Importance of Innovation in Education 

As a new school year approaches, teachers, parents, and all the other supporters of students find themselves once again faced with the challenge of making the learning process engaging, and to retain student interest. The statistics on the latter point are especially troubling in the STEM fields in which we so badly need new talent.

This TEDTalk is a few years old, but Tony Wagner’s views on the importance of innovation remain relevant, “…not just the major innovations in STEM, but becoming a country that produces more better ideas to solve more different kinds of problems— ideas that generate jobs ideas that other people want and need solutions to.” In his research, he found that the teachers and mentors who had the most impact, across a host of reputable institutions and in both STEM and STEAM fields, were outliers. Outliers that put an emphasis on collaboration, real world problem based learning, intrinsic motivation, and the willingness to take risks.

At the Smartforce Student Summit, we’ve had the good fortune to see these learning styles actually play out. We’re watching the the rise of the apprenticeship, as it grows in popularity in the United States, giving more and more students the opportunity to learn hands on with with real-world problems. Programs like the FIRST Robotics competition encourage student collaboration and a safe place to take risks. And we’re constantly coming across stories of young innovators and entrepreneurs who are pursuing their goals because they know they can make the world better. Innovation in education happens every day, and it is on every one of us, teachers, mentors, and students alike, to continue to be willing to do so. Good luck with the coming school year, we can’t wait to see what the new year brings!

Categories: Smartforce

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2 replies

  1. I certainly enjoyed and concur with Tony Wagner’s observations and comments.

  2. Hi,

    I wanted you to know that I certainly enjoyed and concurred with Tony Wagner’s observations and comments. It gave credence and support to how I feel we should be modifying our U.S. apprenticeship and journeymanship programs and instituting “Master Craftsman Certification”. Please review the attached “TUC’s Facebook Apprenticeship-Journeyship…” document, as I would like to get your thoughts on this concept. We are attempting to move in this direction with our “Innovation in Education” at the Coe Center. I am attaching a copy of our Coe Center description for your information and consideration as well. It will also provide you with links to our facebook page, website and business plan, should you be interested. We would also like to get your thoughts on this endeavor as well.

    The Coe Center is a 650+ acre Industrial Park with a planned integrated Trade School located in central California. This property is located in Calaveras County near the town of Valley Springs. We are centrally located between Seattle, WA and San Diego, CA where we can get a truck overnight to or from either location or anywhere in-between to support “Just-in-time Manufacturing”. We are only 35 miles from a Deep-water Container Port (The Port of Stockton) with good access to the Pacific, the Pacific Rim and the world by sea.

    It has been our intent to establish an industrial park on these lands with an integrated trade school where the apprentices will be living right on campus, working full time at the manufacturers on site, learning their craft skill and taking their class instruction in the evenings. I Have taken the liberty to attach a more thorough description of our Coe Center for your information, consideration and distribution as you see fit. With your backgrounds at and the MFG Advocate, in education, manufacturing and in vocational training I am anxious to get your thoughts, ideas and suggestions about our Coe Center and how and MFG Advocate might be able to join with us and what affiliations might be developed, not only with the Coe Center itself, but also with our tenants, incubated businesses, graduated craftsmen, as well as with our students. Thank you.

    With warm regards and appreciation, Tom

    Thomas U. Coe, Founder

    Coe Center


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