I generally curate new ideas with the following questions:
- Does the new idea represent a better way to meet a goal?
- Does the new idea respond to an unmet need?
- Is the new idea streamlined, efficient, engaging, and life enriching?
When I come across ideas that meet that criteria, I generally jump right in and try it out.
I navigate the process carefully with student use/need at the forefront continually asking the questions:
- Are students engaged?
- Do they want to keep working without my prompting?
- Are they likely to access this effort at home?
- Is the idea making a difference in their overall learning?
- Is this idea allowing me to spend more time on student coaching and less time on management aspects of teaching/leading a class.
The initial navigation is never easy. In fact, it typically takes me many, many hours of at-home work, reading, conversation, assessment, and reflection. The initial work is tiring, but what keeps me going is the promise the idea holds for better teaching and learning.
The difficult part of every new idea is the pushback the ideas receive. I wonder why some don't trust my time, research, effort, and care--why would they think this idea would not be good since so many thoughtful educators throughout the cybersphere are working tirelessly to implement similar ideas.
Yet, I don't know it all--I don't have all the answers, and good curation and multiple voices are part of the successful navigation of new ideas.
I guess the stumbling block for me is when others negate the idea without conversation, trying out the new idea, or really taking the time to investigate with me and students. They're quick to say, "We don't support that."
Yet, that happens with almost every new idea--most big ideas are not quickly entertained or accepted--look how many years it took for people to embrace the notion of zero when it came to numeracy understanding, representation, and use.
I need to learn more about the process of new ideas. I know why new ideas are good. I see what great new ideas can do for children, learning, and our society. Yet, I don't fully understand the best systems, speak, and work to use in order to move a good idea forward.
I need to find out the following:
- New idea speak: I have some great books for that.
- Innovation systems: I have people I can query about that.
- The role of credit and ownership with regard to new ideas: I want to understand this more because some are quick to use a new idea as long as you don't ask for credit. For example one may forward your idea quickly without your name with no problem, but if you want to be part of it, there might be reluctance. I've read about it, but I don't fully understand this behavior.
- What does successful innovation look like? How do people emotionally and intellectually practice the implementation of new ideas.
These are not new questions. In fact, I've read and written about this topic many times before. Now, however, I'm seeing it in a new light.
I know new ideas matter and can make a substantial, positive difference in so many meaningful and important ways. I'm not giving up on the integration of new ideas to better the work that we do.
I just want to grow this process more with integrity and with colleagues so that the way we import new work and ideas is more peaceful, inclusive, examined, and shared in timely, profitable, positive ways.
I welcome your ideas, feedback, and resources as I journey yet another teaching/learning path.
P.S. You might think it crazy that I'm writing about this on Christmas morning, but if you think about Christmas, you realize that the day signals the birth of a "new idea" about the way we live with and for each other--a "new idea" that was initially met with life ending ridicule and contempt, but a new idea that continues to foster the best of who we can be when considered with care and truth.