"The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score." — Unknown
Goals are important. But too often we get caught up in being "SMART" and creating goals designed to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. We often forget about the single, most important factor: setting a purpose. We focus all of our attention on the who, what, where, when, and how, and lose sight of the why.
Simon Sinek has made a career out of pushing people to "Start With Why," but what he is really talking about is focusing on the fundamental and self-evident concept of purpose.
Every thought and every action has a purpose. And humans need purpose. Focusing on asking the right questions helps lead us to finding purpose in what we do any why we do it.
Frequently, I hear teachers wrestling over questions like, "What chapter are you on?", "Where are you in this unit?", "How long did it take to get through this chapter?", and "What do I do with this student?"
Students, on the other hand, tend to be laser-focused on finding purpose in nearly everything, asking questions like, "Why do I need to learn this?", "How does this benefit me?", and "Why are we doing this?"
In this regard, we could learn a lot from our students.
I know it's a bit late for "Free Resource Friday," but a simple tool I use to help ensure I focus on finding purpose is called Momentum. Momentum is a free Chrome extension, which hijacks (in a good way) my homepage and presents me with a beautiful landscape, a simple clock, and a prompt asking, "What is your main focus for today?" Whatever I type into the prompt becomes my checklist and disappears when I complete it.
Teachers (or students) can use this to set a focus for each day or each class and help develop their purpose.
Let me know your thoughts and if you find Momentum helpful in improving your focus and setting a purpose, in your classroom or life.
"Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow." — C. William Pollard
I stumbled upon the above quote, while reading "The Innovator's Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity" by George Couros, and immediately jotted it down for future reference.
So can I ask a question? When you read the words "jotted it down", in the last paragraph, what did you imagine in your mind? Did you picture me taking out a pen and a notepad or a Post-It note and writing the quote on it? Well, I can understand why you did so. But, that's not exactly what happened.
Truth be told: I took out my smartphone, opened an app called Trello, and attached a comment to a card titled, "The Innovator's Mindset." In fact, I'm using a similar process, at this exact moment, to draft this post. If you're not familiar with Trello, that's OK. I will cover it in more detail at a later date. I bring it up now to simply illustrate a point about learning and innovation.
I have discovered that, as a learner, I can be extremely disorganized. For example, when I write something down in a notebook, it is almost certain to be lost or forgotten. In fact, it is a small miracle that I managed to survive my elementary, secondary, and college years without the ability to efficiently organize my notes. And, yes. I was taught how to take notes, over and over again. Different methods, by different teachers -- none of it ever really sticking.
As I moved into the professional world, I realized a choice needed to be made. I could no longer stand by my prior successes (aka. miracles) and continue to waste time searching through pages in a notebook. I would have to find a new and better way to stay organized. I would need to innovate.
What is innovation?
In "The Innovator's Mindset," George Couros defines it "as a way of thinking that creates something new and better." He goes on to say, "Innovation can come from either 'invention' (something totally new) or 'iteration' (a change of something that already exists)."
While I had absolutely nothing to do with the creation of the Trello app, I recognized that this tool had the potential to keep me organized. This involved a change in thinking and a desire to do something in a new and better way. Fortunately for me, this method seems to be working, at least for now.
So how might we inspire our learners and ourselves to be more innovative? To think beyond what is known and traditionally available. To create something new and better. Something which truly embraces why we do what we do and acknowledges our individual learning and thinking styles.
Because what we did yesterday may never really be sufficient for the learners of tomorrow.
Trello - http://www.trello.com
The Innovator's Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity by George Couros: https://georgecouros.ca/blog/the-innovators-mindset-book