What is Disruptive Innovation?

      When reviewing the course requirements for the DLL program at Lamar University, there was the one course that truly caught my eye: Disruptive Innovation in Education. I had heard of Disruptive Innovation, but it was not a concept that I fully understood. Four month later, here I am, starting the course. Through my first week of coursework, I have found myself developing the understanding that Disruptive Innovation means looking at not only technology, but more importantly- the delivering of instruction in a new way that better fits the needs and means of all learners.

       As stated in the this video, innovative technology is both affordable and accessible, lowering expense and offering technology that is much less complicated to use. The essence of true disruptive technology is that it is so new that it does not have anything to compete against. These innovations in technology promote strong student collaboration and the ability to provide learners with a global reach when solving problems.

So, how does Disruptive Innovation become a catalyst for change? Well, it is most effectively targeted by areas where traditional educational models are not meeting the needs of learners within an institution or school. Such schools and institutions need to be excited to adopt both new perspectives and new practices. In this video, I felt a strong connection to several of the examples of nonconsumption; in particular, the examples of tutoring, after school, and in home. These examples are all areas that my Annual School Planning (ASP) committee as targeted as being a “weakness” for our district. As I begin to think about my Innovation plan, I feel as though these are areas where I can best focus my energy and ideas. I’m interested in creating an Innovation plan that will not only impact student achievement within my school, but motivate the students to take ownership of their learning and seek out authentic learning experiences beyond the classroom. I would like to find a way to help parents support their child’s efforts in this journey by creating a platform that allows for virtual “study buddies”; a student-centered environment that not only promotes student to student interaction and exploration, but an environment that allows parents and teachers to work together as coaches and mentors in each child’s educational journey.

To answer the question of why we overemphasize the technology aspect of change in blended learning, I believe it it has to do with our background in education, as well as our own educational experience. Technology, and computers in general, were the great innovations of our teen and adult lives. We have a certain connection to them, and I’m sure that many of us can recall the progression of technology in our lives. As we’ve watched schools and districts move to one-on-one initiatives, we are comfortable combining our pedagogy with our knowledge of technology. In many ways, we do not use modern technology in the way it is intended; I believe many of us use it in ways that most simplify our lives. However, what we need to realize is that our students are not viewing technology through the same lens as us. They grow up knowing that answers are right at the tip of their fingers, and they know how to find answers to questions that we may never thought to ask. True blended learning allows the students to fully immerse themselves in the resources that are available to them, and it allows our role as educators to shift to being their mentor and coach along this journey. It allows students to create their own path. In the process, it allows us to reach a level of personalized instruction that supersedes our comfort zone as educators, but maximizes each child’s individual potential.

Still wondering about Disruptive Innovation? Perhaps wondering where blended learning fits into this equation? Look no further than here. I enjoyed the visualization of the various models for blended learning. As I used the “Flipped” model in my classroom this year, I had to laugh at the comment that Flipped Learning is the “low-hanging fruit” of blended learning. Here I was, feeling a little innovative! Lol. I think it just goes to show that true innovation is never ending and is definitely a journey, not a destination. I’m definitely trying to visualize which form of blended learning will most benefit my STEAM classroom next year, as well as which models I think would be easiest and most inspiring for the rest of my staff. With being a”Targeted” district (by the state), I think that it is the perfect time for us to reflect upon our learning outcomes. We really need to use a backwards design approach to determine how best to meet the needs of our students.


I’m looking forward to this class helping me be as “disruptive” as possible!

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