|Image courtesy of immooc.org
The purpose of education is to build kids into learners and intelligent consumers of information that can adapt to any situation. Our world is constantly changing. Many of the kids I teach will end up working in careers that don’t exist today. When we work to inspire a zeal for learning and help our students develop the tools to evaluate information, connect it to things they already know, and use mistakes to further their learning, we prepare them for whatever their future holds.This was the last thing I wrote before picking up The Innovator's Mindset. Even though it doesn't contain the word innovation, it goes hand in hand with our purpose as educators. When the world changes, schools cannot be stagnant, nor can we expect them to be the sole source of our children's education. Giving students the tools to go on and self-educate requires us to be flexible. We need to adapt to our students' needs like we have always done, but we also have to take into account how our kids can use all of the resources available to meet their needs when they aren't in our classrooms. George Couros makes a great point about how we approach new tools in school in the Introduction to The Innovator's Mindset.
Think about it: we have the world at our fingertips. the ability to connect and create with people around the globe through so many different mediums. Yet what do most schools focus on when talking about technology? "Cyberbullying" and "digital safety." Yes, these are important concepts that should be discussed, but we need to go way beyond that. We are spending so much time telling our students about what they can't do that we have lost focus on what we can do. (pg. 6-7)Innovation is all about finding out what you and your students can do. There is absolutely a need to set boundaries, but we can't let them get in the way of the learning our students can do. One of my favorite lessons each year is figuring out the total number of gifts in "The Twelve Days of Christmas." I give my students just enough information to get started and then I get out of their way. They always impress me with the wide variety of strategies they use to figure out the answer. A couple years ago, I extended on this activity by asking them to figure out the approximate cost of the gifts in the 12 Days of Christmas. Since I didn't want my students to find the answer from the Christmas Price Index and I understood that some interpretations of "nine ladies dancing" might be school inappropriate, I gave them a list of sites to use for prices. After working on it for two days, I could see my students were bored and going through the motions without learning much. My fear of inappropriate content and desire to keep students from a readily-available answer cost us a chance for innovation. This year we explored the Christmas Price Index and students created lists of their own modern and extravagant 12 Days of Christmas. They were motivated, they explored, and the project was a success because it was an actual project, not an exercise with one correct answer.
|I'd keep the Little Free
Library, but move it outside
My changes would be in the curriculum and how students share their work. Students need opportunities to use their curiosity. Every classroom would embrace curiosity projects or genius hour and give students time within the school day to explore their own interests. Not only does this give students the opportunity to bring what matters to them into the classroom, it provides real opportunities for them to practice the reading and writing skills they learn. Math instruction would include more problems with multiple answers and paths to get there. Students need opportunities to wrestle with ambiguity and develop their own problem-solving ideas rather than parroting back algorithms and defined steps for problem-solving.
|The gallery at Mobius Spokane's previous location
looks like the perfect school museum space
My school would challenge students, nurture their curiosity, and give them opportunities to engage in rich dialogue about their learning with others. I picture it as a place where students truly get to innovate as they get to use the things they learn to solve problems and make their own creations.
|I had to share my #IMMOOC
selfie here, too!