Innovation in Teaching

What Is “Innovative & Creative?”

As we head into Module Three of our PME 811 course, I continue to focus on my burning question of:

How do we keep our teaching innovative and creative? How do stay relevant and create programming that follows curriculum, teaches students the necessary skills and engages them with the material?

This week, we developed our working definitions of innovation, creativity, teaching and learning, and this was my (somewhat) final set of definitions:


The art of coming together to make a pre-existing concept, product, process or service better. It is differentiated from “invention” in the sense that invention is the creation of a product or process for the first time.


Is an iterative process that finds associations between different fields of knowledge. Creativity is making something new; it is not limited to the arts sector and, while less frequent and somewhat more difficult, can be witnessed in structured domains as well.


A process to which knowledge or experience is shared between individuals to learn or understand something new. The process of teaching is not limited to the exchange between individuals, but can also include our ability to teach ourselves through trial and error or practice. Teaching is not limited to a formal classroom setting but also happens organically and informally.


Learning is an active process by which we obtain new, or advance existing, experiences, skills, and knowledge. It can challenge our beliefs, makes us reassess our previous knowledge and/or introduces us to something completely new.

I say “somewhat” as I feel like these definitions will continue to change and develop throughout the course, throughout my experiences and from the engagement and collaboration of my peers. Even now as I’ve submitted my final definitions for the project, I started reading through more of my peers comments and posts and started thinking I’d already like to change them.

Specifically, in my burning question, I have addressed two of these words: innovative and creative. And today I find myself wondering – who defines what would be considered innovative and creative in my class?

A decade ago, implementing the use of technology in a classroom would have been innovative and creative. Now, it is just expected. Is the definition of innovative and creative constantly changing with the times? I think I know the answer is yes, but as an educator, how do we KNOW that our techniques are innovative and creative?

In our reading this week “TED talks are lying to you” by Thomas Frank, I found it most interesting when he said that “innovation, that is, exists only when the correctly credentialed hive mind agrees that it does.” So, I also question if the “top down” hierarchy would appreciate the innovative and creative mind or are we only as innovative and creative as the powers to be will allow us to be? Just food for thought.

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