Day 112 (of 183) What if…. a Blog Hop via #ossemooc & @gcouros #innovatorsmindset
I really enjoyed @gcouros book #innovatorsmindset – it very nicely lays out some of the pre-thinking that helps support innovative education practice. I even blogged about the book shortly after I read it: https://technolandy.wordpress.com/2016/01/01/bonus-blog-of-183-a-review-of-innovators-mindset-by-gcouros/
And then I stumbled upon a challenge from #ossemooc about blogging about “what if…..” – part of George’s book set up. And I have to admit that my father greatly influenced me in “what if” mindsets – not being pigeonholed into what is, but imagineering what might be….so I definitely have a particular brain setup for the way I do education.
“What if” thinking has helped us create some alternative structures for learning – both having multiple 4/5/6/7 splits (based on families of learners) and different environments for learning (basements can be cool – both literally and figuratively).
“What if” thinking helped me use portable technology to enhance reading, but allowing my “highest” and “lowest” readers use the same audio book to remove the reading-words barrier and instead focus on the skills and strategies to visualize, question, make connections, infer, synthesize, etc. – yep used first generation iPod touches to allow this and to then communicate with other groups and share at a board office presentation (we cheated where I said I left my computer on and it’s battery ran out, another student said that she had her iPod touch and could access the slides and then another student brought out a portable projector that “we could use this to show it on a larger screen”).
“What if” kids weren’t allowed to leave school – has kind of been my “discipline” mindset when it comes to suspensions et al (which drives some people crazy) but I know we can solve problems when we are working and learning together and it’s a lot more difficult if one of those people isn’t around….
“What if” kids could control what they learn led me to what is more commonly known as #geniushour – one of the more effective parts of my week – and something that led me to explore Sugata Mitra’s Self Organized Learning Environments (SOLEs: https://technolandy.wordpress.com/soles/ ) and reinforced for me that the connection to this “what if” in learning is focused on asking “good questions”.
The “what if” mindset has helped so much. It is what has led my current school community to imbed self-regulation into our school goals (and culture) as we considered “what if our students could regulate their anxieties”.
It has also helped me as a parent with my children all exploring school very differently – their own “what ifs” are as unique as them:
what if the game of school is about getting the ‘high score’? (my oldest girl is trying to do just that – the way teenagers rebel…mine chooses cursive script & doing homework)
what if the traditional school doesn’t “fit” an individual learner? (my middle boy’s anxieties push the comfort level of many adults)
what if choices for which school are tough? (my youngest girl is worried about whether or not to take late french immersion – a right vs right decision)
George’s Innovators Mindset helps illustrate why “what if” thinking is important. It isn’t about “just” thinking outside the box, it is about being mindful about What you are thinking, Why you are thinking it, How it will/may make a difference, Who will be impacted by the thinking and When is it relevant (& meaningful).