#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!!


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