I love to write and I love to write about education. I started a blog several years ago and used it to express my opinions on relevant educational issues of the day – accountability, funding, local control, among others. I felt my message was reaching people as page-views exceeded 8,000, but my messages lacked a thematic focus and my audience was ill-defined. Moreover, I found the experience cumbersome, as writing a blog entry became more of a chore rather than a release. As a result, I stopped posting, reluctant to put in the time to write a thoughtful and thought-provoking piece.
This blog, however, will be different. It will be focused on the work we are doing here in Holliston to enhance and improve education here in our own community. (Thematic focus – check; well-defined audience – check). I’ve accepted the fact, though, that writing each entry will be a chore – not because I don’t want to do it, but rather because I want to do it well. One of the awesome books I read this summer, The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent and Lead a Culture of Creativity, by George Couros, quoted an article by Clive Thompson called “Why Even the Worst Bloggers are Making Us Smarter” that convinced me that becoming an effective and regular blogger was worth the effort. Thompson wrote:
“When you write something online – whether it’s a one-sentence status update, a comment on someone’s photo, or a thousand-word post – you’re doing it with the expectation that someone might read it…. Having an audience can clarify thinking. It’s easy to win an argument inside your head. But when you face a real audience, you have to be truly convincing.” In short, Thompson concludes, “the effort of communicating to someone else forces you to pay more attention and learn more.”
So, as it turns out, I’m not just writing this blog to communicate my vision and the thinking behind that vision, but, to help me think through the implications and ramifications of the changes to our instructional model that I’m advocating. By publicly sharing my learning process, I hope to encourage other learners (staff and students) to do the same. According to The Center for Accelerated Learning, “learning is creation, not consumption. Knowledge is not something a learner absorbs, but something a learner creates. Learning happens when a learner integrates new knowledge and skill into his or her existing structure of self. Learning is literally a matter of creating new meanings, new neural networks, and new patterns of electro/chemical interactions within one’s total brain/body system.” Learning is not memorizing facts or filling out worksheets. Learning takes thinking – and thinking takes time and reflection. This blog will serve as my vehicle for my thinking and reflection.
George Couros encourages all educators to embrace innovation, not for the sake of innovation, but in order to create a learning environment where all students can succeed. He challenges all educators to adopt the “mantra of an innovative educator” which reads, in part, “I question thinking, challenging ideas, and do not accept, ‘This is the way we have always done it’ as an acceptable answer for our students or myself. I model the learning and leadership I seek in others. I take risks, try new things to develop, and explore new opportunities. I ask others to take risks in their learning, and I openly model that I’m willing to do the same. I share because the learning I create and the experiences I have help others. I share to push my own thinking and to make an impact on learners, both young and old.” I accept this challenge and, through this blog, intend to share my learning journey and those of my colleagues as we work on “Rekindling Holliston’s Innovative Spirit.”
 Thompson, Clive. (September17, 2013). “Why Even the Worst Bloggers Are Making Us Smarter.” WIRED, http://www.wired.com/2013/09/how-successful-networks-nurture-good-ideas-2.
 Alcenter, “What is Accelerated Learning?” Alcenter.com, accessed August 14, 2017 from http://www.alcenter.com/whatisal.html
 Couros, George. (2015).The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity. San Diego, CA: Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc. p.61.