Innovation Day: The Gallery & Reflections

Finally, I’ve got round to it!! The school’s Innovation Day I organised and facilitated was nearly a month ago now and I have finally collated some of the students’ creations in this post.  It was very much a team effort with over 15 staff giving up their time to help be a ‘guide from the side’ on the projects.  Basically this meant they only helped if the students asked for it, which by all accounts, they didn’t do much of!

Please check out the video clip above created by two Year 12 students, Oliver Klein and Oliver Cheal which will give you a small glimpse into the day itself. 

The day, as previously explained, was based on Google’s 20% time whereby students decide what to learn, how to learn and who to learn with for an entire school day.  Simply, the 80 students involved (aged 11-15) were captivated by the experience of controlling their own learning and creating their own projects for the day.  They worked solidly for 6 hours, cross pollinating across different projects, ages and abilities where students and the staff assisting were viewed as equals with students organising their own breaks, without being a slave to the industrial bells which signify the end of a learning unit.  All in all, an equally eye opening day for the both the students and staff involved.

A question I have since been asked is ‘Did any students display any disruptive behaviour during the day?’.  The honest answer is NO! Why? I think there were 2 major factors behind this:

1.  Students designed their own learning experience.  This meant they had autonomy over the project and their learning was authentic and closely connected to their interests

2.  We had a public ‘show and tell’ in the school gym at the end of the day with both peers and the Senior Leadership Team in attendance.  I think this gave the students a ‘we must make this brilliant’ attitude

The challenge now of course, is how do we make this type of learning an integral and sustainable part of school’s curriculum? Or as the New York based School of One school intriguingly puts it, how do we create the ‘mass customisation of student learning?’

Below are 4 pictures giving you a taster of just a few of the 30 creations made during Innovation Day:

Manga Artwork

Remote Control Car

Recyclable Eiffel Tower

Jubilee Cup Cakes

I guess Sir Ken Robinson got to the heart of the matter when he said human talent and creativity is incredibly diverse and unique and it is up to us, as educators, to nurture and nourish these individual passions.

For my previous posts on Innovation Day please check here and here

A worthwhile link here is to High Tech High and the Learning Futures joint creation of a Project Based Learning Guide to help any school or educator to introduce meaningful work into their classrooms.  I am not saying this is the sole answer to transforming the student learning experience but I think it could be, along with other authentic learning practices, a vital tool in engaging young people in their education.

For any more information about the organisation of ‘Innovation Day’ at Wilmslow High School please get in contact via a comment on this post, my email (matthewbebbington@hotmail.com) or Twitter (@BebbPEteach)

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