Tag: Innovation




Passion and proficiency. Both are important. But what’s your priority? What comes first? Some teachers know their content, have great strategies, and work hard every day. And yet they aren’t getting the results they hope for.



In Future Driven, I wrote about the importance of rekindling passion in an accountability era where proficiency has been prioritized to the detriment of everything else.

“More than proficiency, we need passion. We need people who are passionate about life, solving problems, helping others, and doing amazing work. Passionate people aren’t just concerned what’s in it for them. They don’t want someone to take care of them, to create a job for them, or make it easy for them. They want to make a difference in the world. They want their life to count.

Proficiency is about cheap labor, following the rules, being an interchangeable part. It’s following the map, taking orders, playing it safe. In school, it’s being ready for the next grade level or for college. These aren’t bad things. But it’s not what allows us to use all of our gifts.” 

If we are going to crush apathy in our schools and create learning that’s irresistible, it won’t happen by doubling down our efforts to reach proficiency. We have to start by developing environments where students can rekindle what it means to be a passionate learner.



After all, they came to us this way, right? When kids entered school for the first time, they were filled with curiosity, creativity, and hope. They came to us with these qualities so shouldn’t they leave us with them also?



So what can you do to create that passionate learning culture in your classroom?



1. Model passionate learning yourself. Be curious yourself. Learn rights alongside your students. Your energy, enthusiasm, and excitement towards learning will make a huge difference for your students.



2. Focus more on developing interesting questions, engaging in deeper and better thinking, and making meaning with your students. Some things are more valuable than getting right answers. Intellectual curiosity is exciting if it isn’t crushed by fear of getting the wrong answer. Let’s start with questions.



3. Connect learning to making a difference. Give students ways to learn that will impact their family, their community, a global society. Help students make a difference now. We aren’t just preparing leaders for the future. Kids need opportunities to lead and make a difference now.



4. Connect learning to creativity. Passionate learning involves creating something new, not just regurgitating established information. Creativity allow us to connect who we are to what we are learning. We are creative beings. We need opportunities to create.



5. Connect learning to emotion. Developing our cognitive abilities needs to go hand in hand with developing our emotional abilities. Let’s work on developing conditions where learning connects to the heart and not just to the mind. I’m not sure where it originated but I love this quote, “Information without emotion is rarely retained.”

Hugh Macleod (@hughcards) shared this bit on his Twitter feed. It captures so much truth in such a simple visual. The world is rapidly changing. The type of work and the value of different kinds of work is also rapidly changing.



Proficiency won’t help you compete with robots or zombies. They know their stuff. They have the market cornered on proficiency. But they can’t go deeper. They’re soulless. If you want to be great, you have to be an artist. Not necessarily an artist who paints, or sculpts, or writes poetry. But you have to offer more from your humanity than a zombie is willing to give or a robot is able to give.


So here’s the challenge. If your students are mostly doing robot work or zombie work in school, how are they going to be ready to do art work in a world that demands it? 


As our world becomes increasingly automated and technological, our students are going to gain the greatest advantage not just by their proficiency, but by their ability to leverage emotional labor to produce great work. 




Is proficiency still important? Absolutely. But if we keep pursuing proficiency to the exclusion of what’s most important, we are doing our children a terrible disservice. 


What are your thoughts on passion vs. proficiency? If we generated more passionate learning, would proficiency take care of itself? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More What’s Your Priority? Passion or Proficiency




Passion and proficiency. Both are important. But what’s your priority? What comes first? Some teachers know their content, have great strategies, and work hard every day. And yet they aren’t getting the results they hope for.



In Future Driven, I wrote about the importance of rekindling passion in an accountability era where proficiency has been prioritized to the detriment of everything else.

“More than proficiency, we need passion. We need people who are passionate about life, solving problems, helping others, and doing amazing work. Passionate people aren’t just concerned what’s in it for them. They don’t want someone to take care of them, to create a job for them, or make it easy for them. They want to make a difference in the world. They want their life to count.

Proficiency is about cheap labor, following the rules, being an interchangeable part. It’s following the map, taking orders, playing it safe. In school, it’s being ready for the next grade level or for college. These aren’t bad things. But it’s not what allows us to use all of our gifts.” 

If we are going to crush apathy in our schools and create learning that’s irresistible, it won’t happen by doubling down our efforts to reach proficiency. We have to start by developing environments where students can rekindle what it means to be a passionate learner.



After all, they came to us this way, right? When kids entered school for the first time, they were filled with curiosity, creativity, and hope. They came to us with these qualities so shouldn’t they leave us with them also?



