Thomas Edison once gave away his secret for innovation when he said to his staff, “There’s a way to do it better. Find it.”
I love this quote because it promotes fearless curiosity, fierce practicality and an untamed imagination - qualities that I aim to foster as the teacher for THS’ newest specialist class, Media Tech.
Educators and parents discuss innovation today as if it is a matter of attainment and achievement - that a winning combination of knowledge, skills, creativity and luck somehow leads to another Edison. I argue that those attributes are important but innovation is ultimately a matter of practice. Like learning to walk, we must learn how to fall and fail many times before we can take our first steps.
What Edison captured in his motto is the notion of “design thinking,” a formal process of finding problems and generating practical and creative solutions with the intent of an improved future result. Media Tech is designed upon this principle where students tackle authentic problems, develop answers, prototype solutions and then rework results. For example, in our graphic design unit in Term 1, I presented a series of real-world challenges and students would practice design thinking by devising visual solutions.
Whilst Media Tech is still a new discipline at THS, I believe it has already made a powerful impact on my students this year. They love that we connect coding with game design, color theory with user experience and design theory with real world applications.
I make no claims that the next Edison is in my class, but when I see the lightbulbs go off in my students’ heads as they unravel my latest challenge, I can’t help but smile….it’s akin to watching little Edisons walk for the first time.