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Innovation in Primary Education



Innovation in Primary Education


The change within the social and form of government in Slovenia following the collapse of Yugoslavia in 1990 and therefore the establishment of the free enterprise demanded that competition be introduced.

The new competitive environment underlined the necessity for constant innovation. the present global depression has shown that Slovenia lags behind most other regulated and globally competitive countries consistent with numerous indicators (EIS, 2006, Glavič, 2011), several of them closely connected to innovation capabilities of the economy (Mulej, 2008; Likar et al., 2011).

The studies also revealed the shortage of adequate strategies and policies to enhance things .

Recently, attention has been directed toward the education system, which must become more open and connected to life (Drobne, Breznikar, 2006), with a view to promoting creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship among the young (Gider, 2012).

The majority of EU member states strive to supply children with more innovative, entrepreneurial and artistic incentives.

Their attempts to try to to so are diverse, and a few are more successful than others.

Encouraging the event of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship is especially directed toward the promotion of creative and important thinking and strengthening the sense useful and responsibility both to oneself and therefore the society as an entire .

To clarify: a private must learn to behave during a socially responsible way and is merely then followed by the varsity or company.

The promotion of creativity and innovation is thus a big factor of social responsibility, which may influence the society in several ways (Mulej, 2012).

it’s vital that schools encourage the event of empathy in children so as to enhance their social responsibility.

Diverse, carefully structured goals and approaches to the promotion of creativity and innovation should be introduced at various levels of education. These may include:

• promoting the event of private characteristics relevant for innovation and entrepreneurship, like creativity, the spirit of initiative, taking risks also as responsibilities, and therefore the development of empathy;
• offering early knowledge of and contacts with the business world so as to know the role of entrepreneurship (and companies) within the community;
• raising awareness of self-employment as a possible career for college kids (the main message being that one can become an entrepreneur instead of a mere worker);
• organising activities supported learning while working: e.g., students running mini-companies or virtual firms; and
• providing specific training on the way to start a business (especially in vocational or technical schools and at university level) (Final Report, 2002).

Creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship can’t be taught. An appropriate environment must be created to get new ideas and awaken curiosity and an innovative spirit. this will be achieved through integrative learning, which enables problem-solving in realistic and authentic situations. Such processes boost self-confidence, build competencies supported personal resources and improve the bias toward action. If our goal is to encourage the event of innovation and entrepreneurship, then schoolwork might not be separated from the area people and therefore the production process. Nonetheless, encouraging the scholars to supply new ideas is simply the primary step. an honest idea must be developed, solidified, launched and eventually marketed (Likar 2004, 2007). Talent and determination aren’t sufficient; a private needs additional knowledge so as to succeed. within the model we advocate, students attempt to translate their creative ideas into useful results by means of the whole invention-innovation process, which involves thorough knowledge of certain phases and procedures that they will learn if properly instructed. also as instructing students in innovation, it’s also important to show them the way to present their ideas and projects to the general public . during this way, we help them develop their competence in entrepreneurship, although their abilities might not be evident until they enter the “real world” of labor or life outside of faculty (Svetlik, 2009). a private cannot possibly display their competencies until they find themselves in such a context. the very best level of competence is best demonstrated when responding to atypical situations. The relevant question is whether or not a private is competent to tackle new situations.
Companies and organisations are conscious of this issue. They understand that an area company, so as to foster innovation, requires the support of the immediate environment. The environment should provide sufficient incentives and entrepreneurial challenges for the young to show their ideas into real projects associated with different areas of local life. It is, of course, difficult to function and be creative and innovative in an environment which opposes innovation and fails to place it into practice. At an equivalent time, however, companies investing within the innovative ideas of children know that their employment potential lies in those exact same children . Slovenian schools, students and teachers are never barren of ideas: there are many organised external incentives for the event of creative and innovative processes in students. Nevertheless, research findings (cf. Likar et al., 2006; Lavrič et al., 2010; Mrgole, 2012) clearly indicate that schools, teachers and students are conscious of neglect during this area of the tutorial system. this suggests that improvements within the curriculum could help the young to internalise creativity and innovation and encourage the incentives to attach with the environment (Cankar et al., 2011). it’s evident that an incentive is neccessary to compile schools and therefore the latest findings on teaching creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship so on enable and boost the creation of excellent practices which might meet the subsequent criteria:

