#IMMOOC - Final Episode

Featuring the #IMMOOC community


1. What are you most significant takeaways from the Innovator’s Mindset MOOC?  

For me,  I have thoroughly enjoyed the regular GHO, featuring a variety of inspiring people - even if I've mostly watched them later, due to the time differences! Regular, ongoing professional conversations enable people to challenge their thinking, ask questions, and share! I've been impressed with the creative ways people are sharing their learning. Being exposed to a number of technology tools has been interesting, especially if you are clear about the PURPOSE and how it can enhance the learning. 

2. What will you do as a result? 

I am keen for as many kaiako / educators in Aotearoa, NZ, to be involved in critically reading 'The Innovator's Mindset', and creating/implementing an innovation plan! In my CORE Education consultancy role,  I am in a privileged position of working with a number of leaders, teachers, and schools.

3. How will you hold yourself accountable? 

Continue to challenge the status quo:
The WHY we want to challenge the status quo - to ensure we prepare them for THEIR future

4. How are you telling your story, sharing your learning (making great learning go viral), and innovating “inside the box” to make an impact in your community?

  • Have been blogging for a couple of years now.
  • I created the #ProfReading on Twitter, to share soundbites from Future Focused Education texts that aim to inspire others!
  • Tried Vialogues
  • Aiming to investigate VOXER - as a way of  building voice within the communities I am working with
In case you missed the final #IMMOOC:

Au Kaha, Kia Kaha! 

Together, we are Empowered!

My inspiration - my whānau

In closing, as George states:

"we really need to think about how we can be innovative inside of the box" (p. 226)

WE need an Innovator's Mindset, with one addition. Being culturally responsive is an essential addition in my opinion.  See my earlier post here for the ways 'identity' can / should be part of our classrooms. 
Finally, tēnā rawa atu koutou - thank you George, Katie, the #IMMOOC community, and of course, the featured guests. I look forward to the #IMMOOC reunion. In the meantime, let's continue sharing, encouraging & challenging each other online.

#IMMOOC: Episode Five

Featuring: Brad Gustafson

Brad introduces himself as an "elementary principal, author, and speaker. He believes schools can be spaces where creativity and innovation thrive, but only when we prioritize relationships and a relevant, connected pedagogy"

It is obvious that Dr. Brad Gustafson loves learning. It was affirming to hear that he would never ask others to do what he isn't already doing, or willing to try. I have added his book, Renegade Leadership to my #ProfReading list. Here is a sneak preview:

Missed the GHO session, view it here:

Alternatively, we encourage you to join Vialogues - thanks Kevin. Kevin encouraged #IMMOOC participants to join up, and add to the conversation, alongside viewing the GHO. What I liked about this option, was to see other people's thoughts, alongside George, Katie and Brad, plus personally contributing. Check it out here.

5 min topics: Rapid Fire
1. How do you measure innovation? Improving student outcomes is what we desire - innovation is how we can achieve this. Do we measure what we value? What does student outcomes mean?
 2. Digital Portfolios - how might we make these powerful? Beyond school? Mindset - meaningful change - some are distractors! If this matters, we need to see how these can enhance learning. A continuity (platform) would be useful.
3. Barriers to Education: frivolous education. Decisions made by everyone other than the classroom teacher.

4. Innovating inside the box: When you are bringing people into dynamic classrooms, let's focus on the powerful learning. How are the teachers being innovative? How is technology enhancing learning? the learners? 

5. Empowerment, not just engagement: conversations. Purpose? Why should we empower our teachers? What does this look like? How will it impact on our learners? Content creators - authentic audience

IDEA from Brad: One sentence 'grant' - email what you need to the principal, generated conversation/transparent and accessible.


