Pedagogically sound, ambitious innovations

Have you heard of HundrED? It is a non-profit global company with a mission to help all young people to flourish by seeking and sharing inspiring innovations in K12 education. Every year they select 100 innovations through 3 criteria: values, innovations, and trust. Their goal is that by 2020 the world of education will be full of innovations that travel across the borders, from continent to continent.

In my opinion, this concept if innovation spreading is amazing. In the projects that I have been part of the problem seems to be always the same: where to find ideas on new ways of teaching, learning and doing work. Thus, all these kind of platforms to share ideas are a great source of inspiration. I certainly, will use these as a tool to inspire teachers in my projects.

This year was the first release of 100 innovations and it was on 4th of March in Helsinki, Finland. While listening to the presentation on these innovations I made notes of the most interesting ones. Now, I want no share some of my notes with you. All the innovations are described in detail in the HundrED webpage, in case, you want to know more about them. I will also make a direct link to the webpage from the headline to make the search even easier for you. Here we go:

Ideas that aims towards co-teaching:

Slimfit, Netherlands

  • Slimfit is a model for school development focusing on collaborative teaching. Every learner is partnered with a mentor who becomes responsible for their learning progress throughout the school. Children begin and end the day in their mentor groups to discuss and evaluate learning opportunities that day. Every 6 weeks coaching sessions are held to fine-tune the goals of the individual, monitor their learning and ensure their wellbeing. In Slimfit, the traditional classrooms are replaced with a new model that seeks to organize learners, utilize employees and use the school building in the most effective way possible to lead to a better and more exciting education at no extra cost.

Comprehensive co-teaching, Vantaa

  • Comprehensive co-teaching is a model in which two classes are taught together by two teachers. In this model, teachers brainstorm, plan, and carry out instruction together. It helps the teachers take advantage of their strengths and put student strengths into the spotlight. Peer support, trust, and shared teacherhood are crucial so that both teachers’ strengths and skillsets are used to their full potential. Through collaboration, ideas turn into good lessons and the responsibility for educating children, evaluating them, lesson planning and teaching lessons can be shared. Co-teaching at its best can promote the growth of students and student co-operation. Teacher, Kaisa Koponen says that “Co-teaching highlights the strengths of both teachers and students, and causes stress levels to plummet.”
Ideas that aims towards personalized learning:

Education cities, Israel

  • Education Cities believe that schools have a lot to learn from their cities, and cities have a lot to learn from their schools. The driving force behind the initiative is to develop the art of collaboration – in the classroom, at school, in the city, in the country, and around the world. The innovation is based on an idea of the Democratic School which sees the normal school as a box. In this box, students are evaluated between themselves making some students weak even though in real life they are all excellent in something. Thus, the idea is to open up the box-thinking in schools and make students the best versions of themselves without judging.

Liger Leadership academy, Cambodia

  • “Imagine you’re 13 and writing a book about the economy of your country, it gets printed and then thousands of people are reading it. The work is very real, compelling and motivating – everything we do here is for real.” – Jeffrey Holte, Director of Education, Liger Leadership Academy

Blueprints, California, USA

  • The MUSE School in California is challenging traditional assessment methods. The school uses the term inner sustainability which means that students have one-by-one discussion every year to talk about their passions in life. This discussion is documented as an action plan for the student to explore their passions while developing socially, emotionally and academically. The co-founder of MUSE school, Jeff King says, that teachers use student Blueprints as a guide and motivational tool for learning. Blueprints focus on not only academics but also on goal-setting, self-reflection, passion-based learning, self-efficacy, communication, and sustainability.

Big picture learning, USA

  • The Co-founder of Big Picture Learning, Elliot Washor says, that Big picture learning makes personalized education more manageable by breaking the students up into small groups of fifteen students, called an advisory. Each advisory is supported and leads by an advisor, a teacher that works closely with the group of students. They stay in the same advisory for four years and each student works closely with his or her advisor to personalize their learning. Internships are a crucial part of the method. The advisors arrange opportunities best suited to students, providing real-world learning alongside creating career plans.
Ideas on social innovations:

Student agents, Vantaa

  • In a nutshell, this idea is about students teaching teachers and other students. This innovation aims to support not only the work of teachers but also the development of students’ own skills. With this model, the technological skills of the school community develop, and students who are interested in technology will also be able to make full use of their skills.

A solution-focused mindset in a city, Lappeenranta

  • Lappeenranta municipality has made a strategic choice to train everyone towards a positive and solution-focused approach. In the Lappeenranta model, the education provider provides solution-focused training for staff and supervisors. The head of the Educational Department in the City of Lappeenranta, Mari Routti says, that both students and school staff face numerous small and more challenging problems in learning, social interactions, or teamwork, for example. The approach is strongly linked to interactive dialogue. It focuses on listening and understanding the parties involved on an equal footing while proceeding constructively in a respectful atmosphere. The central view of the approach is that the words we use matter and constantly shape reality.

Above I have listed the ideas that are, in my opinion, groundbreaking. Take a look at the HundrED webpage for more information. If you are interested in developing learning, teaching, working, leadership or learning environments, it is definitely worthy of your time.



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