The inspector as aninnovator My experience withinnovation My first experience withinnovation was related to technology . Underthe guise of innovation and bringing something new to the classroom , I thoughtof using computers to engage students .
I have to admit that my choice was notbased on any study or method , I just wanted to bring aboutinterest and motivation to my learners . I am not the kind of teacher who does the samething all the times , I plunged into using technology in the classroom . Ibrought some videos , songs , pictures , and I used PowerPoint presentations .
At the outset ,my choice to incorporatetechnology in the classroom was ill informed and thus did not yield goodresults , things failed most of the times because of time management . As Imatured in the profession of teaching, my fascination with change and innovation grewand I started taking risks andborrowing some innovative practices notably by networking with teachers fromdifferent corners of the globe , from mycolleagues , my own readings and some seminars that I attended .In 2012 I attended a 2-day seminar conducted by a Scottish free lance educator in the premises of CREFOC Nabeul .It was mainly about integrating someapplications in the classroom , namely audacity , photo story ,didapages and movie maker .
One yearlater, I attended a3-day seminar at the premises of theBritish council . The main theme was about usinglearning technologies in the classroom . My expectations When I heard about the three main tasks of an inspector at the beginning of theyear , I thought that innovation will be somehow related to preparing and conducting training sessions about integrating technology in the classroom . What I learned In this module ProfessorHamouda Klibi introduced a range of meanings of innovation most ofwhich with a philosophical temperament that has puzzled most of the group members .
During two days hebombarded us with information that he felt necessary and crucial to convince usof the importance of innovation in the field of education . What is innovation ? Professor Hamouda Klibistarted the module by making us distinguish between ” novation” and “innovation” twoFrench words which are sometimes usedinterchangeably but in reality they have different meanings . The former means introducingsomething completely new , the lattermeans changing , adding , and improving something that already exists . InEnglish , however , there is only one word which is derived from Latin . TheOxford advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines innovation as follows :1- the introduction of new things , ideas or ways ofdoing something 2- a new idea or way of doing something , etc. that hasbeen introduced or discovered .
Technically speaking , innovationis defined merely as introducingsomething new .According to MichaelVance , “innovation is the creation ofthe new or the re-arranging of the old in a new way “.From a general educational view , innovation canappear as a new pedagogic theory , methodological approach , teaching technique, instructional tool , learning process or institutional structure , when thesechanges are elaborated and implemented they may have a positive impact onteaching and learning .Innovation can be directedtoward progress in one , several , or all aspects of the educational system ,theory and practice , curriculum development , teaching and learning , teachertraining ,and technology .It is clear thateducational innovation concerns all stakeholders from policy makers , toinspectors , teachers and students and hence requires their active involvement andsupport . To raise the quality of teaching , we want to enhance the teachereducation , professional development and life-long learning to includeattitudes , dispositions , teaching style , motivations , skills, competencies, self-assessment , creativity , and capacity to innovate . Whatever the meaning ofinnovation , be it incremental or radical , It is clear that it is of paramountimportance . Why Innovate ? “Necessity is the motherof invention” Plato It is widely believed thatinnovation is an indispensable weapon for any society to survive andthrive , and meet the challenges of thefast- changing and unpredictable world.
It nourishes society , and in turn , it is nourished by society . Put simply , any humanactivity whether it is educational , industrial or business needs constantinnovations to remain sustainable . “Innovations keep species evolving so theycan better compete for survival ” Hoffman and Holzhutter , 2012 .In essence , Innovationsin education are of utmost importance , because education plays a crucial rolein creating a sustainable future . Lack of innovations in education can have serious repercussions not only on inspectors , teachers and students but also onthe whole society .
Driven by the necessity ofchange ,and the dissatisfaction with the status quo in our education system ,innovation is no longer a luxury , it is rather a must if we want to improve the current situation ,and if we want education to have a wider impact on the whole society . What are the prerequisitesof innovation ? For innovation to beefficient , effective and successful , it requires willingness , ability andknowledge from the part of the innovator . Innovation needs to be backed by allthe society to function properly andeffectively .Political , cultural , social and economic effects are importantto make innovation yield good results , they are not only interdependent butthey are also interrelated . Though somesignificant changes left a drastic markon education , it seems we placed too much focus on accountability andassessment and lost sight of many other critical aspects of education .
