Thursday, December 20, 2012

What if school was more like this?

This was written by George Couros who is Division principal of Innovative Teaching and Learning for Parkland School Division in Alberta, Canada. He is suspiciously well dressed and has the healthiest head of hair I've ever seen. He tweets here and blogs here. This post was originally found here.

by George Couros

Here is a little activity that you can do with staff when returning to school to get the wheels turning on project based learning inspired by this awesome video.

Take the Alberta Education Competency Wheel below:

Then watch this AMAZING video below about a self-initiated project done by a pretty cool kid:

As you watch the video, write down all of the things that the student did on his own to meet the expectations as listed in the “Competency Wheel”. Are all elements touched upon in this project? Discuss some ideas or projects that you can do with students that would be similar as a whole staff or within teams.

You could also discuss this article that has some lessons taken away from the video (quote shortened below):
1. Boredom is more of a statement about the person than the situation. “Hey Caine…want to come spend the summer with me in the back of my barely-trafficked auto parts store?” For most kids this would be summer vacation equivalent of the kiss of death. There was no gaming system. No swimming pool. No television. A perfect excuse for “I’m booooooorrrred.” But NO. Caine looked around and saw opportunity. Everywhere. Cardboard boxes, packing tape, gadgets and doo-dads. He chose not to be bored. It’s totally a state of mind. 
2. Keep working while the world ignores you. How long was it before Caine had customer #1? How many entrepreneurs or artists would have given up by then, or stopped working at their craft and improving their skills? Caine approached his arcade with craftsmanship and fervor, and that’s what I aspire to do too. 
3. Your craft will cost you something. Did you notice the prizes in the arcade? Caine’s own toys. His vision for his arcade required (demanded!) that he use all of his resources to make it work, and this meant forfeiting his own stuff for the sake of his vision.
Better yet, show the video to kids and discuss the wheel with them. Get them thinking on projects that they can initiate that would include these elements and would be something that they are interested in doing. Perhaps have them do some proposals of projects that they can do that would be an all year idea or could be used as the basis of a capstone project.


  1. Wonderful. This transcends learning. It is about being. But it applies to the workforce too, those who support, motivate and provide the structure which enables, in a loose way. That is what happened here. To do that we as enablers need the same loose supportive, enabling structure for us too. Check this out on intrinsic motivation of the workforce:

  2. These books are really informative and every learner as well as educator must include it on their sleep time reading. I've a tip for those people who always looked for someone to write their papers. As they can get the best writing service for you to complete all your papers professionally and in impressive way.


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