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Demystifying Innovation: Strategies for Cutting-Edge Educational Programming

Colorado Convention Center, 203

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Executive Director of Innovation
St. Vrain Valley School District
Axel Reitzig is currently the Executive Director of Innovation at the Innovation Center of the St. Vrain Valley School District. His core mission is to develop innovative, dynamic and high-quality programming, both at the Innovation Center as well as across SVVSD by creating and cultivating strategic partnerships, identifying and exploring cutting-edge technologies, collaborating with other SVVSD staff and departments, coordinating the diffusion of innovative programming from the Innovation Center throughout the district and beyond, and participating in leadership at the district, state and national levels.

Session description

Innovation is not a mysterious process accessible to only a few. It is a practice that can be mastered by educators of all backgrounds. I will share strategies on implementing innovative education in your school, drawing on over 10 years of developing and scaling innovative programs.

Purpose & objective

Participants will learn about the process of innovation, how it works and what research has been done around it, particularly the Diffusion of Innovation model developed by E.M. Rogers in the 1960s. This model explores the phenomenon of how technological innovations diffuse throughout a system and society. It also defines various stages of the innovation process, including innovators, early adopters, early mainstream and late mainstream.

Additionally, we'll explore the rationale of why innovation is important and examples of how innovations begin, develop and scale within educational settings. I'll share specific examples of how we've done this at the Innovation Center and in St. Vrain Valley Schools, including an exploration of the development of our competitive robotics program.

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1. Innovation at the SVVSD Innovation Center: 5 minutes, video introduction

2. Welcome and Overview: 5 minutes:
- Elbow partner: What caught your attention or made you excited?
- Overview of Innovation Center

3. What is Innovation? 15 minutes
- Overview of E.M. Rogers work
- How this has guided our work at the Innovation Center
- How innovation can benefit everyone

4. Self-Reflection: What does Innovation look like in your context? 10 minutes.
- What innovations are happening in your context? Who is leading them? How did they start?
- What are challenges in offering or developing innovative programming? How might you address them?
- What are your goals for the next three years?

5. Strategies for developing and scaling innovative programs: 10 minutes
- The value of systems thinking
- Start with vision, end with resource
- Who's your team?

6. Q&A: 10 minutes

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Supporting research


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Session specifications

Innovative learning environments
Grade level:
Skill level:
Principals/head teachers, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Attendee devices:
Devices not needed
Subject area:
Career and technical education, STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards:
For Education Leaders:
Visionary Planner
  • Engage education stakeholders in developing and adopting a shared vision for using technology to improve student success, informed by the learning sciences.
Empowering Leader
  • Empower educators to exercise professional agency, build teacher leadership skills and pursue personalized professional learning.
Systems Designer
  • Establish partnerships that support the strategic vision, achieve learning priorities and improve operations.