• being compatible with the prevailing conceptual and substantive starting points in education;
• being a part of the varsity system;
• having clearly defined goals;
• adopting a friendly and user-oriented approach;
• being adaptable and extensible in suitable conditions;
• being sustainable; and
• having identifiable and measurable results.

This model is established on several internationally recognised concepts, three of which are presented below. the primary is that the concept of creativity , which has been developed in recent decades by De Bono (2006). it’s built on the idea that creativity and heuristic are often taught employing a number of concepts and techniques which are applicable both in companies and in teaching.
The second concept is understood as “design thinking,” which may be a scientifically accepted pedagogical method (Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, 2011). It focuses on the techniques through which children can find out how to unravel problems in interdisciplinary groups by means of creativity and prototyping. The concept is predicated on the event of processes, services or products which aim at either solving specific issues or a minimum of at making the method faster and cheaper. The work is administered in schools and advances by stages. Teachers from different disciplines and native community representatives participate within the process.
The third concept may be a results of quite a decade of labor by Slovenian authors who developed a holistic concept entitled “From Mass to Excellence” (Likar, 2004). The model, supported modern concepts of creativity and open innovation (Chesbrough, 2003), was developed and tested within the framework of several national and international projects. It takes under consideration the socioeconomic, cultural, historic and social reality of Slovenia. The integral a part of the concept involves qualified teachers/mentors, parents and native or national actors participating within the innovation-entrepreneurial process. one among the important elements is that the training of teachers who are ready to develop students’ knowledge and competencies, understand them and their goals, and offer all the required support. during this model, the scholar is that the centre of attention. Students first acquire knowledge and competencies. At later stages, these are applied to concrete projects to creatively tackle concrete problems or challenges (Likar et al., 2006). The model has already seen several successful projects of children (e.g., an innovative bicycle), commercial products and services (a wood-chip burning stove, electrical installations without technical radiation), learning aids (IR interactive board), etc. additionally , educational and ICT accessories were developed to support both teachers and pupils (Likar, Fatur, 2004). The project was presented at the United Nations Office at Geneva and within the European Parliament as an example of excellent practice in promoting innovation.
Another important concept was developed as a part of the project entitled “Implementation of a comprehensive programme for encouraging creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship of the young through integration of the programmes into the activities of local communities from 2010 to 2012” (UPI, 2010). This was supported a few years of activities within the Chamber of Craft and little Business system at the local level, also as on the experience of the corporate SUN d. o. o. SUN d. o. o. worked at fostering the conditions for entrepreneurial thinking among the young by introducing entrepreneurship into primary schools (Erlih, 2011).
The model we propose isn’t designed as one activity, but as a structure connecting three similarly oriented activities: an entrepreneurship club, an elective subject entitled “Innovative Problem-Solving” and training for teachers and headmasters. Each of those activities features a different status and a special position within the curriculum and may be administered independently. They share the subsequent objectives:

• to develop knowledge and skills associated with the creative and innovative process of tackling any personal, social or business challenge;
• to develop personal competencies necessary for successful implementation of ideas (e.g., creativity, self-confidence, enthusiasm, courage, risk management, teamwork, persistence, imagination, empathy);
• to encourage the event of inventions and innovations, including products and services, new approaches to figure (organisational solutions), classroom activities and enhancements both within the local environment and at home;
• to acquire experience in developing new solutions; and
• to acquire experience in cooperating with the economy and therefore the local environment (innovators, researchers, local organisations).

