Growth Mindset #YouCanLearnAnything from Khan Academy

<<Email from Khan Academy>>

Dear Bo,

Some people believe that intellectual ability is purely genetic or fixed.

This is a myth. Research now shows that your brain is like a muscle; the more you apply it and struggle, the more it grows. People who learn to recognize this fact about their own brain develop a ‘growth mindset’ and are able to persevere and achieve more.

At Khan Academy we know abilities are not set in stone because we see people improving radically every day. That’s why today we’re embarking on a mission to help the world realize that if you work hard and embrace struggle, you can learn anything:

Please share this video with everyone you know. It was designed to inspire, but also change people’s mindsets towards learning. Together, as a community, we can end the myth that intellectual abilities are fixed and help our friends and families (and ourselves!) learn new things.

Watch the video

Imagine what the world would look like if everyone knew what they were capable of and had the mindset to learn anything.

Founder of Khan Academy

PROCESS POST: Contemplating innovation, homework, practice…and their intersections. +Awe. Iteration Two.

We have a responsibility to awe.

What if the molten foundations of K12 “homework” – if we must give it – were poured into and formed by the molds and casts of the Innovator’s DNA verbs?

  • Observe
  • Question
  • Experiment
  • Network
  • Associate

How might we better nurture our learners’ responsibility to awe? Our own responsibility to awe?

[Hat tip to David Cannon for the video!]

What’s our balance like, as educators…as schools, for utilizing homework to “go through the motions” vs. “inspire awe” at our condition as humans? How might we rebalance our scales?


+ + +

PROCESS POST: Contemplating innovation, homework, practice…and their intersections. Iteration One.

The Balance (mini)Series

PROCESS POST: Contemplating innovation, homework, practice…and their intersections. Iteration One.

There is much talk of “innovation” in schools and education these days. (There’s much talk of innovation in just about every sector and industry.)

I wonder if we – those of us in schools – are really facilitating the experiences that student learners need to practice, to be and to become innovators.

Now, upon a great deal of my research and study about innovation, when I hear the word innovation, I think about the five traits and characteristics outlined in The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators.

And, I also think about homework. Yep, homework.

Innovators DNA - 5 Skills Slide

What if we simply assigned those five verbs as homework for our student learners?

  • Observe
  • Question
  • Experiment
  • Network
  • Associate

What if the student learners came to school each day with stories and inquiries about how and what and whom they…

  • Observed
  • Questioned
  • Experimented with
  • Networked, and
  • Associated?

What if these organizers were the strands by which learners weaved their archives and documentations via their eportfolios? What if more of the time in school ignited from the fuses and sparks generated by these verbs and developing habits of mind?

How might we facilitate the engagements, the curiosities, and the pursuits that compel learners to be and become innovators….by, well, practicing the five skills of innovation?

How might we homework our way to better learning and to enhanced schooling?

How might we educate for the innovation we expect and need in our world?

Could it be that simple?


Exploring educational innovation… by skateboarding with a UCLA professor.

Remember yesterday’s post on looking at adjacent domains for exploring innovation and learning? [No matter if you don’t.] Thanks to a conversation with a division head yesterday, we were reminded of Dr. Tae of UCLA.

There’s a lot to think about by going to the “skateboarding school.” [Contrast this with “bicycle school” ;-)]

TEDxEastsidePrep – Dr. Tae – Can Skateboarding Save Our Schools?

  1. Failure is normal. “It took me 58 times to get that trick.”
  2. Nobody knows ahead of time how long it takes anybody to learn anything.
  3. Work your ass off until you figure it out.
  4. Learning is NOT [always] fun. “A better word… is FLOW.” “Fun is very different from flow.”
  5. NO GRADES. “The goal in skateboarding is to learn the trick. The reward in skateboarding is landing the trick. Layering grades on top of this adds nothing to the experience at all. Skateboarding is not brought to you by the letter A.” [great visual of this point in minute 9:00!]
  6. NO CHEATING. “When learning is the goal and learning is the reward, there is no cheating.”
  7. NO TEACHERS. “Real-time meaningful feedback.”
  8. Spectrum of learning and spectrum of school are not currently aligned, equivalent, etc. [Really cool physics lesson and metaphor starts near minute 12:00!]

= = = = =

Related post:

What I learned from skateboarding at age 41 and 11/12…

“What does learning a lot feel like, Dad?”

Driving PJ, my eight-year old, to school this morning, I asked, “Peanut, how’s school?”

“School’s great, Dad. I love school.”

“Are you learning a lot?”

[Long pause]

“What does learning a lot feel like, Dad?”

That question has stuck with me all day! If you feel so inclined, I’d love to read how you might respond to such a question.

Nothing like crowd-sourcing my parenting!