George Couros quotes Chicago-area teacher Josh Stumpenhorst in his book The Innovator's Mindset: “Innovative teaching is constant evolution to make things better for student learning.” George rephrases this as “What is best for this learner?” The students in my resource classes come to me with all ability levels, so this is a question I am constantly asking myself about each and every one of my students every day.
Most "reflections" are done post-lesson, looking back at what went wrong or right. I'm calling this "pre-reflection" because I'm looking ahead at what I can do to make the lessons I'm teaching this week better for my students before I even teach them. I'm rethinking activities I have used in the past and modifying them to fit my new teaching/learning model. In the past I have used a lot of technology, but after being a part of the amazing #IMMOOC group the past few weeks, I realized innovation is not all about the tech that you use.
I’m defining innovation as a way of thinking that creates something new and better. Innovation can come from either "invention" (something totally new) or "iteration" (a change of something that already exists), but if it does not meet the idea of "new and better," it is not innovative. - George CourosSo innovative doesn't necessarily mean I have to throw tech at it. It just has to be a change that makes it better than it was before. My goal is to get my students from point A to point B and sometimes I don't need tech to do that. I've incorporated more hands on materials this year to help my learners. As Katie Martin said during last night's #IMMOOC live session, "You can't measure innovation but you can measure student outcomes". I've narrowed down and fine-tuned my list of go-to tech apps this year and I'm only using the ones that really help my students understand the concepts better and improve their learning outcomes.
Innovation is something new and better. This blog started out as me writing about all of our 'tech adventures in a middle school math class', but this year is a turning point for this blog, hopefully new and better. I was even thinking of changing the name of it but couldn't come up with a good title. George says "change is an opportunity to do something amazing". I hope I'm making my students math experience this year at least somewhat amazing and memorable.