Innovation, a word describing a new idea, device or process that is an original, something to bring society up to another level. However, when discussing innovation and education I do not think it has to be in terms of something new, something never been used or discussed, because when it comes to innovation in education I am a firm believer in not “recreating the wheel”.

What I mean by that, is that societies have been educating themselves and their fellow men and women for centuries- that is a ton of data to draw from, and in the work I do, when you have centuries worth of data you might want to extrapolate some of the points made before you try and invent what you think is an entirely different approach.  By using the idea behind genetic algorithms, or Darwin’s theory of natural selection, we could try and find the best combination of education methods to create or innovate the superhuman of education history, through centuries of education, across hundreds of societies and cultures.

The United States is supposed to be a “superpower” of a nation, yet we are significantly lagging behind many other countries when it comes to education.  This could be attributed to many factors, but I feel it also has to do with our size and our age as a nation.  Although there are other countries that have centuries of education to fall back on, years of trial and error, we are a newer nation that feels that we have to do everything in a way that is “innovative” and different from other countries.  This is where I feel our problem lies.

By studying other cultures, currently and historically, I think we could conceptualize a  way to enlighten and transform our current system so that our children could be ranked with the rest of the world.  Taking the time to reimagine education versus invent.

The reason for this entry is that I, along with Amber Boll, instruct a workshop once a week to help novices in mapping to become more familiar and comfortable with some of the software available to them at CURVE or on the web.  After a few workshops we quickly realized that presenting a prezi on the Interact Wall was not the best approach for the content we were trying to relay. We tweaked it, moved stations and allowed the workshop to happen more organically and in turn those who attended seemed to come away more satisfied with their experience.

The Interactwall, although an amazing innovation, does not always lend itself to being interactive with the audience, you have to use trial and error to determine what presentations and experiences would benefit from the wall and which might be hindered by it.  We were not innovative with our shift in presentation stations, but we allowed our knowledge of the space and the knowledge we gained through previous workshops to inform where in the space would be best and the format that would educate most effectively.

Nicole Ryerson