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Education, Leadership, Technology

You call that innovative?!

Day Fourteen

cc flickr photo: by taylor_humphreys

This week I am going to be traveling around the Midwest and East Coast, with several colleagues, visiting schools that utilize a blended learning (or hybrid) model of educating their students. This is in preparation for our launch of a hybrid program (see Virtual School Experience) that will eventually lead–we hope–to a paradigm shift at our school and within our district.  It is an exciting journey (literally and figuratively), and it is a fantastic opportunity for our school–to have the full support of our district administration as we look to make significant positive changes to the way we approach the educational process.

All that being said, I don’t consider the technology or pedagogy changes we are considering to be innovative.  They are happening all over the country.  There are obviously entire schools, even districts, that are implementing hybrid environments, but there are countless individual teachers who are doing the same thing at the classroom level.  In fact, one could certainly make the argument that our school is not being innovative…we are simply trying to catch up.

Furthermore, maybe it is just semantics, but shouldn’t every school in our country aspire to be a blended learning community–combining the best that traditional education and new technologies have to offer our students?  Again, consider some of the strategies we will be integrating across our campus:

  • Problem / Challenge Based Learning
  • Opportunities for students to be creators
  • Utilization of social media as a student collaboration tool
  • Full integration of Google Apps
  • Using a virtual learning environment to offer a wider variety of electives (i.e. world languages)
  • Technology integration to individualize student instruction
  • Blogging by students and teachers to share ideas
  • Expansion of education beyond the school walls using Skype
  • An awareness of our community needs through community service projects

Nothing here that isn’t being done somewhere else.  Just education as it should be–using the tools we have at our disposal to make learning more relevant and meaningful for our students.  A dynamic environment, constantly changing to keep up with our society.  This is what “new” education should be.

On a final note, no one person or entity has “the answer” — see The Wizard of Ed: Road to Reform.  True reform has been described as “flying the airplane while we build it.”  In order to do that, we have to be willing to share ideas, successes and failures.  Our best chance at true innovation is through collaboration.


About azjd

Junior high principal by day, aspiring difference maker, and Jedi in my own mind. Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly.


4 thoughts on “You call that innovative?!

  1. This sounds very exciting Jeff! I too agree, that we should all be implementing and trying new ideas that are in the best interests of our kiddos. Though you state it doesn’t seem too innovative because many are doing this around the country and world, we must still remember that there are even more still not doing any of these things…

    Your last sentence was perfect…the more we share, collaborate and reflect as a group of Educators, the better positioned we will be to meet the needs of our students. We must continue sharing our experiences and innovative thoughts with others, because for every school or Educator that has heard it before, there is another that has not…

    Thanks for another great post!

    Posted by Justin Tarte | April 3, 2011, 6:25 pm
    • Thanks Justin. Although exciting, the process of planning for a new school has also been overwhelming–trying to maintain focus with so many great ideas out there. I have to say (and I know you will agree), our PLN has been such a great resource for meaningful ways to utilize technology. A fantastic illustration of what social media and technology can do for professional development. The only problem is that it is difficult to keep up with what everyone shares. As always, I appreciate your comments.

      Posted by azjd | April 3, 2011, 7:15 pm
  2. Jeff,
    I don’t think any one school/educator is really going to change education as a whole any more because we can so easily spread what we are doing as it is happening. If you have the access to the resources that you need and are willing to break away from traditional methods, why not try something new even if someone else has done it first.

    Educators used to have to keep up with societal changes to keep our content current. But now how kids learn is changing, and not just that we understand more about how the brain processes information, but the actual methods kids are taking in information. There is no perfect method that will reach all students and we all will have to continue to share what works in order to find that blend of methods that matches our situation.

    It is great that you are supportive of your colleagues and have the support to travel and see what others are doing. I hope you come away with some great ideas!

    Posted by Marc Seigel | April 3, 2011, 6:40 pm


  1. Pingback: Justin Tarte - Life of an Educator...: My challenge to you... - April 4, 2011

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Jeff Delp

Junior high principal by day, sports enthusiast, technology fanatic and jedi in my own mind. Striving to be a difference maker!
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