The pressure of education innovation and its challenges

William Woods EDU

The Education Week Research Center recently conducted a national online survey among teachers, principals and district leaders to learn more about their views on innovation.

Innovation has often been associated with wide-scale adaptation of technology-enabled learning. However, innovation in education refers to a much larger phenomenon that can be described as the introduction of new ideas and methods that increase overall student achievement.

The survey findings offer some interesting insights. For example, most educators feel the pressure to innovate and cite lack of time and funding as their primary obstacles. Administrators are the most common source of the pressure, as reported by more than 40 percent of educators.

When asked what they most need in order to be more innovative, more than 30 percent of educators said, “more time reserved for brainstorming and learning.” This answer was followed by more than 20 percent who said funding was what was most needed.

The survey findings also reveal that a new or updated curriculum is among the most frequently cited innovations that educators would like to pursue if adequate funding was available. Education technology was another top innovative priority. According to the survey report, “one respondent … would spend to develop a coding class that incorporates AI and robotics, and is something that is not a club, but part of the curriculum.”

However, education innovation associated with technology brings its own set of unique challenges. For example, a recent Education Week article points to “ongoing training, technical support, and network upkeep” as necessary to ensure that technology is used as an effective tool for learning.

Increasingly, schools are realizing that when they invest in new devices, there is a certain amount of maintenance or upkeep required to protect against possible cybersecurity vulnerabilities. There have been cases where schools have been hacked by their own students. Such challenges point to the need to balance between the pressure of introducing new innovations with ensuring that existing innovative efforts are being supported effectively.

At William Woods University, students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Education take EDU 211 – Educational Technology. This course examines the role of technology in the K-12 classroom and its related issues. The course also provides an opportunity for students to incorporate technology use in innovative ways and present their ideas to the class.

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