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Education Expert Promotes Innovative Learning

In line with Graland’s approach to teaching innovation skills through project-based learning, Dr. Tony Wagner visited campus recently to affirm the value of collaboration, interdisciplinary lessons, a culture of curiosity, and intrinsic motivators. 
To kick off his presentation, Dr. Wagner cued a short film, “The Future of Work,” a look at how automation has replaced many manual jobs in industries such as retail, foodservice and transportation -- even the delicate job of a surgeon can now be done by robots. 

While Dr. Wagner acknowledged that some content knowledge is vital, he also shared the provocative statement: “The world no longer cares about how much kids know because Google knows everything,” said Dr. Wagner. “Our job is to help them show what they can do with what they know.” 

In his extensive research with children and young professionals, Dr. Wagner identified several ways teachers and parents can develop creative problem-solving skills by encouraging:
  1. Play: Exploratory, outside, disciplined play in the classroom
  2. Passion: Exposing children to new interests and possibilities, supporting their interests/curiosity no matter what it is, allowing that to morph and evolve into a deeper sense of purpose
  3. Purpose: The desire and sense of responsibility to give back and make a difference
He noted five ways schools can encourage innovation-era thinking:
  1. A focus on collaborative team assignments, accountability, peer evaluation
  2. An emphasis on interdisciplinary problem-solving 
  3. A classroom culture of questioning and taking initiative where the teacher is a mentor or performance coach
  4. An approach to learning through curiosity, iteration, and design
  5. An approach that nurtures intrinsic motivation 
Dr. Wagner is the author of several books including “Most Likely to Succeed” and “Creating Innovators.” He argues that schools must evolve to meet innovation-era demands for students to be creative problem solvers.

Graland Country Day School

Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.