So what can you do to create that passionate learning culture in your classroom?



1. Model passionate learning yourself. Be curious yourself. Learn rights alongside your students. Your energy, enthusiasm, and excitement towards learning will make a huge difference for your students.



2. Focus more on developing interesting questions, engaging in deeper and better thinking, and making meaning with your students. Some things are more valuable than getting right answers. Intellectual curiosity is exciting if it isn’t crushed by fear of getting the wrong answer. Let’s start with questions.



3. Connect learning to making a difference. Give students ways to learn that will impact their family, their community, a global society. Help students make a difference now. We aren’t just preparing leaders for the future. Kids need opportunities to lead and make a difference now.



4. Connect learning to creativity. Passionate learning involves creating something new, not just regurgitating established information. Creativity allow us to connect who we are to what we are learning. We are creative beings. We need opportunities to create.



5. Connect learning to emotion. Developing our cognitive abilities needs to go hand in hand with developing our emotional abilities. Let’s work on developing conditions where learning connects to the heart and not just to the mind. I’m not sure where it originated but I love this quote, “Information without emotion is rarely retained.”

Hugh Macleod (@hughcards) shared this bit on his Twitter feed. It captures so much truth in such a simple visual. The world is rapidly changing. The type of work and the value of different kinds of work is also rapidly changing.



Proficiency won’t help you compete with robots or zombies. They know their stuff. They have the market cornered on proficiency. But they can’t go deeper. They’re soulless. If you want to be great, you have to be an artist. Not necessarily an artist who paints, or sculpts, or writes poetry. But you have to offer more from your humanity than a zombie is willing to give or a robot is able to give.


So here’s the challenge. If your students are mostly doing robot work or zombie work in school, how are they going to be ready to do art work in a world that demands it? 


As our world becomes increasingly automated and technological, our students are going to gain the greatest advantage not just by their proficiency, but by their ability to leverage emotional labor to produce great work. 




Is proficiency still important? Absolutely. But if we keep pursuing proficiency to the exclusion of what’s most important, we are doing our children a terrible disservice. 


What are your thoughts on passion vs. proficiency? If we generated more passionate learning, would proficiency take care of itself? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More What’s Your Priority? Passion or Proficiency

A few years ago, I sat in a gymnasium with bleachers filled with middle schoolers while I watched high school student Jesse Haynes, one of my own Skiatook seniors at the time, share about his new novel he published that year. “This is one of my teammates and me after winning our first tournament of […]

Read More PMP:095 Encouraging Childlike Wonder in Learning





Some things we communicate intentionally. And sometimes when we fail to communicate intentionally, we send a message that we didn’t mean to send.




Here are 11 things you might unintentionally be communicating to your students.



1. When you don’t wait for all students to get quiet and give you their attention before you start talking, you might be communicating that it’s not really important that they listen to you.



2. If you complain about the school, other teachers, or the way things are, your students will probably think it’s okay to be negative about the school, other teachers, and probably your classroom too.



3. When you pass a student in the hall or they enter your room and you don’t say hello or call them by name, they may think you don’t really care about them.



4. If you give a grade for every assignment or activity and talk about how “this or that is going to be on the test,” your students may think your class is more about grades than learning.



5. If the questions you ask have just one correct answer, there’s a good chance your students will think your class is all about right answers, not about being better thinkers.



6. If you only recognize the ‘A’ students or celebrate the kids who have high test scores, that may communicate that only the ‘smart’ kids matter and that growth is not valued.

7. If you make mistakes in front of your students and then act defensive or embarrassed, you might be sending the message that only perfection is accepted and risk taking is not appreciated.



8. When you break a school policy or act like the rules are no big deal, you might send the message you don’t really value a culture of respect and shared responsibility.



9. If you aren’t intentional about making your classroom innovative and future driven, you may be sending the message to students that what their parents learned in school will be good enough for them too.



10. When you come in dragging, lack energy, or just don’t give your best, you might be communicating to students that it’s okay to try hard only when you feel like it.



11. If you don’t give students choices in their learning or opportunities to pursue their passions, they may view learning as more about compliance than actually being about…well…learning.



We have to be very careful about what we are communicating. Kids are always watching. They want to see alignment between our words and actions. They are looking to see what we really think, what we really believe, and how much we really care about them.



What is being communicated in your school unintentionally? I think that’s a good question to consider. I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or share on Twitter or Facebook.

