Building the Innovation School

T. Philip Nichols

Publication Date: May 13, 2022

Pages: 144

Synopsis: There is no shortage of innovations on offer for schools. Hardly a week passes without someone marching out the latest device, app, service, curricular add-on, or instructional technique that, we are told, is sure to cure the perennial woes of systemic education.

Building the Innovation School: Infrastructures for Equity in Today’s Classrooms by T. Philip Nichols (Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Baylor University) is an investigation of this enchantment with “innovation” and its implications for not only everyday teaching and learning, but also the future of public education.

Based on a study of The Innovation School (a public high school organized around makerspaces, design thinking, and personalized technology) Professor Nichols challenges conventional wisdom about how educational transformation unfolds and argues that the popular understanding of innovation exacerbates inequality and undermines teacher and student autonomy.

Building the Innovation School demonstrates how attending to the infrastructures of innovation leads to educational change that is driven by the interests and values of educators. Repair rather than disruption is the focus — a commitment to schools that allow all students to flourish.

Educators and school policy makers are: Shown how specific innovations actually work over time in the everyday life of the classroom; Provided resources for breaking through the hype of current (and future) innovations-of-the-day; Offered a framework for “innovating from below,” tailoring local innovations to the needs, values, and priorities of students, educators, and the community; Given an appendix of resources for teachers and administrators interested in applying the frameworks from Building the Innovation School in their own schools and classrooms.

Critique: Informatively enriched for the reader with the inclusion of an informative Foreword by Yasmin B. Kafai, an eight page listing of References, and an eight page Index, Building the Innovation School: Infrastructures for Equity in Today’s Classrooms is an especially valued and unreservedly recommended addition to school district, college, and university library Experimental Education Methods & Theories collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of educators, academicians, school policy makers, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that Building the Innovation School: Infrastructures for Equity in Today’s Classrooms is also available in a paperback edition (9780807766781, $34.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $33.20).

Read the full review at Midwest Book Review