Innovation and Our Kids

July 22, 2015 at 10:21 pm Leave a comment

I went to a workshop called Developing Future Innovators. I went for three reasons: (1) We are innately creative beings and much of our education system has been teaching the creativity right out of our children, (2) our world desperately needs innovators to develop solutions to our mounting global problems, and (3) by teaching our youth to innovate, on a personal level they garner agency and are not victims of circumstance but rather empowered to create a life that works for themselves.

About_PatronSaint_780pxAn innovator is not only someone who envisions, but someone who also creates a better world. Glen Tripp @GalileoLearning is not only an amazing innovator himself, but he is doing remarkable work at helping kids become innovators using a three-pronged approach.

First he works on Mindset — helping kids be visionaries and to believe in possibility, encouraging them to be courageous as they stretch themselves, focusing on being collaborative and appreciative of other’s ideas and expressions, teaching them determination to access perseverance, and guiding them to be reflective to improve themselves and their work.

Next he focuses on Knowledge — what do innovators need to understand? This element teaches kids to research, pick out key concepts and big ideas, use materials and tools as they test their ideas, and to develop empathy as they understand their audience and environment.

Lastly, he works on Process — developing processes to help innovators actually innovate; from identifying goals, to generating ideas, to design and then into the create-test-evaluate-redesign phase.

So how can we as parents and caregivers develop young innovators in our own homes?

  • diy-craft-station-for-kidsBy allocating your child’s time in ways that develop their innovative toolkit. This can include traveling to new places, reading books from far off lands, to what programs they get involved in after-school (remember over-schdueling is a killer of innovation so chose wisely), to my favorite…carving out a space in your home, garage or yard that is dedicated to building and creating. A space filled with paint and markers, hot glue guns and duct tape, cardboard and pizza cutters, recycled materials, even a drill and saw would be good — items and tools that can be used to spark imagination and most of all allow your kids a chance to get dirty!
  • By interacting with our kids in a manner that reinforces the Innovator Mindset. This is not praising their work, this is praising their behavior — compliment their dedication, their courageousness, their collaborative skills, how they turned an idea into a reality. This is not asking default questions, but asking reflective questions — who did you work with today, what was your vision for your project, tell me about it, what is and isn’t working in your design, what part was the most challenging, what part did you like best?
  • By setting an example as an innovator yourself. Do you believe in possibility? Are you learning something new right now? Are you using victim language (I can’t, They never, It’s their fault, It’s not fair) instead of empowering words (I can, It’s my responsibility, I will put forth my best effort)? Kids, as we all know, learn so much from us, what supportive messages can you start sending today?

Lastly, I want to give you a few resources to check out. These are various programs and camps, workshop and projects to get your innovator juices flowing. Check out:

Izzy-BugHotel3MakerShed.com

KiwiCrate.com

Project Lead the Way

Destination Imagination

Tech Challenge

Odyssey of The Mind

iphone-image-2First Lego League

Galileo Camps

Curiosity Hacked

DIY.org

Entry filed under: Education, Parenting, Play. Tags: , , .

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Shelby L. Phillips

As an intuitive transformational messenger of hope, a communicative wife of 25 years, and an open-hearted mother of two, I take pleasure in telling good news stories, connecting people to the seven dimensions of well-being, and inspiring us to love ourselves and each other because life really is worth celebrating! Find out more about me at ShelbyPhillipsConnects.com

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