On Thursday evening, I had the pleasure of attending an event organised by BAFTA Cymru. It was during the speech by Jo Pearce, a digital guru that works for the top drama programmes at the BBC, that I became totally immersed into how a different field of work could help, support and inspire the world of education.
Prior to the lecture by Jo Pearce, I had been speaking at a Language, Literacy and Communication engagement event aimed at getting practitioners across schools in Wales to have their say. It is fair to comment that the curriculum was on my mind when Jo Pearce announced the aims of her lecture,
1) Why innovation is vital – In a fastly moving digital world, to stand still is to lose as the new and exciting opportunities present themselves.
Innovation, is a key aspect of our professional teaching standards. We are being encouraged to think outside the box, to allow us to make mistakes however from my perspective, any decisions made, would have to be built on evidence and impact. What research supports the risk? In the world of television and digital platforms, taking a calculated risk has led to many advancements and Jo shared the impact of Sherlock live that took place on social media.
To innovate, promote, embed and establish are key features of a school as a learning organisation. To innovate in education is considered a new concept but I would arbue that the best practitioners in classrooms constantly innovate to secure pupil engagement but through the new curriculum we are now being asked to achieve this on a greater scale. A change of mindset can be difficult when our present educational system is built on high stakes accountability however Jo explained that she had trialled filming dramas specifically for phones. The success of the project couldn’t be measured in audience numbers but lessons learnt through being innovative.
2) Why change is a big positive – There is so much change in education in Wales, it almost feels that a new initiative is constantly around the corner. Some of the biggest changes have already taken place. The new ALN bill places the individual at the heart of all plans to help and support them to succeed. Nobody I have met has ever disagreed with this principle. Our new professional standards means that we are now entitled to professional development, again despite financial worries, nobody I have met has disagreed with this. From these two examples, we could argue that, change is good, a phrase used by Jo.
Two quotes that I wrote resonate fully with this,
‘Never worry about change, embrace it!’
Such a simple sentence but so powerful. I have written an article about change management yet this sentence made me question why am I worried about change? If it is for the good of every pupil and the development of staff then surely change is good?
The second quote is just as inspiring,
‘Believe in the future without justifying the here and now’
Surely as teachers we believe in the future, we spend everyday of our lives building the future, creating medics, plumbers, academics, mechanics etc Each career I have listed has changed over the last 5 years, surely we have to adapt the experiences, knowledge and skills we provide our pupils if they are to find future careers?
3) Why innovation can only happen by belivers – you must embrace change, accept innovation and believe that what you are doing will make a difference. In education, making a difference means providing life opportunities to pupils in our care. They have one chance to learn in school, then as believers in providing every child with the best opportunities, we must make every second count. Let us make education relevant to every single child, let us embrace change, let us innovate in order to enrich the lives of every pupil in our care.
4) why innovation is vital for production – the digital world is constantly changing. It is always in a state of flux as new and innovative ideas change the direction of travel.
Jo gave examples of companies that didn’t embrace change,
Blockbuster was offered a deal by netflix but they refused as they didn’t understand the business model. The last Blockbuster video rental shop was closed in Australia this week.
Jo also mentioned Nokia, the number one innovator of phones but chose not to embrace change with the beginnings of touch screen technology. Strangely, Apple took a different view. Which became the market leader?
In schools we have to innovate to make sure that what we teach is relevant in order to provide pupils with opportunities to succeed.
One of the most powerful messages from Jo again resonated with the new curriculum, the importance of thinking creatively to solve problems. For too long in education, we have forgotten the importance of being and thinking creatively. We discuss critical thinking skills but I would argue that being creative allows you to discover solutions and provides a way forward.
In Wales the four purposes aim to ensure that we have ethically informed citizens, healthy and confident individuals, ambitious learners and enterprising and creative contributors. These are the foundation stones of our success.
I know I haven’t managed to describe in words the inspiration that I felt on hearing @jopearce_wales speak but hopefully some of her words that I have captured will inspire others to think how to embrace change, to become innovative and to be creative when searching for a solution.
The last think to write is a big diolch to @jopearce_wales and @BaftaCymru for an inspirational evening that finished with a recital by a new national orchestra of Wales,
‘The National Video Game Orchestra of wales’,
An innovative orchestra that through creativity are trying to make a difference and show how musical compositions are an integral feature of video games.