The word “Innovation” can invoke quite strong emotions, either positive or negative. It can be seen as a threat for the status quo, resulting in resistance by default. Or inversely, some check their logic at the door when they hear the term and are seduced to approve anything associated with the term.
Increase sharing knowledge and learning
Innovation is not a goal “an sich” for the ICTO team. It’s main goal is to facilitate learning, and our angle is through the use of information and communication tools. The developments in this field are progressing with such speed that it is almost inherent to the task to be innovative. When your goal is to increase efficiency and effectiveness in sharing knowledge and learning, through the use of Information and Communication tools/techniques, then innovation is a natural part of the process.
However innovation does not necessarily imply new techniques or tools. Innovation can also simply be a methodology or old tool, which a professor has never before applied in his/her curriculum. For the professor him/herself this can be a very innovative leap forward. For a tech-savy individual the tool may be “old-school’. We consider these projects innovative as well.
Increasing effectiveness in education at the university could be as simple as using a medium or multimedia tool/presentation technique which “stirs” the students. The first time around you have the ‘wow-factor’ and they wake up and pay attention. You’ve made a first and lasting impression. I find the ‘wow-factor’ is often looked down or frowned upon because it is temporary and possibly shallow or a “quick fix”. However, if applying the wow factor helps you as a professor or teacher achieve your goal, i.e. wake up the students, increase engagement, involvement, if it works, I am in favor of it. Innovation should be applied where and when appropriate.
Increasing effectiveness in learning processes can also entail enriching and deepening learning by creating a worldwide network between students which crosses country boundaries, but more importantly, cultural boundaries. Facilitating discussions and sharing, communication exchanges in a ‘safe environment’, can increase reciprocal understanding of some social, cultural, and historic differences.
Shoulders of Giants
“If I saw further than other men it was because I stood on the shoulders of giants”
I believe strongly in the benefits of sharing knowledge. And it just so happens that current social media platforms give us opportunities to network and share in ways we have never been able to before. New licenses such as creative commons licenses and publishing opportunities in open access journals, also increase sharing opportunities and statistics show the learning and sharing is spread further and quicker when it is no longer tied up behind CC licenses.
With social media platforms your reach as an individual can be much farther, crossing boundaries, opening up the networks of the knowledge-elite to those on the ground implementing, or linking in students who can become inspired and experience leaps in their academic motivation and skills. Or simply. what richness to have that “just-in-time” knowledge at your fingertips. When you need it, pose a question and your network carries you forward towards the answer.
The fact is however, we are creatures of habit and research has shown that when we move online and create networks there, they usually reflect the networks we have offline. It takes a special skill, an extra effort, to make use of the full potential of social media platforms, and it is this awareness raising which the ICTO team would like to support and bring about within the walls of academia. Because after all, “if you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.”
Do you find yourself agreeing with most of what is written here? Or disagreeing? We want to hear from you! We want to undertake demand driven projects, projects which meet the needs of the professors/teachers, and those of today’s students. Let us know what you think and help us learn as well.