Having heard George Courous keynote, which not only inspired but took attendees on a roller coaster ride of emotion (and the first standing ovation I witnessed at Pete and C), I had no choice but to purchase The Innovator’s Mindset. I was not disappointed. It is an extremely powerful book/resource for anyone involved in the field of education. It does not read like a how to manual or checklist but as a conversation and guide to spark innovation and change our way of looking at critical thinking, learning, building relationships, and school culture.
A recurring theme in the Innovator’s Mindset is helping schools and educators to move from not just engaging students, which is necessary, but to empowering learners,which as teachers/learners should be our ultimate goal. It also serves as a much needed reminder that it is not about the tools that are available to us, but the strength of relationships we can build throughout the school community.
As an author and speaker, George Couros does a wonderful job of including genuine anecdotes from his own experiences and experiences of his colleagues and vast network that any reader can relate and find a connection with instantly. Throughout readingInnovator’s Mindset, I found myself nodding my head in agreement and excitement and writing down numerous takeaways to discuss with my school and learners.The Innovator’s Mindset also encourages educators to take risks when it comes to providing the best learning opportunities for our learners like the use and of social media to crowdsource learning. It sheds light on how it will not only create an authentic audience for learners, but making a powerful impact on how they can control their digital footprint.
Couros’ words remind me of a some of the great basketball coaches I look up to, like John Wooden; they inspire and motivate. Innovator’s Mindset provides teachers with the much needed encouragement to share their classroom victories with colleagues to inspire competitive collaboration and create a celebration of innovation in the school culture. The concept of competitive collaboration reminds me of something I always said to my players when I was coaching basketball: Sometimes you. Sometimes Me. Always Us. Let me explain how that applies: I have strengths in certain areas and so do my colleagues. We each excel in different ways, but when we work as a team we will see the greatest benefits. Pushing and sharing- striving for a better educational environment for our learners. As Couros states “Innovation is not reserved for the few; it is something we will all need to embrace if we are to move forward.” A teacher may create a few moments of innovation in their classroom, but we won’t see impactful results unless that experience continues into the next classroom for our learners. “If you want to fast you go alone. If you want to go far you go together.”
Innovator’s Mindset will inspire you to look at everything with fresh eyes, from everyday lessons to professional development, and ask is this the best way? It has definitely forced me to reflect on my practices as an EducationalTechnology coordinator and provided me with motivation to empower learners and guide them on their way to becoming the innovative leaders of today. It has also taught me to embrace change because it is an opportunity to do something amazing!