The Couros Effect

(or: It Happened One Conference…)

Supposedly the ideas that come to us aren’t really original, but just remixes of influences, experiences and other ideas that we build upon and shape with our own transformative twist.

If this is the case, then maybe inspiration works in the same way…it’s not borne out of one particular incident, but builds momentum through our experiences, thoughts, and connections until we finally get motivated enough to do something with those converging coincidences after all…

However it may work, I’m glad to have finally invoked my own long-latent blogging mojo again while watching and listening to the energetic, blogging and tweeting Greek-Canadian muse (or is he a Canadian Greek?) who many Twitter followers know well as George Couros (@gcouros).

George Couros’ presentation “Create, Innovate, and Voice” at the TCEA conference in Austin this February was just what I didn’t realize I was looking for at an instructional technology conference.

IMG_2356Call it serendipity, I spotted Couros’ name among the myriad session listings while planning out my last conference day that same morning.  I saw 2 of his 3 presentations, which build upon the concept that teachers must be innovators, rather than educators, per se; that teaching digital citizenship and thoughtful technology integration comes from modeling the behavior through one’s own use of it; and ultimately it’s about creating relationships versus products.

As I listened, it was like—hey, he’s reading my mind! Technology is the means, not the end! Process over Product! Mindset over skill set! Be more dog! Go deep or go home!

It was so refreshing at a technology conference to hear about ideas versus technology.

Besides the “be more dog” approach, another standout line stuck with me:

Every teacher should have an innovator’s mindset–or they should do something else.

This statement kept buzzing in my head, in combination with other ideas popping up and connecting to each other, inspired by other sessions and my own random, latent thoughts about how we learn and how we should teach learning today.

Of course, Couros is a big proponent of blogging, and I follow his blog. He spoke about the power blogging can have for students and for teachers, and even how blogs were leveraged among his own faculty to move toward “doing different” versus doing more, moving away from seeing change as disruptive toward seeing it as transformative.

So, I began asking myself…should I revive my blog again? Am I ready for the commitment to myself? Is it self indulgent? Is there a better way to spend my free time? Do I have anything different to share from what’s already floating out there in the blogosphere? Will anyone read it? Will anyone care? Or is all of that irrelevant???


I’ve had a long love-hate relationship with blogging. The love grew waaay back in 2001-2002, when blogs were the hip term for “web logs,” emerging in their initial iteration as the digital diaries of people’s lives, right there on the still then-novel Internet for you to read, especially when sitting at the circulation desk in a quiet little neighborhood public library branch, subconsciously counting the minutes until 9 PM when you closed and could head home from your second job each weekday…my favorite blog became mybluehouse, which I discovered one evening at said library branch, via a NYTimes article positing the staying power of blogs…and thus began my own habit of online voyeurism into bloggers’ lives, the mundane elevated to e-fantasy, as I imagined myself eating a little petit four by a fountain with my imaginary toddler, or shopping at the street market for fresh ingredients for that evening’s dinner.

As blogs evolved, my interested in them waned as the blogs themselves changed into platforms for discussing political perspectives or promoting specific agendas and products more so than revealing what was fresh at the market, or posting that afternoon’s photos captured with a makeshift pinhole camera.

Like with everything it seems, the educational realm tends to catch on last with trends, but once blogging became a platform for sharing ideas and approaches for teaching and learning, I became hooked again, reading blogs by Buffy Hamilton, Richard Byrne, and Joyce Valenza (along with some fun creative/design blogs such as Design Milk, Curbly, and of course, Laughing Squid).

So I then got on the blogwagon myself. Curious Squid’s initial iteration back in 2011 grew from random thoughts scribbled onto a program while listening to a concert roughly two years prior…and since wandering away from blogging almost four years now, I still find myself jotting down notes here and there on what I would blog about if I were to actually blog again. I can’t keep myself from thinking of things, in fact I feel compelled to do so, but wonder if it still is worth doing…


Back to the now…still subconsciously thinking of blogging again, I came across Nancy Duarte’s interview on the TED blog, discussing the qualities of a persuasive presentation while prepping for a PD session for a faculty workshop (on why teachers should use our campus e-resources for developing curriculum in addition to everyone’s favorite go-to, Google).

In Duarte’s actual TED Talk, her opening line pinged in my brain:

Deep inside of you, every single one [of us] has the single most powerful device known to man—and that’s an idea.

Ideas again…can’t seem to get away from them.

So I took all of these seemingly random coincidences as signs to blog again. Hey, it only took…~four years, an inspiring presentation, a blog post about presentations, and my own push-pull between persistent ideas and digital discipline.

My Goal: Weekly posts.

And thus begins Curious Squid part deux.

Thanks, George Couros. Nancy Duarte. Bloggers everywhere. and my first blog love, My Blue House.

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