Why the Status Quo is High-Risk

Who was the second person to walk on the moon?

Many people know that Neil Armstrong was the first, but most people have never heard of Charles Conrad or David Scott (the third and seventh, respectively) even though these people walked on the *moon. *

In the world of education, many innovative ideas are questioned by administrators because there is no precedent. Neil Armstrong had no precedent to follow when he took the first steps on the moon, but Charles Conrad and David Scott did. Education administrators often ask for examples of other people who have tried the idea. They want to know what the “best practices” are even though truly innovative ideas have no precedents, by definition. Innovation carries risks and risks can be scary to decision makers.

The risks associated with the status quo are not usually discussed even though they are just as scary. They are not perceived that way because the failures caused by maintaining the status quo happen slowly. If you refuse to innovate today, nothing bad will happen today. If you do what you’ve always done for a year, nothing bad will happen for a while either. However, over time, others will slowly pass you.


If NASA followed this approach, they would have gotten better at launching rockets for a few years and then one day a cosmonaut would be walking on the moon first because they took the risk to be innovative. It is no different for K-12 schools and universities across the globe. Textbooks, lectures and term papers are seen as low risk methods until a new model comes along and makes them obsolete. By then, it is usually too late to catch up because others have a huge head start. They got that head start by using their imagination to innovate, not by following precedent.

At VoiceThread, we believe in imagination and the need to take the risks necessary to innovate and improve. That’s why we redesigned and improved VoiceThread. This isn’t about us though, it’s about you the educator. All of the improvements to VoiceThread don’t matter if educators incorporate them into an old model of teaching and learning. Online courses, flipped classrooms and hybrid models are evolving every day. Are you going to follow the trends or create new ones? It’s up to you to decide if you are going to get better at launching rockets or be the first person in your institution to walk on the moon.

Learn how your school can make the switch to the new VoiceThread here: https://voicethread.com/trynewvt/