I started this school year by participating in Educator’s Innovation Day. The day was dedicated for educators to work individually or in groups on anything they wanted to work on around the theme of improving education. I spent the day working with Jesse McLean around the idea of wanting to come up with a middle years entrepreneurial option. By the end of the day we had created the Becoming Tycoons Option and Student Business Planning Guide designed to allow for student choice, innovation, and introduce them to business concepts such as start-ups, management, marketing, and finances. Both Greystone Centennial Middle School and Muir Lake School students will be participating in this option at the same time so we are going to be setting up collaboration and sharing opportunities between our students with Google Hangouts and in person. We have not yet taught this option yet, but I am very excited to see what the students come up with for their businesses. Ultimately, my hope is that this will lay a foundation and open up possibilities for students in their future in the area of business and innovation.
Although, I am excited about this project that we came up with, the day in and of itself has bigger implications for educators. Taking the time to spend a day working on something that we have never done before and was completely brand new to us was extremely valuable. How often do we do that? It is so easy to fill up our days with the business of working and teaching in a school. Rarely, do we feel like we have the time to just sit, talk, and collaborate on working on something new with the aim to improve education. Yet, I would argue that this is some of the most valuable time that we could spend as an educator and is too often neglected.
As educators, we don’t spend enough time in quadrant II of Steven Covey’s Time Management Grid. Taking time to think, reflect, collaborate, share, be creative and innovate never feels urgent but it is of the utmost importance. This time is what keeps education relevant in an ever changing world. It is time that ignites passion and motivation in students and teachers. It is what fights off a culture of complacency that allows for things to be taught and learned in the same way just because that is the way it was taught and learned last year… and the year before that… and the year before that. It is time that fuels inspiration, growth and change. It is time that allows for the extraordinary as opposed to settling for mediocrity. As educators we need to prioritize this time.
I know our days are busy. I feel the pressure of the other quadrants everyday. Still, I am choosing to prioritize quadrant II time. I want to make sure I am sharing my learning, collaborating and learning from others, and taking time to advance education. There are so many amazing things that happen in schools all over the world. As educators, we need to take the time to share our story and learn from other’s stories. It is the catalyst to innovation.
“There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.”
Edward de Bono
At Parkland School Division, we want to use Google Hangouts to do just that. I want to see more and more educators in our schools participating in discussions about the amazing work that is happening in their schools. I want to be able to tap into the expertise that exists in our buildings already and see educators participating in professional conversations in areas of passion and interest. I want to see more educators taking the time to collaborate, create and innovate for the betterment of our students.
Innovation does take time, but it is time well spent. Although, we are just starting to explore utilizing Google Hangouts for professional conversations, using this technology helps address the concern of time. Participating people don’t need to be in the same place so scheduling is much easier. Plus, broadcasting On Air alleviates the need to participate live. It is recorded and can be viewed at any time making it easy to share. Without a doubt it provides opportunity to connect, collaborate, and share with educators beyond our own schools and from around the world. It is up to us as educators to take advantage of that and make the time to innovate.