My goal is simple. I want to make something new each day. Sometimes, I make stuff. Sometimes, I make a difference. On a good day, I get to do both. I often use design thinking as a framework for my creative work. If you’re interested in any workshops, keynotes, or sessions on creativity and design thinking, you can check out my speaking page. Here are some of the larger projects I’ve worked on over the last few years.
Launch: Using Design Thinking to Spark Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student (Coming Soon!)
A little over a year ago, A.J. Juliani and I tossed around an idea for a book called The Creative Classroom. Given our combined experience with design thinking (as educators, leaders, and people who actively engage in creative work), we planned out a solid book on the topic. But then it grew into something much bigger — both a manifesto and a practical guide for how we can transforms schools into bastions of creativity and wonder. We developed the LAUNCH Cycle as a design thinking framework that any K-12 teacher could use.
The Global Day of Design (2016-Now)
We had over 40,000 students participate in our first ever Global Day of Design, in schools throughout the world. AJ Juliani and I developed this as a single day opportunity to use design thinking to spark creativity.
Creative Classroom Academy (2015-Now)
We just recently launched the Creative Classroom Academy. I am partnering with AJ Juliani to create a site to equip teachers to maximize creativity and boost innovation in their classrooms. You can take self-paced courses (like the design thinking course I created this last summer), access a suite of resources, and engage with a committed community of fellow creative teachers.
Sketchy Videos (2015-Now)
Podcast: Classroom Questions (2015)
Last year I started a weekly podcast, with my good friend AJ Juliani, called Classroom Questions! Classroom Questions was created to answer everyday questions that teachers have around the world on topics such as student engagement, classroom management, project-based learning, and how to make it on a teacher’s salary. We launched #1 on iTunes Education charts and look forward to starting up again in the upcoming year.
Blogging Platform: Write About (2014-Now)
We started with two bold ideas: writing should be fun and sharing should be easy. We knew that the secret to improving student writing had to be improving motivation. So, we built a holistic blogging platform with custom user groups, private feedback, layers of privacy and hundreds of stunning writing ideas. We are still continuing to improve and evolve. However, it’s been a phenomenal journey so far!
Wendell the World’s Worst Wizard (2013)
Honestly, this is the project that I am most proud of, because it was so deeply personal to me. It started out as a bedtime story and grew into a novel that I co-wrote with my wife, Christy. For a brief time, we cracked the top ten in its respective Amazon category. But, more importantly, I got the chance to see students get into making, engineering, and robotics as they read the book. It’s been awesome to watch.
The 21st Century Classroom Initiative (2011-2012)
For a full year, I worked on an initiative that combined coaching, professional development, and one-to-one devices in ELL classrooms. It was a powerful experience that taught me a ton about coaching and professional development. This is also where I got the opportunity to plan a summer STEM lab school with an emphasis on blending Constructivist pedagogy, blended learning, and language acquisition.
Teacher Commons (2008-2009)
Back in 2008, I created a blended professional development platform. We incorporated action research, teacher surveys, and utilized our staff’s collective expertise in the implementation of a new type of weekly, personalized professional development. I learned a ton of things in the process, like the fact that the greatest barrier to tech integration wasn’t skills or motivation so much as self-efficacy. I also learned a valuable lesson about leadership. I wish I had known at the time what I’ve learned since then about the role of trust, vulnerability, and relationships to the success of creative work. This project was the beginning of my interest in blended and personalized professional development.
Project IMPACT (2005-2010)
From 2004-2010, I developed a program called Project IMPACT. We blended service learning, technology, art, and academics. Students painted murals, did service projects, blogged, and created eBooks. It’s easy to point to projects and remember how awesome they were. However, I look back at Project IMPACT and I realize that there are things I would have done differently. I was slow to let go of control in some of the projects. I should have pushed for more student voice. There were times when I was impatient and placed the project above the people.
Social Voice (2003-2012)
I first got into blogging as a senior in college. We called them “weblogs” at the time. During my first year of teaching, I helped students create an eZine (does anyone still use that term?) and blogs. They also created podcasts, documentaries, and multimedia packages. Most of our posts are gone, but some of them were saved in this archive.