“The world no longer cares how much you know; the world cares about what you can do with what you know.” – USA

Tony Wagner’s latest book, “Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World” is clearly resonating, as educators, parents and policy-makers who are increasingly frustrated by the slow pace of education transformation search for answers. In the book, Wagner, a leading thinker in education reform and change management, examines how successful young innovators got that way. For him, “innovation is not promoted in the current school system.” Indeed, we often hear examples of successful businessmen and entrepreneurs who succeeded despite less-than-ideal schools. So Wagner began to look for patterns in parenting, socialization and education that lead to innovative thinking, and came up with some surprising and inspiring answers.

I was thrilled to speak to Wagner recently, to hear what we can all learn from the development of these innovators and how our education system must change to ensure we create more of them.
Here are some questions to think about:
* With knowledge being now a free commodity, how can we create value added players?
* How can we develop a culture of learning that would promote the 21st century skills? (According to Wagner, “We must focus on skills and not content,” and “to succeed in the 21st-century economy, students must learn to analyze and solve problems, collaborate, persevere, take calculated risks and learn from failure”.)
* What can we learn from the Findland and Singapore school systems?

Developing 21st century skills such as teamwork/collaboration, problem solving, creativity, innovation and critical thinking are necessary to improve learning outcomes, create economic growth and increase employability… And like Tony Wagner, I strongly believe that schools, teachers, education leaders and governments must all encourage these skills.

About Tony Wagner
Innovation Education Fellow, Technology & Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Tony Wagner recently accepted a position as the first Innovation Education Fellow at
the Technology & Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard.  Prior to this, he was the founder and co-director of the Change Leadership Group at the Harvard Graduate School of  Education for more than a decade. Tony consults widely to schools, districts,  and foundations around the country and internationally.  His previous work experience includes twelve years as a high school teacher, K-8 principal, university professor in teacher education, and founding executive director of Educators for Social Responsibility.

Wagner is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences and a widely published author.  His work includes numerous articles and five books. Wagner’s latest, Creating Innovators: The Making of  Young People Who Will Change The World, has just been published by Simon & Schuster to rave reviews. His 2008 book, The Global Achievement Gap has been an international best seller and is being translated into Chinese. Tony has also recently collaborated with noted filmmaker Robert Compton to create a 60 minute documentary, “The Finland Phenomenon: Inside the World’s Most Surprising School System.”

Tony earned an M.A.T. and an Ed.D. at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland
Current residence: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Website I check every day: The New York Times
Favorite childhood memory: Growing up on a farm
Next travel destination (work or pleasure): Australia–hiking in the rain forest, diving on the Great Barrier reef, and giving a talk to Westfarmers senior managers in Melbourne
When was the last time you laughed? Why? Laugh at myself nearly every day…or try to… in order to not take myself too seriously
Favorite book: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Favorite music: Bach and Bruce [Springsteen] and the Beatles
Your favorite quote or motto: “The formulation of the problem is often more essential than the solution.” – Einstein


Learn more about Assessment and Teaching of the 21st Century Skills

Sponsored by Cisco, Intel and Microsoft, ATC21S aims to help educators around the world enable students with the skills to succeed.

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