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Preparing kids to change the rules

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

U.S. children are less creative than they were 30 years ago. Many people attribute this decline in inventiveness to over-scheduling of organized activities and emphasis on high-stakes testing and rote learning. These factors may be part of the reason children are unimaginative, but minimal exposure to “failure” and limited life experiences also keep U.S. kids from reaching their full creative potential.

To create, a person must be comfortable “failing” because “trial and error” is part of the innovative process. Many U.S. children are uncomfortable with “failure” because they have little exposure to it. In many cases, well-intentioned parents shield their kids from life’s tough lessons, because it is easier to solve problems for their children than to spend the time and energy necessary to help their children learn how to solve problems on their own.

Among other things, parents negotiate with coaches to get their children places on the best teams rather than encouraging their kids to work hard and talk with the coaches themselves. Parents talk with principals to negotiate grades rather than forcing their children to take responsibility for their performance. Too frequently, parents complain about “bullying” when another kid says something unkind on the playground rather than teaching their children how to overcome negativity.

As a result, the first thing parents need to do is set expectations and let their children learn by doing. This requires letting go and being available to coach as their children work to recover from life’s setbacks. Through this process children learn that there are consequences to actions, “failure” is a part of life, and success requires perseverance. Specifically, when things don’t work perfectly the first time, one can make adjustments until “failure” becomes “success”.

Another problem is parents are so worried about safety, that kids are isolated. This means children often lack the exposure required to come up with innovative solutions to a problem. Parents can easily address this issue by encouraging their children to take on activities outside of their peer group. Simple undertakings like participating in discussions with adults, welcoming a foreign exchange student, attending a history lecture, teaching a class, volunteering at the hospital, or working on a special project for a politician, all help broaden exposure.

Once children know how to recover from “failure” and have a broad understanding of how the world works, they should have the skills and the self-confidence to innovate.

The Right Classroom Design Fosters Innovation [#Infographic]

Education Tech Magazine – Staff Writer

“When it comes to 21st century learning, the traditional classroom is adapting along with the students. Students at Yorkville Community School District 115 in suburban Chicago are able to work pretty much anywhere in their school, including the hallways and staircases, EdTech reports. These creative spaces make it easy for students to connect, collaborate and think outside the box. While not every school can remodel its entire learning space, one small tool that can innovate the classroom is the standing desk.”(more)

Degree Programs for Emerging Entrepreneurs in the Education Innovation Ecosystem

Forbes – Barbara Kurshan

“Teaching some of the most underserved students in New Orleans, Hilah Barbot, the Director for Blended Learning for the KIPP New Orleans Schools, noticed that her students’ low writing proficiency was one of the greatest barriers to college entry. Inspired by education technology tools available on the market, Hilah and her co-worker Adam Kohler had an idea about how to enhance their writing capabilities using adaptive, personalized learning. There are thousands of innovative thinkers like Hilah and Adam who have ideas about how to address some of the most pressing issues in education. Their stories illustrate the need for learning opportunities for new and potential education entrepreneurs as part of the education innovation ecosystem, which I have written about in past blogs. In researching available opportunities for her to grow her idea into a venture, Hilah came across a program that blended her interests in education, business and entrepreneurship that didn’t require her to leave her classroom- the M.S.Ed. in Education Entrepreneurship program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education (“Penn GSE”)- and decided to enroll.”(more)

Beijing promotes low-paid college grads to startup CEOs

REUTERS- PETE SWEENEY

“That attitude finds an echo in high places; recent graduates who start their own businesses are being hailed in state media as a new creative class that will build China’s Silicon Valley.”Creatives show the vitality of entrepreneurship and innovation among the people, and such creativity will serve as a lasting engine of China’s economic growth,” Premier Li Keqiang said in January. “I will stoke the fire of innovation with more wood.””(more)

Innovation is a spirit

BAIDU WENKU – VioletYolanda

“Innovation is a spirit. Leaders can change the spirit of a country and this can be done especially in China……The western world is phasing out innovation and moving to services. Countries cannot survive on services unless they are rich in natural resources. And countries that sell natural resources often become dependent on it.”(more)