Innovation needs an investment of time

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The thing about innovation that I don’t think gets talked about enough is time. It’s kind of like the idea of  over night success. The sudden and surprising talent or success that captures attention is almost always the result of years of practice, trial and error, and failed starts (and some serendipity).

On the eve of officially launching #craftreconciliation in my board, there may be some who think that this moment happened quickly and easily. But that wouldn’t be true.

I began thinking about taking the learning beyond my classroom walls in 2007 when in became clear that the learning needed to go to where the students were: Facebook. In 2008, I set up a Facebook account for one class where I posted lessons and resources, and students submitted assignments and reached out for help. It was a great success, but Facebook created too big of a distraction in other classes, and it was blocked.

In 2010, I stumbled across Julie Lindsay and the Flat Classroom Project. I took her course in 2012 with Caroline Black, and I have written about that extensively. What this experience gave me was the world. It opened up my thinking about collaboration beyond that of teacher to teacher, teacher to students in one building. It showed me how possible it is to connect with people all over the world, to access expertise, and to learn together. Issues like dignity could authentically be expanded beyond personal to global!

But to pull off this kind of learning, I needed to learn how to use, and then, leverage technology. This learning curve was sharp. For the past two years, I have been learning how to use a variety of tools with my students. I have the same students every year, so we can grow together. And we have. We are all comfortable creating, sharing, editing, and collaborating on documents. We have developed the habits and skills for being productive online. We are blogging and creating wiki pages.

When Jaclyn Calder wondered about the prospect of running a #craftreconciliation project together, and I was ready.

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#craftreconciliation is a lot of things, including exemplifying innovation—and for me, this innovation took years to suddenly happen.





Filed under #craftreconciliation

2 responses to “Innovation needs an investment of time

  1. Mick Staruck

    I can attest to the hard work, commitment and perseverance Ms. Balen has demonstrated in order to get to where she is with her students. I witnessed the early struggles as she had to learn about the technology on her own, and then convince the students that it was worthwhile and effective to embrace this knowledge themselves. The fruits of her labour were evident when semester two started last week. Students walked into her class and seamlessly engaged in their learning with the use of technology. They are not resisting anymore, and the earlier struggles to convince them have all but dissipated. There is no way that someone could visit her room and understand what it took to take the students to this point. I applaud her for not giving up over the years, and being a model teacher and learner for her school.

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