Make the positives so loud that the negatives are almost impossible to hear

George Couros keynote on empowerment, impact, and innovating for awesomeness.

What is your story?

The entire talk was more of a narrative than a lecture. Through his own story and the stories he shared, George excited a group of educators about our agency in changing the world.

“We hear so much about innovation not because of how much change is happening but because of how quickly change is happening.”

What is school?

Early in his talk, he raised an important elephant in the room. “We always tell kids, ‘If you do well in school, you’ll do well in life.’ This isn’t true.”

Without the kids, there is no school. Who serves who?

“If you think a picture’s worth a 1000 words, what do you think a video’s worth?”

Throughout the talk, George shared slides with animations, GIFs, and videos. While many videos were clever devices he’d pulled off the internet, others were personal videos from his own family and childhood. These served to drive home his point as they were indeed valuable.

Culture of “Don’t”

Likely the most controversial comment George made was related to school and district leadership prioritizing negative reinforcement. What do we focus on? Is it about what kids should do or what they shouldn’t do? During the Q&A, there was push back about the dangers of screen time, the realities of cyber bullying and viral threat of social media to harm learning communities.

“Is this going to be on the test?” is not a question of curiosity, it’s one of compliance.

“If you’re standing still, you’re falling behind”

We are all learners. Once the learning stops, it’s over. We’re done. While George is known for his thought leadership about Innovation, I really got the sense that his greater passion is Life-Long Learning and Continuous Human Improvement.

Meaningfulness

If you’ve been following my thinking over the last few months, you know I’ve really been focused on the emerging trend of Meaningfulness. As simple a concept as it is, it’s not the easiest thing to notice, name and certainly not to implement. George’s presentation was heavy on exemplars that reinforced Meaningfulness.

It’s not simple engagement, it’s empowerment.

I’m not the only one who had reactions. What resonated with others:

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Singing along with the chorus is the easy part. The meat and potatoes are in the Verses. Educator, speaker, connector and risk-taker. @SenorG on the Twitter

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Noah Geisel

Singing along with the chorus is the easy part. The meat and potatoes are in the Verses. Educator, speaker, connector and risk-taker. @SenorG on the Twitter