How do you embody the characteristics of an Innovator’s Mindset?
I believe my personality lends itself to that of innovation. I love
- Finding and solving problems
- Taking stock of all of my resources
- Examining problems from all angles
- Creating prototypes and reworking things until they are perfect
- And figuring out how to do something better the next time
Here’s an example where three situations coincided and the result was something amazing.
Problem 1: I was getting bored of the curriculum I was teaching in my freshman math class. We were working on transformations in geometry and I wanted to pull my hair out.
Problem 2: At the same time, I was in charge of leading some professional development related to STEM applications along with the tech and science teachers and had just learned how to use SketchUp to 3D print things and wanted to use the program in class.
Problem 3: The math office was terribly set up with these cubicle desks in such a way that the 12 of us in the room couldn’t quickly collaborate with each other (we couldn’t see if each other were in the room) our carpet smelled like dead mouse and had mystery stains, and there was very little natural sunlight that came into the office because of the configuration.
Can you tell where this is going?
Seeing all of these problems as opportunities to do something amazing, I got to work. Over the next week or so I developed a lesson that all of the freshman participated in where they were tasked with redesigning the math office using SketchUp and their goal was to solve all of the issues that I outlined above via a new configuration.
I was now justified in the amount of time I was spending playing around with the program so that I could now be a better resource for my students when they were using it and students learned all about dilations, rotations, scale, measuring (and more) which was at the heart of what we were trying to teach them in the unit on Geometry.
Over the next few weeks students submitted their proposals that ranged from basically the same office layout, to those with waterslides, secret rooms, kitchens, you name it. They had a blast.
Fast forward a year later when I am talking to my principal about how awful our carpet looks. Apparently he hadn’t realized we had carpet still and made it a priority to remove it – apparently underneath the old carpets were asbestos tiles that needed removal. Annnd if they have to remove tile, guess what else they have to remove? EVERYTHING IN THE OFFICE! We were able to submit plans, based on our drawings and had the movers rearrange our office over this past summer. It is a huge improvement over the previous arrangement.
Old Office Layout
New Office Layout