The Innovator’s Mindset MOOC S2W1

Week 1 Book Study on The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros

I am participating in a Massive Open Online Course(MOOC) on The Innovator’s Mindset! I purchased this book last year and have based several presentations off of the ideas put for by George Couros. If you want to join jump over to his blog and follow along! The videos and prompts are great places to start!

What do you see as the purpose of education?

The purpose of education. Is it to give kids something to do? Is it to teach them the skills to function in society? I feel like I need to clarify “what is the purpose of education vs. what is the purpose of education systems?”.

The purpose of education is to make oneself better. Whether that is from reading a book, an article, a blog, or watching a video or listening to an audiobook, we like to fill our brains with information. Sometimes we educate ourselves on what our friends ate for dinner or the latest media craze but we seek after these ways to do something.

Why do we like to watch TED talks? Redundant sentence alert! We are curious, about what we are curious about. In other words, we love to learn about things that spark our interest. That’s why many of us attend college for 4 or 5 years and then PAY THEM to give us a piece of paper that we learned something. Humans want to learn, sometimes it is by doing, other times by thinking and even more times by reading/watching/listening to someone else do it or explain it.

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The purpose of education systems. Oh boy, there are plenty of opinions about this one.

Fundamentally, schools exist to teach students what we know from the collective experience of older humans. So this is where so many schools differ, what do we teach? Why do we teach? Do we focus on math because students will need to be able to answer 100 addition questions in 60 seconds? Or is it to teach them that memorizing facts will lead to more learning opportunities? Or do we do it so we can fill in a score on their report card and have something to talk about at parent-teacher conferences?

My opinion is that the purpose of schools is to make the world a better place. Yes, that is a loaded answer. Education has the daunting task of preparing the next generation, the next president, the next supreme court judges, the scientists that will get us to Mars, the artists that will touch our hearts, the military that will protect our freedoms, the entrepreneurs that will forge the future, the mechanics that will repair your car, the welders that will build the frames of our planes and ships, the doctors that will save lives and the teachers that will continue to make the world a better place, one student at a time.

While this is a lofty goal, THERE IS MORE!! 

Students come to school hungry, tired, abused, overwhelmed, unloved and unhappy. It is the here and now in which teachers must make the world better for these students.

So what is the purpose of schools? To change the lives of the students.

Why might innovation be crucial in education?

If schools want to change the world, then we need to embrace change. We need to be willing to take risks and learn along side our students. As more and more people connect to the Internet, it seems the world moves faster and the economy is more volatile. We cannot afford to stand on the sidelines and watch our students walk out unprepared.

What is Innovation?This is by far my favorite definition of Innovation from Scott Berkun at scottberkun.com.

If you must use the word, here is the best definition: Innovation is significant positive change. It’s a result. It’s an outcome. It’s something you work towards achieving on a project. If you are successful at solving important problems, peers you respect will call your work innovative and you an innovator. Let them choose the word.

Scott Berkun

Innovation is crucial in education because the future needs positive change. The world needs to be a better place, a more positive place, a place where it is okay to fail and try again. Educators have the great opportunity to shape the world, let’s make an effort to build a better tomorrow, today.

Posted by Russ Kahle