The Future Belongs to Innovation!

OBAMA: “One thing I never want to see happen is schools that are just teaching the test because then you’re not learning about the world, you’re not learning about different cultures, you’re not learning about science, you’re not learning about math.  All you’re learning about is how to fill out a little bubble on an exam and little tricks that you need to do in order to take a test and that’s not going to make education interesting.  And young people do well in stuff that they’re interested in.  They’re not going to do as well if it’s boring.”

Ohhhh that is music to my delicate ears.  I am so sick and tired of hearing about “The Test!”  We must prepare our children for the world ahead of them and guess what…the future is not determine by bubbled-in choices.  I must give our President kudos.  My mind turns back to the evening of January 25, 2011 when Obama provided us with the year’s first State of the Union Address.  He used the word innovation or a derivative of it 10 times! 

Innovation and creativity are variables many schools across the nation do not enter into the learning equation.  It is time to stop having the conversation about how to become a 21st Century school, teacher, and student.  We are deep into 21C, now we need to figure out how to sustain and move forward.  Our children’s future depends on it.

How many of you have heard of ARPA-ED?  The President’s 2012 budget proposes to create an Advanced Research Projects Agency for Education (ARPA-ED).

ARPA-ED will fund projects run by industry, universities, or other innovative organizations. Projects will be selected based on their potential to transform teaching and learning in ways similar to how the Internet, GPS, and robotics have transformed commerce, travel, warfare, and the way we live our daily lives.  Ok, close your mouth.  Sound interesting?  Let’s delve deeper.

Below are excerpts from the role of ARPA-ED: Winning the Education Future.  Feel free to hum after each one of these statements:

  • Closing the gap between the potential of learning science and technology to improve student performance and its current real-world impact can transform American education.
  • To address the under-investment in learning technology R&D, the President’s FY2012 budget proposes to invest $90 million to create an Advanced Research Projects Agency for Education (ARPA-ED).
  • ARPA-ED will complement and build upon innovative work being done across the public and private sectors, and could catalyze development of:
    • Digital tutors as effective as personal tutors.
    • Courses that improve the more students use them (virtual learning labs)
    • Educational software as compelling as the best videogame.
  • Addtionally, look at these projected outcomes:
    • The Rethinking Curricula
    • Providing Teachers Powerful Tools (i.e.handheld devices).  Aaaahh the growth of mobile.
    • Leveraging Collaboration (a reference is made to the communities built in games like World of Warcraft).
    • Targeting Job Training.  Thank you God!  Take a look at the “Top 60 jobs That Will Rock the Future” website and tell me we don’t need to be preparing yesterday! 

I love the conclusion to the report.  This is what we NEVER talk about when we urge teachers and schools to infuse more educational technology into the classroom.  Our children are bored straight.  Read this quote by author of 2011: A Space Odyssey, Arthur C. Clarke: “If children have interest, then education happens.”  So what happens if they aren’t interested?  I’m just asking.


Leading the world in educational technology provides varied, important, and expanding benefits. It can help position the United States to compete in a 21st century economy, with students who graduate ready to fill – and create – the jobs of the future. Those same students, graduating ready for the workforce, will be better positioned to become innovators, bringing higher quality products to the marketplace which will, in turn, better educate the next generation of students. Additionally, educational technology can offer an expanding market for American exports, as countries around the world seek ways to educate their population in affordable ways. ARPA-ED is thus a key component of the country’s opportunity to out- innovate and out-educate the world, so that America can win the future.

Read the entire document here.

I am excited about the future.  It is time to stop talking about all that is wrong with education and start getting focused and excited about what is to come.  I have already started preparing my son.  Everyday, before he leaves to go to school I look deep into his beautiful brown eyes and say, “Today, baby, you are going to (and then he chimes in) out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world!  Words courtesy of our president have now become our mantra.  He will be ready and I pray the rest of our children will be too.


Innovatively Yours,

The Cre8tiv Mind


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