#IMMOOC – Week 1 – Innovation from Adversity

Over the next four-five weeks I will be partaking in the Innovator’s Mindset Massive Open Online Course (short form IMMOOC…I always wondered….now I get it) with George Couros’ and many other awesome people from TVDSB and hoping to see other friends too!

This is the 3rd event to be discussed around Georges’ book; The Innovators Mindset. Just Like Marc Hodgkinson and many others I am assuming, I read the book last year, attended George Talks in Brantford live face to face and walked away with so much its hard to share within a short period of time (I have 20-25 minutes before having to leave for my sons hockey practice).

This week we are to read the Forward and Intro of book. We have to share two things…so here we go!

  1. Why is innovation in education so crucial today?!!?

Well, friends Innovation is soooooo incredibly important in education today as we are all venturing into a new territory, and world that requires us to adapt, change and become innovative and create new wave extensions and means of making our future better, stronger and long lasting for the next generations. Not much different from past generation but moving within the 21 century things are changing so fast we need ti instill, infuse and create an inherent passion within our students, as this will be thoroughly ingrained and infused into their soon to be reality and work force. Without being armed and ready they will falter and dwindle out! So lets arm them with the know how, ability to innovate and inspire! George says; ‘To succeed (students) will need to know how to think for themselves and adapt to constantly changing situations’; which is basically what I have said above. I read another fantastic book this summer; A.J Juliani and John Spencer’s; Empower and also another book by Nicolas Provenzano; Your Starter Guide to Maker Spaces. What I learned within both reads was that going beyond outside of the box and becoming an innovative individual utilizing a ‘Maker Mentality’ we can go far outside the norm and standards set within education systems today. The Maker Mentality as I see it is Inspiring Innovation that sets others around spinning on their heels to achieve similar standards….which on route change and adapt into something different every time into a new wave and or change from the original project…thus innovation at work!

As Marc mentioned within his blog posting ‘We need fearless creators in our future,…that don’t shy away from challenges! Just today I was working on some awesome coding using Micro:bits http://bit.ly/2hs9u9K  (Click on the link for a quick video) on https://makecode.com/ which are amazing if anyone has not used them! You can purchase these from https://www.fairchancelearning.com/ anyways one of my students was recreating a ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ game using the project tutorials….once completed he came to show me….I suggested he ‘tweak’ the game and program somehow; so he left came back with ‘SAM’ (which was his name….SAM stands for ‘Screw Driver’, ‘Atomic Bomb’ and ‘Mom’s Look’ – which I am guessing is the ‘your in trouble look’) he had new faces and new program behind it so that the variable ‘M’ for ‘Mom’s Look’ occurred not 33.333 chances but with a probability of 40%. This jumped into a large scale class discussion and lesson on probability….something so simple yet so powerful from one simple ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ algorithm. Innovation….I think so! Creative?!!? Without a doubt (I can relate to that ‘Mom’s Look’ for sure…I will leave it at that one this one). Students like this took creativity to new highs within a passion for Micro:bits and Coding….students need to be adaptive, innovative and passionate as Marc mentioned in his blog posting too! Thinking on Juliani and Spencer’s; Empower Book….Sam took his previous understanding and tweaked things to make it intreguing and fasinating for others to play….I cannot wait to hear the conversations about ‘Mom’s Look’…..

2. Talk about a time you dealt with adversity in education, and how you overcame it?

Well, I am not your typical teacher, nor was the atypical student; which I believe is why I can relate to those ‘not so desirable students’ easily and within time. Growing up I was set on one thing; becoming an NHL Player…made it through Junior hockey at the age of 14 (doesn’t happen often….actually kind of rare) then got a full ride scholarship at Michigan State University. School was not my thing, nor remotely close to anything I wanted to do….beside getting the full ride for hockey to the next step on route to NHL. Well….I guess it was not meant to be…that summer someone ran a stop sign and dinged my Dad’s van on the passenger side (which was where I was sitting), two knee operations and many hours or rehab later I tried to push myself to summer camp two week after accident…well, not happening! I spent a year at community college and training hard, really hard to get back physically where I was at….this never happened and my dreams dwindled quickly!

