Do you work at an innovative school?

I have a motto: “No good idea doesn’t already exist on Google.” You think you have a great idea? Don’t Google it. Someone already did it. I had this great idea for an article about why teens don’t use Twitter and thought it was earth-shattering. Three articles were already written about it. Just do it. Don’t Google. (Unless, of course you are not prepared for class and you need something quick on the density of atoms).

So, I did NOT Google this subject. Ok, I did, but was not overly impressed with what I found. Lists with things like “you have WiFi” and “one to one computers” seemed very 2003 to me.

So, not that this is the “end all” of school innovation lists, but why not, it’s just as good as posting another kitten video!

You work at an innovative school if…

1) Your school values and promotes unplanned collaboration and open communication.

2) You publicly celebrate risks that failed. Yes, I said celebrate. These are the most emotional and hilarious meetings I’ve ever been to.

3) The information architecture for your entire organization is consciously organized around the outcomes of your mission for learning.

4) You have strategic concepts, not strategic plans. Isn’t there an expression about what happens when you’re busy making plans? (Sorry accreditation chairs!)

5) You have democratic discussions around use of learning space to maximize learning. (Beanbags in the library don’t count).

6) You have stand up meetings. This concept has been around for a couple of years, but if you haven’t tried it, you haven’t lived. What it does for time, energy and dynamic is incredible.

7) You have a voluntary leadership team that is designed around ideas, not position. It includes members of the kitchen and maintenance staff as well as students.

8) Your web site is really cool and not “schoolee.” Check out the Webby Awards to see what I mean.

9) The people who manage your network and support your database are different people from the ones who integrate tech to support learning. Believe me, this is critical.

10) Your school has a garden. Imagine the innovative ideas that are shared when the Principal and a fourth grader are picking tomatoes together.

Coming up with your own list of things is sort of like being an Island in the Stream. You guessed it, time for some more ageless concert footage. (Although this one is a contemporary throwback on one of my favorite groups of all time. Hard to believe Barry is the only one left!

About Stephen Dexter, Jr.

Stephen is an international educator and administrator. A native of the United States, he lives with his wife Stephanie (a specialist in families in global transition) in Croatia along with his daughter and son. With a career that spans over twenty years in public, private and international schools, he writes when he can and is on a quest to discover if "text walking" is changing the human brain.
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