Innovation in Education: What Does It Mean, and What Does It Look Like?

define innovation in education

Innovation. Innovation is a term that’s so overused. Everybody these days wants to invent, promises innovation, and encourages others to do the same. It’s a word that is overused, but it makes sense. It is a single word that captures everything exciting about any industry. This is a goal to strive for as it signifies that you are unique, that your ideas are fresh, and that your work is almost magical.

We use the term often in our team, and we do so proudly! Innovation is essential in education. We want students to love learning. We can be innovative and engage students in new ways. That’s quite amazing.

Two questions were asked of educators and teachers to find out: What do you think innovation in education means to you? What is the most innovative thing that you’ve seen a teacher do in the classroom? Below are some of our favorite responses. Continue reading to be inspired.

What does innovation in education look like to you?

“Innovation in education is doing the best for all students. Flexibility is essential for teachers, curriculum, and lessons. Our students must be able to think for themselves and ask questions. We must spark their curiosity and keep them engaged. Innovation is about change. We have to realize that students require more than just the skills required to pass state assessments every spring. “We have to give them the tools that will help them be productive in their future career.” Kimberly

To me, innovation means finding a way to reach every student. Flexibility and willingness to adapt to what and how you teach are key. Our students must be excited about learning and engaged. We must provide a safe environment for students to make mistakes, take chances, and ask questions. – Ashley

“Innovation in education means always looking for knowledge that will support innovative ideas in instructional techniques that reach students in more effective, exciting ways.” – Mischelle

“Innovation in education means challenging the status quo, innovating in ways that support student success and our own. It may take place in a small or large scale, but it supports all students.” – Whitney

“Innovation in education is allowing imagination and not being afraid to try new things. These new ideas may fail sometimes, but it’s amazing when they succeed. Innovation would be nothing without the right attitude. The art of education would not have many great achievements. – Valerie

“Innovation is about staying informed about the latest trends and technology in education. Because there is a lot of interest in STEM-related activities in education, I included STEM bins in my classroom. Innovation is also about being creative with what resources you have. Sometimes, your district or building might not have everything you need for a lesson. You need to be creative and think quickly about how you can make it work.” – Nadia

What is the most creative thing you’ve seen a teacher do in the classroom?

“My team teacher used guest teacher certificates to reward us. The kids had to give the class whatever they wanted for about 10-15 minutes. It was incredible to see them stand up and share their passions with their peers!” – Marlene

My science and math units were set up in a college-like manner for third graders. The students begin by choosing a major. At the end of each unit, they work together to make connections between each lesson and the real world and each job. My students love being treated as adults and exploring future possibilities.” – Jade

“We have had students create graphic novels to help with historical information recall.” – Misty

“My second graders grade themselves using their technology devices.” They receive immediate feedback and take time to understand why they are wrong.” – Jenifer

“The most innovative thing that I have done in my classroom was to use a TAP (Teacher Advancement Program), a rubric in my entire lesson, where there are 19 indicators. The indicators include standards and objectives, materials and activities, feedbacking and questioning, and other indicators. These indicators show that I can move students every day if the TAP rubric has been followed daily. Students’ academic growth is what moves. Nothing is more satisfying for a teacher than seeing his or her students’ academic growth, improvement, or increase. This is the beauty of TAP.