#IMMOOC Season 4: Why is Innovation in Education Necessary?

IMG_8353I am so excited to be participating in #IMMOOC again! IMMOOC = Innovator’s Mindset Massive Open Online Course. I participated in the fall, reading and discussing The Innovator’s Mindset, by George Couros, with a wonderful PLN. This time around participants were given a choice (love the personalized learning here!) to read either The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros, Empower by John Spencer and A.J. Juliani or Learner Centered Innovation by Katie Martin. I’ve already read The Innovator’s Mindset and Empower, so I am hoping to keep up with the readings for Learner Centered Innovation and focus my reflection on that. We’ll see how it goes!

IMG_2941 2Why is innovation in education necessary? It’s simple: the world is rapidly changing! If we keep attempting to “do education” the way it’s always been done, we fail our students. Things must change or else the education system becomes irrelevant.

“Past successes do not always ensure future growth when the context in which we live changes — and it always changes.” ~Katie Martin


Chapter 1 in Learner Centered Innovation included the graphic below to describe how the role of the educator has changed. No longer is the teacher the keeper of content. The students now have all the necessary content at their fingertips! I have managed to incorporate at least some of each quality into my teaching this year, but know that I still have room to grow in each area. The other role I have needed to embrace this year is that of a cheerleader! Many of my students aren’t used to having choices and want to be told what to do. I really have to encourage them to take a risk, try something they are interested in, and see what happens.


evolving role of the teacher

I think some of this cheerleading has to do with something else I read in chapter 1. Are we confusing learners with different “styles” of classrooms?

“…we can and must do better to create coherent learning experiences for students to explore their passions, understand their strengths, and find their place in the world. Until then, as we vacillitate between different philosophies of education, today’s students are caught in the middle. We cannot continue to add on twenty-first century expectations to a twentieth-centurey model of education.”   ~Katie Martin

This idea resonated with me for several reasons. First, because it’s true! Students are trying to bounce between multiple types of expectations – compliance versus empowerment, high-stakes tests versus creativity. While I still believe some levels of compliance are necessary (and George Couros validated this belief in the webinar, you can’t submit your tax return via Google Slides!) we also can’t confuse students by trying to move seamlessly between the two without explanation. It also relates to some issues I’ve been having in class recently, with one class in particular. As a band and orchestra teacher, there really are times when compliance must be there. For a band to sound successful, everyone must be playing the same thing at the same time! Some students are struggling in these situations. But is the problem me? Am I confusing them, going from periods of self-directed learning to teacher-directed band rehearsals? This is definitely something I will ponder over the next few weeks (and beyond) to work towards a solution that helps everyone involved.

So here’s to a great 5 weeks of learning, reflecting, and sharing!



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  1. I’ve never thought about the fact that I may be confusing Ss between old way of school and new way of school. What an interesting point. I do subscribe to the idea that if kids can behave and do well, they will. I have also been baffled at why I have some activities that just don’t work and kids won’t comply over the simplest thing. Maybe I’m confusing them?!? I’m interested in learning from you, Theresa. (As always)

  2. Your comments about students bouncing from expectation to expectation got me thinking. High school students might see 6 or 7 different teachers in a day. Imagine having 6 or 7 different bosses all with their own work styles and expectations in one day. It’s seems maddening when you look at it that way.
    I’ll be curious to see what you come up with to include empowerment in the ensemble. As a former band geek and former elementary music teacher I’m realizing that if I was still wearing those shoes, walking the IMMOOC path would feel very different.
    Happy innovating to you!

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