Review: Creating Innovators

Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World by Tony Wagner
Innovative education advocate Tony Wagner (also author of The Global Achievement Gap) makes the case for preparing students for the innovation-driven economy in his latest book. Profiles of successful young innovators paired Microsoft Tags (similar to QR codes) that link to original videos, produced by filmmaker Robert A. Compton, to help enhance understanding. The videos are a wonderful compliment to Wagner’s text.
Casting a broad net, this book covers early learning, K-12 and higher ed from the perspective of teachers, students, schools, parents, employers and mentors. Wagner highlights how today’s Innovation Generation has different goals and ambitions than generations before. The result of growing up in this radically different economy is a need for engagement and meaning when searching for a careers for today’s young adults. The young innovators profiled in Wagner’s book are in STEM fields, engaged in social innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Increasingly in the twenty-first century, what you know is far less important than what you can do with what you know,” says Wagner.

Allowing students to ask questions and discover things on their own will increase innovation according to Wagner. The shift toward learning innovation will not only require transforming K-12 but a student’s higher ed experience. Wagner profiles transformational programs that allow innovation at the highest level of education.

“Teachers, parents, mentors, and employers all play essential roles in shaping the future of innovation in America and the world.”

Throughout the book, three main themes – play, passion and purpose – are woven in to real world examples and stories of successful young innovators and the programs that enabled their success. It is encouraging to see a book use innovations in its own right by incorporating videos, QR codes and a website.
By Tony Wagner, with video content produced by Robert A. Compton
Scriber, A Division of Simon & Schuester, Inc.
Publication Date: April 2012
*This book was provided to the Getting Smart team for review.

Caroline Vander Ark

Caroline is President of Getting Smart.

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