In order to respond to the evolving demands of a rapidly changing society, schools and policy makers need to be able to adapt quickly. This calls for innovative solutions to new problems, which in turn demands flexibility and cooperation. Questions remain over the ability of existing structures to accomplish the necessary changes. To what extent can bureaucratic hierarchies be replaced by peer-to-peer educational networks to promote improvements in management, innovation and professionalism?
Innovation is important to education at both the macro and micro levels. In order for the schooling sector to provide the services required in an era of rapidly expanding information and communication (the 'knowledge society'), there is increasing pressure on school systems to provide flexible, personalised learning. This necessitates the formation of networks, and collaboration between schools and the broader society.
Indeed, OECD countries are increasingly described as "network societies." Networks promote sound decision-making in response to changing conditions, pressures, and centers of decision-making through the horizontal, flexible participation of key players. The network structure can create dynamics that promote innovation, but careful management is necessary to ensure equity and efficiency.
At the micro level, individual schools must also generate the flexibility required to develop innovative solutions. Whether this entails more and better use of ICTs, or creating facilities and forums for parents and pupils to voice their demands, it is clear that schools need to innovate in order to teach students in the technological age. The work collected in this section of the knowledge bank discusses the challenges faced by schools in the knowledge society, and the innovative steps that are being taken to meet them.