New and Improved!  Really?

I wonder whether the “improved” Zest soap from this 1961 commercial is actually a new and improved product or if it is just new packaging, or a new spin on an existing product to reach a new audience.  Is it actually new and improved?

In The Innovator’s Mindset, George Couros defines innovation as a way of thinking that creates something new and better.  (Is that the same as new and improved?)

We’re doing lots of NEW things, trying new pedagogies, using new tools.  YAY, that’s the first step in being innovative.

But that’s only the first half of innovation.  The second part, the most important part ,is:

Does it REALLY work?
NOT “new and improved Zest” work,
NOT 100% on the state test work
but does it REALLY work?
Is this right for kids?

Katie Martin challenged me this week in her post, How do you know if it’s not just new, but better?

How do I KNOW?  Well, I can see that it is better.  I think it is better.  Maybe it is better.  But, how do I KNOW?  Hmmm . . .

Well, I have to have evidence. In school, I learned that there is direct and indirect evidence.  On the true crime podcast I listen to, they talk about corroborated evidence, or evidence that is supported by other evidence. I love the definition brought up by a Google search: “the available BODY of facts.”


To know that something is new and improved, new and better, innovative, we need evidence, corroborated evidence, a body of evidence.



Innovate: It’s a VERB – #IMMOOC

To be honest, I don’t really like the word “innovation.” It’s a noun, a label.  After something is invented or created or built, someone announces, “THAT is an innovation.”

People are always asking what it is, “how should we define innovation?”

Well, maybe we shouldn’t.

Maybe instead of trying to define innovation, we should just innovate.   Take action.  Go for it.  Take a leap.  Make things better.  Do something!

I just read a great post by Kelli McCoy about her journey from technology integration to teaching like a PIRATE.  She is taking action, going for it, trying new strategies to make things better for her kids.

That’s what it means to innovate:  it’s a verb.



Inside the Box – #IMMOOC



Yesterday, George Couros posted “3 More Critical Questions for the Innovative Educator”  The second question, “How can we be innovative given the constraints that we have to work within?” resonated with me and reminded me of my reading from this summer.

I’m a digital learning coach for an organization that services over 100 schools districts. Recently, we have reorganized to better serve our district.  I believe in the change, and the purpose behind the change.  But, as a part of the change, several processes and procedures have come down the pike that are making me feel boxed in, constrained.

George’s question reminded me of one of my favorite lines from  Launch by John Spencer and A.J. Juliani :


So, I’m reminded that it is time to “Think Inside the Box.  Yes, things are changing, and some of those changes might not even be for the best. But, I can still innovate. I can do something new, something better for kids.  Even this “change is an opportunity to do something amazing.”


So, what will I do, you ask?  Well, I don’t know yet.  These are ideas:

  • Get to know people in my new work area.  Learn from them.  Honor their genius by posting their nuggets of wisdom? Invite them to #IMMOOC.
  • Set up a professional Instagram account to reach out and learn, to be where our students are, where are young teachers are.
  • Create some micro-learning units that we can share with districts and use with our coaching?

Who Wants Change? – #IMMOOC

As I browsed through the participant blogs for the Innovator’s Mindset mooc, this image caught my eye.

Who wants change?

Who wants TO change.

I’ve always thought of myself as someone who embraces change, but the image really made me stop and think.  Do I want to change, or do I just want others to change?   As a digital learning coach, I’ve lived in the world of digital learning and instructional tech.  But, now I’m being asked to broaden my focus, to move beyond the team I’ve been growing with for a while and make new relationships. So, the mantra of the Introduction, “Change is an opportunity to do something amazing.” is really a challenge for ME.  This is an opportunity I don’t want to miss.  How can I grow and change to make a difference for the teachers and students I serve.

By the way, I cannot locate the blog where I found this image.  If it is yours, please let me know so I can give you credit!

I’m looking forward to learning with everyone in the Innovator’s Mindset Mooc!

Join me on the Journey! – #IMMOOC

screen-shot-2016-09-18-at-6-32-29-pmFor the next several weeks, I’ll be participating in The Innovator’s Mindset MOOC.  We’ll be reading the book, connecting with others, and I will be posting reflections here. I’ve tried blogs and failed before.  My hope is that this will help me develop a habit of posting reflections regularly. Would you keep me accountable?

Will you join me on the journey?
Here’s how to get started.

This first week, we’re focusing on the Introduction to the book.  Watch the YouTube with Dave Burgess and see this week’s challenges here.