Is blogger’s block the same as writer’s block? The same as innovator’s block? When you have so much you want to blog/write/innovate about that you end up stifling yourself with so many words/ideas/goals? That’s where I found myself after this week’s #IMMOOC offerings, including an invigorating YouTube discussion followed a mere two days later by a riproaring Twitterchat. Good gravy. I was smothered. Soaking it in, but smothered.
In times like these, I gotta go back to the “why,” which, thankfully, was also a blog prompt. Why is all this innovation crucial to education?
And to answer that question, I go back to an old friend, Thoreau:
Why get busy with the work of innovation? To engage our students. (Cue your inner 4-year olds, here): Why? To build their curiosity. Why? So they will want to learn. Why? So we won’t fail them. Why? Because we are training them for jobs that don’t even exist yet. Why? So they will be contributing members of their community and their world. What’s ‘contributing’ mean? (Cue exasperated adult, here): JUST BECAUSE!! Wait, what did you just ask?
In The Innovator’s Mindset, George Couros writes, “Education’s why is to develop learners and leaders who will create a better present and future.” I agree. Innovation is crucial to education when the result or the process is something better, not just something different. When it leads us to a better way, not just a different way. When we take the time to reflect on innovation journeys to discern if they are taking us in the “better” direction we want to go, from small scale, “dirt road” innovations to the major impact, superhighway kind.
Now, of course, “better” is a relative term. In the case of my school’s vision and mission, innovation would need to be in the service of “World Peace through harmony with self, others, and nature.” And as lofty as that goal is, it does provide a concrete lens with which to approach decisions and tease through myriad tweets and blogs and options. Don’t be using a greenscreen just to use a greenscreen. Use it to produce a PSA on saving the pollinators. Use that projector to connect via Skype with field conservationists, not just fire up a GoNoodle. How many library read alouds can we tie to the ideas of kindness and respect and try? Can PBL projects focus on making the world a better place? Sustainability? So, to “update” Thoreau: