Monthly Archives: November 2013

The Truth About Being an Innovator – iNACOL Innovative Blended and Online Practice Award – 2013

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So – we did it! I received the iNACOL Innovative Practice award on behalf of all of you out there who supported and helped facilitate open classroom projects over the last year! It happened because of all of you who took the opportunity to innovate and think outside the box!   Although I led the pilot project called, The Open Classroom at ADLC,(the OC@ADLC) the award speaks to the power and innovation that we can all discover through connecting and networking together.

My proposal included a wide variety of projects – and if you were part of the project, you are part of the collaborative networked team behind the award.

#DigiFoot12 – Digital Footprint 12, Steve Hargadon, Kim Gill, Scott Monahan, Tracy Poelzer, Imtiaz Majeed, Bill Belsey

#BEFA12 – Beyond Facebook12

#CEETOpen – Creating an Open Classroom

#ETMOOC – Open Learning Weeks!

Grouard Atlantis Remixed Project – Kory Reimer, Grouard School – Northlands School District

#STUHackED – Student Hack Education Video Creation Project , Don Wettrick and Students

#EDCampWest – Online Site Lead

Moocifying k12 – Relationships, Collaboration, Risk Taking – Hybrid Pedagogy

UTTyler MOOC Creation  – iDesignEDU

#HSOLead13 – High School Open – Leadership Course – Stephanie Krammer

I pitched the concept of the OC@ADLC last year at the Open Education Conference in Vancouver, BC, Canada. I remember listening to the emphasis on OER (Open Educational Resources) and thinking, but it’s not about the content, it’s about how we can learn differently. The same day that I “pitched” my pilot, Gardner Campbell gave a keynote that suggested the same thing – Open Education is Beyond the Content – and what we see is not necessarily what it appears to be.  He used the current MOOCs as an example and emphasized,  “That is not it at all. That is not what I meant, at all.” (T.S. Eliot)

Getting an award for, “Being an Innovator”, means that over the last year in particular, I have been criticized, ignored, bullied, frustrated, felt like an evangelist and generally treated like someone who speaks another “education” language.  I failed often, and I had to find the confidence to keep going.  I have not been part of the “cool team” – I have been referred to “that” educator in the corner. But, like Campbell stated,  “That is not it at all. That is not what I meant at all”.

However – being “isolated” within a system helped me connect and find other like minded souls who carry me through the bleeding edge…..It never looked scary while surrounded and supported by my PLN.

I have started almost every presentation and opportunity to “talk” about my ideas over the last year with the poem, “The Voice” by Shel Silverstein. I have constantly looked to my PLN (personal learning network) and my face to face supporters for support and shoulder to cry on. I don’t want anyone thinking that being an innovator in this education system is easy – it is not. But as I look at my own kids – and I am starting to see changes and potential for innovation in every classroom – the pain is worth it!


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Being an innovator is not all bad. I was able to explore and learn about what “it could” be all about. I was able to connect, share, collaborate, interact, engage and innovate with others from around the globe. I have learned through, with and among others – I have never really been “that” educator in the corner- ever.

What is an Innovator?

An Innovator is someone who takes what they see, remixes it, connects it to other ideas and develops a new idea based on something “old”. That is what I mean (based on T.S. Eliot’s quote) – I mean innovators consider what we as educators have been doing, “tweek it” and create something new.  Building upon the ideas of others – blending the old with the new to create authentic learning opportunities.

Thank you for your kind words of congratulations – but like I tweeted to Peggy George (one of those people who has supported me and inspired me to always think outside the box) “Innovators can’t innovate in isolation.”

Please tell me about what YOU have been doing to innovate within and transform the education system!

Verena 🙂