Learning Innovation Lab: LIL Investigations from the Classroom
The Innovative Learning program was designed to create a learning environment in which teachers, school administrators, and others could tinker with new ideas and test their effectiveness. To allow for maximum personal growth, we create a safe environment in which we celebrate the journey to success as both the path to finding effective solutions and promising practices but also as documentation of the growth each Innovation Fellow along the way. This site, the Learning Innovation Lab, shares over 150 Innovation Fellows investigations. We are in the process of making the work open to the public. You can find those project "ready for prime time" under the link Innovators and Big Questions.
When we began, we chose these areas as the foundation for our work to re-imagine both the classroom and learning opportunities:
Engagement & Motivation: How can we leverage the unique affordances of today's technology to engage and motivate students?
Universal Design for Learning - UDL Can we design lessons so that every child has access to information and can participate fully regardless of learning style? How can technology support this?
Project and Problem Based Learning: What is the evolution of thought and practice for a new teacher when project-based learning/problem-based learning and technology come together?
iPads in the TK Classroom: If iPads are seamlessly immersed in the kindergarten curriculum, how will teaching and learning change? What are the unforeseen benefits?
These are some of the driving questions that inspired the creator, Dr. Pamela Redmond, and her dedicated faculty when developing this innovation program.
Click INNOVATORS & BIG QUESTIONS to see more.
Who are Innovation Fellows?
The goal of the innovation fellows program is to explore ways teachers and schools can make learning more accessible for all students by creating learning opportunities that, by the nature of their design, create multiple pathways to engage students. Through the generosity of NapaLearns, a local non-profit organization, Napa county teachers may obtain their Master's degree in Educational Technology or Innovative Learning from Touro University CA through a substantial grant. NapaLearns provides direct tuition remission in return for the fellow "giving back" via professional development for other teachers at their school, district or a county-wide event.
The program asks teachers/administrators to consider questions such as, what is it that my students need to know? What are their learning needs? How can I best help them to acquire knowledge in a way that they will remember the content? How can I make sure that there's a role for every student in my classroom so that they can contribute to the learning? In essence, universal design for learning, a major foundation of the program, is not just for special education students - it's for everyone! Similarly, as ubiquitous access to information and the affordances technologies and digital media bring more tools and resources to the classroom, we demand teachers focus on learning, not the technology. The TPACK framework is used as a guide when deciding how and when we use technology for learning and mastery of content.
Master's candidates (classroom teachers) are encouraged to take risks, embrace play, conduct ongoing action research, and use their data to inform planning for next steps in instruction. Any type of communication tool is allowed and encouraged to be used to communicate and represent knowledge and understanding. This allows for the study of transliteracy - e.g. how differing communication tools can convey ideas for understanding.
Pedagogy Shmedagogy, What's That All About?
Lisa Gottfried, a 2016 Innovation Fellow and New Tech High School teacher, blogged about her experience in the program. She reflects on both the function and work of teacher and the art and science of teaching, education and methodology. One program expectation, that asked her to examine her practice through a lens of equity and innovation, drove her thinking about lesson design to evolve. Read more...
What's Driving Change in Classrooms Right Now?
Cohort 16 Innovation Fellows completed their capstone exhibits in July 2019. Math teachers from all levels composed about half of the cohort membership and we had deep discussions regarding closing math literacy gaps. One fellow investigated how music can improve learning a second language; another explored how to bring parents, community partners and school to help kindergartners improve literacy skills so they don't fall behind. Lively conversations ensued among the group with regard to improving student learning outcomes though creative methods and research informed practices.
Common themes resonated among the Innovation Fellows as they developed their project designs and implemented action research cycles. These includes nurturing student growth through:
Below are just two examples from our recent capstone presentations. Each is 5 minutes.
The Challenge of Leading Schools to Become Ready for 21st Century Learning
After years of pondering how to support schools to address the needs of a future workforce, we've decided to launch the Leading Innovation Lab in 2020. To garner the wisdom of our colleagues, teachers, principals and other administrators along with engaged business partners, parents, and higher education professionals, we are launching a research study to collect information as to what is needed to develop future-ready leaders.
Read our first blog on the topic at leadinginnovationlab.com our new partner site.
The Innovative Learning Fellows program is housed at Touro University California's Graduate School of Education. Through the generous support of NapaLearns, over 150 fellows from Napa County alone are re-imagining their classrooms to prepare future-ready students. Learn more about this unique School District-University-Community Partnership under ABOUT US.