For some time on this blog I’ve listed Creating Innovators as my current read.
Tony Wagner’s book looks at young adults who are successfully navigating a transforming world of work, where a deep understanding of teamwork and innovation is a prerequisite for success. His profiles focus especially on the educational and parenting experiences that helped each young person flourish. Wagner prods us to identify what we — educators, parents, concerned adults — need to do to engage young learners and help many more of them grow into innovative and creative thinkers.
Creating Innovators features two blended tracks — one text and the other media. Wagner supplements the traditional book with a host of videos that extend and amplify what we have just read. QR codes in each chapter make it easy to access the videos, so we need only scan the image with a smartphone app and off we go to view the related media. If a reader does not own a smartphone — and I’ve discovered that for financial reasons quite a few of my younger colleagues don’t — Wagner’s website includes a page with links to all of the videos.
If you are seriously committed to the simple notions that contemporary educational concerns can be solved by repeated standardized testing or teacher evaluations that are linked to test results or 25 concepts that must be mastered every year in every subject, you will not find this book especially inspiring.
Wagner asks readers to approach the problems with multi-dimensional and innovative thinking. If, like me, you came into teaching years ago committed to helping learners discover, explore, solve problems, and grow (and you are still working hard to make this happen at your school), Creating Innovators is not just exiting, it’s thrilling.