Why Educators Must Innovate #IMMOOC


Take a look at this image.


Do you know what you’re looking at?

That’s what they were stealing in the first Fast and the Furious movie in 2001.

That’s crazy to me. They could have filled that thing with anything they wanted, any technology imaginable, and they filled it with a bunch of VCRs, TV/VCRs, and camcorders. I remember watching the movie and being totally enthralled. It was entirely believable and absolutely appropriate for them to be chasing down a Semi-Truck full of this stuff, but when you look at it now, it’s laughable.

I mean, really… a 13″ TV/VCR is front and center.

If that’s not enough, check out the storage for the plans they used:


Obviously a lot can change in 15 years.

We all know this, but these images put that reality into perspective for me. It makes me wonder about things. It make me ask myself, “If that’s what was on the movie of the summer, what was in our classrooms? How much has changed with technology? What about in our classrooms?”

Why innovate?

Here’s my worry: Schools that don’t innovate are going to look like this, and it likely won’t take 15 years to happen. In all likelihood, it’s probably happening more places than we’d like to admit right now.

If we don’t change, we’re going to end up looking like that picture appears to us now–irrelevant, a relic of the past. For some (maybe even many) what we were doing now will be nearly unrecognizable in the not so distant future. In hindsight, some of what we understood as best practice not too long ago seems that way.

We can’t control the fact that our schools will continue to grow, but if we don’t start getting some movement now and gaining momentum today, we’re going to end up so big and so settled in that our own inertia will keep us from moving forward. With each day that passes without innovation, we only make it harder to make change happen in the future.

So what can we do?

I love the simple definition that George Couros shares often of innovation.

It’s not about the tools. Not about the technology. Not about an app or about a device or even necessarily about anything that might be considered forward thinking otherwise.

His definition? It’s innovative if it’s new and better.

I like that. It opens things up for me in a way that’s really helpful and encourages me to consider some ideas I’m trying as a little more innovative than I would have at first glance.

It makes all sorts of things (not just what’s technologically cutting edge) an innovative effort, and the desire to innovate under this definition prompts me to be always looking forward.

I need that push to make sure I’m not getting comfortable. I think we all do.

Because so much is changing so often, educators have a choice to make: change or be changed. I, for one, prefer to take an active role (as much as is possible) in that process.

What are you doing this year to be innovative?

I’ll be writing more about my own journey with innovation over the next few weeks as part of this MOOC (massive open online course) centered around George Couros’ book The Innovator’s Mindset. I’ll also share throughout the year as I try to innovate and help others do the same. Check out the #IMMOOC hashtag to see some conversation about innovation in education.

9 Replies to “Why Educators Must Innovate #IMMOOC”

  1. I loved that you shared the Fast and Furious example of just how much things have changed in just 15 years. I believe we need to continue to challenge ourselves and become more “comfortable with being uncomfortable”

    My innovation for the year is I’ve challenged myself and my students to blog and to start commenting on blogs.

    Thanks for sharing your journey, I look forward to learning from your experiences.

    1. I love that your challenge was for everyone in the room–not just for students. I missed the mark on this several times over as a teacher. Your students are lucky to be learning alongside you!

  2. Ha! I laughed at your example of change. It’s so true! It makes me wonder what will be in just 15 years from now. Most of all, I appreciated this reminder: “I need that push to make sure I’m not getting comfortable.” We all need to do this. I’m hoping this #immooc conversation will help me to do just that.


  3. Loved the illustration and the concept that “with each day that passes without innovation, we only make it harder to make change happen in the future”. Change is hard but it gets harder if we try to ignore it or get by until we can’t avoid it. Thanks for sharing

  4. I identify with your thought that George’s definition of innovation opens up possibilities. In Chapter 1, he compares the idea of innovation vs transformation. Innovation is accessible; it doesn’t require a complete overhaul of the system. New and better.

    We can all do that.

  5. […] my goals this year is to help create a culture of innovation and risk taking on the campus I serve. My last post highlights why that’s so valuable to me, so I won’t retread that conversation […]

  6. Change or be changed.

    A subtle but important difference. Are you going to be in the present or in the past (on so many levels)?

  7. Thank you for your insight on the topic of classroom innovation. Classrooms and lessons will be nearly irrelevant if that are stagnant in development. A constant emphasis on reaching students in new, better ways will play a role, not only in students’ educations, but in their view of teachers.

Comments are closed.