Monday, August 31, 2015

Blogging: Connection, Creation, Inspiration, Reflection

"By three methods we may learn wisdom. 
First by REFLECTION, which is noblest;
Second by IMITATION, which is easiest;
and Third by EXPERIENCE, which is the bitterest."
Ideas cannot be processed until they have been scrutinized under the lens of reflection. But they cannot come to fruition until they are shared with the world. This process will be accomplished by the Innovations student through the art of blogging. Each student is responsible for creating a blog and sharing their innovative process through that medium. Students are required to blog a minimum of 10 times during the semester which equates to about one blog per block cycle. 

The Blog Will Be Used To 
  Share Work with the World
  Create an Online Presence for Digital Brand 
  Locate and Attract Mentors
  Accountability to Self and Peers
  Reflect on the Innovative Process
  Communicate with other Innovators 
 The student blog list will be compiled as page of this blog.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Twitter Thursday

"Treat Yourself Like a Professional"

The third day of class was known as Twitter Thursday.  The goal was to begin students on the path of creating their professional image in their digital brand.

Students began by giving up the egg and presenting themselves to the world with their Twitter Profile image.

Although these students are digital natives, this does not guarantee technological literacy. The Teach 2 Learn Mentality was apparent early as students found peer experts to guide them through the process of changing out their profile picture and developing their profiles. 

The one requirement to their profile was to "Treat Themselves as Professionals" and include information about being an Innovations student at La Salle High School. 

We then conducted a brief Twitter Chat using TweetDeck so students could learn to use the proper #'s and experience the real time possibilities for Twitter interaction. 

Then the fun began as students began their Project by Creating their Twitter Follow Lists.  The first person I suggested all of my students to follow and then Tweet was of course The Innovation Teacher Himself, Don Wettrick.  

Don did not disappoint as he began to follow students back almost immediately. Hoots around the room followed by "This guy is the Boss!" made other students  check to see if Don had followed them back as well.  

The researching possible followers and the discussions that ensued created friendly competition as students tried to include the most and best Tweepers to follow.  Culminating when two students challenged each other to see if they could get Ellen Degeneres to follow back for their project. This challenge was met by a student quoting the Great One, Wayne Gretzky, "You mill 100% of the shots you don't take."  This exchange led to a great discussion on the possibilities, expectations and realities of who to follow, who to request to follow and the best way to request that an individual follow back.  

Overall, Twitter Thursday continued to fuel the energy for the course an students are beginning to see even more possibilities beyond their original basic ideas for the course. I continue to be amazed by my students in a way that I have never been inspired by the classes I have taught for over 30 years.  
I can't wait to see the possibilities become realities on this Innovative Journey. 

Passion Hearts.

"Passion can be found where what you love intersects with what breaks your heart. "

Day two found us brainstorming using a technique borrowed from Angela Maiers (@AngelaMaiers) through a blogpost on the Choose 2 Matter website, What Breaks your Heart? There's Your Passion!

Providing students with two hearts, One for what they love and one for what breaks their heart, students began self reflection on where their passions are.

Table Discussions and Post It Notes soon had students finding their common areas of Love and Heartbreak as they searched for the area of Passion that could drive their Innovations Projects.


The brainstorming as fast and furious and allowed students to rethink the concept of an innovative concept.  With our Lasallian motto of Enter to Learn, Leave to Serve, it became apparent that doing something innovative must include who is going to be affected by the outcomes of these projects. Students realized quickly that while projects can be done that are for individual personal growth and learning, the possibilities can mean so much more when the projects are focused on positive change for others.

@LSinnov8tions: The Journey Begins

In June 2014 I began reading Pure Genius by +Don Wettrick  and immediately knew that I had try to create the same type of learning path for the students entrusted to my care at La Salle High School. The Journey began about midway through the book when I began also taking in everything I could from his website The Innovation Teacher and then tracked Don down on Twitter @donwettrick.  By the end of the book I was completely hooked and already planting the seeds with administrators that this was in our future.

Now Don is an amazing individual and within 48 hours of my first email to him I was in a phone conversation picking his brain for ideas on how to get this thing going. A couple of email follow ups and some Twitter contact and I was selling the concept to our new Vice Principal of Academics, Edgar Salmingo (@mrsalmingo).

By January 2015, I was in our Junior classes selling the idea to students.  The pitch was, that this class was going to be amazing and that this was going to be their opportunity at a little academic freedom in order to pursue their passion projects in a Google 20% Time model 100% of the time.

By May2015, I had my class roster set and began meeting with students to set up Twitter accounts for @LSinnov8tions and assign the Summer Reading book list for students to choose  which author's  brilliance they would bring into our classroom. People like Dan Pink (@DanielPink) , Drive, Jonah Lehrer Imagine and Tina Seelig (@tseelig), inGenius were just some of the possibilities for students to learn from. (Innovations Summer Booklist)

In July I hosted our first two Twitter chats #LSHSInnov8 to begin learning to use Twitter and sharing ideas.  I was surprised at how many students were not familiar with Twitter and learned quickly not to assume anything about students previous knowledge and understanding.  Only four students attended that Wednesday morning Twitter but the exchange taking place was full of anticipatory excitement of the what this course was going to be about. One student was immediately followed and retweeted by several coin Tweeters as he had mentioned he wanted to learn coding as part of his project. The immediacy and reach of Twitter was definitely on display.  While I was disappointed that only four students joined in I simply chalked it up to the morning time and student avoiding the idea of school. I was even more disappointed when only one student appeared for the second chat forty-five minutes late.  I realized that even though the students were excited about the class they were not excited enough to give up their summer yet and think about school.

I did host a third Twitter the Sunday before school began and my excitement was raised once again by the twelve students who joined in and shared their summers, some of their reading commentary and beginning plans for their innovations projects.

And that brings us to Day One the start of the Journey.

The first day of school always has a certain air of anticipation and excitement as students share their summers, figure out what classes they have income and renew friendships.  However in my thirty years as an educator I have never experienced the energy that these students exuded as they talked about the possibilities ahead of them.  The excitement level was palpable and these future INNOV8TORS were ready to begin our journey.