2.1. Innovation and entrepreneurship club

Innovation and entrepreneurship clubs are one among the established sorts of promoting creativity and innovation in children . The programme is predicated on the idea that creativity and innovation are often taught. due to the complexity of the innovation process, it’s vital to start out acquiring innovation competencies, knowledge and knowledge at an early age. The role of the teacher is crucial during this process. The key objective of innovation and entrepreneurship clubs is to organize grade school students and teachers for creative and innovative work. Teachers acquire new knowledge and competencies which will assist them in nurturing creative and innovative youth within the future. Concrete knowledge and methods presented to the participants help create conditions for a replacement way of thinking and dealing within the era . The teacher must be creative, must demonstrate empathy with students and their ideas, and will be tolerant of out-of-the-box thinking . This programme may be a start line for teachers in using innovative teaching methods and inspiring also as mentoring their students in concrete innovations. The participants acquire the subsequent key competencies:

• acknowledging the importance of data and innovation for the society, school and themselves;
• acknowledging the importance and therefore the refore the role of the varsity and the teacher in developing innovative spirit in young people;
• ability to spot challenges, develop solutions and use the methods while putting inventions into practice;
• ability to spot creative potential in children and mentoring them;
• ability to organize and perform an innovative teaching programme;
• ability to know the scholars and motivate them;
• ability to transfer knowledge and skills to the young and develop their competencies;
• ability to guage innovation potential and results with reference to themselves and therefore the students;
• ability to develop new ideas and plan the realisation of these ideas;
• ability to figure as a team and adapt to the group;
• ability to understand selected ideas as a part of projects and mix different school subjects to facilitate that realisation; and
• ability to present selected ideas to the varsity or the local public.

The innovation and entrepreneurship club are often a part of all three triads of primary schools, with a view to encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship in children from an early age. the matter is that every of the triads doesn’t conclude as a coherent whole, but enables progressive expansion of data and competencies of scholars . this idea is cheap if it’ll be implemented throughout the triads of grade school . Otherwise, the teacher/mentor must carefully transfer the knowledge about the method of innovation and entrepreneurship so as to make a coherent whole.
All interested students can participate within the innovation and entrepreneurship club, which is organised at the first school, usually after regular classes, before the primary morning class or during the time for optional compulsory activities. The work is administered by professionally trained personnel. it’s advisable to possess two mentors responsible of the club, preferably an educator and an external partner from the area people (economist, business consultant, entrepreneur, innovator, etc.). it’s vital that mentors first undergo a consistent training and acquire all the required information on the way to guide the method . it’s best if a faculty starts the club at the start of the year so on include it in its publications and schedules. At the top of the varsity year, students organise a presentation of their projects either as a part of school activities or at special events. during this way, they’re ready to gather additional information about the possible realisation of their ideas. additionally , having to present their project to a wider audience increases their confidence. Everything they learn during clubs are often enhanced by attending an elective subject.

