The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity by George Couros

Part IV: Concluding Thoughts – 13. Are We There Yet?

  • If we are focused on standardized tests we are nor preparing students for the world today or in the future. We do, however, need to create evidence of learning. George sees digital portfolios as a way to do so. He sees two types. A learning portfolio can show a series of student performance through time that shows growth. Videos of a student reading out loud would be an example as would writing samples on a student blog. Showcase portfolios would contain the student’s best work somewhat like a resumé. Here older efforts could be culled if they show less skill and creativity. Old efforts can be kept if they warrant it. Although reading, writing, and math are still important, students could produce videos, photos, or podcasts as well. The idea is to share their voices with consideration for their audience. Be sure to avoid letter grades and focus on learning and growth. For George, this book is the summative assessment of his learning to date.

14. The Biggest Barrier and “Game Changer” to Innovation in Education

  • Budget restrictions, policies that don’t make sense, and curricula that are way too static for a constantly changing world could cause schools and teachers to give up on innovation. But George is optimistic that with the innovative mindset, teachers can learn how to innovate inside or outside of the box. It easy to come up with excuses for not trying new things, which is why the right mindset is essential. While basics are still essential, there is no reason why students can’t work on them while engaged in exciting activities where they have some choice and feel competent. One goal is to have them focus on learning rather than simply doing what is asked to please teachers and parents.

George Couros

  • George is currently a Division Principal of Innovative Teaching and Learning with Parkland School Division, located in Stony Plain, Alberta, Canada. He is also an innovative teaching, learning, and leadership consultant. He is passionate about distributed leadership within his division, and believes that creating a collaborative environment with all stakeholders, will help to ensure that we meet the best needs of all children.
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