Read More 11 Things You Might Unintentionally Be Communicating to Your Students





Some things we communicate intentionally. And sometimes when we fail to communicate intentionally, we send a message that we didn’t mean to send.




Here are 11 things you might unintentionally be communicating to your students.



1. When you don’t wait for all students to get quiet and give you their attention before you start talking, you might be communicating that it’s not really important that they listen to you.



2. If you complain about the school, other teachers, or the way things are, your students will probably think it’s okay to be negative about the school, other teachers, and probably your classroom too.



3. When you pass a student in the hall or they enter your room and you don’t say hello or call them by name, they may think you don’t really care about them.



4. If you give a grade for every assignment or activity and talk about how “this or that is going to be on the test,” your students may think your class is more about grades than learning.



5. If the questions you ask have just one correct answer, there’s a good chance your students will think your class is all about right answers, not about being better thinkers.



6. If you only recognize the ‘A’ students or celebrate the kids who have high test scores, that may communicate that only the ‘smart’ kids matter and that growth is not valued.

7. If you make mistakes in front of your students and then act defensive or embarrassed, you might be sending the message that only perfection is accepted and risk taking is not appreciated.



8. When you break a school policy or act like the rules are no big deal, you might send the message you don’t really value a culture of respect and shared responsibility.



9. If you aren’t intentional about making your classroom innovative and future driven, you may be sending the message to students that what their parents learned in school will be good enough for them too.



10. When you come in dragging, lack energy, or just don’t give your best, you might be communicating to students that it’s okay to try hard only when you feel like it.



11. If you don’t give students choices in their learning or opportunities to pursue their passions, they may view learning as more about compliance than actually being about…well…learning.



We have to be very careful about what we are communicating. Kids are always watching. They want to see alignment between our words and actions. They are looking to see what we really think, what we really believe, and how much we really care about them.



What is being communicated in your school unintentionally? I think that’s a good question to consider. I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or share on Twitter or Facebook.

Read More 11 Things You Might Unintentionally Be Communicating to Your Students



I remember a post from George Couros about a teacher sharing how innovation had helped with improving classroom management. The educator reported that “the more innovative I have become, the less classroom management I have to deal with.



It was a great post, and I think the idea definitely has merit. Recently, I’ve noticed another thing. It seems like educators who have the inclination to take risks, innovate, and empower students, seem to have more energy and seem more satisfied in their jobs. 



It seems like innovative educators are happier. They seem more optimistic. They seem to have more hope. 



When they face problems, they see lots of possibilities to address the issue. They are willing to try different solutions. They aren’t always expecting something outside of their control to change. They look to themselves first or partner with colleagues to find solutions instead of expecting a different structure, schedule, program, etc. to make the difference.



There are so many highly committed educators working extremely hard, putting in a ton of effort, who seem to be carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. Sometimes they are trying to ‘will’ students to learn, but the methods they are using are the same ones they used last year or the year before that. They are just pushing harder with the same methods.



The innovative teacher will ask, “What might work with this group of students?” The innovative teacher is willing to try just about anything to reach these kids, all of them. These teachers are working hard too, but they are willing to change and be creative and step way out of their comfort zone to help kids learn.



They aren’t just working harder. They are becoming more flexible in their thinking. There might be a better way to do this. They look for ways to make learning work better for kids instead of trying to force kids to adjust to how learning works in this class.



But why do they seem happier? More satisfied?



I think it’s because they are hopeful for the future. They believe a better outcome is possible if they keep growing and learning. Other teachers are attached to their methods, their way of doing things, and when it keeps failing, well, that’s quite disheartening.



The happiest teachers are the ones who are connecting, learning, trying new things and believing that even though things might be tough now, things can and will get better. 



So what do you think? Are innovative people happier? Leave a comment below or respond on Twitter or Facebook

Read More Are Innovative Teachers Happier?



I remember a post from George Couros about a teacher sharing how innovation had helped with improving classroom management. The educator reported that “the more innovative I have become, the less classroom management I have to deal with.



It was a great post, and I think the idea definitely has merit. Recently, I’ve noticed another thing. It seems like educators who have the inclination to take risks, innovate, and empower students, seem to have more energy and seem more satisfied in their jobs. 



It seems like innovative educators are happier. They seem more optimistic. They seem to have more hope. 



When they face problems, they see lots of possibilities to address the issue. They are willing to try different solutions. They aren’t always expecting something outside of their control to change. They look to themselves first or partner with colleagues to find solutions instead of expecting a different structure, schedule, program, etc. to make the difference.



