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  • Writer's pictureMike Cobb

Reflecting from BETT: Hidden Potential and Atomic Habits

Updated: Jan 30

This past week I was able to attend the BETT conference in London. As I attempted to take in the multitude of new offerings and innovations, I began reflecting on two previous books: Adam Grant's "Hidden Potential" and James Clear's "Atomic Habits". Embracing my futurist lens, I thought about all the energy, expense and options around educational transformation and the hope that schools evolve into dynamic centers of innovation that enable personal development and future forward learning.

I was immersed in the forefront of educational innovation and surrounded by a plethora of cutting-edge technologies and pedagogical approaches. As I was there, I couldn't help but reflect on Adam Grant's insightful book, "Hidden Potential." The conference not only showcased the latest advancements in edtech but also underscored the untapped potential within our learning systems. There was definitely an undertone of a deep desire for change. Grant's exploration of unlocking hidden talents and fostering creativity resonated deeply as I witnessed diverse tools and methodologies designed to enhance learning experiences. However, it seemed evident that while there is a palpable desire for change, reflected in the energy and expense expended at the conference, the real challenge lies in whether we can translate this desire into concrete actions that transform learning. The question of whether we can truly make the changes needed to unlock the full potential of our systems remains a crucial one that needs careful consideration and proactive engagement. These thoughts led me to thinking about my current situation and the varied learning environments around the world.

As I spoke to edtech leaders, considering my current immersion in the NEOM project and our vision of a seamless fusion of cutting-edge technology and authentic learning, with Virtual reality classrooms, AI-driven personalized pathways, and collaborative digital platforms we are trying to redefine the educational landscape, with NEOM standing at the forefront of pioneering future forward learning. Though I reflected on the extreme position we find ourselves in as trailblazers bridging the gap between theory and action. I realize that many are truly trying to make a first step or find a small seam to innovate. I found myself then reflecting on James Clear's transformative book, "Atomic Habits."

The conference was full of folks casting their visions for the latest advancements in educational technology and the big changes that were needed, Though I agree with the need for a revolution, I reflected on the idea of the power of small, incremental changes—much like the atomic habits Clear describes. Witnessing the collective enthusiasm for transformative ideas and tools, it seemed that for many the potential for positive change lies in the consistent adoption of small, deliberate habits. Clear's principles of continuous improvement and the compounding effect of marginal gains resonated deeply, inspiring a commitment to fostering a culture of innovation and a growth mindset within our learning practices. Just as Clear advocates for the impact of tiny habits on personal development, schools, regardless of their innovation goals, can embrace incremental innovations to significant positive shifts in the realm of learning in their community.

As a bridge between people and ideas, my vision for the future of learning is to make authentic expressions and student agency accessible for all students in the best ways possible for each community. The future of learning is a canvas where "Hidden Potential" aligns with the atomic precision of habits, painting a picture of schools as hubs for unlocking unique talents through impactful experiences.

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1 Comment

Lindsay West
Lindsay West
Jan 30

Hi Mike,

Thanks very much for posting this, very thought provoking and insightful.

We currently stand with a new frontier of technology unfolding before us at a pace that is even more accelerated that the advent of the PC or the smart phone.

As we have found at VISR Dynamics, with nearly a decade's worth experience of working with the development of spatial and immersive technology, the best way forward is not a leap into the unknown but in small incremental steps as you outline.

It is through a close and evolutionary partnership between education and technology companies that we find the best results and can start to map our way forward.

Change is coming but it should not be…

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