This post is the first in a series of posts in response to the Innovator’s Mindset book study MOOC, By George Couros (@GCouros). I am hoping this will form the foundation of my next steps in my role as a leader in our College. All ideas I have and share are my own and will be raw and unpolished. I look forward to the feedback I get from readers to further refine my ideas.
What is the purpose of Education?
I believe the purpose is to prepare students for their and our future. It should teach resilience, growth mindset, critical thinking and how to create information to create knowledge.
Is innovation necessary in Education?
Yes, it must reflect change with the world innovation may not be something completely new – just new and better in your setting and for your context.
How are you embracing change to spur innovation in your own context?
Recently changing school, state and moving into leadership, I have embraced change in many ways. Now I will encourage others to join me on a journey of change and innovation to make education in our setting new and better. Some strategies that we must embrace, that I have identified through reading this and other books include:
- make connections to the heart of educators and students to enhance connections with our mind.
- compliance, for teachers or students, does not foster innovation.
- all students have a sense of wonder, an opportunity to explore, to become leaders and leave school more curious than when they started.
The challenges I am sure to face include pushback from some staff which I will need to work on motivating all staff “one snowball at a time,” empower our teachers to make changes through small manageable steps that are not time consuming and leadership modelling of the desired practices which will enable everyone to succeed. We will build relationships through shared experiences and become lifelong learners, learning from within the expertise in our College.
Higher education certification – senior year at school including the pressure cooker situation of year 12 and the end of year exams, waiting to see your final results of schooling and then the waiting scenario for which universities might (or might not) offer you from your choices that you originally made over 3 months ago (although these could be altered in the meantime). Is there any wonder questions need to be raised about this process and the validity of it in our world of technology and connectedness?
I have begun reflecting upon the books that I have been reading and this book is a great inspiration to my teaching practices; “The Google Story” by David A. Vise. You can read my reflections about this book here.
I have proven when education embraces some of the lessons learnt by Brin and Page into the life lessons being taught across the world that there is greater success and innovation. Every teacher can start this by simply asking the students about their creative ideas and providing the Google innovation “20% time” to develop and incubate these ideas.
With more and more focus on standardised testing and data collection in education teachers are looking for solutions that satisfy the curriculum and the governing education department’s requirements of assessment data.
The timeless question for many teachers in the classroom today is: How can I keep my students motivated to learn and participate? And there are a vast number of resources to answer this timeless question, but my answer is always to make it feel like it isn’t learning and the students are engaged and demonstrate a whole lot more than the curriculum outcomes that you have set for the lesson.
Have you ever tried peer or self observation? Have you had a visitor in the room and observe a lesson only to find the students don’t behave the same as they usually would – either better or worse?
As professionals many of us work in classrooms of isolation, with 20+ young people,
The average class size in Australian schools was 24.7 students, above the OECD average of 24, and far bigger than some high-performing school systems. (I Give A Gonski, 2014)
We all have students who dislike attending school, and will take a day off at any opportunity. I often ask why this is, and when we look at all of the fun things students do outside of school, it is no wonder that they would rather be at home. They can explore, operate by their own schedules, don’t have overbearing adults watching over their every move and telling them what to do every minute of the day. At home students learn from their earliest years and then at the age of approximately 5 years old they are pushed off to an environment that pushes and prods them into a form of learning that is more often than not, not the best learning environment or technique.
With only a week before school returns for 2015, I am beginning to consolidate my ideas into planning for the new school year. As the Digital Technologies Teacher K-7 (plus a year 11/12 course) I am keen to continually innovate and push the boundaries. I have a new leader in the STEM curriculum area, whom I believe will be supportive of innovation, and a very supportive Principal who has given me license to push towards innovation and making a difference in my field, but to always reflect and evaluate upon the implications.
When I plan for the new Australian Curriculum – Digital Technology I know there will be many challenges and a very steep learning curve to navigate. I took the opportunity to begin some coding with some students at the end of last year during the Hour Of Code, which was received well by some students, so I believe they are up for the challenge and change. My big idea for the year is to allow more freedom to the students in what they will explore and learn. I want them to take more responsibility for their learning and the direction of their work. I know some students will run with this and thrive in the new learning format and space that is being provided, and others will need guidance and modelling every step of the way. This is an effect of the education system we traditionally impose on our students.