Hi there! We are the ERP Academy at iTech @ Thomas A. Edison Educational Center. ERP is the merging of business and technology, and how we learn from it, work with it, and succeed with its help. I was once asked by one of my students, Donovan Raphael, if I could sum up ERP in four words which would they be. The four words that sum up the ERP Academy for me are:
Why these words? Business. ERP students learn how to navigate the business world and the intricacies that go along with it. How to work in teams. How to communicate effectively so things get done the right way. How to make things happen and be catalysts for positive change. So that’s how I feel about “business”. Why technology? Because these students are learning how to use this tool – technology – to make sure that their efforts in business are as advanced and as great as they can possibly be. They are learning how to use the tools that everyone in the world is using more and more every moment of the day. They are getting a head start in the game, which is given to them so they can always win. We live in a world where over 6 billion of the world’s population have access to a connected device. This will not stop. It will only advance – in my lifetime, and certainly in that of my students’.
The word creativity has a lot to do with the ERP Academy. Business is about a lot more than numbers and files. Business is about doing, solving problems, and finding problems that need to be solved. How do these problems get tackled? By being creative about finding solutions. Albert Einstein once said that we cannot solve a problem with the same mentality that created it. So we think that if a problem was created, we need to think outside of the box, think differently, so we can actually find solutions to it. As a teacher I try to make the learning process, and the process of solving problems, fun for students. They are learning the entire time, and mastering these skills, while being able to apply them in real world situations. Learning is best done by doing. When we make things personal, they actually begin to matter. So, I allow the ERP students to own their education. They are held responsible for their actions, and this creates an environment that works based on their desire to learn – not my desire to help them memorize, test, and soon forget. I’ve found that you need to do. You need to share your ideas because they are valid. You learn by having that open sandbox space – having the room to show how YOU set ideas and knowledge to action.
Innovation. Innovation is about change. Innovation is about making things better. It’s about making things work. Innovation isn’t always about reinventing the wheel. Something doesn’t need to be completely changed to be innovative. Students learn how to see things from a different perspective. They look at products, services, industries, processes, and think “How can this be better? How can I innovate this so it actually works?” Innovation comes in many forms, and it’s not only about the design of something we can hold in our hands. It’s about the services we receive. It’s about the jobs we have. It’s about the processes we go through to get service. It’s also about making connections that help students reach their goals.
When students know how to use what they have practiced from texts and learned in a class, then they can innovate. When they make use of what they’ve learned, see if it works, and if it doesn’t then change it, innovation takes place. It’s an endless cycle, and one that the ERP students are learning to be a part of and thrive in.