Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Scaling Up Innovations

"Rather than start from the premise that the core goal of scaling up is expanding the use of an educational innovation, we consider that the core goal of scaling up, despite the name, is improving education through continuous progress toward a performance goal over time, using a working innovation to accomplish it."
This different take on "scaling up" is the work of Nora H. Sabelli and Christopher J. Harris in chapter 2 of the book Scaling Educational Innovations.

It makes me think about two different ideas. First, in our student voice project at Forest Hills Northern High School, we are attempting to improve education through the authentic inclusion of student voice. This is innovative work at least within the confines of the school improvement process in Michigan, and likely joins just a few similar projects across the U.S. as a whole. I like the idea of scaling up as continual improvement and progress, and frankly, it helps take immediate pressure off, as my brain is frequently going toward "how might we expand this project" before we've barely begun.

Second, it also makes me think of an idea offered during a recent reflective coaching conversation. As I was discussing how I was collecting a pile of my daily learning targets and agendas on big sticky chart paper so that we could reflect as a class on our progress, my coach wondered out loud about the value for students in making an actual visual scaffold toward the learning goal. Today, I decided to give it a try:

As you can see, I'm still searching for the right amount of wall space to make it happen. Nonetheless, bringing a visual into the room, and being totally transparent with students about our learning around an innovative project may be the educational innovation in itself.

It also has caused me to reflect on my learning targets and goal. I know I need to get better, and I believe I can get better. I can "scale up."

Join the conversation...
With this different definition of "scaling up" educational innovation, how might you be thinking differently? Are you scaling up and didn't know it?

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