i5 Approach

group people sitting with their laptops at a table
  • Date: Oct 23, 2023


Brain science has advanced at an astonishing rate over the past 15 years, and there are now fresh perspectives on just about everything. In this blog, we analyse a new concept brought into the education limelight. The article ‘How Innovative Teachers Can Start Teaching Innovation’ by Jane E. Pollock, Laura J. Tolone, and Gary S. Nunnally introduces an industry-leading method to enhance technologically mediated lesson planning to generate creative, innovative thinking – The skills that will drive society forward. 

The method they propose is the i5 Approach – a systematic process of modernising classroom lessons and expanding the state of overall curriculum planning. It is rooted in Inquiry-based learning, with the goal of guiding students towards applying 21st-century skills in the classroom the way they do in their everyday lives 

Understanding the 5 i’s that make up the i5 Approach is the bedrock to incorporating it into the classroom: 

Information: In the pre-digital era, students relied on textbooks; today, a quick Google search provides a wealth of information. Whilst information is easily accessible, the thinking skills needed to process and assess it are what the teacher needs to harness for the i5 Approach to work. 

Images: With over 70% of information processed visually, the i5 Approach places significant emphasis on leveraging visual imagery. It recognises that the brain processes pictures and diagrams 60,000 times faster than textual material, making visuals a powerful resource for learning. 

Interaction: Learning does not happen in a vacuum, and interacting with peers is hugely important, to build the capacity for teamwork, feedback sharing, and collaborative thinking. The internet makes seeking expert advice much easier, but in-class collaboration is where the real innovation takes place. 

Inquiry: Inquiry-based learning reframes questioning away from a deficit-model tool to an exploration tool, encouraging learners to go beyond the role of ‘receivers of content’, to become active participants in the learning process.  

Innovation: Making posters are perfectly fine learning demonstrations, but how many posters does a student need to make over 13 years, and does this allow for deeper learning in the future world? The i5 Approach gives conscious thought to development through rigorous, creative demonstrations of knowledge using a variety of digital tools to showcase innovation.  


In a world inundated with stimuli and information, students naturally grapple with various thoughts, from online purchasing decisions to event scheduling. Recognising the importance of capitalising on these cognitive processes, educators are increasingly advocating for their integration into the classroom environment. 

In the pursuit of a ‘comprehensive’ learning experience, several high-yield strategies have surfaced: 

  • Identifying Similarities and Differences 
  • Summarising and Taking Notes 
  • Reinforcing Positive Effort 
  • Practicing 
  • Using Non-linguistic Representations 
  • Creating a Cooperative Learning Environment 
  • Setting Objectives and Offering Feedback 
  • Generating and Testing Hypotheses 
  • And many more. 

Traditional textbook learning tends to emphasise only the ‘practicing’ element, often relying on assignments that focus on simple information recall. However, these approaches fall short in promoting comparative analysis or interleaving content for holistic learning. It is evident that such conventional methods, centred around memorisation, yield only short-term results, and most textbooks are geared this way. 

While the importance of repetition in solidifying procedural knowledge (the memory required to ride a bike for example) is well established, a crucial distinction arises when dealing with declarative knowledge, which encompasses facts, concepts, and information. The latter type of knowledge forms a critical foundation for nurturing innovative thinking, prompting educators to explore methods that embed it in the deep recesses of long-term memory. 

The i5 Approach, guided by the following five key questions, aligns with this shift in focus, and should shape educators’ choices of technologies: 

  1. How would more information enhance students’ comprehension of the topic’s details and breadth? 
  2. How would images or non-linguistic representations imbue meaning or context into the topic? 
  3. How would interaction with programs or peers offer clarifying and corrective feedback? 
  4. How would inquiry—a fundamental thinking skill—deepen the understanding of a topic and foster engagement? 
  5. What innovative ideas could students generate to demonstrate their understanding? 

In essence, by encouraging thoughtful consideration of these questions, the i5 Approach aligns technology integration with the broader objective of nurturing critical thinking and deepening conceptual understanding. 

The content of the lessons must result in students becoming both technologically savvy and much better at gathering the correct information, so they can create their own ideas and only use the information sourced as a springboard. Overall, this will enhance their ability to sort, anticipate, plan, predict, and evaluate.  

The Genee Take

As we navigate the evolving education landscape, it becomes evident that the i5 Approach, with its emphasis on technology-driven innovation, aligns with Genee’s vision.  

As teachers, we have all been rather disappointed and discouraged when we have seen our exciting initiatives vanish when they have had insignificant impacts on increasing motivation, and instead, led attention astray. A simple re-shuffling of the desks and doing learning walks around the room, as we know, does not alleviate this issue. 

It’s evident that traditional lesson planning falls short of preparing students for the demands of the 21st century. The i5 Approach emerges as a beacon, offering a transformative framework that emphasises critical thinking, creativity, and innovation. It advocates for the cultivation of true inquiry steps, and positions technology an integral catalyst for meaningful learning experiences. 

In the pursuit of fostering the five pillars of the i5 Approach, Genee emerges as the perfect companion for educators. Here’s why: 

  • Interactive Displays for Information and Images: Genee’s interactive displays bring information to life, creating a dynamic experience that complements the i5 Approach’s focus on visual imagery. Students can explore a world of knowledge at their fingertips, transforming the learning environment into an engaging space.
  • Collaboration through Technology: With collaborative tools and software integrated into our screens, students can seamlessly engage with peers, fostering teamwork, feedback sharing, and collaborative thinking—essential components for true innovation.
  • Inquiry with Visualisers: Among Genee’s suite of creative tools, our visualisers provide a hands-on approach to inquiry-based learning. Students can explore objects, documents, and artifacts in intricate detail, encouraging curiosity and thoughtful questioning.
  • A variety in screen sizes: The correct screen size is critical for the learning experience. This aids information accessibility, interaction, and innovative learning experiences tailored to the unique requirements of each classroom.
  • Quality in Software: Incorporating features such as gesture control, multi-touch, high-quality sound, live video incorporation, among others, the Genee technology enriches the classroom experience, and ensures accessible and engaging information delivery.
  • Versatile Learning Options with G-Touch® Tables: The G-Touch® Tables can be used horizontally for group interaction or tilted for use, all while ensuring mobility and safety with their wheel and brake system. The huddle spaces foster dynamic peer interactions, while the 22 installed educational apps provide a holistic, personalised learning experience.
  • Developed in the UK: Our screens and tables meet rigorous quality standards and adhere to local regulations, providing educators with the confidence that they are utilising technologically advanced tools designed specifically for the UK educational environment. 

As we consider the education landscape evolving towards blended learning and technological integration, Genee stands at the forefront, ready to equip classrooms with the tools needed to realise the full potential of the i5 Approach. Together, we can create an environment where students not only absorb information but actively engage, collaborate, inquire, and innovate—building the skills necessary for a future driven by creativity and critical thinking. 

In embracing the i5 Approach with Genee, classrooms transform into dynamic hubs of learning, where technology becomes an enabler.