Module One Definitions


The establishment of a new paradigm of capacity. More simply, innovation is a new way of thinking about something. As a result of innovation, understanding is presented in new ways, and the capacities for application (whether of physical innovations, like technology, or ideas) is broadened.

We tend to consider innovation from a social perspective. I have tried hard to define it here in such a way that it does not just refer to technology. Innovation is most commonly defined in reference to technological developments that change our way of living, or lead to new, more advanced technology. These allow us to interact and engage with the world differently.

What else allows us to engage with the world differently?

Changes in thought.

The Copernican Revolution, the Enlightenment, and other dramatic changes in philosophy have had great effects on society and our capacity to innovate, because they change how we perceive the world around us. Therefore, I believe we can consider philosophical changes as being forms of innovation.

If you can accept this, then we can start considering how changes in our understandings of the world around us can be innovative as well. Thus, we can define both cultural innovations (new philosophies with wide ranging effects), as well as individual innovations (personal changes in understanding). There is a real danger of only considering historical advances as being innovative. Rather, let us value the developments of our young learners and ourselves. While we may not reach the upper echelons of philosophical significance, developments in our own worldly understanding deserve recognition too.


Creativity is a novel approach to a situation. In this case, novel is related to individual naivety of a solution. A method of solving can be creative, even if it has been done many times before, as long as the individual is ignorant of the solution. Creativity is dampened by a conception of “proper” or “correct” solutions. Social conceptions of the self further affect this, such as those defined by traditional school systems.

Let’s consider a traditional school model. A problem is presented and a “correct” method of solution is already defined. Learners practice this method and eventually solve the problem. This would be a non-creative solution. Creativity would be finding a novel way to solve the problem. As a result of the hierarchical definition of individuals implicit in the traditional school model, learners are less inclined to act creatively, and thus find themselves confronted with “uncertainty” towards being creative. Therefore inexpert individuals, err towards traditional solving methodologies.


The transmission of knowledge or constructs of understanding from one individual to another. More simply, teaching is articulation of understanding.

I believe it is important to separate our idea of teaching from our ideas of “correctness.” Normally, this is a foundational construct implicit in our understanding of teaching. Teachers teach what is right. However, if we follow human history, we can see many things that have been taught in the past (or in different parts of the world right now) that we might consider to be incorrect. Therefore, I believe it is important to consider teaching as the transmission of personal understanding to others. As elementary school teachers will tell you, you will learn so much from your students. Teaching is any situation where an individual presents a new perspective, construct, understanding, or any other noun you like. The act of teaching is a foundational aspect of knowledge development.


The creation of understanding.

Learning is a process that happens in line with teaching. It is when new concepts, ideas, or anything else is presented to us and gradually defined within the constructs of our existing understanding. To learn, is to take something new and create an understanding of it from the already established psychological constructs. During this process of creation, articulation and definition occurs. This articulation is a sharing (or teaching) of understanding to the social community around, which then leads to further specification of understanding.

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