Facebook
Edutopia on Facebook
Twitter
Edutopia on Twitter
Google+
Edutopia on Google+
Pinterest
Edutopia on Pinterest Follow Me on Pinterest
WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
Subscribe to RSS

Let Students Innovate

Dominick Recckio

I am a student at Ithaca College in New York.

Today's high school students are creative and have a strong aptitude for technology. And many of us are interested in making our high school experience better, not just for ourselves, but for our peers as well. Studying and a strong work ethic will always help to take students to the next level, and are certainly perfectly viable options to create one's own path to success. But many of us are available and interested in helping our schools innovate through new technologies.

Barriers to Student Innovation

I am one of the lucky few -- I'm involved in student government, and therefore I have the means to get my ideas out to the administration in my school. But what about the majority of students who feel like they have no say in the environment in which they learn? Every day there are students who get scared away from bringing ideas forward. I know, because I used to be one myself. These students feel limited in getting their ideas out, because the world right above them is less focused on getting them prepared for college and the real world (where innovation is crucial), and more focused on the money and financial implications of everything that goes on in a school. And yes, while money is important, even more so is creating a great environment for students to learn material and life skills.

Creating a Path to Student Innovation

Students are often looked down on by teachers, and while it is very important that students respect their teachers, there should be flexibility for students to suggest things that may help the faculty, and in turn, the students. It shouldn't be taboo for a student to request a teacher do something a little differently. While teachers are trained professionals, the students are ultimately the product of the teachers and school at which they learn. Students always have things to say that follow along the lines of, "I wish Mr.____ did this differently," or "If we used this technology in this class, we would definitely do better!" The gap between the ideas and their proper presentation needs to be bridged.

Students often know more about upcoming technology than the older generations, and are willing to put their skills to work. I have two examples from my school that have made a difference.

1) Use Google Docs

Last year we began to use Google Docs for our newspaper. What we did was to upload each article into a bank where all of the student writers and editors could chat, as well as edit in real time. It was a huge improvement, and once the newspaper started to use Google Docs, teachers and other students realized what a great tool it could be and started using it themselves.

2) Create a Social Media Team

We also recently added a social media team to our emerging media group (completely initiated and executed by students), and the reviews have all been positive. The team gets the word out to a captive audience about school events and announcements. Students need to be given an atmosphere where they feel that things like this can have a positive impact, and are needed for success.

Students that I have talked to, both in my community and from around the US, believe that schools need to seriously encourage students to help get their ideas out, and to help to innovate. The possibilities today in technology are endless, and schools can hit two birds with one stone by allowing students to help innovate. By listening to student ideas, thoughts and concerns, the school is not only positively engaging its students, but at the same time making the school a better, more stable and caring learning environment.

Dominick Recckio

I am a student at Ithaca College in New York.
Related Tags:

Comments (3)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Dustin Haisler's picture
Dustin Haisler
Innovator interested in using technology to create social change.

Dominick, great post! I agree that it's difficult for students to share and gain visibility with their ideas in education. Another potential option I've been researching is the use of open innovation within schools. We have a free product at Spigit called Icon (http://icon.spigit.com) that allows students and teachers (with a common e-mail domain) to identify challenges and propose solutions together. I'd be happy to chat with you more if you're interested.

Stephanie L.'s picture
Stephanie L.
Freshmen ELA, Fruita, Colorado

Dominick,
Thank you for taking the time to post to a blog about your views of students and education. I am a young teacher myself and I have found that for the most part the younger the teacher is the more comfortbale they are with education. I am part of the original Nintendo generation, that is, I remember my grandmother buying me the very first Nintendo to ever come out (and yes, I will admit that it wans't the first type of electronic gaming system but it does mark a change in our educational history that created a somewhat symbiotic relationship between self and technology). I am lucky enough to feel comfortable in all different levels of technology.
Your post about student interaction in education is an extremely important one. I would love for a way to get my students involved in the reform efforts of education within the area that I teach. We also need more students at the state and national levels who are willing to help their instructors improve their education.
Thank you for your time.

Stephanie L.'s picture
Stephanie L.
Freshmen ELA, Fruita, Colorado

Dominick,
Thank you for taking the time to post to a blog about your views of students and education. I am a young teacher myself and I have found that for the most part the younger the teacher is the more comfortbale they are with education. I am part of the original Nintendo generation, that is, I remember my grandmother buying me the very first Nintendo to ever come out (and yes, I will admit that it wans't the first type of electronic gaming system but it does mark a change in our educational history that created a somewhat symbiotic relationship between self and technology). I am lucky enough to feel comfortable in all different levels of technology.
Your post about student interaction in education is an extremely important one. I would love for a way to get my students involved in the reform efforts of education within the area that I teach. We also need more students at the state and national levels who are willing to help their instructors improve their education.
Thank you for your time.

blog Fixing Detached Schools Via Tech

Last comment 2 hours 21 min ago in Technology Integration

blog School-Wide Twitter Chats

Last comment 1 day 42 min ago in Social Media

blog STEM Is Jambalaya

Last comment 2 hours 40 sec ago in STEM

blog Myth-Busting Differentiated Instruction: 3 Myths and 3 Truths

Last comment 1 hour 11 min ago in Differentiated Instruction

blog Coding for Kindergarteners

Last comment 1 day 15 hours ago in Education Trends

Sign in and Join the Discussion! Not a member? Register to join the discussion.