There are some ideas that I just keep coming back to. Innovation is one of those ideas. I hear it everywhere, and I think people confuse it with improvement. Andy Hargreaves spoke about the tension between innovation and improvement and asks the question:
What kind of horse are you?
I recommend watching from 29:10-35:02
He presents a similar matrix to the one I have here:
If you are not improving or innovating, you’re a dead horse.
If you are only improving, you are a race horse.
If you are only innovating, you are a unicorn or pegasus. You are a mythical creature that does not exist.
If you are improving and innovating, you are the iron horse. You have horsepower, but are no longer a horse. You are something greater and more impressive than any other horse.
Andy goes on to point fingers at which education systems are which horse:
- The dead horse: USA (although things are looking up)
- The race horse: Ontario
- The Unicorn and Winged Horse: Superficial use of Technology (that’s us #edtech)
- The iron horse: We don’t know yet. Will it be Ontario?
Do you agree? Where would you put Ontario’s education system on the innovation/improvement horse matrix?
Could the Iron Horse of Education Change be here?
I think educators and leaders in education ought to remember that innovation is a priority, even when things are tough. Innovation is not dessert, that thing you get to have when you are done improving. It’s essential to do simultaneously alongside of improvement.
And a note to my #edtech friends – don’t be the unicorn. Innovate and improve or else you are a magical creature that doesn’t really exist.
Note: This blog was revised thanks to Dr. Marc Joanisse who gave me some great feedback about the graphic.