
  • Teachers  need to become comfortable with the idea that deep learning happens in a noisy context of many-to-many, not one-to-many
  • Learning space design requires attention to the key factors that will make noise levels positive and productive.

@anneknock

On the road in CPH: The Hub, Maglegardskolan & Orestad Gymnasium #VisionTour13

After much planning our tour group gathered together for dinner last night at a restaurant in downtown Copenhagen (CPH) run by a young Australian guy. It was the first opportunity for us all to meet and start the getting-to-know-you process, as we travel together for the next two weeks.

The Hub CPHThe morning started with a good walk across town to the Hub CPH. There was plenty of time to chat along the way as we joined in the morning commute, trying to remember to stay out of the bike lanes. CPH is a beautiful city. 

 

The Hub movement – Where change goes to work – is a worldwide community of co-working and event spaces for entrepreneurs and change-makers. Laura, our host, showed us around explaining the use of the different areas and the aims of the Hub.

HUB CPH

The Hub encourages innovation, creativity and sustainability. With different spaces designed for different ways of working – open, collaborative, engaged and quiet.

So why did you decide to join us for the Vision Tour? 

Unless you come along on this kind of trip you don’t know what you don’t know.

Our group is comprised of educational leaders – principals, a board chair, school systems leaders and facility planners, from NSW, Qld, SA and ACT – grappling with questions like:

How do we continue to engage students? They start off keen in the early years and then this deteriorates.

Can we help teachers not to revert to the industrial model in new spaces?

What is the resource centre for schools today?

What are the design challenges to incorporate into new schools?

How do we make collaboration the default, not the control model?

Can space lead to better pedagogy?

Can we invest in new ways of teaching and maintain academic standards?


So why did you decide to come?
This was the first framing session and Stephen Harris set the scene for change ahead, asking:

What common language do you need to create the culture you want?

What do you need to do for every student to have an equal user experience at school?

And challenging the group with: What do we really believe about change?

From there we started the educational adventure.

Two schools…

MaglegardskolenMabglegardskolan

The interesting feature about Maglegard is the grouping of three grades in the one home space – 75 children, with 5 teachers. They start the morning altogether as a community, then use the entire space as a learning area. The ‘classroom’ spaces are small – instruction is limited to around 15 minutes, then
MAglegardskolan
each child goes to a shared work area. Every student has their own plan, in their own portfolio.

This was my second visit to this school and I enjoyed the openness and friendliness of the students as they shared their work with me. Also, the communal area of the space, with the kitchen the sofas and the fish tank made it feel like home.
Maglegardskolan

Orestad GymnasiumIMG_2535

Architecturally, Orestad Gymnasium is impressive. This school is now five years old and is renowned for its outstanding design. A central spiral staircase forms the heart of the vertically designed senior high school.

Everyone can see everyone.

It is located in the growing IT district of Orestad, full of interesting and quirky
Orestad Gymnasium
buildings. The senior high school is
preparation ground for students who seek university education.

We were hosted by two students, Christoffer and Nikita. Their honest and candid reflections were helpful. The school is open and spaces are bookable as needed. There are closed off classrooms where learning lectures are held, but these students prefer the collaborative approaches. Only 20% of their learning time is in lecture format.

And in between… Lunch at a most amazing building.

We stopped for lunch in the Orestad precinct at a uniquely designed housing and 8 Housebusiness development – 8 House.

The bowtie-shaped 61,000 sqm mixed-use building of three different types of residential housing and 10,000 sqm of retail and offices comprises Denmark’s largest private development ever undertaken…the 8 House stacks all ingredients of a lively urban neighbourhood into horizontal layers of typologies connected by a continuous promenade and cycling path up to the 10th floor creating a three-dimensional urban neighbourhood where suburban life merges with the energy of a city, where business and housing co-exist. 

8 House

8 House cafe

 

The culture of innovation is a necessity for change: Are you a culture crusher or culture creator?

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As I look at this little guy at school in Rwanda I am reminded how much we need a culture of innovation – one that thinks differently about today’s (and yesterday’s) normality. We must bring solutions necessary to change lives that will improve the future. Solutions for today’s big problems exist, we have the capacity to make a difference, but wherever we work or serve. To do thiswe need to creat a culture of innovation.

‘Culture’ comes from a farming context, to ‘cultivate’ the soil, ‘cultivate’ to provide food for people and income for the farmer. Crops won’t grow on their own, they need to be surrounded by the activity and attitude that will make them grow and produce crops. Along with the factors to produce a bumper crop, there are also factors that will crush it – especially neglecting the key factors of cultivation.

In the same way a culture of innovation is a cultivated context and atmosphere. It can be created or crushed. By who? By you! …and me. A culture of innovation is everybody’s responsibility to ‘cultivate’, but it is the leader’s responsibility to establish, model and shape the culture.

So here is a pop-quiz: Are you an innovation culture crusher or an innovator culture creator?

Which statement do you relate to?

1. “I can’t innovate because I don’t have…” Or “I can innovate, even if I don’t have…”
2. “Failure is not an option” Or “Failure is a necessity”
3. “I’d like to, but…” Or “I have to, or else…”
4. “But the rule says…” Or “Break the rules”

Well, you can tell (I hope) that the right answer is the second statement. Innovation needs the right conditions:

Limitations breed innovation – big problems have limitations in funds, time, environmental factors and skills requires. Don’t complain about them, working within limitations is essential for innovation.

Failure is the pathway to the best ideas – it means we review, reflect and refine ideas. They just get better, the more we fail. Embrace it, don’t fear it.

Compelled to make a difference, to improve lives – if we are motivated by meeting a real need that will impove lives or even saves lives, then there is a sense of urgency.

Think differently – Rules may be real rules that are enforced or social mores that we unconsciously abide by.

What does this mean for the little guy in the photo?

Limitations: funds, resources and the physical environment are limitations to work within, but ideas aren’t.

Failure: some ideas may not work, but some eventually will be. Time is essential for the development of the best solutions.

Compelled: What is the future opportunity for this boy, his friends and his generation if we don’t innovate? The cost is too great.

Think differently: with more than 50% of the population of Rwanda under the age of 18 and significant rates of youth unemployment, the current approach isn’t working.

Choose to be an innovation culture creator.

@anneknock