What is innovation and why is it essential in education? Innovation influencer and entrepreneur Nick Skillicorn spoke to twenty-six of the world’s leading innovation experts to find out about their definitions of innovation. Themes of implementing new ideas, staying relevant and approaching situations with a constructive mindset were discussed by the experts, who collectively viewed innovation as a positive concept. I believe innovation is all about growth to ensure consistent improvement shapes the landscape of a school. Curiosity and asking questions is crucial to deepen your understanding of what innovation is relevant in your own context. Some of the questions which I’ve pondered as part of my role as the Director of Innovation at MLC include:
How do we prepare MLC students for the future of work?
What does an authentic learning program look like in 2022 and beyond?
How do we find partners to work with in both the education sector and within the
How does entrepreneurial thinking fit with innovative programs in schools?
Do tertiary institutions want to partner with schools? How can we make this work to
benefit MLC students?
Innovative thinkers will be highly sort after for jobs of the future, and it is crucial that we help prepare our students to think in this way. As a Director of Innovation, I see it as a key component of my role to ensure learning is a journey that is creative, hands on, inclusive and individualized. Whilst COVID-19 has brought many challenges, it has also opened our eyes to vast possibilities. Teachers’ tech skills have improved exponentially, but what has become even more important is connection and relationships.
Connecting our students with the tertiary sector, to the corporate world and to industry have been some of the valuable opportunities that we have created for the students at MLC. Our message is simple; as educators we don’t have to do it all ourselves. There are tertiary institutions, companies, startups, entrepreneurs and corporates willing to work with us to create opportunities for our students to grow and develop in readiness for the future of work and life beyond the school gates.
If we think about innovation as being something new, an example at MLC is our exploration into the introduction of the micro-credential. In order to stay relevant, we need to ensure our students are engaging with successful and dynamic experts outside their own school environment. This is where the idea to create the Innovation in Education Festival was born.
We wanted to develop a networking opportunity for educators, entrepreneurs and industry to work together and explore the future of education. Our inaugural festival in 2021 included opportunities to be involved with panel discussions, keynote speakers and interactive workshops to explore how we can best prepare our young people for the everchanging future of work. The purpose of the festival is for educators from across all sectors and schools around the country come together and learn from industry leaders, innovative educators and thought leaders. The goal is to explore how we as educators can continue to grow, inspire and empower our students.
As the Festival enters its second year in 2022, we have expanded to include two webinars and to offer an in-person event on both the East and West coasts of Australia. This year will see us introduce a student stream to facilitate student engagement and involvement. We also look forward to including a major focus on student advocacy and voice this year. In these ways, the Innovation in Education Festival supports the MLC vision, to be an international leader of holistic learning and teaching. The festival also aligns with the MLC mission, to mentor motivated learners to choose purposeful futures.
Innovators don’t just teach differently; they think differently. They read and explore ideas. Innovators can back up their ideas and initiatives with research and evidence. Innovative schools are not places where one person has the only answer. They are collective groups that share a vision, and it is these kinds of groups who move a school into a space of being innovative.
“Innovation is not reserved for the few; it is something we will all need to embrace if we are
to move forward” - George Couros
Director of Innovation
Methodist Ladies’ College, Claremont