When Walt Disney made the movie “The Song of the South” based on the folk tales told by Joel Chandler Harris, he made history through the innovative use of professional actors with animation. Today, we take this form of artistic expression for granted.
Moving out of the box sounds like a daring and frightening thing to do but we need to be able to realize that all great “new” ways of doing things are really just recreations of what we already know. My favorite childhood stories where those of Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear. Walt Disney captured and enhanced the essence of these characters through animation and made them totally believable through the voices of the actors. The challenge in modern educational reform is similar because we are in need of innovation in how stories are made accessible and understandable to all and ultimately how they are used to promote educational achievement.
Richard Branson quotes Joseph Schumpeter’s definition of an entrepreneur as “Innovators who use a process of shattering the status quo of the existing products and services, to set up new products, new service.” (Branson, R., “There is no such Thing as Failure, The European (6/05/2013), retrieved 2/12/2014. www.theeuropean-magazine.com.) Branson also refers to Peter Drucker’s explanation as “An entrepreneur searches for change, responds to it and exploits opportunities. Innovation is a specific tool of an entrepreneur hence an effective entrepreneur converts a source into a resource.” I believe that just as Walt Disney changed the movie industry, entrepreneurial spirit and innovation will bring positive changes and improvements to the field of education.
Reinvention is a wonderful word. It does mean to recreate the wheel but we do so with the goal to have greater efficiency in the industry and to discover technology to support the future. What teacher would not want to have a better job description, improved working conditions, and higher salary? What administrator would not want to be able to go to the school board or even the legislature and explain that he or she had discovered a way to increase the productivity of the school system while reducing the overhead? This is the need and this is the time for such revolutionary discovery and innovation. The technology is available, but it is the new way of designing, producing, and presenting the information that is the challenge for today’s educational system. Oh yes, and adapting to these reinventions is the challenge for those in the industry!
Click to Read Part 2 of Chapter One
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