For the past five years I’ve participated in CoSN’s Driving K-12 Innovation project. The process includes a global advisory board of K-12 leaders, practitioners, and change makers. As one of the advisory members I engage in discourse about the major themes driving, hindering, and enabling teaching and learning innovation at schools. This fall we’ve looked at the first two dimensions for educational innovation – Hurdles and Accelerators.
Hurdles are obstacles that make participants slow down, evaluate, practice, and then make the leap to better support teaching and learning.
Accelerators are mega-trends that drive change – sometimes suddenly and sometimes so gradually the implications aren’t readily apparent.
I recently had a chance to join a virtual discussion about the Accelerators. It was fascinating to hear from educational leaders from around the world. We joined into Zoom Rooms where we had small group discussions. Here’s a graphic representation of the conversation:
Each group had a particular focus, but there were many common themes. Here are some of the keys to the group discussions.
- Gaby Richard-Harrington and group members talked about leadership capacity and “that great leadership with capacity and vision is either the greatest accelerator or — the lack of it — the greatest hurdle. Period.”
- Frankie Jackson and her colleagues (including me) discussed how putting students and agency at the center should be our focus. “All these Accelerators are intertwined with one another, and the focus being students at the center and then everything else being linked to that with a centralized vision.”
- Stacy Hawthorne explained that “Acceleration takes many parts moving together in sequence to reach maximum speed,” likening Accelerators to the gears of an engine — everything needs to mesh to drive innovation in education.
The process will continue this fall with the final phase looking at Tech Enablers that address the Hurdles and tap into the Accelerators.