Tag Archives: blog hop

How might we measure Innovative Practice?

innovative practice

Monitoring and measurement are things that I know I am supposed to do in my role as Literacy Consultant, but it is something I find the most difficult to do.

In a recent collaborative inquiry with teachers on inquiry-based learning, my colleague Sonia Racco and I tried to come up with a pre and post tool that was formatted similar to OSSLT questions.  One question asked students to create a question, the next asked them to summarize the main idea, and the third asked them to make a connection.  We used a graphic text.  And when we set out to do this, it seemed reasonable enough…

And yet, by the end of the inquiry, teachers had really moved in their understanding of inquiry-based learning and had tried it out in their own classrooms.  They brought student questions to the table and when we looked at them together, teachers and students were asking good questions, were engaged in critical thinking, and were genuinely interested in learning.  Students also created some really neat artefacts of their learning which we shared at one of our sessions.

And we decided that giving the post-diagnostic in the format we had given the pre-diagnostic did not make sense.  Because what mattered to us was the fact that teachers and students were engaged in a learner-centered process of learning and felt more comfortable with the stages of inquiry-based learning.

Measure Innovation

And so I struggle with the idea of assessing innovative practice.  If we are using standardized test measurements to determine “success” of a school community in 2016, are we missing the point entirely?  What are some more powerful measures of success? How can we convince parents that these measures are more valuable than report card marks and test scores?  How can we convince other stakeholders?

I go back to my What Ifs from another #InnovatorsMindset Blog Hop and can’t help but think that we do have the tools and the creativity to make a shift in practice here.

What if, we used technology tools such as Explain everything or iMovie (insert any other similar tool here) to capture the learning reflections and thinking of students and shared these as artifacts with the wider community?

What if instead of a Fraser Report, the true report of a successful school could be told through the voice of a student?  And not just a student on a Council, but a student in grade 9 applied or grade 12 open?  A dis-engaged grade 7 student?

What if the school climate exit cards could be captured in video reflections and garnered as much credence as the formulaic exit cards Districts are currently collecting?  Can school climate be measured by how happy kids are? how interested they are in their learning? How effectively they can read, write, represent, create, think critically?

I already see video reflections being used as a means to capture learning and reflection at several levels.  I see George Couros modelling this during in his work with teachers and administrators.  (Check out #LDSBCollaborate and the video reflections there) . I see Jen Hegna, Director of Information and Learning Technology for Byron Public Schools in Minnesota use video reflections to capture the learning experiences of teachers and students in her District to create a Board report summarizing a 1:1 iPad initiative.  I see the 21st Century learning branch of Ontario creating a resource for what technology-enabled learning looks like in classrooms across the province (of which I am honoured to be a part).  I see principals such as Doug Timm creating video newsletters for his parent community.   And I see it in classrooms whereby children beginning in Kindergarten are explaining their thinking and learning and this learning is being shared with parents to change the conversation around, “What did you do in school today?”.

Rethinking our assessment practices is not impossible; it just requires a shift in what we value as a true gauge of what innovation and learning looks like.

Check out these other blogs on the topic.  What I love about them is how each have approached the topic so differently!

Leigh Cassell

Donna Fry

Tina Zita

Mark Carbone

Amit Mehrotra

Stacey Wallwin

Lisa Noble

What are your ideas about how we might assess innovative practice?  Add your blog URL to the OSSEMOOC Blog Hop or feel free to comment here.



What does Innovation Mean to You?


(image via Tina Zita)

We decided to do a blog hop as per Tina Zita’s suggestion, as a sort of Minds On before we gather for our first online discussion of George Couros’, Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity.  We are all beginning with the concept of innovation and what it means to us.

Couros references Carl Bass, CEO of Autodesk, who says,

“Innovation is the process by which we change the world…It’s the practical application of ideas and technologies to make new and better things” (19).   

Couros then adds that “innovation isn’t about tools or things, but more about how we use those things” (20).

Both those ideas really resonate with me.

Innovation to me looks like…

To me, this kind of innovation happened on January 28th with EdCamp Global.  The idea of an EdCamp which has up to now been for and about educators, was shaken up and turned inside out when the audience AND oftentimes facilitators were students from around the world.  In one of the sessions called, “The Games We Play,” Fran Siracusa organized teachers from Spain, Italy, France, the US, and a good friend of mine from Ontario, Rob Cannone, in an interactive session led primarily by the students.  This was not only empowering for the teachers involved, but for the students who basically took the reigns of their own learning.  Check out the padlet here with all of the students explaining how to play their favourite game.

Yes, technology such as Padlet, Google Hangouts, Kahoot were being used but these were all secondary to the value of the connections, the leadership of the students, the communication skills they practiced, and the valuable learning about other cultures and the games they play.  It was an experience that those kids will remember when they reflect back on their grade 5 & 6 year, and even now, another connection between those classes is being planned.

Kudos to the dedicated and forward-thinking organizers, for their innovative vision, and for the teachers who took a leap of faith and really showcased an innovative mindset by providing “optimal learning experiences for their students” (20).

In my own professional learning journey, I took a leap this summer and joined a Voxer group.  For those of you that have never heard of it, it is a walkie-talkie app that allows for the sharing of links, images, but most especially, the ability to share ideas through dialogue.  I’m sure Voxer was never intended to be a tool for education, and yet there are lots of educator Voxer groups created out of a common interest.  One principal, Greg Bagby shared that he uses Voxer as a way for his teachers to communicate with each other during bus dismissal because they don’t have walkie talkies for each of their staff members.  This has solved so many practical issues for them. To me, this is yet another example of innovation.

I have created a Voxer group to complement our Innovator’s Mindset Book Club.

Join me if you enjoy talking out loud to people about a passage that resonates or like to have a conversation with someone or share an idea prompted by what you’ve read.  Or if you are just getting used to Twitter and don’t know that you are ready for a Twitter chat. Or perhaps you are just interested in moving outside of your comfort zone to learn something new?

We will begin with your own ideas about what innovation means to you, and talk about the book as we read it. We will share images, quotes, anecdotes, resources, and stories.  Download the app and contact jencasatodd@gmail.com to be added to the group.

What does Innovation Mean to You?

I am excited to read about what my peers say innovation means to them and I love that they are all so different!

Why not hop on over to their blogs and check them out:

Tina Zita

Leigh Cassell

Stacey Wallwin

Donna Fry

Paul McGuire

Patrick Miller

Mark Carbone

There are more here Read the other posts or submit your own answer to the question via your own blog post.  And don’t forget to check out our first online discussion on February 9th at 8 pm.