#MyInnovativeYear: #IMMOOC and Being Stuck in Neutral

Ok, I’m writing this while in a state of general frustration.  Not necessarily the best time to discuss innovation in education or in life in general, but it is what it is.  Way back in January, I wrote a post on the joys of NOT writing New Year’s resolutions, having a plan and this being the year of innovation.  At the time, I was actually on some really serious pain killers because of my dislocated knee and was very likely talking out of my head.  I think.  Anyway, I have reflected quietly on my innovative year and how I want to change the world, one student at a time.  Be that student in a K-12 setting or in a post graduate or professional development setting. I want to find new ways to do the things that need to be done, teach the lessons that need to be taught, inspire those I interact with on a daily basis.  I want to innovate! I’ve spent the better half of the calendar year mapping out a plan, learning new things, trying new techniques, considering my options.  It’s been good.

It’s September and I’m stuck.  At least, I FEEL stuck. The school year started quietly enough; the team is back together and we still work like a well oiled machine. My first Hyperdoc with the students is moving forward in fits and starts (innovation check #1), I received good feedback on the book study Hyperdoc over the summer (innovation check #2), yet, I feel like I should be creating something… different.

What does one do when stuck in neutral?

I decided to join George Couros’ (@gcouros) MOOC, read his book and interact with some people who aren’t stuck in neutral… like I am right now.  The only other MOOC I’ve successfully gotten through was the one that resulted in the creation of this blog, that George’s brother Alec (@courosa) facilitated on Digital Literacy.  I enjoyed it.  So why wouldn’t I enjoy learning something from his little brother?

I know George knows innovation.  I’ve heard him speak a couple of times at events and have always found his discussions inspiring.  I’d noticed he’d written a book,so I stuck it on my wishlist and promised myself I’d read it. The nice thing about going through the book as part of a MOOC is… I can grunt and hum with other humans.  Humans that want to do the same thing I do, focus on being innovators.  We all have ideas and plans and thoughts on how we can improve the way educators teach AND learn as well as create atmospheres for students to do the same.  Thinking it through as a group is a great way to consider our options.  I know it will get me out of neutral.

So, I took the book off the wishlist, and loaded it on my iPad and as of today (two days later) have actually read about half of it.  My Twitter post about it was my sarcastic knock on my tendency to get distracted…

but I’m not going to get distracted! I WILL finish the book, I WILL participate in the #IMMOOC discussions and I WILL complete all tasks assigned to me!

I WILL get out of neutral.  Why?  Because this is my innovative year… and I’m an innovator!

Let’s go!


13 Replies to “#MyInnovativeYear: #IMMOOC and Being Stuck in Neutral”

  1. We got you and we will get you out of neutral…even though you called me the little brother 😉

    Thank you for jumping in! We got this!


  2. Thanks for sharing. It takes courage and vulnerability to be honest when we feel stuck. But there are times we ALL feel stuck and need a little loving push. Be kind to yourself. It sounds like even in neutral you are doing great things for kids because you care! Glad to be on this journey with you.

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  3. Hi, Chevin! I feel like I can relate to all that you said here. I *want* to be more innovative, to take the lead on projects that will help my teachers and students be more innovative, less “safe”, to be a leader that shows them that it’s safe to be innovative (like the circular logic?). But like you, I feel like I’m stuck – maybe not me in neutral but more like my situation/role is stuck in neutral. Hopefully, together we can push each other out of that and into high gear! Looking forward to learning with and from you! 😊

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  4. I can relate to your post…it is hard not to get stuck in neutral with all the things on our plates. I’m glad to have a group in the #IMMOOC to help me refocus on my goals and keep innovating. I look forward to keeping in touch!

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  5. I think you can safely say you are in good company. As innovators, we are “doers”, and doers often look for tangible evidence of our influences. We need to accept those “checks” you reference above as movements toward innovation, and any movement forward IS a pace! I am excited to move along with you!


  6. Chevin,
    I feel like all educators get this “stuck in neutral” feeling sometime (or multiple times) in their careers; you are definitely not alone in this!

    I love that you said you feel like you should be “creating” something different. I wonder if it’s not the creation, but the thought process leading up to the creation? I’m actually totally piggybacking of George’s line of thinking (via his latest blog post): “The first step in becoming innovative is the thinking, not the tech.”

    Like you, I hoping to learn a lot from all the awesome educators in this MOOC! Can’t wait to see more of your thoughts!

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  7. The fact that you use the term “stuck” is interesting no matter your reason for this feeling. This chosen term only tells us that you want to move forward. There are some people that love coasting in neutral and would never feel stuck. It is also interesting that you chose this term because anytime we get stuck, the only way out is to get others to help push us out. What a perfect place to be as we all experience this MOOC together. We are all looking for this push.

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  8. Like, “Yes” To everything you just said…LOL! I even had our teachers do the Hyperdoc book study this summer. That really is how you feel sometimes when the neutral zombie hits: Book study, check. GAFE, check. Blackboard, check. Google Classroom, check. PBL, check, Inquiry/Curiosity/Relevance, check. Learning Environments, check. The list could go on forever and you would never feel satisfied; you would never feel ownership…starter-ship (perhaps?); you would always feel neutral.

    I am so glad to be among like like minded souls, kindred spirits, so we can brainstorm truly remarkable, transformative practices for students. Let’s keep moving and shaking! What’s the next curve? I don’t want to be stuck on the refrigerator curve, ya’know?


  9. thanks for all the positive feedback everyone! This is just what I needed… a new group of people focused on the same thing I am. As we all move forward in our careers and with the impact we want to make on education, its my hope we will continue to support each other! Yay Innovators!


  10. It might be interesting to consider that most creative endeavours require time to synthesize and process. If you have been quietly soaking in all these ideas all year, perhaps you need this time in order to let your brain mull it over in the background. I find in my own journey that I can go through spurts. I need that time for consolidation and reflection. It’s easier to be creative about things once I set aside all the outside voices in my head (the ones from the books and the podcasts and the blogs and the Twitter) and just let me be me for a while. This may sound funny, but embrace the stuck a little–not forever, but just long enough to observe things through your new frame of reference so that you can figure out the way in which to apply what you have learned in the best way possible for you!

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