Innovator's Blog

Rethinking Student Motivation

posted Feb 26, 2010, 1:08 PM by cshankman@metmail.org   [ updated Feb 26, 2010, 1:27 PM ]

When I was a high school student few things excited me more than the thought of skiing.  To this day, one of my primary passions is falling down a cold, icy mountain slope.  Over vacation I have the privilege of skiing at two different mountains in Maine, Sugarloaf and Saddleback. 

While there I noticed that both mountains offer deep discounts for primary, secondary, and college students, AND that recently Saddleback has instituted a new and interesting policy.  Instead of simply offering a $499 student season pass like Sugarloaf does, they are offering a $65 season pass to any student who received honor role for the first quarter of that year.

While honor role is not necessary the most equitable or effective metric for measuring student achievement, or for motivating students, it is interesting to think about the potential role that businesses and corporations could play in motivating academic achievement among students.

What if Verizon or Cox offered free internet to all highschool students? Or, if students who created comprehensive, financially responsible, post secondary plans were given lower interest rates on their student loans.   I'm sure that there are much better examples that could easily be imagined, but the point is that outside agencies could be helping to inspire students academically, and Saddleback is an innovator for working to accomplish this!

Some light reading

posted Nov 18, 2009, 12:55 PM by Dennis DelBarone   [ updated Nov 18, 2009, 1:13 PM ]

Here are some links to publications regarding innovation in education (Thanks Loriana)

The Ed Money Watch Blog: Race to the Top and the status of innovation in education


An article with a video link about how states are having trouble using stimulus money to innovate and reform educational practices as the money was intended.  There is high hopes for the Race to the Top program to help promote innovation.


State by state report card on educational effectiveness published by the Chamber of Commerce


They look at not only achievement but also how much money is spent to create a "return on investment" data point.  They use only test scores to define achievement and push for "more rigorous standards" but its still interesting none the less.  They conclude that innovation is necessary...surprise...

What's the Point?!

posted Nov 12, 2009, 10:52 AM by Dennis DelBarone   [ updated Nov 12, 2009, 11:12 AM ]

What's the point of all this?  As an innovator you ask that question all the time.  So what's the point of these awards?  We want to promote creativity, and share ideas.  We want to help our culture of innovation grow and thrive. 

So why should you apply?
  • Duh, you could win $200!!
  • People want to hear about your great ideas so we can steal them and use them ourselves
  • Its a way easier process than last year
  • Your ideas will help inspire someone else's ideas, which will help inspire someone else (you can see where this goes)
  • You've already done the hard part, you just have to write about it a little to apply
Some questions I've heard:
  • What kinds of things are you looking for?
    • ANY KINDS OF THINGS!  It could be something you've done for a whole group of kids, or something you've done for just one.  It could be the way you've set up your space, it could be the system you've created to keep the place clean. 
      • ANY STAFF MEMBER
      • ANY IDEA
      • ABOUT ANYTHING!!!!
      • as long as you would define it as innovative (new and creative)
  • What if I'm still in the middle of it?
    • That's ok too.  As long as you can answer: What's your idea, how'd you do it, and how's it working out?
So take 15 minutes and share your idea.  You'll be an inspiration for sure and you just might win some money. 

Responding to the Pundits

posted Oct 30, 2009, 9:01 AM by cshankman@metmail.org

This site has been live for less than 24 hours and already we have received complaints:
  • Your grammar is terrible!
  • Some of the links are broken . . .
  • All of your "Innovation" examples are business oriented, what about education?
In response we have been able to address some of these initial concerns.  All broken links have been fixed and "are a go,"  but grammar shall tragically remain broken until further notice.  Additionally, this post shall work to address the third complaint we recently received.

Where are the Educational Innovation examples?

Here is a great one, a quick Ted Talks on how to create your own interactive whiteboard using $60 dollars in supplies, a digital projector, and some free software.  Overall it saves around $2000, and gives you over 80% of the functionality. (email Conor to make your own).

Wii Remote Whiteboard



Found something innovative relating to education?  Email it to us, or volunteer to guest blog!

Musical Tribute to Innovation!

posted Oct 29, 2009, 10:41 AM by cshankman@metmail.org

Yes, Yes, Yes!!  Its time for another reckless installment of the Innovators Blog.  This week we felt it necessary to celebrate the Multiple Intelligences, while acknowledging the inherent difficulties that innovators experience both as entrepreneurs and intrepreneurs.

So as we move forward in our quest to promote Innovation, we must avoid Hairballs and let are minds Orbit, which should result in Innovation  (I could be mixing metaphors at this point, I got lost in the jingle).

"Back to Orbit"

What Does Innovation Look Like?

posted Oct 29, 2009, 10:40 AM by cshankman@metmail.org


As the Innovation Competition begins its second annual launch, we here on the selection panel have decided to ask ourselves: "What is Innovation?"  In an attempt to concur this age old quandary we engaged in a brainstorming session. 

Instead of posting those results we felt this video by IBM, did an excellent job summarizing our thoughts:

Heroes of Innovation


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