There are so many highly committed educators working extremely hard, putting in a ton of effort, who seem to be carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. Sometimes they are trying to ‘will’ students to learn, but the methods they are using are the same ones they used last year or the year before that. They are just pushing harder with the same methods.



The innovative teacher will ask, “What might work with this group of students?” The innovative teacher is willing to try just about anything to reach these kids, all of them. These teachers are working hard too, but they are willing to change and be creative and step way out of their comfort zone to help kids learn.



They aren’t just working harder. They are becoming more flexible in their thinking. There might be a better way to do this. They look for ways to make learning work better for kids instead of trying to force kids to adjust to how learning works in this class.



But why do they seem happier? More satisfied?



I think it’s because they are hopeful for the future. They believe a better outcome is possible if they keep growing and learning. Other teachers are attached to their methods, their way of doing things, and when it keeps failing, well, that’s quite disheartening.



The happiest teachers are the ones who are connecting, learning, trying new things and believing that even though things might be tough now, things can and will get better. 



So what do you think? Are innovative people happier? Leave a comment below or respond on Twitter or Facebook

Read More Are Innovative Teachers Happier?

I recently learned of the story of John Berry Meachum, a figure in Missouri history I previously knew nothing about.



He was born into slavery in Virginia, but at the age of 21 earned enough money as a carpenter to purchase his own freedom and a short time later the freedom of his father.



Throughout his life he had an entrepreneurial spirit. He would purchase the freedom of slaves and most would pay him back. He eventually came to live in St. Louis, where he founded the African Church. 



There he taught religious and secular classes to free and enslaved black students. The location for the classes was known as “The Candle Tallow School.”



In 1847, the state of Missouri banned education for all black people. Clearly, one would expect this oppressive law to have a devastating impact Meachum’s school.



But Meachum was not dissuaded. In response, he moved his classes to a steamboat in the middle of the Mississippi River, beyond the reach of Missouri law.



He provided the school with a library, desks, and chairs and called it the “Floating Freedom School.”



John Berry Meachum showed the determination and innovation needed from all educators. We cannot let our circumstances stand in our way. We all face challenges every day. We have to be willing to think creatively and take risks to create a better future.



What if Meachum just threw up his hands and quit?



What if he felt sorry for himself because of this terrible injustice?



What if he retreated to something safe instead of taking a risk?



He had a dream to educate blacks in his community and nothing was going to stop him. I admire his passion and commitment.



One of my favorite illustrations is from best-selling author Austin Kleon. It communicates so well the risk that is required to pursue something better. 






Most people see the difference between what is and what could be, but not everyone is willing to make the leap. Not everyone takes action. But leaders do.



You can be a leader in your school when you step out and take a risk. If you want to be a difference maker, you have to be a risk taker. 



Don’t be satisfied with the status quo. Be a future-driven risk taker.



Be focused on the future, not stuck in the past. Meachum would never have taken the bold risks he took if he were filtering his actions through the past. He was doing something that was largely unheard of because he wanted a brighter future for the people he served. His dream was bigger than yesterday.



Believe there is probably a better way to do just about everything. It may seem that things are just the way they are. Our circumstances are fixed. But there are so many ways to approach a problem. Even when things are bleak, think like Meachum. Find a way. Try something new.



Learn from your setbacks but don’t be defined by them. When you take risks, sometimes you are going to get knocked down. But even your failures can lead to future greatness. Many of the greatest world-changers of all-time also experienced incredible hardships and disappointments.



Are you taking risks as an educator? Or, are you settling for the status quo? You are needed as a change maker.



How can we inspire educators to take more risks? How can we overcome the obstacles that stand in the way? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More If You Want To Be A Difference Maker, You Have To Be A Risk Taker

I recently learned of the story of John Berry Meachum, a figure in Missouri history I previously knew nothing about.



He was born into slavery in Virginia, but at the age of 21 earned enough money as a carpenter to purchase his own freedom and a short time later the freedom of his father.



Throughout his life he had an entrepreneurial spirit. He would purchase the freedom of slaves and most would pay him back. He eventually came to live in St. Louis, where he founded the African Church. 



There he taught religious and secular classes to free and enslaved black students. The location for the classes was known as “The Candle Tallow School.”



In 1847, the state of Missouri banned education for all black people. Clearly, one would expect this oppressive law to have a devastating impact Meachum’s school.



But Meachum was not dissuaded. In response, he moved his classes to a steamboat in the middle of the Mississippi River, beyond the reach of Missouri law.



