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This is clearly an extension of the adaptive or differentiated approach to teaching and learning, thereby leading to customization of education Schuwer and Kusters, When we began to be more concerned about how students feel in the classroom, what bothers them, and how best to accommodate them to make their learning experiences superior and anxiety-free, we began to set aside the quality outcomes of the learning process.

Every cloud has a silver lining, fortunately. When market approach is applied to higher education, as it is in the current national and global competitive environment, the contest for enrollments increases and forces colleges to decrease attrition in all ways possible. This requires innovative approaches. The institutions that depend on enrollment for their revenue appear more willing to innovate than traditional, public universities that enjoy government support.

Clearly, private institutions are more adept at innovating than public ones. The market is a powerful factor, however, the changes it may bring have to be tackled cautiously. The hurdles to technology integration are described by Peggy Ertmer as external first-order and internal second-order barriers.

The first-order barriers are purely operational technological , while the second-order barriers are applicational pedagogical. The difference in approaches to applying technology to teaching and learning overcoming technological vs pedagogical barriers might explain why huge investments in ET have brought little if any effect to the quality of learning outcomes. Last but not least, innovations grow in a favorable environment, which is cultivated by an educational system that promotes innovation at all levels and produces creative, critical thinking, self-sufficient, life-long learners, problem solvers, and workers.

This system enjoys a stimulating research climate, encourages uplifting cultural attitudes toward education, and rallies massive societal support. The ultimate question is, what innovations do we really need, and what innovations might we not need?


The Finnish example can teach us a good lesson. Pasi Sahlberg identifies a set of reforms popular in many countries that Finland has not adopted, including: standardization of curriculum enforced by frequent external tests;. Instead, the Finns went their own, the Finnish Way, so profoundly described by Pasi Sahlberg in his bestselling book Sahlberg, So would it be innovative not to adopt some reforms? A big question now arises, what is then the American way to build innovative education? And what would be the global way? To create innovations, we need innovators, and many of them.

But though innovation is often a spark originated in the mind of a bright person, it needs an environment that can nourish the fire. This environment is formed and fed by educational institutions, societal culture, and advanced economy.

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Csikszentmihalyi underlines the importance of creating a stimulating macroenvironment, which integrates the social, cultural, and institutional context, and also microenvironment, the immediate setting in which a person works. Then, when the invention is created, it must fall into a fertile ground like a seed and be cultivated to grow and bring fruit. The audience is not only the educators but also students, parents, policy makers, and all other members of society who act either as implementers or consumers of the innovation.

Coherent systemic support is essential for growing innovations. Technology integration in education can be successful only when the human element is taken into consideration. This then integrates innovators, implementers, educational leadership, professional community and, certainly, the learners. When we try to innovate education, we often leave students out of the equation. Yet, we try everything we can to improve teaching delivery , while what we actually need is to improve learning. In education, nothing works if the students do not.

According to the famous Bulgarian scholar Georgi Lozanov , learning is a matter of attitude, not aptitude. This is where the greatest potential for improving education lies. To help develop new survival skills, effective communication and critical thinking skills, and nurture curious, creative, critical thinking, independent and self-directed entrepreneurs, we must disrupt the ways of our school system and the ways our teachers are prepared.

Teacher education and professional development are definitely one of the primary areas that call for innovative approaches: teachers must be taught to teach well Marcus, Students are much more likely to learn to solve real-world problems and collaborate productively with their peers, for example, if their learning activities are carefully designed to offer opportunities for them to do these things.

Teacher social status is one of the determining factors of the teacher quality. It reflects the quality of teaching and learning and also the level of pedagogic innovations. In our drive to enhance educational innovation, empowering school teachers and college instructors may be the most important task. What kind of people do we consider teachers?

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How do we elevate teachers in society? Research focusing on raising productivity and efficiency and improving the quality of learning has to increase in all critical areas of education. One crucial indicator of educational effectiveness is measuring the quality of learning that remains imperfect. Developing clear and effective measures of educational quality is an important venue for future innovative research. Societal support for innovative education and building up a new culture of educational preeminence both inside the education system and around it is paramount for its success.

