Compass Over Maps- Being a “Now-Ist”

This week in our class discussion, we watched a video by Joi Ito. In the video, he speaks to his experience in creating a network of people in his hometown of Japan to help test for harmful radiation following the devastating earthquake. He speaks to his experience of worrying about his family, who lived just 200 miles away, and the way it drove him to innovate.

For me, the word “innovation” is directly link to the word “passion”. I believe the types of innovation we’ve learned about in our classes, as well as these videos, are all terrific examples of Ito’s saying “compass over maps”. The innovations we’ve learned about have come from a burning desire to solve a problem with great personal meaning. I love the notion that while maps and plans for innovation are great, the most important part is the compass within that is pointing you towards your ultimate goal.

Up until about four years ago, I was definitely not a “now-ist”. I was content to identify problems within my organization and attempt to enact changes that were trickled down from administration. However, at some point, I felt myself becoming disconnected from being a teacher and a learner. I felt more like a robot, just going through the motions. This lead to my decision to leave my former district and look for a fresh start where I could reconnect with my passion for teaching and learning; ironically, that lead me back to my old elementary school.

In my current district, I’m incredibly fortunate to work with an amazing principal who is a “Now-ist”. For the past four years, I’ve had the flexibility¬†to test out multiple forms of technology and methods of instruction. Much like Ito, I’ve found myself pulling resources for the first time in my life. This concept allowed me to reengage with my passion for learning, and it has made me feel much more fulfilled. I work very hard to ensure that my students are using technology in the same way. While this is not school-wide, it is gaining much more attention in the coming school year. Through the creation of my STEAM position, I will have the opportunity to co-teach with all teachers in the building and expose them to blended learning. While it is tempting to write down a detailed plan of how this is going to look or work, I’m trying very hard to just be present and enjoy the experience of creating a program that is going to provide students with choice, ownership, voice, and authentic learning.

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