Monday, March 7, 2011

The Times They are A-changin'

 "the present now will later be past"
- Bob Dylan "The Times They are A-changin'"

In light of recent government cutbacks to programs supporting innovation and change in education, the present may sooner be past. In the ATA News (Feb. edition) Minister Hancock has a block quote stating that, "Engagement is key to collaboration, and collaboration is key to real and lasting change."

Have we forgotten about innovation? For change to happen, innovation is key. Innovation is the spark - the hook. Innovation is the thinking that invites us out of the box. Innovation creates engagement. Collaboration is the vehicle through which that engaging task is realized.

This is true everywhere. Take Wikipedia for example. Innovation occurred when someone came up with the radical idea of using a wiki to create an online encyclopedia where the people would become the creators and curators of knowledge. People were, and are, engaged in the collaborative creation of this current and accurate body of knowledge because of the collaborative aspect of it. Just a few short years ago, academics criticized Wikipedia for its apparent lack of accuracy. It has been suggested that university professors now access Wikipedia more than any other database for their information. Indeed, Wikipedia is now the primary body of knowledge on the planet. In 2005, Wikipedia was just as accurate as Encyclopedia Brittanica (and has been added to, reviewed, and edited by millions around the world since then!).

In challenging times, we need to look at innovative ideas in an effort to continue our journey of improving our teaching practices. We cannot give up the quest to provide our students with the best possible learning environments just because funding has disappeared or budgets have tightened. Focus on your needs. Get creative and find ways to collaborate. Together we are strong!.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the vote of confidence for Wikipedia. I have always felt guilty for using it as a primary source!