Innovation in Education, going further than just using devices

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“In our digital era, innovation does not mean just using more devices, but should be understood as providing the necessary technological knowledge to understand the world around us and the world to come. Not just because of the cliched expression that the professions of tomorrow are already here, but also because students have to see this reality as a positive change that allows them to improve the world, an opportunity for progress that they should  face with a healthy, conscious, resilient and proactive attitude.”

The concept of pedagogical innovation has always been associated with a personalized, contextualized and active approach to teaching as advocated by Socrates, the Waldorf schools, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Krausism, the Free Institute of Education (Spain), Ken Robinson or Rosa Sensat.

It seems obvious that the connection between teacher and student, and the link between what is done in school and the real world are the defining features of a successful education.

Competencies are currently being discussed as the backbone of the educational world.

Creating a generation of competent leaders is the most widespread proposal in the debates and discussions that revolve around teaching. However, I fear that a leader who does not have their  competence based on solid and robust content is in danger of appearing as a charlatan.

On the one hand, it seems that talking about the inclusion of technology in educational models generates dread. Fear of mobile devices, internet and, social networks is spreading due to the (well-founded) belief that behind the access to networks there is manipulation of criteria, harmful content or addiction to the digital world.

On the other hand, it is a huge contradiction to want to educate in the real world and turn our backs on technological advances, about as absurd as trying to put gates around the countryside.

To educate means to lead the student from a point of non-competence and ignorance to a place of emotional and cognitive construction. In our digital era, innovation does not mean just using more devices, but should be understood as providing the necessary technological knowledge to understand the world around us and the world to come. Not just because of the cliched expression that the professions of tomorrow are already here, but also because students have to see this reality as a positive change that allows them to improve the world, an opportunity for progress that they should face with a healthy, conscious, resilient and proactive attitude.

In general, those who stand apart from innovation and technology do not know the ins and outs of the latter. It is self-evident that in today’s world technology affects practically all branches of knowledge. Undoubtedly, the focus of training must remain centered on the person; it is just as absurd to ignore the fact that innovation resides in technology as it is to think that the essence of the human being should be left out of it.

Disciplines such as literature, art or philosophy, humanism, and the development of emotional well-being are essential pillars on which any educational model should be based.

This cognitive paradigm allows students’ talents to emerge, to become passionate about the world around them, to develop the intellectual restlessness necessary to turn their ideas into action.

No school in the world advocates that today’s learning should be by rote learning, devoid of understanding and contextualization. However we must be careful as with many of the current pedagogical trends, curricular content is undervalued; a crass mistake from my point of view

By focusing only on competencies and not emphasizing the subject matter, the student loses an enormous intellectual perspective.

We should dispense with strategies such as memorizing a list of the Gothic kings for no rhyme nor reason. Instead we can research the geo-political dimensions of current conflicts, or investigate the latest scientific discoveries and understand new economic and technological concepts. Artificial intelligence can be used as a formative focus,  as can genetic manipulation and globalized political models. At the same time, reading  Huxley, Orwell, Marquez, Plato, Carrere or March,  will allow us to understand many of the contradictions that we face today.

It’s time to fill the intellects of our students with content, to support their thinking about interesting ideas. They think that it is a fallacy that “nowadays everything is on the Internet”.


By Lourdes Barceló, Head of Education, St Peter’s School

Written by

St Peter s School Barcelona

St Peter s School Barcelona

St. Peter's School is an international school located in Barcelona. The school education project focuses on three fundamental pillars: Factuflness (critical thinking based on evidence), Exponential Science, and Change Makers. The student is at the center of their inquiry and concept-based education. They become active learners that care about themselves, their community and the world in which we live. The school follows the International Baccalaureate framework in Middle Years and the Diploma Programme, and are currently a candidate school for Early and Primary Years.