#IMMOOC Week 3. Post 3 – Outside our walls

This has been a busy week filled with much reflection and learning for me (more on that in other posts).  But to wrap up week three of #IMMOOC, I want to share some thoughts on innovation as it relates to communication and collaboration.

This week, I listened to several episodes from the Cool Cat Teacher Podcast Show “Every Classroom Matters” including one called “How Teachers Can Find Time to Innovate” by Annette Lang.

I was struck by Ms Lang’s “bite-sized” approach to innovation.  In order to not be overwhelmed, she decided to pick one new thing to try.  In doing so, she was able to connect her students in the US with students overseas.  The students collaborated on projects and gave each other real audiences for their work.  In just a year, she has transformed learning for her students.

Shouldn’t we all be doing this?

IMG_1981For me this connected to the example at the opening of chapter 5, when George Couros writes about how much communication has changed.  We used to worry how many minutes we talked to someone far away.  I remember being in Spain one summer during high school and having to go to the public phone several blocks away to arrange a very brief call back to my parents in the CA (and we wrote letters!).

Times have changed!  If my children can Facetime their cousins in PA & CO and their grandparents in CA for FREE with the touch of a button, shouldn’t all of us help our students reach out to other students around the world?
If we’re studying Japanese, let’s talk to people in Japan. If we’re learning about desert habitats, let’s see what they look like “first hand.”

Technology affords us limitless opportunities to communicate and collaborate outside the walls of our school.  Let’s Go!





#IMMOOC Reflections: Week One

I am excited to learn from other passionate educators during this #IMMOOC.   I appreciate the weekly challenges/”to do list” and opportunities to learn.  This blog post is c5d3oxhxmaa_gzppart of the first week challenge.  The Innovator’s Mindset  has been in my “to read” stack for a while now, so this was the perfect opportunity to finally get

This is also a good time for me to revisit blogging in general.  I love reading others’ blogs, but never really thought I had much to offer outside of my building (although I like to share what my students do via Twitter).  But I’ve come to see that blogging can be about reflection ,and I believe that reflection is an essential, but often forgotten, part of the learning process.  This #IMMOOC experience is a chance for me practice reflection.

I was able to watch/listen to the recorded #IMMOOC Season 2 – Episode 1 (AJ Juliani and John Spencer) last night.  As the conversation went on, I grabbed a notecard to write down some of phrases that jumped out at me.  (Note to self:  one notecard is not NEARLY enough!).  But here are some of the comments that really spoke to me (forgive any transcription errors):

  • “no such thing as a shallow topic – let them chase their curiosity”
  • Balance doesn’t mean “the middle zone/moderate. It means holding onto both of those things at the same time.”
  • Kids learn the game – “if the adults at school are happy, the adults at home are happy” (note: not really a good thing)
  • “Looking back helps you move forward”
  • “Assume if it’s better for kids, you could and you absolutely should do it.”

This episode and what I’ve read so far in The Innovator’s Mindset reaffirms what I already believe about education and try to put into practice in my work with students and teachers.

I think we all struggle with balancing the confines of the systems we work in with “innovative” ideas we know are good for kids.  But if we truly believe in cultivating curiosity and helping to raise “good” people, we have to be willing to be uncomfortable sometimes and to speak up for changes we think are necessary.

My favorite line from book’s introduction is :


As a parent and an educator, what more could I want than for students to be “better people because of their experiences” at school?

I look forward to continuing the #IMMOOC journey and plan to do more of my own blogging about what’s going on at our school in EdTech.  I love what I do which makes me excited to learn and improve.