At the time I was coaching hockey for my younger brothers and was told I was great with young kids and people suggested to become a teacher….well for someone not interested in school in the past this was not something I wanted to hear…..but the more I thought about it the more I loved it….(July and August seemed wicked awesome too) so I jumped but wow I didn’t realize how much I missed out on when diverting and letting my mother do my work for me! I did not know how to be a student…..it was the hardest battle I have ever had! Getting back into that form and mindset was incredibly difficult….but for me reflecting now I see it as ‘what was needed for me’ in order to fully understand and reach my students today! Most people complete teachers college in 4-5 years….well being the dismal student I was and was eager to change it took me 8 years (2 community college….used transfer credits to get BA in University…which was 4 years, decided to do a victory lap as developed a love of history and Great Books and then one full accelerated year in teachers college in the States….which included my Masters in Technology Integration in Education). Low and behold I did it….school was and still is hard, but constant reflection and always believing in myself along the way pushed me now into whom I am today….which I think is a pretty good teacher…well at least I try!

So there we are 20-25 minutes later all done, wish I had a little more time but that’s it for today! Looking forward to tonight!!


Lets Get Started Already!

Well, its that time of year again! Labour Day weekend has become the ‘turning point’ within each year for me since 2009 when I obtained my one and only LTO. Its the time when a new year and new beginning starts…

So, after spending the past week within my new school setting up my new classroom; I am ready to get this show on the road! You can see the classroom here https://youtu.be/hQIj0H9VZ2g

I always find myself preparing for the upcoming year mentally this given weekend. I always wonder why not earlier, but truth of the matter is that I try not to prepare too much as each year is different, each set of students, grade level, teaching partner and even principal is different….not to mention the parents as well. So, for my sanity I tinker, gather and implement things unconsciously up until this point in time. This given weekend always marks the turning point for me, as I get the wheels turning and spinning again, knocking those cobwebs off and really beginning to plan out things….

This year as I ponder, plan and program I see things in a much larger global scale of things. I recently was chosen to become a Microsoft Innovative Educator Fellow, but also was turned down as a Skype Master Teacher. A big high, yet a bit of a blow too….so as I plan I began consuming more and more Mystery Skypes, Virtual Guest Speakers and booking many Virtual Tours that link to Social Studies and Science Curriculum links and expectations. The elusive Skype Master Teacher will be a target I set my sights on throughout this year and taking my programming into a global atmosphere with Skype Collaborations on the Global Climate Action Project, TeachSDGs Worlds Largest Lesson, Hackathon, Skypeathon, and so many others….I feel I am on the right track to obtain that esteemed honour of Skype Master Teacher.

The way I look at things has always been, everything happens for a reason and this is one of yet many unforeseen circumstances that have graciously slipped into view in the last 4-6 months! All these items have pushed and lead me into some amazing learning opportunities and circumstances as well enhanced my teaching pedagogy. As I continue to jump into those uncomfortable unknown charted waters I continue to grow, develop as a teacher and my students obtain a much richer program and learning experiences.

So, thinking and transitioning myself into planning mode I am looking at the endless possibilities, learning experiences and inquires we are going to dive into and explore this year with excitement that I have not felt before! Its more elated passion and eagerness to share my love, passions with my students to take our learning outside the walls of the classroom into real world global learning and issues out there and help my students understand that they can always make a difference and impact on live of others anywhere within the globe.

I am super eager, excited to partake in Write to Give again for my second year; I am hoping as a Teacher Ambassador again! This program is unreal in its impact on my students and those in Africa as well! I think this program will be that much more meaningful to me this year as I am going with Write to Give August of 2018 to Africa to schools being built with the funds raised by the Authored books we create and sell to our loved ones.

Utilizing Twitter and the Microsoft Educators Community, Skype and Microsoft O365 Tools we will create a global footprint with @Archers56s this year. After reading Jenn Casa Todd’s SocioLEADia I have a knew profound love of Twitter and creating student profiles that can and will make a difference across the world.

So, 2017-2018 school year here we come!

With anxious anticipation and delight its about to get interesting, intriguing and exciting yet again!

Best of luck everyone and best wishes on the year we mark our impact on the globe, the year we take learning to new heights and levels of understanding and sharing with others!

Godspeed All…..