It’s has been a week since the Google Certified Innovator Academy concluded in Washington DC (#WDC17) and I am still processing all that happened. From the application process, the face-to-face Academy and as I jump into the year long project, it has been an experience that has taught me a lot about myself and helped me to figure out who I want to become. As I begin to reflect on my experience, I am going to take a small nugget of what I learned from my coach Mark Garrison and use the rule of 3 to capture a small glimpse of my experience.
In Aikido, a Japanese martial art, there are no coloured belts as you progress, just white belts and black belts.After countless hours of training, sparring tests and learning from your sensei, you may be able to earn your black belt. The black belt doesn’t symbolize that you are a master at Aikido, but is a visual symbol that you are a “serious beginner”. Similarly, becoming a certified Google Innovator is just the start of my learning where I am now a serious beginner when it come to changing education. Hearing about past accomplishments and future visions from my cohort showed me there is so much more to experience and learn. As I embark on my project, my mindset is a serious beginner, where I am driven and dedicated to bringing my vision to life, but know this year will be a year of growth.
One of the common pieces of feedback you hear about the Google Innovator Academy is that your cohort is your family. No surprise here, but I completely echo the sentiment! Family is all about unconditional support and in the academy there are times where I failed hard and failed fast. It is always tough to rebound from failure and acknowledge it, but the beauty of the cohort is that everyone from the leads, coaches, cohort; they all have your back and even help raise you up. With our projects, we were taken through the design thinking process and one of the coaches, Jennie Magiera lead us through an activity as described by Amy Burvall (coach) as “kill your darlings” where we determine the flaws in another person’s project. I left this activity heartbroken about my project, but not about myself – a small demonstration of the unconditional support received.
Stepping into Google Innovator Academy, I had the little voice inside my head doubting why I was included in the cohort – self-doubt comes too easily with me. What was impactful for me was at the academy nobody cared what your resume looked like but cared that you were there. One of my favourite moments was the first day where we had an opportunity to share a story that impacted us as an educator within our teams. Every story shared was emotional and real and it was amazing to have such an authentic experience rooted in a shared common passion for improving education. The Google Innovator Academy is sometimes described as the best professional development of your life, but I would describe it as the best personal development. There is a striking difference between professional development and personal development. At the end of a EdTechTeam summit, I often leave with my head full ready to try different things, but at the end of the Google Innovator Academy, I left with my heart full and inspired to change the world.
For more information about the Google Certified Innovator Academy and application for the next cohort visit: https://edutrainingcenter.withgoogle.com/certification_innovator
Applications for the next cohort in Stockholm, Sweden are open. Apply today!
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Google Certified Innovator