Monthly Archives: January 2019


I want to start where I left off; responding to a comment from @jmedved on my last post:

"I'm happy to share with you how I approach "wayfinding" and the tools I use to ensure that whatever I am pushing is linked to a larger school strategy and is always aligned with current initiatives and being sustained by other people and energy in the school. It really helps the long term sustainability of the innovation but also your own energy and mindset."

With the first term now solidly in the rear view mirror, as I look back I feel as if I was feasting at an 'innovation smorgasbord' for the last 4 months!  I had an amazing opportunity to participate in a Harvard Graduate School of Ed. Course 'Teaching & Learning in the Maker Centered Classroom' with a wonderful team of colleagues, with much encouragement & support from @nblair I launched a '20Time' program in my Grade 10 Geography class, I continued to build on experience with design thinking through partnering with a drama teacher to assist in building a unit that embeds the principles of design, I brought home a 'Makerbot' to learn a bit about robotics with my sons, I learned about circuits through making light up Christmas cards, I sat in on our Gr. 10 computer science class lessons as they prepared to undertake the 'Astro-Pi' challenge, greatly supported by a colleague and mentor I used the new 'Carvey' to make loot-bag favours for my sons birthday … I tried to say "YES!" - A lot.

And now I wish I had paid more attention to Justin's sanguine advice … link to strategy & current initiatives, consider long-term sustainability of your own energy and mindset.  I was way outside my comfort-zone in many of my efforts to evolve my skills for the role of 'innovation support' … or at least what I started the year perceiving my role to be: learn everything!  Reflecting back now, this was not a great approach. As I write, my energy is low, my mindset - still curious, still determined but foggy, if that makes any sense?

The end result is that I'm not sure I'm as far ahead as I had hoped to be at this point; I tried to do too much, spread myself too thin.

So, for the last couple of days, I've focussed on taking a step back, re-grouping.  I reviewed my Cohort placemats - hey, those crowd-sourced ideas were great! I did some good thinking in the last F2F! I should do that! I reviewed my notes from the HGSE maker centered classroom course and 'The Innovators Mindset' that I read over the summer, and I thought deeply about Justin's comments.

One thing that really stood out to me from the first lesson in our HGSE course was the introductory video - it was our instructor explaining / demonstrating how to make pesto sauce.  Initially, I wondered how this could possibly connect to our course? What the instructor was doing, was demonstrating the definition of a 'maker'.  The media seems to emphasize a certain type of maker: hackers, people with skills in robotics, IT, electronics and those working with tools / technologies like 3D printers. This of course, puts constraints on the type of people who identify as makers.  A maker, by definition is anyone who engages in the act of making; professionally or as a hobby.  It had never occurred to me that as someone who LOVES to cook, I fit the definition of a 'maker'.  I had never viewed myself like this before, and it changed my perspective and approach to the rest of the course.

I wonder if the same could be said of 'innovators'?  Are we unconsciously emphasizing a certain (similar to the above) type of 'innovator' in education?  Do teachers see themselves as innovators? How might we help teachers to see themselves as innovators, the way I saw myself as a maker for the very first time?

Innovation is one of our key school strategic directions, building a sense of community is a key values initiative we are looking to embed and I have a hunch that a plan to build community through our approach to innovation could be some really exciting work  … and as @gnichols said in the second F2F: the question is "how might WE" … not "how might I".