The District[x] Innovation Catalyst

A framework for growing and supporting innovation in education.

David Knapp

A Google Innovator Idea from


David Knapp

Director of Technology

Loveland, OH

My Account

NOTE: Thank you to Google Materials Design for allowing the use of their open icons used throughout this presentation under the Apache License Version 2.0.

Image credit: Ohio outline. Retreived from Image credit: Ford assembly line, 1913. Retreived from

The Original Spark

“If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.”

-John Dewey

Image credit: John Dewey. Retreived from

The New Reality

“Adults need to be able to ask great questions, critically analyze information, form independent opinions, collaborate, and communicate effectively. These are the skills essential for both career and citizenship. be most likely to succeed—young adults now need to be creative and innovative problem-solvers.”

-Dr. Tony Wagner

Image credit: Tony Wagner. Retreived from

The Problem

We are not teaching to the new reality. Innovation is not easy and it certainly doesn’t come natural for all.

For public educators, where compliance and mandates loom over teachers and principals daily, innovation is even further removed than for most.

Although idealistic in nature and now being prioritized by many districts and ed leaders, innovation in teaching and learning, by and large, is not supported in a way that allows it to happen organically in schools.

The Inconvenient Truth

This is what I heard when I recently spoke with teachers about the challenges of being innovative in the classroom:

  • “There’s not enough time to enrich/intervene with every student.”
  • “How can students work ahead in the content without me having to worry about issues of cheating, plagiarism and academic integrity?”
  • “You can’t expect me to to manage/personalize the learning process of all my students as if they are all on an IEP!”
  • “It doesn’t matter what I think is important. My students have to pass the end of course exam.”

The Vision

The purpose of the District[x] Innovation Catalyst is to grow a culture of innovation across the school, while advocating for teachers, students and administrators to teach, learn and lead focusing on the needs of the innovation era reality.

To transform education, and for teachers to feel truly capable and supported in fostering innovation in the classroom, the school culture must promote this growth from within.

This project will develop a framework that advocates for innovation through distributed leadership, professional learning, and (most importantly) shared attribution and ownership around innovation in the classroom, involving teachers, students, parents and community members.

The Process






April and on

Google Innovator Academy

Collaborate with Toronto tribe to construct and build upon existing Loveland[x] prototype.

Advocate for Loveland[x] Innovators

Assemble school-based teams (6 total) involving teachers, students, admins and community members.

Laying the foundation

Loveland[x] teams will work to establish goals and mindset of group around the district goal of innovation.

Find the problem

Rallying around needs of students, identify unique challenges around innovation in the classroom.

Strategize around the problem

Develop a strategy around the problem that creates networked learning and growth opportunities for all involved.

Implement, transform, reflect, iterate

Based on strategic innovation plan, begin implementation across school and district. Reflect, iterate often. Moving forward, the Loveland[x] team expands and takes on big challenges, developing even bigger solutions.

The Tools

Spoiler alert: This project is REALLY not about the tech or the tools. It’s about the process, the people and school district culture.


Innovation in the classroom, and the skills it grows and enables, needs to be put on display through the following means:

  • Community: District website, Twitter and Facebook
  • Internal: Through use of GAFE communication tools (Google + communities, building email, internal school websites, Twitter chats, etc)


Although grown and vetted locally, this project will be documented and made available to educators across the globe through:

  • Google Sites to house content, progress, challenges and successes
  • Google + communities to share progress, and engage in opportunities for feedback
  • Google Hangouts, Twitter chats, etc. to connect with educators with shared vision


The Loveland[x] Innovation Team operates around a central idea of personal/professional growth:

  • Google Classroom for hosting book study meeting rooms, discussion boards, online learning opportunities, etc.
  • Professional learning opportunities and collaborative work will focus as the primary growth factor. Tools will vary.

The Summary

For the sake of our student’s futures, schools can no longer afford to look like this, where content and testing dominate our curriculum and pedagogy.

The solution

Ford assembly line, 1913. Retreived from

We must empower teachers and students to meet the innovation challenge head on, and the District[x] Innovation Catalyst will grow every aspect of our schools locally for this revolutionary and desperately needed shift in school culture.

Image credit: Ford assembly line, 1913. Retreived from

[Certified Innovator Application] Vision Deck Template - The District[x] Innovation Catalyst - Google Slides