He provided the school with a library, desks, and chairs and called it the “Floating Freedom School.”



John Berry Meachum showed the determination and innovation needed from all educators. We cannot let our circumstances stand in our way. We all face challenges every day. We have to be willing to think creatively and take risks to create a better future.



What if Meachum just threw up his hands and quit?



What if he felt sorry for himself because of this terrible injustice?



What if he retreated to something safe instead of taking a risk?



He had a dream to educate blacks in his community and nothing was going to stop him. I admire his passion and commitment.



One of my favorite illustrations is from best-selling author Austin Kleon. It communicates so well the risk that is required to pursue something better. 






Most people see the difference between what is and what could be, but not everyone is willing to make the leap. Not everyone takes action. But leaders do.



You can be a leader in your school when you step out and take a risk. If you want to be a difference maker, you have to be a risk taker. 



Don’t be satisfied with the status quo. Be a future-driven risk taker.



Be focused on the future, not stuck in the past. Meachum would never have taken the bold risks he took if he were filtering his actions through the past. He was doing something that was largely unheard of because he wanted a brighter future for the people he served. His dream was bigger than yesterday.



Believe there is probably a better way to do just about everything. It may seem that things are just the way they are. Our circumstances are fixed. But there are so many ways to approach a problem. Even when things are bleak, think like Meachum. Find a way. Try something new.



Learn from your setbacks but don’t be defined by them. When you take risks, sometimes you are going to get knocked down. But even your failures can lead to future greatness. Many of the greatest world-changers of all-time also experienced incredible hardships and disappointments.



Are you taking risks as an educator? Or, are you settling for the status quo? You are needed as a change maker.



How can we inspire educators to take more risks? How can we overcome the obstacles that stand in the way? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More If You Want To Be A Difference Maker, You Have To Be A Risk Taker





In writing my new book Future Driven, I shared many of the great things I see educators doing that are changing education for the better and helping to prepare students for the world they are facing. And we all know it’s a challenging, complex world out there. 



In spite of the immense challenges, I remain very hopeful for the future. And I believe educators are making a huge difference every day to help kids be ready to thrive. But of course, there is plenty more work to be done. In this post, I share a list of things that are themes from my book. If you share these ideals, you’re likely a future driven educator.



1. You are not satisfied with the status quo.



You want to take action now to help create a better future. You believe the choices you make today are helping to create a better tomorrow for you and your students. You want to make a difference and add value to others.






2. You believe in the power of building strong relationships.



You know everything rises and falls on the quality of relationships in your classroom in school. You seek to lift up others, bring people together, and connect in authentic, meaningful ways. And no matter how great you believe your relationships are, you are always striving to make them better.



3. Your methods are less important to you than your mission.



You are passionate about kids and learning. Your mission is bold and daring. You want to be a change maker. You want to make learning irresistible for kids. You don’t hang on to practices because they work best for you. You explore new practices because they might work best for kids.






4. You want your students to learn more than content.



You don’t just develop great lessons. You develop great experiences. You want students to think deeply and develop perseverance, empathy, creativity, and curiosity. You want learning to connect to students’ lives in authentic, meaningful ways.



5. You want your students to love learning more than they fear mistakes.



You are willing to take risks and learn from mistakes and you encourage your students to do the same. You know learning is messy. Mistakes are part of the process, and perfectionism is often the enemy of progress. 



6. You are mindful of changes in the world.




We are in an era of accelerating change. The world in a complex, uncertain place. You know it’s important for you to be aware of how these changes will impact your students’ futures. You chart the course for learning with the new realities of the world in mind. 



7. Your students know you believe in them.



When your students know you believe in them, it brings out the best in them. Your encouragement makes all the difference. The person who influences you the most is the person who believes in you. They will rise to your expectations. You see them for who they are becoming and not just who they are right now. You see a bright future for your students.






8. You have a long term perspective.



You do what’s best for your students in the long run. You see your work as an investment in a brighter future and a better tomorrow. Some people hold onto the past and the good ole days. Others are only concerned with the pressing matters of today. But you see out into what could be and want to help make it happen. 



9. You believe students should be more excited about learning tomorrow than they are today.



When students develop passion for learning, it doesn’t just impact the here and now. A passionate, skilled learner is able to handle just about anything life throws at them. 



10. You believe learning is for life and not just the next grade level.



Being a student is temporary, but learning is for life. We are just getting students ready for a test, or college, or a career. We are preparing them for anything they might face. 