Nowadays , innovation ismainly associated with technology .While it is true to say that wondrous technology is undeniably a powerful tool thatcan have tremendous effects on teachingand learning , it will not do the hardtask demanded of teachers and learners .It is the task of teachers to harness the power of technology to the benefitsof students and to leverage thispowerful tool.Broadly speaking , educators commonly apply the term ” innovative” to almost any improvement to classroom practices .Thedistinction between innovation and improvement lies in the significance ofimpact and scale of change . These personal initiatives from teachers should besupported and enhanced because they can make considerable contributions toeducational quality .The roots of learningefficiency lie not only in innovative technologies and teaching alone but evenmore in uncovering potential capacities for learning in our students , theirintellectual , emotional , and psychologicalspheres . Effects of technology ineducation A cornucopia of softwarehave become ubiquitous , in addition to the emergence of tablets , computers ,smart phones , interactive whiteboards .
Technology should be used to boostacademic productivity . The pillars and building blocks of twenty first centurylearning according to Linda Baer and James Mcormick ( 2012 ) are tools ,programs , digital resources , games and simulations which are exclusivelytechnological innovations. ICT has greatpotential for supporting innovative pedagogies, but it is not a magic ingredient . Evidently ,before we embark on using computers in class we have to ask first whattechnology is going to add , is it a matter of just changing the pace , or is it just for the sake of bringingsomething new .
How to use them efficiently to improve learning outcomes . Technocentric syndrome Technology is not a magicwand , it is only a means , aninstrument , a tool , for an innovative teacher and learner . It will not usherstudents to the leading edge . Technology by itself is not curative . It canimperil creativity .When we become overly dependent on technology we riskwashing away human interaction and communication .A blend of technology andhuman interactions If the society supportsinnovation in education , then its educational system will continuously andeffectively evolve and progress .If itdoes not , education will stagnate and produce mediocre results oroutcomes .
Innovation is linked tocreativity , risk –taking and experimentation. Innovation is not about talking the talk but walkingthe walk . Every cloud has a silverlining , fortunately .
The educational system must produce innovations at alllevels creative, critical thinking ,self-sufficient , life-long-learners , problem solvers , and workers .Though innovation is often aspark originated in the mind of a bright person , it needs an environmentthat can nourish the fire .This environment is formed and fed by educationalinstitutions , societal culture , and advanced economy .In Shangai , China every low-performing school is assigned a team ofmaster teachers and administrators toprovide weekly guidance and mentorship on everything from lesson plans to school culture ( Editopia , 2012 ) . We have to think of growing local innovations, and take advantage of the best international theories and practices . Countrieslike Finland ,Singapore , HonKong , and South Korea consider education to be the best way toimprove their economy , and it has worked .
My reflection As future inspectors , weare cognizant of the fact that education at all levels critically needs renewal. It has almost become platitudinous to speak of the winds of change ineducation such as the emergence of theso called “knowledge society” ‘ , yet more than six decades after independence, we realize that the actual pace of education , innovations and theirimplementation is too slow as shown by the learning outcomes of most studentsin the tertiary education , which are far from what is needed in today’s world. There is irrefutableevidence that our educational system has made limited improvement in terms of outcomes over the last two decades . It is worth mentioningthat our country has made great strides in terms of quantity , but in terms ofquality we are moving at a snail’space , as a matter of fact we are stilllagging behind despite the huge effortsfrom the major players in the education system . Our education system is indire need of new ideas that shatter theperformance expectations of today’s status quo , to make a meaningful impact .
It is central for us tomake our education system consistently innovative and focus educationalinnovations on raising the quality of learning at all levels . Although thereis a great deal of continuous educational research and innovation , we have notactually seen discernable improvementsin terms of educational outcomes . Suffice it to mention a few facts . International examinations PISA , TIMMS , PIRLS keep revealing disappointingresults . Each year about 100 000 students drop out of school , a large numberof university graduates are unemployed .No one is pleased with our educationaloutcomes despite incredible investments , we still lack fundamental insights .It seems like education is on the crisp of a complete revolution to revamp thewhole system . A word of caution here , I am not saying that the situation isbleak , as a future inspector I should not be oblivious to the problems andbarriers that hinder progress .
If wewant to seed new strategies and have our quota we have to know about what has been achievedup to now , the barriers and the aspirations . Innovation can be mandated from above by policy makersand at other times initiated by classroom practitioners trying something newto make their students more active or their lessons more effective . Suchinnovations can appear in a variety of guises . Ultimately however , it is the teacher who decides what innovations findtheir way in the classroom , how new methods are implemented , new technologiesdeployed and new textbooks used. Innovations can and should be supported fromabove and forced through by clear policies , and professional developmentinitiatives, but if teachers have not fully embraced the concepts , then theywill not reap the fruit of innovation and it will ultimately die .