Introduction to theme 2: What effective models do we have for bringing about innovation in schools and colleges?
Diana Laurillard

Report by Sarah Codrington

Drivers (things you can’t ignore)

To effect change in the system we have to recognise what the drivers in the current system are to which teachers and leaders are currently responding. They will make their own choices about which drivers they prioritise in their work, but we have to be aware of how these affect what they do. If they are most focused on learner needs, and cannot see how ICT helps their learners, then they will pay it no attention. In that sense, we must address each of the key drivers, to make sure they are acting as drivers for ICT as well.

For the drivers listed here, an innovation strategy would be designed as follows:

Enablers: things you can’t do without

Teachers and leaders will respond to drivers, and develop their objectives accordingly, but they have to be supported in the change that follows. The enablers are those aspects of their work without which they will not achieve those objectives – the support that has to be in place.

Discussion: Roger Porkess suggested that end user demands can be important; for instance universities are big users of maths. Diana said that the needs of learners are often bottom of the priorities list. Hugh Burkhardt said that curriculum requirements may distort the list of drivers and enablers.

Models for innovation

Management of strategy: many find this hard. Career reward can be an incentive.
Ways need to be found of enabling customers of a new curriculum to feel that they have ownership of it. Funding for adoption by schools and colleges is needed as well as for the production of resources.
In general the Government takes a top-down approach whereas we are bottom-up.

Discussion: Hugh Burkhardt reported that American foundations often provide funding for adoption. Peter Campbell said that the adoption process may take several years, especially in schools with a high turnover of staff. Angela Hall said that teachers need to be engaged with the design and process of innovation.

Engaging teachers in innovation

Learning design toolkit: we need to work to teachers’ current concerns. There should be an analysis of user needs, and of the gap between where we are now and where we want to be. A community of practice for innovation – we all need to be learners all the time.
School leadership needs to be engaged, and an analysis of their requirements is needed – this is the most important of all. They may not know very much about what is being suggested. 

Engaging teachers in design: an iterative process

The demands of interdisciplinary research and innovation are generated as a continual dialogue of challenge and counter-challenge, leading to solutions and further design ideas.

Figure 1

Figure 1: illustrating the iterative dialogue that must take place between teacher/practitioners and the resource developers, to ensure that designs are optimised for effective practice.