Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Collaboration: The Mother of Innovation: Working Well with Others May Be the Key 21st-Century Skill

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Collaboration: The Mother of Innovation: Working Well with Others May Be the Key 21st-Century Skill

Article excerpt

BACK IN THE 1970s, as a classroom teacher in Milford, OH, I worked with other junior high school teachers teaching a futures study class for gifted students. We helped kids consider alternative futures while examining possible changes in science, government, the environment, and communities.

We spent a lot of our preparation time finding activities that would challenge the students' imagination and give them opportunities to innovate. We had them build a 5-foot newspaper tower with only newspapers and a stapler. We had them construct model cities of the future anywhere on the planet, with the stipulation that the cities had to include all the vital systems needed for humans to live and work together, from air and water to education and entertainment. Their creations were critiqued by city planners. For all of these activities, we had them work in small groups to complete their tasks.

According to an article by Janet Rae-Dupree in The New York Times ("Teamwork, the True Mother of Invention"; Dec. 7, 2008), we were on the right track. Rae-Dupree quotes a number of experts to show that "innovation does not take place in isolation. Truly productive innovation requires the meeting of minds from myriad perspectives." She quotes Keith Sawyer, author of the book Group Genius (Basic Books, 2008): "innovation today is a continuous process of small and constant change. …

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