Innovation

I recently became a member of the Innovative Teaching Academy with AJ Juliani. I stumbled upon this opportunity when reading a blog post by George Couros last month, and knew that I had to know more. Upon investigating the specifics of the Academy and discovering the monthly topics, I jumped in with both feet. I was especially drawn to the 2 areas of focus for April: Goal Setting & Priorities for Innovative Teaching & Learning, as well as building a blog.

I have envisioned and talked with many of my Twitter & Voxer friends about starting my own blog for at least a year. I follow many amazing bloggers, and knew that I would find the experience of having one rewarding, but honestly, I think I spent more time over thinking it rather than just doing it.

So here it is, my debut post on my debut blog! (I will admit to spending WAY too much time choosing a theme and playing with all of the various blog components…and after all that, I’m rolling with keeping it simple to start, and building from there).

We are currently at the end of week 3 in the Academy, where we discussed the topic of innovation. What does it mean to be innovative? What does it look like in the classroom? How can we encourage our students to be innovators?

When I consider being innovative, a few words come to mind: purpose, impact, intentional. Being innovative takes courage. It takes passion. It takes a willingness to get outside of our comfort zone. Innovative people are people of influence, and they approach innovation not only with a desire to impact those around them, but with an acute awareness that their actions can reach far and wide.

IMG_1284

AJ Juliani’s Framework for Innovation in the Classroom is a great visual that outlines what an innovation framework can look like for teachers and their students. As an instructional coach, however, I spend a majority of my time working alongside teachers, so my takeaways are perhaps a little different than a classroom teacher’s might be. In my role, I want to consider how I can support collaboration, failure, and inquiry with my colleagues.

Looking at AJ’s framework, I like how he starts with inquiry. When coaches are working with teachers on their staff, we need to tap into the questions teachers are asking, the instructional areas they want to know more about, and even the possible concerns they have about how successful they feel they may or may not be when venturing out into something new.

The process of innovation can be challenging for anyone, no matter what role they play in a school. Whether in a classroom or in a coaching role, there will be times when an idea or plan doesn’t pan out. Failure is part of the process of innovation, and while it’s never fun to experience a failure, if we can see it as part of the journey, we can experience growth.

Finally innovation does not have to be a solo ride. In fact, I will venture to say the journey of being innovative is far better when it is a shared, collaborative experience. When we join forces, venturing out into what may be unknown territory can be exciting! If we are faced with uncertainty (and we will be..) we have others there to encourage us to stay the course despite the challenges.

There will be a lot more learning around innovation for me in the months ahead, and I look forward to sharing more from my journey here. Thank you for sharing in my very first blog post. I would love to read your own thoughts on innovation. You can leave a comment below, or Tweet me @ girlworld4