IMMOOC: To Wonder. To Explore. To Create.
This post is part of my journey in the fourth season of the Innovator’s Mindset #IMMOOC with George Couros. This week, we were challenged to respond to this question: Why do you believe that schools needs to change, and what are the opportunities that lay in front of us?
“If students leave school less curious than when they started, we have failed them.”
When I was in elementary school, I loved building things. The absolute best gift I could ever receive was a pack of LEGO® bricks. Most of the time, I would put the pieces together without reading the instructions -- I would just look at the box and figure it out.
Do you remember the storage cubes that had the wire pieces that you could shape and stack in different arrangements? I would spend hours tinkering, building cubes, taking cubes apart, creating new structures.
One time, my brother and I built chairs out of the cubes. We even included pillows for padding (disclaimer: we were young, small, and could comfortably fit on a less than 12” seat). I think when we finally sold the cubes in a garage sale they were actually curved because we had spent so much time sitting on them instead of storing things on them.
We didn’t use the cubes for the right purpose. We didn’t even have a set of instructions. We just followed our curiosity and created something new.
I love the word curious. I feel a sense of empowerment when my mind wanders off and I am able to explore something new. I’m one of those people who can’t eat until I find the answer to a question (what you are thinking is probably right: I am not good at the whole balance thing).
To me, education is about helping students develop the tools and skills to chase down their passions to answer the questions that pop into their brains. It’s not necessarily about learning how to fill out a worksheet, but how to think and think critically.
At a recent district PD day, a pair of eighth-grade social studies teachers from my building presented on Visible Thinking Strategies. During the workshop, one of the teachers said, “Visible Thinking Strategies are not about tasks. It is about building thinking routines that students can use wherever they are.”
As we move further into the 21st century, learning must be about empowering students to think (critically). To wonder. To create.
“The goal isn’t to change for the sake of change but to make changes that allow us to empower our teachers and students to thrive.” (“Innovator's Mindset,” p. 7).
BUT, like George Couros, AJ Juliani and Katie Martin discussed in the #IMMOOC Week 1 YouTube video, there is still a place for “being compliant” in education. There is also, duh, a place for learning content (and there has to be a time and place to learn content in a concrete way before we apply it).
I love thinking about PBL, dreaming up projects, and reading research on how to make it better.
I am notorious for saying, “What if…” and throwing a wrench into a good plan. But I think some of the best ideas start out with, “Hey, I’d like to try this thing...”
Image from Unsplash.