Saturday, October 1, 2016

Innovators Mindset Part I #IMMOOC

As I read The Innovators Mindset by George Couros (@gecouros),  I highlight and sketch note ideas that resonate with me. In order to process and reflect on my reading, this blog post will highlight concepts that are important to me.

Chapter 1: What Innovation Is and Isn't

  • The Why of Education- The purpose of education is to develop learners and leaders who will create a better present and future. I personally do not think the 20th Century "Factory" model of education was designed for this purpose. Why do our schools still operate like factories or institutions that utilize bell structures, compliance, conformity, age grouping and ridged paths for college and career readiness?
  • Innovation= a new way of thinking. Just doing something new is not enough, it needs to be better. Things, tasks and technology are not innovations in and of themselves but can be products of innovative thinking.
  • Innovation Starts with a Question- What is best for this learner? Questions regarding our practice should make us feel somewhat uncomfortable because they make us focus outside of our comfort zone and acknowledge the fact that we may need to change.
  • Open Innovative Learning- because innovation is about creating new and better, examining the work of others and reflecting on how it is relevant to ourselves can ignite innovation. We take an idea from someone else, filter it through our current state of reality and change it to suit our particular needs unique perspective. Technologies allow us to connect, share ideas, remix and re-share on a scale not previously possible.
Chapter 2: The Innovators Mindset
  • The quote at the beginning by Stephen Downes immediately conjured a thought about professional learning. I see myself and my colleagues as avid learners. We engage in twitter chats, blog, read professional articles, research and books, attend EdCamps. We don't wait for someone to tell us what to learn or when we can learn it. I think many educators view professional learning as an event or requirement for their jobs rather than looking at is as a continuous process that is most effective when we are driving it for ourselves.
  • Creating something new and better- Translating knowledge into action is even more important than acquiring information. If your brain is simply a vessel that contains knowledge but does nothing with it, what use is it? You might be great a trivia games but what are you contributing to the world around you? I don't understand why we are still teaching students factual information that can be found in a Google search rather than putting more emphasis on creating new ideas, process, products, solving problems, engaging in debates, asking questions, and challenging the status quo? That is what we need from them as adults to meet the previously stated purpose of education.
Chapter 3: Characteristics of the Innovator's Mindset
  • Empathetic- We need to think about the environment and opportunities we are providing from the students perspective. I know it may be fun for the math teacher to stand at the front of the room while drawing and explaining a concept on the board, while they are in the middle of a rapturous lecture on how to determine the domain and range of a linear function in mathematical problem what is the learner experiencing?
  • Problem Finders/Solvers- This requires teacher to reflect on and analyze their practice. If your lesson did not turn out the way you hoped, you have to get down in the mud and roll around with it for awhile and figure out why and what could've made it better.
  • Risk takers- This involves getting out of that comfort zone and being prepared to fail and iterate. If you are not a risk-taker then your students will not be either and innovation can not occur.
  • Networked- The idea of the Audience Effect. When you have an audience you have to really understand your thinking in order to be convincing Your performance or product has a new level of importance when you have an authentic audience and you want to do your best.
  • Observant- Sometimes ideas come from unexpected places. Mine usually come to me in the shower ( or while trying to fall asleep) while thinking about something I've seen or read recently and how it relates to a project I'm working on.
  • Creators- This characteristic really resonated with me. Creation takes time. Our current system focuses on "covering the curriculum". "You have 10 days + or - to cover this unit." Not investing in process of creation actually limits the development of a deep understanding of the content. The constructivist approach to learning is built on the premise that people construct learning/understanding through their experiences. Creating something new connects the learner in a personal way to the content they are learning and develops in them a true understanding of concepts.
  • Resilient- innovators must be prepared to move forward, even when the risk of rejection is involved. Several times this week I have met with rejections and resistance to an innovation I am working on and have felt the desire to quit. When I reflect and discuss with my team it helps me build resilience!
  • Reflective- DEAR= Drop Everything and Reflect. I love this! Reflecting in this blog post has helped me process the new learning from this book!