In my position as the Technology Enabled Learning and Teaching Contact for my Board, I am often tasked with generating data and completing reports that document results on the impact that innovative teaching practice is having on our teaching practice and that of students’ learning. It is a difficult position to be in because innovation, as we have discussed throughout the book study, means different things to different people. What is innovative for one educator may be common practice for another. Can the impact of innovative practice be measured quantitatively?
Innovative practice takes risk, time and reflection to implement effectively. I often feel that the goal of measuring innovation is counter-intuitive to innovation itself.
As an educator, I do understand the value of measurement. Our data tells our story.By measuring our efforts we can inform our future direction. However, for educators to feel supported and encouraged to take risks, in the school and in individual classrooms, I think the idea of meeting measurable outcomes while creating innovative learning environments is difficult to balance. Being accountable to standardized reporting formats is stressful for educators and relinquishing control over student learning in an attempt to create student centred learning is intimidating in systems of increasing accountability. I think that the strongest indicators of measuring the impact of innovation on our practice and student learning lies in the conversations that occur both inside and outside the classroom.
When these all important conversations are occurring the results are immeasurable. The impact of these conversations go far beyond the single classroom and help build energy,momentum and the capacity to “innovate within the box” . I can create reports, and charts but the most empowering signs of how innovation is impacting practice in education comes from the emails and conversations I am grateful to have with all educators in my Board. Conversations that are open, honest and based around what is best for our students give us the greatest insight into innovative practices. If you are not hearing these conversations, or you are not a part of them, then no amount amount of measurable, quantitative data will allow you to truly measure the impact of innovation in our classrooms. Listening and contributing to the journeys of innovative educators is the most powerful part of the process!
Listen-the conversations are all around and if they are not- spark a conversation with a simple, ”What if?…”