  • How might we continue this #IMMOOC learning? Sharing? Encouraging internal accountability?
- Facebook Community link- Innovator Mindset MOOC Google+ link- Twitter - #IMMOOC- Internal Accountability - continue sharing our tried, tested, reflected   refined? Keep the conversations/reflections flowing.
- have an #IMMOC reunion 
  • How might we create a culture of innovation?
    As I was recently reading George's blogpost: 'Why we Should not lead with fear in education', I was reminded of an earlier post written by the wonderfully talented, Karen Spencer, Director of Education at Netsafe (former consultant at CORE Education). Titled 'Keep the fear off the set', her blogpost explores the notion of supporting change and scaling innovation in a way that brings people with us, rather than the perception that change is being done to them.

Inspiring final keynote: Karen Spencer, ULearn16
 Often the barriers to challenging the status quo, prevent anything changing. If we are able to create the conditions required - relational trust (both ways), a 'fail' fast culture, critical reflection, transparency, modelling etc, then we are more likely to empower our teachers, leaders and learners to be innovative, to ask questions, to push the boundaries, to enhance powerful learning. George refers to creating this type of environment that fosters: strengths-based leadership, learners' needs driving our decisions, less, better, open culture, creating learning experiences for educators that we want to see in our classrooms. (Couros, 2015, p. 206)

At a recent CORE Education breakfast, this school worked in two groups to explore how might their classrooms be set up to enhance powerful learning.

Competitive Collaboration: 
 designing 'the stuff' within innovative learning environments

#IMMOOC: Part III - Unleashing Talent

 Featuring Kara Welty

Kara Welty describes herself as "an educator, mentor teacher, technology integrationist, writer, and speaker. I believe in energetic, transformational, and innovative learning that breaks boundaries for kids."  (link)
Her energy, passion, and enthusiasm shines through as she shared her strategies as she began a new journey, on a new area, with a number of new leaders. Check out Kara's reflections here.

Kara's Strategies:

  • Using 'The Innovator's Mindset' and Voxer - asked questions, relationships, who we are, our beliefs, how we transform together.
  • Asking questions - feedback - what would be helpful? goals? role models. What about this? Collaborative, organic, developing systems. It becomes a conversation. 
  • TRUST is everything - solid foundation
You can view the GHO (take 2) here:


Strengths Based Leadership

  • lead from your strengths
  • Have you looked at your strengths - with team - work with others and understand (Gallup StrengthsFinder)

Powerful Learning first, Technology Second

Technology is just a tool
Technology can be used to:

  • enhance deep learning
  • transform
  • offer opportunities
  • personalise
  • accelerate learning
  • be inclusive
We MUST consider what the purpose is, and how might we enhance the learning experience through the use of technology.

Professional Learning & Development design
Kara's thoughts:

1. Prior PLD - who have I in the room? Learner? not one size fits all
2. How might we go global?
3. Balance between organic / educamp / structured too
4. Empower Teachers to lead - to lean in
5. Connect with other experts
6. Have FUN
7. Adapt/adjust on the fly!

Universal Design for Learning

Adding to this, I use a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework, developed by Chrissie Butler, CORE Education. This enables me to ensure I am catering to the edges, not just down the middle. This has transformed my teaching, leading and learning - as I truly feel now I am equipped with a framework, and a way of being which empowers me to be inclusive. It guides me to consider my audience, the purpose, potential barriers, and what we can put in place in advance (universal supports) which will ultimately benefit everyone.
Further links:

  • UDL in the Cloud (a must read/purchase)  - a shout out to Katie Novak and her Dad, Tom Thibodeau. #ProfReading. 
  •  CAST_UDL, and additional CORE Education links can be found here. 
Designing inclusive learning environments

Rapid Fire - final thoughts from #IMMOOC participants

  • Innovation = collaborative learning
  • Purpose of Learning?
  • Cooperative learning
  • Reflection - metacognitive
  • Focusing on the learners - what do you want them to know and do? Learning design will be for them.

Wero / Challenge:

Strengths-Based Approaches

"great leaders practice balancing trust and autonomy while providing strong mentorship" (Couros, 2015, p. 127)

  • How might we create the conditions for creating an innovator's mindset culture? 
  • What does this look like? Sound like?
  • How might we create opportunities to prototype? Explore? Play? Reflect? Share? 
  • Are we ensuring that we are modelling this as leaders?
  • How do we draw on the strengths of others - we are ALL learners and can all be leaders of change.

