These are a few of my favourite things.

The Canadian Education Association (CEA) are running a really cool blog series on innovation in public education. CEA President and CEO Ron Canuel asks a thought-provoking and (it seems) controversial question: why do we need innovation in education?
CEAThe answers come from a variety of contributors, including Andrew Campbell, Bruce Dixon, and yours truly. I was asked to contribute from the parent perspective, and my thoughts are here. Cue Sir Mix-a-lot. 🙂

Writing the post gave me pause for thought as I struggled to say something nice, but to also get the point across that I am frustrated by the lack of innovation in the Canadian public system. To balance it out – since I’m trying to be all about balance these days (I’m sitting on an exercise ball as I write this. Whoops, I fell. Ok, now I’m back on.) – I wanted to quickly point to some edtech action that points to shiny and bright. And awesome.

First, Penyo Pal. I had the distinct pleasure of connecting with founder Jane Wu and learned about the inspiration behind this innovative language app for kids. It was heartening to hear that Jane is part of an emerging edtech “tribe” in Toronto and is committed to sharing and learning while she builds her business and improves the experience for young language learners.

KAST Contraption ContestNext, with a bit more local flair, is the Kootenay Association for Science and Technology (KAST) and their 2012 Contraption Contest.
This year, KAST is asking young makers to “Imagine the year is 2050. How will we use less energy?”
This project gives kids the ability to think, and solve, and make, and create in the format of their choice, opening up participation to others beyond the digitally-skilled. Never underestimate the innovative powers of the brains of young’uns. I’m counting on them.

And last but not least, a couple of interesting articles and initiatives that inspired me and made me clap aloud.
Katrina Schwarz at MindShift examines some innovative alternatives to the ubiquitous SmartBoard.
If you’re in BC, invites to you to involve your classrooms in the upcoming 2013 provincial election.
Kicker: New Media Startup Fights Back Against the Dumbing Down of America