What’s the definition of innovation in education? More notes from #g4c2011

“The Myth that you cannot make systemic change quickly is just that, a myth.” -James Shelton (Dept of Education) at Games for Change (#g4C2011).

From this afternoon’s Games for Change Panel: A great talk by James Shelton, Department of Education.

When asked what his definition of innovation is, James Shelton responds that meaningful innovation requires:

  1. Significant difference in outcomes
  2. Scalability
  3. Sustainability

The U.S. government is the largest source of education funding and should be intentional about both incentives and effectiveness. “Last year was the 1st time that ‘cost-effective’ was among criteria in Department of Education  innovations – think about that.”

Why the focus on STEM?

  • Lack of understanding of science reduces discussions of critical issues to ideology.
  • Many jobs of the future relate to the sciences
  • Many children start off with interest in science and are turned off…We need to recapture their passion and wonder.

Evidence-based policies and gaming

We need to move more things into category of moderate to strong evidence to drive policy decisions but most decisions are not made in response to such evidence but in response to compelling stories. Because of the pace we need to move, getting people to see opportunity and best cases is important to transform the decisions of policy makers in the context of what’s going on right now.

On adding a pervasive game layer to everything and gamification

We are so close to achieving saturation, we should focus on moving forward quickly rather than on terminology. The economic opportunity of the long-tail is very real. The biggest issue is to sort quality from quantity. “Programs must be aware of the incentives they create in the marketplace” bc these can be both helpful and harmful.”

Other questions/comments

On risk
How to balance experimentation with the need for developed products.
“The risk of being risk averse is only surpassed by being overly formulaic.” It’s a difficult but necessary balance.

On teaching to the test
One of the biggest flawed hypotheses is that the best way to achieve on tests is to practice standard test questions.  Rote practice is not the solution. Great schools are separated from mediocre ones by being well-rounded.  That being said, there needs to be innovation in assessment. The pressure on resources is driving the need for games/learning that extends past the end of the school day.

On motivation
There isn’t enough focus on affective issues that impact education and motivation in learning.  We can use games to create a broader/richer set of interventions than achieving traditional academic success.

Tangential learning opportunities in learning.

Using media not designed to be educational as educational tool: Use things that kids already care about and are engaged in is a powerful tool.  “You’ve already won the battle.”

Teachers need to have the tools required to create truly differentiated learning experiences.

(I was taking notes quickly, so these may not be exact quotes, but I hope I captured the spirit of this great talk.)

One response to “What’s the definition of innovation in education? More notes from #g4c2011

  1. Pingback: What’s the definition of innovation in education? More notes from #g4c2011 | Instructional Design Fusions | Sarantis' Blog

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