Innovation Institute

Earlier this school year, I read Innovator’s Mindset but I did not have time to keep up with #IMMOOC. Why? Because I’m in my second year as a teacher in the Innovation Institute at Shanghai American School, China. In other words, I’ve been busy innovating! It is amazing and challenging and inspiring and messy and wonderful. We are so fortunate to have the use of a recently renovated space and wonderful resources. However, multi-disciplinary learning based on design and incorporating the 4C’s can still be done – we did not have this phenomenal space last year and the program was a bit more challenging but still successful. Check out a video of our program in the newly renovated space that is our new home this year:

Innovation Institute at Shanghai American School

I previously wrote a post on Chapter 1 and 2 (What is Innovation?) so I will keep this post short. However, I really want to finish blogging about Innovator’s Mindset, which I find so inspiring. I will try my best to stay involved in the conversation this time!

Ultimately, I think education needs to produce students who can change the world for the better. From politics to the environment and everything in between, our students need to be able to solve problems and empathize. They truly do need to have not only a growth mindset, but an innovator’s mindset. If I were starting my own school, I would make sure that students truly have an opportunity to explore their passions and that they would spend a LOT of time outdoors.




4 thoughts on “Innovation Institute

  1. Amy Thompson

    WOW!!! Loved the video and how the students were able to talk about how the Institute leads them to think differently and collaborate in new ways! What an amazing space; would love to know what you were not able to do in your old space from last year and how it influenced the design of the new space. The students really have so much choice in how they use the space and work together to think through their ideas!


    1. Thanks for reading my post! Our Innovation Institute (currently 39 grade 9 students and 37 grade 10 students, but will be 48 grade 9 students in the next cohort) as well as the science department are in this newly renovated space. Certainly the Maker Space and ‘fab lab’ in our new area helps students to make products for some projects. It has been unbelievable to see students able to produce board games and set designs that meet the ideas that they develop. The space is very flexible, with walls that fold out of the way and tables and chairs on wheels that easily store out of the way. We are able to have all students as a large group, but also work in smaller groups. For the last two years (only one year for the first Institute students in grade 10), it was difficult to have a flexible schedule or to get students together in a large group for project launches, etc. Now, however, the four courses in the Institute are free to organize the day to suit our needs at that time. This varies from start of the projects when we may have a up to a month of separate classes, to the end of the project when most of the day is busy finalizing presentations and/or products. It is also easy to co-teach and mix students up in different ways for classes. The space has been inspiring and has transformed the way we teach and learn.


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