Creating innovative learning spaces

Innovation is highly esteemed in our school division and many others.  In fact, innovation is highly valued in most all educational institutions.  The notion of creating new solution to as yet undiscovered problems has been around for along time.  Creating these spaces is really the important piece of innovation.  How do you that? create spaces where new ideas can emerge.  Steven Johnson’s Ted Talk provides some great ideas on how to make this so.

Innovation, collaboration, engagement – these are words that are loaded with meaning. If innovative solutions take time and are built on experience and knowledge, then starting with things worth knowing and springboarding off into genuine problem solving is perhaps what we should aiming for. I suppose its why less learning outcomes can lead to more depth and breadth of learning. When we get to a portage on a canoe trip, there are some things worth knowing – how to carry the boat on your shoulders. This experience leads to inquiry – how do I make my shoulders hurt less, what modifications in design to the boat could I make to make the experience less unpleasant. Does innovation only have to be about things like how to clean up space debris left by satellite launches? no innovation can also be about solving problems that have been solved many times by many other people before you. Learning any physical skill is like that – learning can be about taking some abstract concept and making experimenting with your own body to perform the skill efficiently in a way that works for your body geometry, which is truly unique to you as an individual.

How do we create innovative learning spaces – through enthusiasm, through relationship building, through guidance and feedback, through offering the right questions at the right time, through inspiring some creativity. Kevin Bauer, Principal at Valley View School in Calgary says it well in his blogpost –

Next school year, I hope to be working in a school environment again. Continuing the engaging and meaningful work of capacity building with Teachers and students. I hope to contribute my energy to something special.

Roy Strum


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