A first approach to the concept of Educational Innovation
We define innovation as the process of making changes in something already established, by the introduction of something new. Define both radical and incremental changes to improve products, processes or services. During the history of education were many changes in education, as designed and developed in different parts of the world.
Today, technology is an important factor change in education. Sometimes plays an important role in educational innovations. There are numerous possibilities for a broader and better change making use of technological advances, with timelines for implementation of innovative educational programs.
The important thing is to ensure that the innovation has a constructive role in improving educational opportunities for all children and the millions of people who are underserved in this world with such rapid development.
However, not all innovations in education need of technology that relates to the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). There are other forms of innovation that enhance the educational process without adding the ICT.
However, at present, almost all the changes and innovations in education have some relation to the ICT, because the communication is an essential aspect of the learning process. ICT, in general, can facilitate this communication, helping to better individualization of the educational process.
The technologies that are now available in a large number of countries, improve the potential to help students and teachers, and eliminate the barriers of time and distance for information and communication.
But as noted, new technologies (ICT) do not replace all prior or replace a good instructional design and development.
However, appropriate technologies may provide additional opportunities for student support, interactivity and access to education.
Innovation for learner-centered education
With the advent of computers, the Internet, smart phones, eBooks, podcasts and videocasts, and other improvements such as solar electricity, wireless cell phone and other technologies, is given the opportunity to provide more education to individuals and isolated communities. But these benefits also can experience the students of traditional institutions.
Consequently, technology and other innovations facilitate the instructional design and its activity can be adapted to the needs and environment of students. This serves both the open and distance learning as the most traditional to teaching.
Technology should not drive our teaching, as technology, by itself, does not drive change.
Today, educators are required to meet changes in technology, the responsibility to consider whether students living in a physical and social reality apply, and find ways to use technologies to complement and support the methodology and instructional practice.
The question here is to know: Who will educate the educators? How can educators keep abreast of technological advances that support innovations and improvements in instructional design and development? What can institutions, governments and international organizations to help educators to master new technologies and tools to create and provide educational opportunities?
Challenges, Opportunities and Challenges
Analyze this situation requires from current realities, whose most outstanding features include:
- . Insufficient training teachers.
- . Teachers leaving the profession
- . Few classrooms in developing countries
- . Overcrowding of students in classrooms
- . Growth of social inequalities
- . The special educational needs
- . The presence of more multiculturality
- . Etc.
One wonders if:
- Does the technology provide more people have access to education?
- If the next generation of cheap computers is feasible for most students?
- If developing countries have more access to this technology?
- Anyway it will be considered that it is not the technology but the potential it offers for access, efficiency and improving learning opportunities.
- But computers allow students better access to education through ODL. Students can use the Internet to communicate with other students or teachers through cities or elsewhere.
- Teachers and students can access the information through virtual libraries and the Internet, also the use of software to develop technical skills and academic or school.
The possibilities are many, but there are still many technological limitations, especially in developing countries. Some barriers to technological innovation are:
- insufficient bandwidth telecommunication
- no trained support staff, and
- cost and low availability of smart phones, computers and electricity.
We propose here some questions to ponder the possibilities of innovation to allow access to education:1
- Which processes are needed to provide electricity and broadband access to all educational institutions, schools, colleges, universities.
- What processes are needed to provide broadband access to all lifelong learners, including adults so they can pay a reasonable price for access;
- What are alternate institutions if it is not possible to provide reliable electric service for the foreseeable future;
- What alternatives exist for the introduction of computers or increasing their numbers in schools and institutions of higher education;
- May. If the equipment already installed in the institutions, processes in place to ensure full training and support to enable teachers and students to effectively integrate them in teaching, learning and management processes of the school?
- What are the innovations in education that really can help meet the challenge of reaching all people in all countries and in the world?
The main challenge of innovation is a better education for all, in order to develop the full potential of individuals, social groups and communities in general, including countries.
A good education should try to eliminate the widening gap between those with more and those with less or no. This requires the support of the educational community, trying to see education from a different perspective to promote innovation. These innovations may include the use of affordable and accessible technologies to expand access to education. But they may also require other services or innovative processes, strategies that do not rely on technology. Almost always a change of approach is needed to guide educational and training programs to guide more closely what people identify as their most urgent needs.