Culturally Responsive 

George asked what's missing?

One of the things that I am wondering is identity?
 - can your learners see themselves in the classroom? School? Learning Design? 
- how are you engaging whānau / community / iwi?
At CORE Education's recent ULearn16, Janelle Riki- Waaka's presentation was well received, and spot on! You can read the blogpost written by Nichole Gully here

Engaging Māori students and whānau in future focused education

Less is More

Finally, one of my mantra's - something I feel so strongly about. In teaching, leading, and learning there seems to be a huge pressure to cover EVERYTHING. What about if we consider:

  • What do our learners need for their future - the knowledge, dispositions, and skills required?
  • How might we strive for: 
Less, Better!
(note the comma!)

ULearn16 Opening Keynote with Larry Rosenstock

It's Time to Change the Subject

ULearn16 #uAKo16 pōhiri 2016
Tulip Festival, Rotorua Government Gardens 2016
ULearn16 - kicking off with 1800+ educators ready to challenge the status quo!

Tēnā rawa atu koutou, Selwyn Primary Kura - Ka mau te wehi!

Larry Rosenstock, founder and CEO of High Tech High, shared his story during the opening keynote of ULearn 2016. From carpentry to law, success doesn’t come in straight lines. When Larry set out to write a book, instead he built a bungalow. Larry took us on a rich journey, remembering the past, in order for us to change the future. And Larry is certainly changing the future, with the creation of High Tech High, an equity project, guided by four connected design principles, equitypersonalisationauthentic  workcollaborative design. High Tech High Learning comprises of thirteen charter schools (ECE-secondary), Recognising the value of having students from different backgrounds working together, High Tech High has grown from a national to an international mosaic of learners and teachers.

We need to start with reimagining, we must begin and end with the learners, with a large dose of craziness. Rather than segregating subjects, the students themselves drive their learning, finding authentic contexts, within their community. For example, when the students realised thatrattlesnakes and mice were not going to help our learning they needed to find a way of eradicating these naturally. Hence, the ‘Owl’ project was conceived. Who says algebra is boring, when it can be ‘Calculicious’.
If we consider what students should know and do in the 21st century, we may include collaboration of multiple perspectives, curiosity, and persistence to name a few. With project-based learning, there are endless opportunities to create something authentic and new. At High Tech High, they are interested in how students react, apply and create, integrating the world, beyond prescribed subjects - collectively learning. Along the way, they are developing authentic 21st century skills and knowledge such as self assessing, critical thinking and creativity. Larry questions how can teachers model 21st Century curriculum in 19th century work environments? 
In the words of Paulo Freire, Knowledge emerges only through invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world as with each other. 
In other words, as educators we must pursue the relentless creation of invention and reinvention.

Image created by: www.reflectiongraphics.com 
Larry is confident we can DO this, in fact, if we value our future, we must. With the integration of mind, heart and hand, the integration of our school and community,  we conclude with a peal from Larry’s Grandmother, there are two types of people - those that THINK there are two types of people, and those that don’t.
NOTE: This post was first published on CORE Education's blog for ULearn16

'Most Likely To Succeed'

I finally was able to view 'Most Likely to Succeed'. This is essential viewing for anyone who seeks to challenge the status quo, and push the boundaries of educational possibilities. If you are interested in hosting a screening in your community / region, you are invited to contact Sarah Whiting, CORE Education here
In order to spark your interest, I found this 25 minute clip:

Suzi Gould, CORE Education - our host and contributor to this blog post

Check out the following twitter feeds:

Connect Collaborate Innovate

#IMMOOC Part Two: Culture of Innovation

Creating the Conditions to Empower all Learners

In Aotearoa, New Zealand, as part of a whakataukī, (proverb) we have the following, in answer to the question, He aha te mea nui o te ao

What is the most important thing in the world?:

He tangata, He tangata, he tangata

It is the people, it is the people, it is the people

Chapter 4 is all about this - the people and relationships! I love the succinct way George summarises the 'Characteristics of the Innovative Leader' (refer to blogpost here). In a nutshell, they are: Visionary, Empathetic, role model, risk taker, networked, observant, team builder + always focused on relationships.

