Education, Student Empowerment and Relationships

Innovator’s Mindset…an Educator’s Playground

“Remember, learners are the driver; technology is the accelerator. It is now more important than ever to embrace the notion that, in education, we are all learners.”

-George Couros, Innovator’s Mindset

I don’t think I ever read a book in the same manner in which I read Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros.

First of all, I was able to meet George before I read the book, and meeting him left quite an impression. He is sharp and witty, and real. He made me laugh, he is a bit intimidating to talk to because he knows so much, and he is not one to hold back an opinion. He told me that my profile picture on Twitter was dumb and that I should change it. I did.

Meeting George was a delight, and it made reading his book all that more meaningful.

As I read, I dog-eared the corners of the pages that I wanted to go back and reference. That was not an effective strategy since half the pages of the book are dog-eared because I related to so many things. While reading, I would stop and watch a TedTalk that George mentioned, or I would follow someone on Twitter that he talked about. Then, I would share what I was learning with colleagues.

It took me a long time to finish the book because it wasn’t just “reading a book”, it was interacting with George’s ideas. My predominant response to what I was reading was, “YES!”. What he presents seems doable and makes sense, which makes it even more exciting to dive into his work.

Some of the most powerful ideas I take away from Innovator’s Mindset:

  • Innovation is curiosity in action
  • Focus on what students need, empowering students rather than just engaging them
  • Use technology as a tool to empower students in their learning
  • Support each other as colleagues by focusing on strengths, taking risks together, and know that small steps are okay
  • Educators are learners and being connected is key to learning

Bottom line, Innovator’s Mindset is a “must read AND savor” book for educators who want students to be prepared for their own futures. I will keep his book close by and reread sections at a time for the foreseeable future. I want to keep the ideas fresh and continue to learn more as we (the staff at my school) take baby-steps toward empowering our students to be innovators.

In the spirit of keeping things simple, and to try to prove to George that Haikus were really just the start of the evolution of Twitter–you know, 17 syllable vs. 140 characters–I will end with a Haiku:

Empower students

To become innovators

Challenge accepted

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