Innovation in Schools: Video, Paper and Thoughts…
I’m now happy to share links to my conference paper and virtual (i.e. video) presentation, now both available online for my Future of Education conference contribution this year.
The video can be viewed by following this link: The Innovation Imperative: Adding Fire to the Fuel of Genius in UAE Schools?
And the full paper (2000 words including references word limit) can be viewed and downloaded here: PDF
Abstract: This paper provides an overview of innovation strategy prioritized globally implemented in the education sector in schools, with particular reference to the example of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Data from a 2018 qualitative survey of 12 school teachers/leaders representing 9 different UAE schools from 4 separate emirates are presented and results are discussed to elaborate the extent to which innovation is currently embedded and the impact it is currently recognized as having – as evidenced by such indices as innovation prizes, registering patents, or other indicators suggested by research participants. Key results of the survey are shared. Nine enablers and 10 barriers for innovation in schools and 6 recommendations for practice are presented. Recommendations for further research include a need for a UAE 7 emirate-wide survey. The value of longitudinal research is suggested to chart the emerging narrative of innovation in schools to capture long term impacts.
This work builds on a mini-review of innovation labs I wrote earlier this year (available to view on the BERA Blog here)
I really enjoyed this mini project and it excites me to think where this will go – the cultural mindset shift desired and outlined in the UAE Innovation Strategy certainly conjures the idea that children should be brought up to be innovators and creative problem solvers adding benefit to society and people.
At the moment I feel that by contrast in the UK the innovation agenda as pushed through for education is more STEM focused, and therefore not as open and wide as it could be. Social entrepreneurship and social innovation might well be enhanced through STEM, but not all innovation has STEM at its heart. More important right now are the massive social inequalities our and every other society around the world is facing, and the need to focus on alleviating the problems that lead to the bad decisions of populism, and majority-ism swinging the pendulum of democracy towards illiberal ends. It might well be that STEM, and especially technology, will have some deep contributions to make to help, but the starting point might well be elsewhere. The 17 Sustainability Development Goals are, in my view, one such good starting point for problem solving and innovation focus.
As an aside, and on reflection of the above link to the virtual presentation I made by video for this conference: what a great idea to reduce carbon footprint of academics and other conference attendees! There will always be a strong argument in favour of actual face-to-face interactions made available at conferences, however, with climate change agendas and sustainability being such an important and high priority in our world today, I believe that the argument in favour of increasing the potential for and participation in virtual conferences is far greater. Maybe conference attendees in person should only be from maximum 5 miles radius, and everyone else can send a video and tune in to social media. Food for thought.