Teaching Students to Become Innovators

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Teaching Students to Become Innovators

The world is changing, and today’s educators know they must prepare their students to adapt. While measurable hard skill development in subjects like mathematics, reading and writing is essential to helping provide students with a solid foundation, so too is the ability to take this knowledge and use it to solve problems in creative ways.

However, a common misconception is that due to a lack of time and resources, educators must choose between teaching foundational skills and instilling the ability to create and innovate.

In an article published in Edutopia, Ross Cooper, supervisor of instructional practice in the Salisbury Township School District in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Tony Sinanis, lead learner at Cantiague Elementary School in Jericho, New York, argue that there is no reason why educators can’t do both at the same time.

“It’s not a matter of if we can make the two coexist, but how we can find a way to synchronously expose our students to both in order to create the districts, schools, and classrooms in which we’d want our very own children to learn,” Cooper and Sinanis said.


Inspiring Innovation with Invention Education

When it comes to teaching STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects, at the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF), we believe that authentic invention education gives children the ability to explore these fields in ways that nurture their natural curiosity. Defined as learning through “inventing” solutions to real-world problems, this pedagogy encourages students to think creatively and innovate.

Throughout the week at Camp Invention®, NIHF’s flagship program, participants have the agency to approach each hands-on activity in ways that naturally align with their interests. Because there are no “right” or “wrong” ways to solve each day’s challenges, children are free to brainstorm, prototype, tinker and build without worrying about making mistakes.

In this summer’s all-new Open Mic activity, for example, campers transform into creative entrepreneurs, developing their very own invention and pitching the idea to their friends.

By applying the same techniques shared by the world’s most influential inventors, campers learn how to embrace their creativity and find innovative solutions. Developing the belief at an early age that they are capable of outside-the-box thinking is incredibly empowering, and children can apply this newfound confidence throughout their lives.


Instilling the Innovation Mindset

In collaboration with our NIHF Inductees, individuals whose discoveries and contributions continue to improve our society, we have identified nine essential skills and traits that can empower students to pursue their creative aspirations. We call this the Innovation Mindset, and it informs the development of all our education programs.

The drive to innovate moves our society forward through new discoveries and inventions. By instilling the idea in children that continuous improvement is always possible through hard work and perseverance, our programs encourage participants to dream up new and better solutions and make them a reality.


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