The Scarsdale Center for Innovation
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it" - Alan Kay
Many organizations support internal research and development programs that encourage opportunities for growth and foster innovative practices. Scarsdale teachers have designed and implemented many innovative projects in recent years, but the district does not have a formal way to encourage and showcase innovative instructional projects. In addition, the District has been hosting conversations about system-wide innovation, asking questions like:
Nationally, most of the work being done in this area is sponsored by university research labs or private, for-profit institutions. The Scarsdale Center for Innovation will be the only innovation center to be hosted and supported by a K-12 school district. This Center would showcase the work of teachers who are interested in using leading edge technology to improve instructional practices and reimagine teaching and learning. The purpose of the Center is:
- What will schools look like in the future?
- What kinds of spaces do we need to support instruction and collaborative work in 5-10 years?
- How will technology transform curriculum, instruction, and assessment?
Topics explored could include:
- to re-imagine teaching and learning, develop new models of instruction, and explore the role of technology in transforming instruction
- to foster widespread change, beyond a single classroom or teacher
- to learn how other organizations foster innovative practices and possibly replicate their techniques and structures in Scarsdale
Based on successful models of university and corporate technology R&D programs, such as the MIT Media Lab and Apple Advanced Technology Group, the Center would provide opportunities for Scarsdale to continue its leadership role in demonstrating innovative instructional practices. Some examples of projects that would be sponsored by the Center could include:
- The changing format of content delivery (eBooks, Web, Infographics)
- The transformation of pedagogy and the benefits of collaborative group projects
- The use social learning networks for online learning and collaboration
- The re-design of school spaces to facilitate teaching and learning
- The promise of mobile learning devices for providing anytime, anywhere instruction
We expect that the work of the Center would involve teachers and students. Members of the community would serve in an advisory capacity. In addition, the Center would foster conversation among the faculty, sponsor field trips to corporate and university R&D centers, partner with university researchers, and collaborate with other school districts.
- Authoring of Web-based activities that incorporate streaming video and interactive technology.
- Site-based research studies that explore the most effective teaching practices
- Instructional software design and development
- The creation of structures that foster interdisciplinary learning experiences
- Innovative models of instructional practice that incorporate technology
- Creation of networks that support digital student and teacher portfolios
- Exploration of mobile computing devices, such as PDAs, laptops, and scientific probes.
- The creation of projects that allow students to explore authentic complex real-life problem based on the “New Humanities.”
Faculty were invited to attend a Center for Innovation "Kickoff Meeting." They learned about plans for the Center, and they had an opportunity to share their vision for the future of education. According to Assistant Superintendent Lynne Shain, "There was a remarkable sense of energy in the room."