Ten Old-School Tech Skills Your Students Never Had to Deal With

I was born in the Ice Age, when Ice Cube, Ice-T, and Vanilla Ice were all the rage. If you had told me as a child that Ice-T would someday play a cop on TV, I would have thought you were crazy. As a kid, my biggest technology concern was making it through the Oregon […]

Using Design Thinking to Innovate in Your Own Practice

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to deliver an opening keynote and closing talk for EdEx, a conference in Eindhoven (in the Netherlands). When Jochem first shared his idea of a weeklong design expedition, I imagined teachers working in a makerspace, designing a product that would mirror the type of work they might […]

We Need to Trust Teachers to Innovate

If we want to see innovation happening in our schools, we need to trust, encourage, and empower teachers to transform their practice. Too often, teachers are forced to teach inside the box and it can feel frustrating. In this post, I explore why teachers are the innovators, what’s getting in the way, and what we […]

Here’s How to Empower Students While Also Hitting the Standards

Student ownership sounds like a great idea but what about the standards? How do we teach all of the standards while also empowering students with voice and choice?  An Epic Project (That Also Hit the Standards) Trevor Muir makes a powerful point about student ownership. If you do nothing else, take three minutes to watch the […]

School Should Be Impractical (The Practical Benefits of Being Impractical)

Schools are designed to be practical but this has a hidden drawback. Innovation is often impractical because it’s unpredictable. So, what if the push toward “practical skills” in school is actually making learning impractical? And what if impractical ideas and skills we ignore are actually what students will use later in life? The Impractical Idea […]

You Don’t Have to Wait to Innovate

When I was a first-year teacher, my team leader Nancy gave me this heaping box of classroom supplies. On the top, she placed a notecard with the words New Teacher Card. On the back of the notecard, she wrote a note explaining that I could play this card when I messed up. “You’re new and you make […]

Treat Every Lesson Like an Experiment

I’m just going to put it out there. I don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to making videos. For the last six weeks, I’ve been experimenting and trying things out. Every time I get ready to publish a video, these fears swirl around my mind. What if it’s not good enough? What if […]

How Action Research Sparks Innovation and Boosts Creativity in the Classroom

What happens when you give students exemplars? Do they simply copy the pre-existing examples? Do they fail to take creative risks? Do they internalize the idea that their work must fit a previous model? Does it implicitly tell students “this is what it should look like?” These were the questions swirling around my head a […]

Innovation May Be a Buzzword, But It’s a Term I’ve Grown to Love

I used to hate the word “innovative.” See those quotes right there around the word? Those are actually air quotes that I would use whenever I used the term. “It’s a buzzword,” I would say. “It’s overused,” I would point out. But the truth is, sometimes a word becomes trendy because it’s tapping into something […]

Why Aren’t Universities Developing More Teacher-Innovators?

This week, I asked my cohort to analyze different unit planning models. This is a challenging part of the graduate classes, when teachers are learning the nitty gritty craft of creating units and lessons from scratch. I walked over to the group analyzing the design thinking model. “I don’t think I could do that in […]