Different by Design

I provide the tools, ideas, and resources to help you get started with PBL, design thinking, and student-centered learning. Join the 40,000+ teachers, leaders, and learners and get the Creative Classroom Toolbox.

The Creative Classroom Toolbox

Teachers Are the Key to Student Creativity

It’s no secret that the world is changing. What was once a corporate ladder is now a maze. The bad news is the rules have changed. The good news? Our students get to rewrite those rules. But in this world of rapid change, our students will need to be creative thinkers and problem-solvers. And you get to help make that a reality.

It all begins with the teacher. You can unleash the creative potential in all of your students so they can grow into the makers, designers, artists, and engineers who change the world. You are the architect designing the systems, experiences, and projects to make this a reality.

But architects need tools and that’s why I’m sharing these resources.

Get the Toolbox

You’ll also have access to free creative writing prompts, three types of projects, creative thinking structures, and a suite of assessment tools you can use from day one.

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Follow my Facebook page and join the discussions on the latest articles, videos, and resources in design thinking and PBL. Want to go deeper? Consider a Creative Thinking Mastermind Group.

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“We are all creative. Every one of us. And we can tap into this natural creativity when we embrace a maker mindset.”

Hi, I’m John Spencer.

I’m a former middle school teacher and current college professor and the author of books centered on creativity, student-centered learning, and innovation.

I want to see teachers unleash the creative potential in all of their students so that kids can be makers, designers, artists, and engineers. I explore research, interview educators from around the world, deconstruct systems, and study real-world examples of creativity in action to discover what works for students. Along the way, I share what I’m learning in books, podcasts, articles, animated videos, and classroom resources.

More about me

My Books

Launch: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student

Empower: What Happens When Students Own Their Learning

Wendell the World’s Worst Wizard

Workshops and Speaking

Over the last three years, I have had the opportunity to share this vision for creative classrooms all over the world, including the White House Future Ready Summit, a breakfast keynote at ISTE, and a TEDx Talk.

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Take the Leap!

Get started with these free learning opportunities

Empowered Learners

Our students will need to be creative thinking, self-directed learners to navigate the complex systems of our world. Empower provides practical strategies to increase student ownership, voice, and choice.

Get the Blueprint for Empowering Students

Design Thinking for All

Design thinking is a human-centered, empathy-driven process for creative work. The LAUNCH framework is a student-friendly design thinking framework you can use in your classroom.

Get the Beginner’s Guide to Design Thinking

Project-Based Learning

When students engage in project-based learning, they learn how to create, collaborate, and think critically. They also learn lifelong skills such as research, inquiry, project-management, and iterative thinking.

Get the free mini-course and toolkit.

Creative Thinking

Creativity can work in all subjects when students are inspired and empowered. This is why I’ve created video prompts to spark creative thinking in all subjects.

Get a free set of video prompts