I enjoyed the Global Education Conference last week. I virtually attended a handful of sessions related some of my professional interests, e.g., online classes, online programs, MOOCs, badges vs. grades, creativity, DIY, students as “makers” or “curators,” higher order thinking skills, social media, etc. There is much to be said in these areas, research to be done, and in some cases these areas are still very new and fresh and best practices to be established.
What has pleased me so far with the conference, especially when new tech is presented is that, there is a notion to talk more about the verb than the noun. This is often rare even in these academic settings because the focus is usually similar to these types of conversations. “Hey check out this new tool, get it. It is in beta! Tell your students to use it. It is just that cool. Look what we can do with this tool! It is going to revolutionize student learning!” Thus they are talking more about the noun, i.e., the technology rather than the best practices of how to use it in instruction.
In some back channel conversations (via Twitter) this week I have had a few connections/conversations involving the differences between an invention and the concept of “innovation.” The two are very different.
|Product, process, or service.||Significant contribution to an existing product, process, or service.|
“Consider the microprocessor. Someone invented the microprocessor. But by itself, the microprocessor was nothing more than another piece on the circuit board. It’s what was done with that piece — the hundreds of thousands of products, processes and services that evolved from the invention of the microprocessor — that required innovation.”
— Tom Grasty, 2012 The Difference Between ‘Invention’ and ‘Innovation’
Where am I going with all of this? Take an “online course.” You know, a space for learning that is online 🙂 By itself, it is nothing more than a website but with an “innovator” or perhaps a newly coined term, “Eduvator” they can facilitate student learning online. These Eduvators are not focused on building something new but taking the technology and designing new ways for students to interact with the content, the instructor, and perhaps more important… each other. A successful learning experience requires both breathing and the human element!