What If?

Asking powerful questions sparks conversations that can lead to endless possibilities and potential for growth.  In Learner Centered Innovation: Spark Curiosity, Ignite Passion, and Unleash Genius, Katie Martin opens with the question, “What if?”

Learner-centered innovation is all-inclusive – students, teachers, and administrators.  What if we were all learning together?  How would that change our schools?  What if being learner-centered was truly at the core of our vision?  What would need to change? Contine reading

The Innovator’s Mindset MOOC – Intro

My learning journey has taken me to many places, but for me, the best parts have been the connections with people and the questions and ideas that won’t let my brain rest.  My goal with this post will be to summarize several hours of learning.  Common themes are the need for a change in vision and culture.  If we truly want to create a mindset for innovation, what must be included? What are the big questions?

Questions drive learning, and what I’ve discovered is that great leaders and visionaries are willing to ask hard questions.  Through conferences, Twitter, and my PLN, I’ve connected with some amazing influencers, one of whom is George Couros.  As a current participant in The Innovator’s Mindset MOOC, I think back to meeting George Couros when he was a keynote speaker at UCET 2014 (Utah Council for Educational Technology).  His keynote was titled “Innovate. Create. Vision.”  

Then in 2016, our team was fortunate to attend the FETC Executive Summit where George talked about “Building a Culture for Innovation.”  My key takeaways and big questions follow:

  • 8 Characteristics of the Innovator’s Mindset:  empathetic, problem finders, risk-takers, networked, observant, creators, resilient, reflective.  Does this describe our students and the work they are doing in schools?
  • School vs. Learning: Are we creating consumers or creators? Are we emphasizing answers over questions? Are we asking for surface learning or deep exploration?
  • “Often the biggest barrier to innovation is our own way of thinking. It is not the policies, it is not the curriculum, it is us. I hear things like, ‘Well we can’t possibly do that because of our (parents, students, teachers, principal, lack of resources, government, etc.)’ yet someone somewhere has done whatever you might be trying to do facing the same adversity you face.

In the introduction to his book, The Innovator’s Mindset, George encourages us to “share what you’re learning and what’s working for you” (9), so I’m going to stick with simple.  Here’s what stood out to me and what will become foundational pieces for action steps and reflection:

  • Embrace a commitment to continuous learning.
  • Create the conditions where change is more likely to happen.
  • Take a strengths-based approach in creating those conditions for change.
  • Model the kind of innovation we want to see.

And the learning journey of this MOOC has begun . . .  Here’s the challenge:  What amazing things can we do as a result of embracing change and asking hard questions?