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Thursday, June 8, 2023

Embracing Innovation: What Schools Can Learn from Tech Companies - More in Common Than Different


Wil Massara

Chief Executive Officer & Founder

In today's fast-paced, technology-driven world, schools face the challenge of adapting outdated educational models to meet the needs of students in a technology-led future. However, there's an interesting connection between schools and tech companies that often goes unnoticed. Upon this reflection, I wanted to explore the valuable lessons that schools can learn from tech companies to foster innovation and create environments where students can thrive.

No, this is not about teaching code or programming but instead preparing young people with the skills to adapt in a world that accelerating faster than ever before.

The reality is both are primarily designed for young people and are working toward building our future. 

So what can we learn from tech companies?

I recently explored this idea at a principal professional development event I spoke at and have decided to share this here.

Acknowledgements: Firstly, it will be unlikely that all of these are applicable to your school or circumstances, it would be impossible to write a blog post that resonates with everyone but see it as a favourite box of chocolates, take what you would like and leave the turkish delights for someone else.

Embrace the Future: Following the Lead of Tech Companies

Tech companies understand the importance of continuous innovation and remaining adaptable in order to stay relevant. Similarly, schools can benefit from embracing new approaches that align with the evolving needs of students and the world. By reimagining education and prioritising critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration skills, schools can prepare students for the challenges of the future.

Create an Environment for Growth

Tech companies prioritise creating environments that support growth and creativity, and schools can take inspiration from this approach. Designing spaces that promote engagement, well-being, and productivity can have a significant impact on student performance. Simple measures like maximising natural light, providing comfortable workspaces, and offering healthy snacks and lunch options at the canteen, research suggests that healthier options at school lead to improved classroom behaviour increased attention and focus and also improved test scores! [1]  

Support and Connectivity: Onsite Resources

Tech companies recognise the value of onsite support and collaboration spaces, and schools can follow suit. By reimagining libraries as innovative learning hubs, schools can provide students with a safe and supportive environment for pre and post-school work. This transformation promotes continuous learning and empowers students to take ownership of their education. A simple action that costs nothing could be a name change, involve your students in a co-design process where they take ownership of their newly named learning space.

Prioritise Mental Well-being: Incorporating Brain Breaks

Research consistently shows that regular brain breaks improve cognitive functioning, focus, and motivation among students. By integrating brief moments of physical activity, relaxation, or mindfulness throughout the school day, schools can foster an environment that nurtures student well-being and enhances academic performance. Additionally, brain breaks contribute to improved classroom behaviour and a reduction in disciplinary issues [2].

If you are reading this and made it this far, IT IS TIME FOR A BRAIN BREAK. Raise your hands to the sky and stretch up, stretch to the left and stretch to the right. Brain Breaks are not just for students! 

Do you feel at least 1% better? 

Optimise Classroom Environments: Creating Distraction-Free Spaces

Tech companies understand the impact of the physical environment on productivity, and schools can adopt similar practices. By minimising background noise and creating a calm and focused atmosphere, students can better concentrate on their tasks. Strategically placing white noise machines (or using youtube) in classrooms can help mitigate distractions and allow students to maintain their focus. [3]

Harness the Power of Technology: Innovative Classroom Tools

Tech companies leverage technology to enhance efficiency and productivity, and schools can also benefit from embracing innovative tools. Platforms like Menti enable teachers to gather and assess students' ideas, facilitate reflection, and encourage active participation. Incorporating QR codes, numbers, or links in lessons can provide quick access to additional resources and foster curiosity and engagement.

Explore "Technologies to Improve the Classroom Experience" to discover specific technologies that can enhance teaching and learning in your school. Let's embrace the opportunities that lie ahead and create vibrant, future-ready educational ecosystems for our students.

As schools navigate the challenges of the modern era, they can draw inspiration from tech companies that prioritise innovation and supportive environments. By adopting a forward-thinking mindset, optimising physical spaces, and leveraging technology, schools can transform education and empower students to thrive in a rapidly changing world. Let's embrace the valuable lessons from tech companies and embark on a transformative journey together, where education meets innovation and students become the leaders of tomorrow.

We are all on this journey of learning how the new world works together, and as leaders, it is our responsibility to keep learning.


Additional Note: This article was written by,

Wil Massara

. This author is a member of YLAA's Youth Advisory Board. As our organisation continues to evolve, we want to make sure that we continue to represent and empower the voices of youth in their own affairs, that’s why we have created our first Youth Advisory Board - not only to ensure that our students’ interests are at the core of every aspect of our organisation, but also to give the young people we serve the opportunity to develop themselves personally, whilst contributing to our mission of ensuring a sustainable future for all youth.

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