Like my twitter handle + blog domain, I truly believe in the strength of empowerment. Yes, we want to be engaged, however to be agentic, and to have ownership over our learning, we must be empowered to learn, lead and innovate. This is applicable for all learners, leaders and educators. My whakataukī incorporates the idea of being empowered, together:

Aukaha, Kia Kaha!

Source: Thanks George Couros http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/3586 + Sylvia Duckworth

The wero - challenge:

To ensure we are creating a culture of powerful learning, as leaders (and we are all leaders of learning), it is our moral purpose to ensure we are creating the conditions for this to happen.
How might you:
 empower your learners to make the 'What Ifs', their reality?

#IMMOOC Episode 3 

Featuring: Kaleb Rashad
I loved listening to Kaleb Rashad - his enthusiasm is contagious as an inspiring passionate educator. Kaleb is clear about his key message at High Tech High - Project Based Learning (PBL) and EQUITY - meaning getting the most our of every learner - finding their passion and purpose to bring out their best. Check out more here. This made me recall Claire Amos' 'Blue Sky High' blogpost, which was subsequently published in NZCER's set: Research Information for Teacher 2016.

Key Takeaways:

  • Human Centred Design
  • Trust Risk taking Innovation Progress - love the acronym TRIP - we are on a journey, moving forward - improvement for all 
  • Intentional Leadership - telling your story - who I am, what I care about, aspirations, beliefs, vulnerability

As Leaders, you need to create the conditions for TRUST development:
- Know each of your team - strengths, values, fears, hopes, 
- Empathy and openness
- Teachers - need a voice, choice and autonomy

Rapid Cycles:
Divergent ways of thinking
Sense making (convergent thinking)

Here is the GHO - Episode 3 in case you missed it:

It would be great to grab a list of all the #ProfReading suggestions @Kaleb as  it was an impressive reference list (Paige Couros would agree!)

Watch this space - my next few blog post reflections will focus on CORE Education's annual educators' conference: 

#ULearn16 #uAko16 #cenz16 #notatulearn16


Connect Collaorate Innovate

#IMMOOC - Part One

Innovation in Education

I have been considering innovation and what it looks like in the schools I am working with. If we take a moment to reflect on the 8 characteristics of the Innovator's Mindset below, then I feel confident that many Aotearoa NZ schools/kura are on their future focused journey...
Image: @gcouros @sylviaduckworth

#edchatnzMOOC - always learning

Reflecting on my first MOOC, (you can read more here), I loved being challenged, stretched and continuously learning. Danielle Myburgh, founder of #edchatnz, inspires thousands of educators. She is currently undertaking her Masters, exploring whether an online course (MOOC – massive open online course), can be used to engage more people in discussion of ideas about education futures.

#IMMOOC - Episode 2

Key Takeaways:

Featuring: Shawn Clark and Brady Venables
  • Role models - as leaders, we need to model what we value
  • Empathy, Relationships, Questions
  • Empower our Teachers / Leaders - spark their curiosity
  • Risk taking - open learning conversations to create a culture of improvement
Missed the GHO - you can view it here:

Wero / challenge:
Maurie Abraham, from Hobsonville Point Secondary School, recently asserted: "our job is to lead change, not manage the status quo". My Wero to you:
  • If school wasn't compulsory, would your learners still WANT to come to your school / classrooms? 

How might you make your school/classroom invitational?

  • In what ways do your learners see themselves in your school / classrooms? 

How is your school/classrooms culturally responsive?

  • In what ways do you ensure your school/classrooms are meeting the needs of ALL our learners in an inclusive way?

How are you creating inclusive 

learning environments?