Brunner suggests viewing education in a broader context of what society intends to accomplish through its educational investment in the young. The best way to achieve superior education is to shape a new educational culture. Innovation can be presented as a model in the context of its effects on the quality of teaching and learning within an educational environment, which is permeated by professional and societal cultures Figure 1. Therefore, innovations in education focus primarily on technology and technology applications.

Technocentrists want to see education more automated, more technology-enhanced, and more technology-controlled in the hope of making education more effective.

How to Use Technology in Education (21st century education)

While we realize there is no stopping the technological revolution, we educators must do all we can to preserve the primary mission of education, which is reflected in a humanistic approach that caters to the whole person wherein efforts are made to develop a free, independent, critical thinking, active, and effective thinker, doer, citizen, and worker. Along with developing our own innovations and creating a broad base for implementation, it might be useful to look outside the box.

As the world becomes more and more globalized, national education systems are shedding their uniqueness and gaining a more universal, homogeneous look e. The rich international educational palette offers unique solutions to many issues facing US schools and universities. What attractive innovative approaches exist in the world that could be applied to the US education system? In Finland, a new ecosystem for learning was created Niemi et al. Singapore, for one, has become one of the top-scoring countries on the PISA tests by cultivating strong school leadership, committing to ongoing professional development, and exploring innovative models, like its tech-infused Future Schools EDUTOPIA, b.

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In Shanghai, China, every low-performing school is assigned a team of master teachers and administrators to provide weekly guidance and mentorship on everything from lesson plans to school culture EDITOPIA, a. The list of international innovations to cogitate is, fortunately, extensive. Is this what our educational innovators could do something about? This attribution is helpful to students because it tells them that intelligence is under their control.

There are numerous exciting foreign examples for the US educators to learn from and innovate, implementing and adapting them to US schools. A right step in this direction is to integrate global education ideas into teacher preparation programs.

Integrating Computational Thinking

The principal focus of this specialization is on advanced, innovative, and effective international approaches, ideas, and strategies in teaching and learning that address the needs of the nation and create contemporary school environments to accommodate diverse student populations. Focusing on the universal need for continuous improvement in teaching and learning, this specialization provides students with a balance of philosophy and theory, practice and application through collaborative research projects and field-based activities. An even more remarkable consequence has been a change to their national cultures.

This provides a worthy example for other nations, including ours. To sum up, we need to create favorable conditions for growing our own innovations, while taking advantage of the best international theories and practices. Among many points for educational innovations time definitely deserves close attention. Time is a significant factor in education.

Attempts to save time on learning and raise its productivity are well known to each of us. To increase learning efficiency using so-called accelerated and intensive approaches is a promising path for innovation. These two approaches demonstrate the difference between evolutionary and revolutionary disruptive approaches. Innovation, as we know, can be called to life by social, political, or professional factors but the strongest is definitely economic. A flat world Friedman, means global competition, faster production cycles, and more to keep up with.

Time is speeding up. Requirements for workers are rapidly mounting in industry and business due to swiftly changing technologies and fierce international competition. If you ask students what worries them most, it is the cost of the next course and its value for their future job. Education has become more expensive and less affordable for many people. Therefore, educators need to find ways to make education more time and cost efficient Hjeltnes and Hansson, We can identify two possible roads to take. The first is to increase revenue, and this is what the majority of colleges and universities are doing.

Raising tuition, however, has its limits; government support is drying out. Cutting costs, on the other hand, may undermine some essential aspects of higher education. The second road is to increase learning productivity defined as the output learning outcomes measured in certain units per dollar or per time unit academic year, semester, month, week, day, or hour.

The former can be used to compute cost efficiency, while the latter will help to define time efficiency. Time efficiency and cost efficiency of education are evidently interrelated. The most obvious source of enhancing educational productivity is integration of ICT; however, there are other ways. Time is the most precious of commodities, especially for WALs.

Our own survey of National University students who take accelerated programs, which allow them to graduate sooner than in conventional programs, shows that time is paramount when selecting their learning program Serdyukov et al. When asked what is more important for them, the cost of the program or the time spent learning, 88 percent of surveyed WALs stated that time was more important, and they were willing to pay more for a shorter program of the same quality.

So accelerated programs are often more competitive than the conventional extended ones. Serdyukov and Serdyukova posit that time efficiency of the learning process is a decisive factor in assessing a program or a course.