Innovation was the topic of discussion for many residents this evening.
The Auditorium at HB Beal Secondary School was filled with guests from all of London’s Highschools, faculty, students, trustees, parents and community members for a unique public forum.
The forum was aimed at questioning whether schools are preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s economy.
Harvard University expert-in-residence, Tony Wagner delivered information and engaged in conversation with the audience over videoconference. Wagner is the author of Creating Innovators: The making of young people who will change the world.
During the first half of the discussion a show of hands portrayed that over half of the guests were part of the Thames Valley District School Board.
Mike Phillips is the Vice President at the TVDSB; he says the forum was an amazing initiative that will revolutionize education in Thames Valley.
He says two big things he learned were to focus on play, passion and purpose when educating students. And to concentrate on an interdisciplinary nature of learning and how problems don’t always fit into one subject area.
Presenter Tony Wagner addressed a major problem being the recent under or unemployment of college and university graduates.
He adds many employers want young people who innovate and think critically.
Wagner relates the issue with Google, who used to hire strictly high GPA graduates from specific universities, however he quotes saying some had been found ‘useless’. He says now 15 percent of their graduate employees don’t even have a degree, and in return proved they had critical thinking and problem solving skills along with real life experiences.
Bianca Robitaille is a grade 11 student at Beal Secondary School, she says the forum was very beneficial, as she knows now that employers want more skills than just a high GPA, diploma or degree.
Robitaille says she wants to take Dental Hygiene at Fanshawe College, and is excited to become more innovated to accomplish that goal.
Tony Wagner says innovation depends on taking risks and failing, he adds students who take risks may have learnt more than the straight A student who didn’t take risks.
He says learning to have those essential skills such as critical thinking are learnt very young, and continue to assist you in the future.
Wagner says teaching methods need to focus on problem solving and team work rather than on marks and memorizing information
Wagner suggests teachers start innovation tea
ms, as it takes more than just an individual to improve the school experience for youth.
He feels getting students to create digital profiles is important and allowing them time to work on them as part of class will help them control their own learning, while enjoying it.
Wagner says it’s about trying to reinvent the school experience for students in the 21st century.