11. You are always striving to grow and learn.



You aren’t waiting around for your school to ‘develop’ you. You take ownership for your own personal and professional growth. You want to keep getting better so your students can be better too. You know when teachers are growing, that’s the best school improvement plan ever.

12. You want to inspire your students to create a brighter future and a better world.



Your students aren’t just ready for the future, they are ready to make a difference in the future. Pursuing truth, justice, and equality are essentials for you. You are helping to create the future by inspiring your students to be world changers.



13. You believe your attitude sets the tone.



You model the attitude and mindset you want to see in others. You are positive even when things are tough. You give of yourself to others without expecting anything in return.






14. You want to connect with other educators.



We are each other’s best resources. We must be collectively awesome. You want to partner with others and work together to create better schools and unstoppable learning. Nothing’s more powerful than a group of committed educators who believe they can solve any problem together.



15. You see yourself as a leader.



When you see something that could be better or a need that could be met, you are willing to step forward and lead. You are the type of person others want to follow, not because you have a position or title, but because of the strength of your character.



16. You see yourself as a digital leader.



You know that our world is increasingly digital and that seismic shifts are happening as a result of technological innovation. You want your students to know how to leverage their skills using digital tools. You want to model digital learning.






17. You value better thinking, not just right answers.



You start with questions and look to push thinking deeper. You want your students to be adaptable learners and skilled critical thinkers. It’s not just about getting a right answer. It’s about learning to solve problems and create knowledge.



What else is important to you as a future driven educator? Your voice matters. I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More 17 Signs You’re a Future Driven Educator





In writing my new book Future Driven, I shared many of the great things I see educators doing that are changing education for the better and helping to prepare students for the world they are facing. And we all know it’s a challenging, complex world out there. 



In spite of the immense challenges, I remain very hopeful for the future. And I believe educators are making a huge difference every day to help kids be ready to thrive. But of course, there is plenty more work to be done. In this post, I share a list of things that are themes from my book. If you share these ideals, you’re likely a future driven educator.



1. You are not satisfied with the status quo.



You want to take action now to help create a better future. You believe the choices you make today are helping to create a better tomorrow for you and your students. You want to make a difference and add value to others.






2. You believe in the power of building strong relationships.



You know everything rises and falls on the quality of relationships in your classroom in school. You seek to lift up others, bring people together, and connect in authentic, meaningful ways. And no matter how great you believe your relationships are, you are always striving to make them better.



3. Your methods are less important to you than your mission.



You are passionate about kids and learning. Your mission is bold and daring. You want to be a change maker. You want to make learning irresistible for kids. You don’t hang on to practices because they work best for you. You explore new practices because they might work best for kids.






4. You want your students to learn more than content.



You don’t just develop great lessons. You develop great experiences. You want students to think deeply and develop perseverance, empathy, creativity, and curiosity. You want learning to connect to students’ lives in authentic, meaningful ways.



5. You want your students to love learning more than they fear mistakes.



You are willing to take risks and learn from mistakes and you encourage your students to do the same. You know learning is messy. Mistakes are part of the process, and perfectionism is often the enemy of progress. 



6. You are mindful of changes in the world.




We are in an era of accelerating change. The world in a complex, uncertain place. You know it’s important for you to be aware of how these changes will impact your students’ futures. You chart the course for learning with the new realities of the world in mind. 



7. Your students know you believe in them.



When your students know you believe in them, it brings out the best in them. Your encouragement makes all the difference. The person who influences you the most is the person who believes in you. They will rise to your expectations. You see them for who they are becoming and not just who they are right now. You see a bright future for your students.






8. You have a long term perspective.



You do what’s best for your students in the long run. You see your work as an investment in a brighter future and a better tomorrow. Some people hold onto the past and the good ole days. Others are only concerned with the pressing matters of today. But you see out into what could be and want to help make it happen. 



9. You believe students should be more excited about learning tomorrow than they are today.



When students develop passion for learning, it doesn’t just impact the here and now. A passionate, skilled learner is able to handle just about anything life throws at them. 



10. You believe learning is for life and not just the next grade level.



Being a student is temporary, but learning is for life. We are just getting students ready for a test, or college, or a career. We are preparing them for anything they might face. 






11. You are always striving to grow and learn.



You aren’t waiting around for your school to ‘develop’ you. You take ownership for your own personal and professional growth. You want to keep getting better so your students can be better too. You know when teachers are growing, that’s the best school improvement plan ever.

