Don and two of his Innovations students from Noblesville High School in Indiana shared a great deal of valuable information about the Innovative process, the use of social media and the pitfalls of this type of course. Information that I could have parroted from reading Don's book or sharing a PLN on Twitter, But there is something magical about the process of Skyping some 2000 miles across the country that bring more value to the message.
Don (@DonWettrick) and his students Hunter Stone (@HunterStone1446) and Saul Garza (@_Saul_Garza) shared some key points throughout their virtual visit with my students:
- It is wonderful to talk about what you want to do, but then DO IT!
- How fortunate my students are to have this opportunity, but it is their responsibility to make the most of the class and their situation.
- Make every project two weeks. Breaking up the project into reasonable steps to keep accountability.
- Don't be afraid to shoot for the stars in finding a mentor but be realistic in expectations of who will actually have the time and ability to be a mentor.
- Whiteboard everything and log everything to keep churning out ideas, but also to search for peer feedback.
- Use social media as a means of connection using the concept of six degrees of separation.
- If students don't take advantage of this opportunity to explore their passion projects, it only serves to justify the opinion of most adults that teenagers can't handle freedom.
Many of this ideas were things that I had already shared with my students and I couldn't help but think that some of them may have thought that I had scripted Don's points. But, the reality is that they need to find their passion in themselves and that no matter how much passion I generate or they see Don's passion in his delivery, it still comes down to their responsibility to themselves. These students have a very unique opportunity to create their own path of education and to develop whatever ideas and projects they can dream up, but the outcomes lie on their shoulders alone.
I am passionately excited to see what these wonderful young men and women bring to the forefront of their passion and experience as we journey together through this wonderful experiment called Innovations Class at La Salle High School.
I truly cannot thank Don Wettrick enough for the opportunity he has provided me by mentoring me through my own innovations project of bringing this experience to the students entrusted to my care.
Thank you Don
and all of your inspirational students at Noblesville High School in Indiana
Specially Hunter Stone and Saul Garza