The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros, My Take-Aways

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One of the most exciting things to me about summer break is the opportunity to read the amazing books I hear spoken about through Twitter.  My first book to digest this summer was The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity by George Couros.  Listed below are the statements I do not want to forget while planning for next year.

If we only teach students the curriculum, we have failed them.

To inspire meaningful change, we have to make a connection to the heart before we make a connection to the mind.

The biggest game changers in education are, and always will be, the educators who embrace the innovator’s mindset.

If students leave school less curious than when they started, we have failed them.

As leaders in education, our job is not to control those whom we serve but to unleash their talent.

This statement from the book resonated with me because it exactly how I feel about my position as a teacher: “I don’t see my work as a job, but as part of my being.”

But this section of the book is the one I will be chewing on for a while; the part of the book where Mr. Couros talks about engagement and empowerment.  In essence, he makes a strong case for the fact that engagement is no longer enough in our classrooms…we must empower students and equip them with the skills to learn.  He quotes Bill Ferriter as saying, “Engaging students means getting kids excited about our content, interests, and curricula.  Empowering students means giving kids the knowledge and skills to pursue their passions, interest, and future.”

Two years ago, I came back from the TCEA Technology Conference with the word “EXPOSE” on the forefront of my mind.  This year the word will be EMPOWER, thanks to the information and inspiration of The Innovator’s Mindset.

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One concrete way I can help empower my students is through the use of their digital portfolios, or blogs.  Every student at White Oak Intermediate School has their own blog through Edublogs.  They begin that process as a third grader and continue with their blog until graduation.  Every teacher also has a blog.  This is an area where I feel I have failed miserably.  As the technology teacher, I have the opportunity to really empower my students to use this tool to express, reflect, display, define, and promote themselves.  As George Couros explains in The Innovator’s Mindset, I need to be willing to model what I expect of my students. One of my goals for this next school year is to personally commit to blog at least weekly, and encourage my students to do the same.

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