12. You want to inspire your students to create a brighter future and a better world.



Your students aren’t just ready for the future, they are ready to make a difference in the future. Pursuing truth, justice, and equality are essentials for you. You are helping to create the future by inspiring your students to be world changers.



13. You believe your attitude sets the tone.



You model the attitude and mindset you want to see in others. You are positive even when things are tough. You give of yourself to others without expecting anything in return.






14. You want to connect with other educators.



We are each other’s best resources. We must be collectively awesome. You want to partner with others and work together to create better schools and unstoppable learning. Nothing’s more powerful than a group of committed educators who believe they can solve any problem together.



15. You see yourself as a leader.



When you see something that could be better or a need that could be met, you are willing to step forward and lead. You are the type of person others want to follow, not because you have a position or title, but because of the strength of your character.



16. You see yourself as a digital leader.



You know that our world is increasingly digital and that seismic shifts are happening as a result of technological innovation. You want your students to know how to leverage their skills using digital tools. You want to model digital learning.






17. You value better thinking, not just right answers.



You start with questions and look to push thinking deeper. You want your students to be adaptable learners and skilled critical thinkers. It’s not just about getting a right answer. It’s about learning to solve problems and create knowledge.



What else is important to you as a future driven educator? Your voice matters. I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More 17 Signs You’re a Future Driven Educator





Sometimes I hear people complain about kids nowadays. I can tell you it doesn’t really set too well with me. Sure, there are examples of kids making poor choices. There are kids who are lazy. Some are selfish. We know they are into their devices. But hey, so are we. And there are some challenges they have now we probably didn’t have when we were growing up.



But I can tell you I’m going to defend our kids. I’m going to challenge them, but I’m also going to defend them. I’m going to remind everyone of the amazing things our students are doing. I’m going to share the incredible work of the ones who are leading up and lifting up every day. They are making our school a better place. They are making our world a better place.



And even when they make mistakes or show up with all the baggage any of us can bring, I’m not going to stop believing in them. They are the future. Most kids want to do the right thing. But like all of us, they are still learning and finding their way. And some of them haven’t had the best examples. 



They need someone to lift them up and believe in them. I can tell you with certainty, you’ll have far more influence on kids by believing in them than by doubting them. If you want to make a difference, stop doubting kids. They’re not going to rise above your low expectations. They need you to believe in them.



Today, we held our semi-annual academic banquet to celebrate the success of some of our students. I know some people on Twitter have written about not having award ceremonies and that type of thing because it can reinforce a fixed mindset and not acknowledge the growth of other learners who are achieving but may never get recognized. I get it. We need to notice the good work all students are doing.



But at the same time, I’m not going to apologize for recognizing kids who have achieved at a high level. They even had to miss part of the Kansas City Chiefs (Go Chiefs!) game to join us for lunch and a short program. It’s a great opportunity to interact with parents and say thank you.



I asked a few students on short notice to talk about the Bolivar Way (see the visual below). It’s become our mantra. It guides most everything we do.



I was blown away by the comments our students had about the importance of questions and curiosity.



About making excellence a personal mission and doing your best.



About lifting up others and being a great friend and teammate.



About leading and showing others the way. And to never give up even when it’s tough. 



I was amazed by the comments and was totally pumped about this year and what’s happening in our school. Our students are “making us better.” I’m so proud of them.




So if you want to complain about kids these days, I’m probably not the person who is going to commiserate with you. But what I would like to talk about is how things are different today than when we were kids. Things seem increasingly complex and uncertain. Change is accelerating. The ability to adapt and learn is more important than ever.



So instead of talking about how kids these days need to change, let’s talk about how schools need to change to meet the needs of today’s kids. 



We owe it to them to teach the enduring principles that will help them succeed. And we need to teach them the skills that are going to be uniquely necessary for this generation. 



Let’s challenge the status quo at every turn and build on the positives. Let’s create schools that are relevant and passionate. Fill your school with laughter, hope, friendship, purpose, curiosity, creativity, and togetherness.



What kind of culture does your school have? Are you complaining about kids these days? Or, are you investing in kids these days? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter. And keep being great!

Read More Are Today’s Kids Different?





Sometimes I hear people complain about kids nowadays. I can tell you it doesn’t really set too well with me. Sure, there are examples of kids making poor choices. There are kids who are lazy. Some are selfish. We know they are into their devices. But hey, so are we. And there are some challenges they have now we probably didn’t have when we were growing up.



