“By leveraging their passions during the school day, we can give students more opportunities to connect what they are studying with the real-world issues they care about. That’s how students will define innovation on their own terms, as something that will enable them to shape their future. In the long run, engaging student passion may be our best strategy for bringing innovation to school.” – Suzie Boss, Bringing Innovation to Schools

In a digital learning landscape, student passion lies at  the heart of of the disruption we are beginning to see in truly innovative schools. Many educators are seeking ways to develop student innovators within the frameworks of the traditional school structures. Initiatives such as introducing technologies can give students more tools with which to create and problem-solve. Seeking out authentic audiences and providing real-world problems to investigate provides powerful motivation for students to produce quality work.

Educators have been working to become effective facilitators of learning, or “the guide on the side” for over a decade now. Yet, it seems we still need to tackle the core issue of information overload. The standards movement has been working to define what each student needs to know since the 1980s. Since that time, knowledge has continued to grow exponentially. If mastery of a defined content – a core component of schooling in the past – is still relevant today, how do we select what students should learn once they have mastered the fundamentals of literacy and mathematics?  

What should learners know when they have access to all the world’s information at their fingertips?  If we are honest with ourselves and truly mean it when we say that learning should be student-centred, the answer to this question is inevitable:

Whatever they want.