Response to #IMMOOC Day #1

I’m writing as I listen to George Couros (@gcouros), Dave Burgess (@burgessdave), and Katie Martin (@KatieMTLC), in discussion on day one of the Innovator’s Mindset MOOC:

I say listening, because the video is adding nothing to the process, unlike Ted Talks as podcasts, where they remind you that the talks “contain powerful visuals”.  (However, I do like Dave’s pirate headscarf!)

As a learner, this is NOT meeting my needs, and I had to either begin this blog, or return to my Jigsaw Sudoku page to occupy that other part of my brain.

How many times do we do this to our students?  Wouldn’t note-taking, doodling, walking around, watching images, be helpful?  Instead, we assume that listening is sufficient.

So, the question George asks Katie:  “Can all teachers innovate?”, is answered by a resounding “yes”.  However, some teachers may be innovating in a negative way by asking students to put away their phones, providing MORE handouts, and pushing the “play” button on the wealth of video that can now replace their personal instruction.

George is also assuming that I as a Principal change my teachers, not that they change themselves.  I don’t get to know my staff, and then change them.  I get to know my staff, and then coach them to the change that THEY want to make.  We need to differentiate our work with our staff, just as we do with our students.  Assuming that we will change the school by changing all the teachers is the same as assuming that our students will ALL learn at the same pace and to the same end.s03qv77t_400x400

As Katie and George head to listeners’ questions, what sticks with me is Katie’s comment that we need to change to a more flexible, competency-based system.  This resonates, is the change that I would love see, and I look forward to hearing more from her!!



8 thoughts on “Response to #IMMOOC Day #1

  1. Hey Terry…Thanks for your comments on the YouTube Live session. I think that simply for logistics sake, we are trying to bring people together and have people watch live. We are looking at short segments because the focus is more on what participants create, not what we share. Hence the reason we have been promoting people blog or try other elements.

    In the one statement, you say the following:

    “George is also assuming that I as a Principal change my teachers, not that they change themselves. I don’t get to know my staff, and then change them.”

    Actually this is pretty far from the truth, and hopefully I did not contradict this belief in our YouTube Live session. Here is a following quote from the book:

    The question I am most frequently asked in my talks and workshops is, “How do we get others to change?” In reality, you can’t make anyone change; people can only change themselves. What you can do is create the conditions where change is more likely to happen.

    The other statement you make is the following:

    “However, some teachers may be innovating in a negative way by asking students to put away their phones, providing MORE handouts, and pushing the “play” button on the wealth of video that can now replace their personal instruction.”

    To me, this is not innovation. Innovation has to meet two conditions; new and better. If it is only different and not better, it is change for the sake of change, and is not beneficial to our students.

    Thank you for the reflections and thoughts. If you have any ideas on how we could make the YouTube Live event more appealing to you and others, please let us know. We are taking a risk by trying a different format from what we have seen from other sessions, but are definitely open to some feedback.

    P.S. We are also putting each session into a Podcast for people that have missed them. This is my first foray into this medium but I want to model taking some risks myself. Link can be found here and hopefully will be on iTunes soon.

    1. Thank you, George. I am enjoying the Twitter conversation relating to your two conditions: “new and better”. Both those terms are subjective and personal to each innovator.

      I have also been doing a great deal of reading and thinking in the area of creativity. Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Magic Lessons” often contain instructions to continue to create, without being held back by the necessity for your work to be better, or even as good, as your previous.

      I’ve always thought of myself as more of an innovator than create. I play with and modify something that already exists, observe the results, and keep what I like. In this process it is often the case that I make something someone else has already created (old) and something that is less effective (worse).

  2. Hi Terry!

    I think that the awesome thing about the #IMMOOC is that there are multiple ways to participate. I, unfortunately, have not had the chance to see the video, but I know that there is a podcast, Voxer group, Twitter chat, George’s blog posts, etc in order to fulfill anyone’s learning needs. I think he does a great job at modeling how learning should be…giving voice and choice as you work through the book study on the Innovator’s Mindset.

    I respectfully disagree that handing out more worksheets would be considered innovation. If teachers are labeling this as innovation, then it’s up to us to provide them with the common language definitions that we have created as a district or learning team. That, in my opinion, is the job of people in positions like ours who are working for our teachers in order to provide them with PD. If teachers believe this to be innovation, then that one is kind of on us.

    I agree that it is our job to help teachers learn and grow. Give them the attention, professional development and learning opportunities to reach goals that they have set for themselves, BUT with the understanding that we are all working toward a common goal (district mission & vision, creating innovative, empowered learners). I’ve actually read the book a couple of times, and I don’t remember anything in there about changing our teachers to meet our goals, but there certainly are learning goals that all teachers should be working toward. My favorite parts of the book discuss supporting teachers in their learning and innovation and allowing them the freedom to try something new in order to work toward innovative strategies in their classroom.

    1. Thank you! My measure of “better” for any educational innovation is “better for kids”. There are times when “better for teachers” results in “better for kids”, but some of our innovations are like the film projector at the back of my high school class. It may make it better for the teacher (less work), make it better for some students (engaging and well-designed), but make it worse for others (who fell asleep each class).

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