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Innovation and technology are not the same.

October 10, 2019
Saline High School Digital Media Lab

A common viewpoint is that new technology is innovation.  Without question, when a new technology emerges, it looks and feels like innovation. Most of the time, it is. However, when experts define the term “innovation,”  they define an action rather than a “thing.” Innovation means staying relevant in fast-paced, changing times. Experts in the field talk about using innovative approaches to address real challenges and adding value to a process or an outcome.

Similarly, when Saline Area Schools is described as an innovative district, that descriptor is often interpreted as the technology – the equipment –  is abundant. True enough. There are computers, iPods, iPads, laptops, SmartBoards, Apple TVs, and a plethora of other machines available to students and staff. Saline students and staff use technology to learn, grow, manage, communicate AND innovate.  I can’t think of a thriving industry that does not embrace new technologies to either stay relevant or to gain efficiency. Saline Area Schools is innovative because of the organizational culture. New ideas, methodologies, and approaches are sought, tried, and valued.  It is that innovation that holds value; not the amount bandwidth used or the number of Chromebooks in each classroom.

Educational technology can enable and accelerate some innovations. However, bold ideas start with creative staff members who are committed to finding new ways to help students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful long after they leave our educational system. 

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