“I am preparing a project for an innovation approach to learning. I am a PhD student in the UK. We are very committed with education and teacher professional development as well as a PGCE program. What I do not know is if the team has to have a company already established for submitting? And the team for the moment is composed of two PhD students one in computer science and me in math education with the support of one faculty member. Would that be ok?”
This is the first query we have received, and it comes before the Open Education Challenge has launched. No and yes are the answers. No, you don’t have to have a established company to start submitting. And yes, it will be OK.
However, this potential applicant’s questions made me think more in depth about who the true innovators are in education.
It is perfectly OK to be a PhD in computer science or math education and to think of an innovative approach to learning. But it is far from being an obligation. There are many more profiles you can get inspiration from.
Lynda Weinman was teaching at an art centre when she discovered the Internet for the first time, and she realised that she had the exact skill set to teach people how to use it. She created Lynda.com. John Baker was a student in system design engineering when he designed a learning management system as a remedy to his own unfulfilled need for learning online. Nic Borg, co-founder of Edmodo, was working for a school district and in daily contact with teachers when he discovered their need to have a place where they could meet and discuss online.
And there is much more to learn from inspiring innovators. Miguel Gallardo, a Spanish illustrator, reinvented the approach to autism by creating a visual language. Antoinette Stevens, a community worker from Belhar in South Africa, created new participatory methods to address drink driving problems among young people in her community. Yaacov Hecht, a dyslexic educator, created a new type of school – the democratic school – to enable any child to have a successful learning experience. Alexandra Maratchi decided to leave a promising career as a young executive in a multinational to create her own company, Homuork, and transform the approach to corporate learning by creating training paths based on interactive videos.
So, dear Johana, innovation in education belongs to all those who share passion for education, have developed their own vision, addressed a real need and are ready to commit their passion for the well-being of others.
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