From the examples of innovation seen in the presentations by Joi Ito and Monique Markoff, we can see that Innovative technology and practices often come from those who have few resources and are not part of major institutions. Those who are innovating are living in the moment and coming up with ideas to find solutions for the needs and challenges that they see in their present; these are the “Now-ists” that Ito described. They are willing to work quickly, test out their ideas, are open to continuous feedback and are constantly improving their technology or service. Looking at an environment that I am familiar with, which is Google apps, I see so much new functionality, such as extensions and app add-ons coming from the users and not the actual institution itself. Quite often Google actually adds features to their products based on these third-party extensions and add-ons that were created by users of their products to find solutions for their needs.

I really like Ito’s quote “Education is what people do to you, and learning is what you do to yourself.” I think this strongly supports the idea that learning should be centered on the student and not the instructor. Educators need to be conscious about and feel comfortable with releasing responsibility for learning to their students. I would say that in my practice as a teacher I was trying to be conscious of not make making our lessons teacher centered; I did try to limit the number of teacher-centered activities like lectures and give students more opportunities to do hands-on activities and collaborate with each other. I do endeavour to be a “Now-ist” by taking the opportunity to try new things in instruction, while being quick to adapt to challenges while we are working, and then taking the time to review the activity, evaluate its effectiveness, and make the necessary changes.

I feel a lot of issues with flexibility appear in larger organizations where educators have to work in large teams and have to be horizontally aligned in terms of their curriculum and activities. In these situations, innovation can be a challenge because everyone needs to be onboard with trying new things. Some members of the team may feel that what they are currently doing in the classroom is adequate and does not require any change, or they may not feel comfortable with or have sufficient training in the use of new technology or instructional methods. Another issue of flexibility is that I have seen personally is being given a long laundry list of topics that need to be covered by the curriculum department, but no actual requirements on real world skills and problem-solving abilities that students are supposed to have, or any actual guidance in terms of innovative activities to address content area. The result is that teachers end up pacing themselves just to finish teaching all the topics that are required and not actually making a goal of improving the quality of teaching and learning.

To create the necessary learning environment where students are giving the choice, ownership and voice through authentic projects, I think we need to reevaluate and redesign our instructional methods and refocus ourselves on actual on the students actually learning and growing. I agree with Markoff that we should be incorporating more activities like blended learning, flipped classroom and open classrooms. These will allow students to have greater choice, agency and responsibility in their own learning. Instead of learning material by repetition in order to recall it later, students using COVA are active, critical and questioning and build on their knowledge base through experience and collaboration. Unlike COVA, the traditional models of teaching and learning do not typically produce personalized learning environments (PLEs) that provide different methods of access/representation, engagement and expression to students (Bray & McClaskey, 2014). Giving students PLEs will allow each students needs to be addressed and allow them to focus on their own individual learning.


Bray, B., & McClaskey, K. (2014, June 11). Personalize your learning environment. Retrieved from

TED (2014, July 7). Joi Ito: Want to innovate? Become a "now-ist". Youtube. Retrieved from

TEDx Talks (2014, May 6). Click here-- blended learning and the future of education: Monique Markoff at TEDxIthacaCollege. Youtube. Retrieved from


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