IMMOOC week 5 with Brad Gustafson touched on a lot of fears and struggles teachers may have with this shift toward the Innovator’s Mindset or change in general. What I liked was Brad’s reply, “kids are the business.” If we are to do what is best for the learner, then that is what our focus and discussions need to be about. Yes, meet them where they are, but know that trust is a two way street. As George puts it, one can’t say my principal doesn’t trust me and yet one does not trust the principal, it needs to be mutual. I also like how he mentions that comments and opinions need to be voiced face to face, not after the fact. As a professional that should always be the case, but not the reality. Why? Trust and Communication. Yes we need to meet people where they are at, but even then, one’s experience is so different than anothers. If this shift is to truly succeed we need to have those types of experiences that foster trust and communication. Once that can be established change can occur.
Until then, what can I do? Focus on what is best for learners and continue to share and reflect. As Katie mentions, we need to “show the learning, not the technology”. What this means is that we can’t just talk about the great things we are doing in our classrooms to inspire change we have to show it. An idea mentioned are digital portfolios that allow the learner to keep track of their progress. I didn’t quite get the concept of this at first (not quite sure that I still do), but if I ask the all important question…is this best for the learner? Duh, it most certainly is! How better else to show the learning than being able to document one’s learning and track their progress and their educational journey.
We spend so much time looking at data and test scores to tell us what our students can and cannot do, why not ask them to show us their achievements with a digital portfolio. Same goes for educators. With purpose and structure teachers can document innovative practices and have colleagues comment and reflect. If kids and teachers are showing off the awesome things they are learning using a digital portfolio that is a great way to measure the impact.
My takeaway from this process is to always ask what is best for the learner? To be a learner by being open to new AND better ideas and to focus on the characteristics of the Innovator’s Mindset. To purposefully and consistently reflect and connect. To be aware of innovation happening anywhere and everywhere. Lastly, to take risks at the benefit of the learner.