I’m currently participating in a MOOC about the book, The Innovator’s Mindset, by George Couros. The author encourages educators to cultivate students’ natural curiosity, allow them to wonder, explore, innovate, and become forward-thinking leaders. That picture is my “homework-selfie” with the Kindle version of the book.
Honestly though, when I saw the opportunity to join this MOOC about a published book on innovation, I really didn’t have high expectations. I figured the book would probably already be out of date.
Boy, was I wrong! The Innovator’s Mindset is a fantastic, inspiring, relevant book. I highly recommend it to any educator or school administrator.
As a MOOC participant, I am “assigned” to blog on the first three chapters of the book this week. I have highlighted practically the entire book so far, so I’m having trouble picking out a mini-topic to blog about. You should just read the whole thing. Really. But I’m a rule follower, so I’m going to give this blog post a go.
Innovation is not synonymous with technology. It’s not. Yes, that’s right. The Computer Lady is telling you that innovation does not equal technology.
George Couros writes, “I’m defining innovation as a way of thinking that creates something new and better. Innovation can come from either invention (something totally new) or iteration (a change of something that already exists), but if it does not meet the idea of new and better, it is not innovative.”
New AND better.
He goes on to explain that “the question that must be asked every day is, ‘What is best for this learner?’” And: “We must also think about how what we’re teaching will impact his or her future.” He uses this example: “What is a student more likely going to need to be able to write: an essay or a blog post? This question pushes some people to a place of discomfort (which is the point), but it also makes them think about what’s relevant to today’s educational needs. It isn’t an either/or question. It is a question designed to make us think about why we do what we do.”
We must consider the “why” of education, and start with empathy for our students as we move toward the “what” and the “how.” Mr. Couros believes “education’s why is to develop learners and leaders who will create a better present and future.”
I find that inspiring. Don’t you?
Back to that essay vs. blog example. I am not saying we should stop teaching essay writing, and I don’t believe the author is saying that either. It may be that essay writing skills are essential to the ability to write a blog. His point, I believe, is that we should be sure to think about what is going to be relevant to our learners…even to each particular learner. We should continually evaluate why we do what we do to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our kids: inspiring them, allowing them to create, fueling their passion to learn, developing their leadership and ability to create a better world.
I recently saw this image on Barbara Cotter’s Twitter feed (@BcCotter).
It made me feel…uncomfortable, to say the least. I would hate to think we educators clip the wings of our students. I know that is no teacher’s intention. No one goes into education with that in mind!
I love the Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset idea that has been circulating around education. If you haven’t seen it, here’s an excellent graphic by Sylvia Duckworth (@sylviaduckworth).
George Couros exhorts us to go even further, beyond the Growth Mindset to the Innovator’s Mindset, where abilities, intellect, and talents are cultivated for the creation of new and better ideas.
“If we want innovative students, we will need innovative educators,” according to George Couros.
I heard a story today – a story about two caterpillars. One was preparing his cocoon. The other asked what he was doing, and he replied that he was getting ready to turn into a butterfly. The first one asked, “How do you do that?”
He answered, “Well, you have to change.”
Are you ready to become a butterfly?