During my visits I often have the great fortune of seeing best practices truly transforming schools and classrooms.  I get to hear and learn from educators who are making magic happen for their students…and while I’m always inspired and energized…I am often challenged by the recognition that these projects largely do not scale and often will not be easily sustained or replicated beyond the project creator. Scaling innovation in education is a global issue and something we all must work to solve and identifying innovative teaching practices and the impact that they can have on student outcomes is a great place to start.

As people all over the world are talking about the need to transform education to align with the realities of life and work in the 21stCentury…we need to remember this is not just about the effective use of technology but about developing kids who are deeply engaged in the learning process and taking the initiative to learn.

How we make this transformation happen in schools and classrooms and how we measure success remains a critical priority.  As part of our commitment to education transformation, we initiated the Innovative Teaching and Learning (ITL) Research project (www.itlresearch.com) to contribute information and policy insights on where and how effective education transformation is taking place around the world.  ITL Research is a multiyear global research program designed to investigate the factors that promote the transformation of teaching practices and the impact those changes have on students’ learning outcomes across a broad range of country contexts.

We are working with global and local education leaders such as UNESCO and local Ministries of Education to include them in the research process and will be sharing data and results openly with all research partners and with the broader academic education community.  The goal here is to recognize the importance of innovative teaching practices, inspire others to commitment to scaling innovation and creating a foundation for holistic education transformation.

Another exciting component of this project is the opportunity for individual schools and leaders to take part.  Microsoft’s Partners in Learning School Research is a self-assessment survey research system that helps educators and school leaders understand and measure innovative teaching practices that develop the skills students need for life and work in the 21st Century.  It’s an incredibly powerful tool that will give individual leaders an opportunity to measure and identify innovative teaching practices and compare and measure against the global survey results.  The process is also very easy to administer…

1.  A school leader signs up on this website.
2.  A research leader from the school sends out the survey to all educators and school leaders in the school.
3.  Each educator and school leader takes a 15 to 20 minute online survey about innovative teaching practices.
4.  Once the surveys have been completed, a research report based on the responses is sent to the research leader within 24 hours, who can then share it.
5.  The report shows measures of innovative teaching practices in the school and examples of innovative teaching practices.
6.  The surveys can be repeated each year to track and measure progress.

Visit www.pilsr.com to learn more about this project and how your school can take part.  Maria’s video below does a great job of providing an overview of our work here and the opportunity ahead.