2.2. Elective subject “Innovative Problem-Solving”

This activity primarily aims at promoting creative and innovative problem-solving as a universally applicable skill, and one that’s at the core of entrepreneurial thinking and acting. It brings a few systemic change which may be a long-term and sustainable solution to incorporating creative and innovative incentives into primary schools. This elective subject is additionally an honest complement to the prevailing activities, e.g., entrepreneurial clubs and other structured activities which encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in the least educational levels.
This proposed activity is predicated on the choice of a grade school to hold out a programme within the framework of the elective subject “Innovative Problem-Solving”. Elective subjects are offered within the third triad of grade school (slight amendments to the grade school Act also envisage optional elective subjects within the first two triads) and are a part of the varsity curriculum. Elective subjects usually last for one year and are financed by the state. this sort of labor is sustainable. If a faculty decides to supply an elective subject, it’s required to supply facilities at its premises, form groups of scholars and choose the teacher leading the category . it’s necessary to place special emphasis on the choice of the power and equipment where the participants meet and work. the chosen room must be accessible within the afternoon and through weekends and will be equipped with certain helpful tools like the DVD player, projector and similar.
Prior to the initiation of the elective subject, the teacher responsible must undertake obligatory training (a module within the educational catalogue). a faculty offering an elective subject establishes contact with external partners from the area people (economist, business consultant, entrepreneur, innovator, etc.). it’s particularly advisable to incorporate parents who are running creative, innovative or entrepreneurial businesses. the foremost appropriate time for elective activities is after school. counting on the thought the group is functioning on, the work are often flexible yet continuous. Longer intervals between each meeting are inadvisable. External partners or teachers from other disciplines who work on the varsity which is offering the elective subject may get entangled if their skills are needed and consistent with the phase of labor .
The skills and private characteristics of young people—e.g., the power to spot problems and opportunities, creativity and heuristic , innovation, critical thinking, empathic actions and problem solving—are crucial for encouraging creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. Learning these skills is difficult and, as a result, they require an approach that diverges from the prevailing models. Numerous authors have already conducted research on this matter (Gibb, 2002, 2006; Katz, 2008; Neck & Greene, 2011) and formulated suggestions on the way to change the paradigm of teaching entrepreneurship (Rasmussen & Sorheim, 2006; Neck & Greene, 2011). it’s evident that classic administrative and entrepreneurial approaches, also because the use of business plans, fail to deliver satisfactory results when encouraging the event of creativity and innovation in children , and particularly grade school students (Honig & Karlsson, 2004; Garavan & O’Cinneide, 1994). The authors thus specialise in encouraging creative problem-solving (Martin, 2010; Meinel & Leifer; 2011; Kelley, 2005) which is universally applicable, but nonetheless at the core of entrepreneurial thinking and work. this is often particularly crucial for college kids , which is why design thinking (Rauth et al., 2010) is assuming dominance in primary and high schools (Carroll et al., 2010). Design thinking means identifying actual problems or needs of a private or the society and finding a concrete solution to the matter . This approach is holistic, which is additionally its main advantage: it incorporates the human aspect also because the technological and business aspects of problem-solving and uses relevant technical and business tools and skills. This approach is user-centred and action-based. It encourages transfer of data from all disciplines relevant to the matter (Brown, 2008).
Certainly, so as to adopt these approaches, teachers got to take a mental breakthrough and internalise the above-mentioned principles. Design thinking as a pedagogical approach doesn’t involve a revolution within the educational system; it’s a welcome complement to the prevailing approaches, including entrepreneurial clubs and other organised sorts of encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship in the least educational levels. On the opposite hand, design thinking is that the obligatory transitional phase to reply to and steel oneself against rapid change within the economy, society and nature within the coming decades. Specific knowledge is becoming more easily and widely available due to the event of varied networks. Complex problem-solving skills and entrepreneurial abilities will thus be increasingly important so as to achieve success both professionally and personally. However, the introduction of this sort of labor into schools will need to be gradual and in compliance with the principles for introducing change (cf. Hargreaves et al., 2010).
The process is split into several interconnected phases. the primary phase involves the identification and definition of the challenge or problem. the scholars examine the matter and plan to identify opportunities. Later, they observe the users and check out to get the maximum amount information as possible about the matter . within the next phase, students seek ideas which can suggest the way to solve the matter (although they’ll later convince be ineffective). The ideas may think a replacement product, service, process, space or system. within the prototyping phase, potential innovations, which have already been realised to a particular degree, are iteratively tested on users. During the last phase the thought is implemented. the ultimate result, ideally, is functional, useful and technically feasible, and features a complex financing plan (Setnikar-Cankar et al., 2011).

