How innovative is an education project?

In a recent article, the NY Times told the story of technology giants that have begun remaking the very nature of schooling on a vast scale. DreamBox Learning – spondored by Netflix –  developed a math-teaching program that use artificial intelligence to adapt math lessons to students. The math program worked a bit like the software Netflix used to customize its video recommendations. At Summit Public Schools – sponsored by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg – Summit’s platform came to show students every lesson they will need to complete for the year and they may tackle lessons in any order working at their own pace.

Innovation in education is often confusing and questions quickly arise: Are we fascinated by the power of data or by the children capacity to learn on their own? Are we impressed by the absence of teachers or by the redefinition of their role? And above all, is it really new and does it really work?

There are no answers yet but we all acknowledge the importance of designing innovative education projects without knowing always how to do it.

I will suggest 10 criteria that could characterize an education project.



1- Innovative learning experience

An education project should foster student’s ability to learn how to learn and develop as a human being.

2- Participatory Method

An education project should recognize the unique capacity of children to engage with essential problems in their community and lead the change by bringing new solutions.

3- Sustainable impact

An education project must have a long-lasting effect in the school enabling the staff to take full ownership of the project, integrate it into the school’s global project and improve it constantly.

4- Creativity 

Educative projects should enhance students’ creativity, make them think differently, unveiling their talents and helping each of them to take the best of them.

5 – Teacher’s role

Projects need to be designed from the perspective of the teacher rather than using him as a mere instrument for projects that have been designed neither with him nor for him. Teachers should be directly involved in project’s monitoring and evaluation.

6- Knowledge activation

An education project is not so much about the quantity of knowledge it deals with but about the opportunities provided to students to activate knowledge in real-life situations.

7- Behaviour change

An educational project is a transformation tool enabling behavioral changes on a number of issues. Students as individuals and in groups should be empowered to investigate a problem, design solutions, take actions and evaluate them.

8. Families’ involvement

An education project has to be inclusive and take into account multiple learning spaces, thus strengthening family participation in the learning process. The intergenerational dimension of learning is essential to social and family cohesion.

9. Community impact

An education project should have a transformative, multiplying and long-lasting impact in the surrounding community involving local actors in a shared learning experience.

10. Contribution to Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

Any education project should consider all SDGs as a transversal priority for the whole learning process and should directly contribute to the goals’ achievements.


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