2.3. Training for teachers and headmasters

Experience suggests that, even once they have a superb idea, children have difficulties attaining the innovation phase without support of a trained mentor: they often fail to advance beyond their idea or research results (Likar, 2004). To alleviate this problem, we include a programme intended for pedagogical workers, school leaders and people wishing to become familiar with the innovation process, improve their own work and transfer their innovation knowledge and competencies to the young. The programme, which ensures sustainable and socially responsible work, consists of several integrated parts. The participants first study different approaches for motivating students; an optimal personal sort of communication with students; and therefore the significance of innovation for private and social development of themselves, the scholars and society.
In the next phase, the participants are informed about the invention-innovation process, which is that the foundation of each innovation process, be it an innovative approach to teaching or innovative activities involving children . the method begins by identifying needs, problems and opportunities. Potential solutions are developed by means of creativity methods. Adequate methods are wont to evaluate the answer s and further them through research and development work so on reach the phase where the solution becomes applicable. during this respect, the utilization of obtainable resources is vital and therefore the World Wide Web can nowadays provide communication channels throughout the innovation process. However, it’s vital that ideas become useful and/or profitable. The participants acquire knowledge, become familiar with tools and are ready to grasp the importance of appropriate innovation competencies: curiosity, creativity, courage, empathy, persistence, teamwork, etc. This a part of training is important for the teachers to know the importance of innovation and therefore the refore the methods applied to realize innovation results with reference to their own work and the work with students.
One a part of the training deals with the innovation process from the attitude of the teachers. Teachers must be creative so as to encourage creativity in their students. For this reason, innovative teaching methods, appropriate teaching resources and different approaches are necessary to realize the goal: an ingenious , motivated and innovative student. samples of such approaches are role-playing games, encouraging imagination and fantasy, content-changing tasks, creative perception, prediction tasks, out-of-the-box thinking tasks and questions. These techniques are often employed no matter the orientation of the topic (science, technology or social sciences) and at any educational level (kindergarten, grade school , high school). Online resources like encyclopaedias, audiovisual content, simulations, virtual tours of factories and museums offer a good sort of options, but teachers often don’t make sufficient use of them.
It is also important to present the models for encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship in education with modern concepts which became widely used abroad and in some Slovenian institutions. during this component, teachers become conscious of opportunities to cooperate with domestic and international actors, including parents, the local environment and related or complementary organisations reception or abroad. They study the methodology to guage innovation work and make improvements. The programme is split into three logically related and advanced parts; the participants may choose which one to attend. this permits greater flexibility in reference to the requirements and therefore the acquired competencies of execs in education.
Training also involves workshops. supported the methods presented above, the participants are required to conceive alittle project that specialize in innovation within the educational process. Key objectives of the tutorial programme are:

• to become familiar with the approach to motivating students on the idea of their value system;
• to become familiar with the model of emotional effectiveness;
• to develop an optimal personal sort of communication with students;
• to handle various reactions during difficult situations within the pedagogical process; and
• to grasp the importance of creativity and innovation for a private , schools and society.

The educational programme includes the subsequent structures:

• Challenge–idea–realisation process:
– identification of opportunities and problems
– production and evaluation of ideas
– research and development work and prototyping
– from idea to innovation—synthetic approach
• Innovative teaching:
– innovative teacher
– innovative teaching methods
– innovative teaching resources
– the role of World Wide Web in innovation
• Models for encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship in education:
– international models
– domestic models
• Evaluation:
– methodology for evaluating creativity and innovation of the teacher
– methodology for evaluating creativity and innovation of the scholar
• Practical work: innovation of the tutorial process


The model presented above comprises three related activities: an entrepreneurial club, an elective subject and training for teachers and headmasters. All pursue an equivalent goal, which is to extend the innovative and artistic capacity of scholars . Each of those activities features a different status and a special position within the curriculum and may be administered independently. There are demands for innovative change within the Slovenian educational system for the past decade, but the structures in situ have had minimal results. Our model aims to tackle the matter differently. We realise that a posh strategy for the revision of the tutorial curriculum is impossible in Slovenia at the instant . As a result, our proposal is takes an almost minimalist approach, and is thus feasible within the present environment. it’s nevertheless comprehensive and supported modern concepts which are a minimum of partially tested reception and abroad. We believe that the introduction of our proposed methods and structures would help improve the creative, innovative and entrepreneurial competencies of scholars . Effective promotion of creativity and innovation is important not just for economic results, but also from the attitude of social responsibility and therefore the reform the connection between innovation and the society as an entire . (collected and reformatted)

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