But I can tell you I’m going to defend our kids. I’m going to challenge them, but I’m also going to defend them. I’m going to remind everyone of the amazing things our students are doing. I’m going to share the incredible work of the ones who are leading up and lifting up every day. They are making our school a better place. They are making our world a better place.



And even when they make mistakes or show up with all the baggage any of us can bring, I’m not going to stop believing in them. They are the future. Most kids want to do the right thing. But like all of us, they are still learning and finding their way. And some of them haven’t had the best examples. 



They need someone to lift them up and believe in them. I can tell you with certainty, you’ll have far more influence on kids by believing in them than by doubting them. If you want to make a difference, stop doubting kids. They’re not going to rise above your low expectations. They need you to believe in them.



Today, we held our semi-annual academic banquet to celebrate the success of some of our students. I know some people on Twitter have written about not having award ceremonies and that type of thing because it can reinforce a fixed mindset and not acknowledge the growth of other learners who are achieving but may never get recognized. I get it. We need to notice the good work all students are doing.



But at the same time, I’m not going to apologize for recognizing kids who have achieved at a high level. They even had to miss part of the Kansas City Chiefs (Go Chiefs!) game to join us for lunch and a short program. It’s a great opportunity to interact with parents and say thank you.



I asked a few students on short notice to talk about the Bolivar Way (see the visual below). It’s become our mantra. It guides most everything we do.



I was blown away by the comments our students had about the importance of questions and curiosity.



About making excellence a personal mission and doing your best.



About lifting up others and being a great friend and teammate.



About leading and showing others the way. And to never give up even when it’s tough. 



I was amazed by the comments and was totally pumped about this year and what’s happening in our school. Our students are “making us better.” I’m so proud of them.




So if you want to complain about kids these days, I’m probably not the person who is going to commiserate with you. But what I would like to talk about is how things are different today than when we were kids. Things seem increasingly complex and uncertain. Change is accelerating. The ability to adapt and learn is more important than ever.



So instead of talking about how kids these days need to change, let’s talk about how schools need to change to meet the needs of today’s kids. 



We owe it to them to teach the enduring principles that will help them succeed. And we need to teach them the skills that are going to be uniquely necessary for this generation. 



Let’s challenge the status quo at every turn and build on the positives. Let’s create schools that are relevant and passionate. Fill your school with laughter, hope, friendship, purpose, curiosity, creativity, and togetherness.



What kind of culture does your school have? Are you complaining about kids these days? Or, are you investing in kids these days? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter. And keep being great!

Read More Are Today’s Kids Different?

I’m happy to announce the release of Future Driven: Will Your Students Thrive In An Unpredictable World! Back at the start of summer I made a public commitment that I would have this passion project finished before the start of the new school year (See: Do Something Today to Move In the Direction of Your Dreams).



Well, we’ve been in school for a couple of weeks now. So I didn’t exactly meet my own deadline. But hey, there are still many schools who haven’t returned from summer break yet, so technically maybe I did!



The book is now available on Amazon. And for a very limited time, the Kindle version of Future Driven will only be $2.99. I encourage you to download it now. 



Plus, through the end of September, I’m donating all of the proceeds from Future Driven to Care to Learn, an organization in our community that provides for the health, hunger, and hygiene needs of disadvantaged school-age children. It is important to me to give back to our students. It’s always about students first. I want to be part of creating a better future through better schools. It starts with us.



Care to Learn was started in Springfield, MO by philanthropist Doug Pitt. You might have heard of his brother, Brad. Yes, the same Hollywood Brad Pitt you see regularly in the grocery checkout line. The organization now has many chapters in our area, including here in Bolivar. 



Image may contain: one or more people, text and closeup


About half of our students are from low income households and qualify for free/reduced lunches. With Care to Learn, we are able to instantly meet the emergent health, hunger, and hygiene needs of our students. 



If a kid needs shoes, clothes, eyeglasses, groceries, etc., our counselors take him or her shopping and meet the need right away. We know it’s impossible for students to learn their best if they have unmet needs. We are so thankful for Care to Learn.



I certainly hope you find Future Driven inspiring and helpful. Your work matters. You are needed as a change maker. Just know that if you get your copy now, you’ll also be helping kids have what they need to learn. Your support of Care to Learn will make an impact too.



Let me know if you have any questions about Future Driven or my process of being an independent author. It has been an unbelievable adventure and so many have helped me along the way. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.



Be sure to the use the hashtag #FutureDriven as you share your passion for being a future-driven educator.

Future Driven: Will Your Students Thrive In An Unpredictable World?

In Future Driven, David Geurin describes how to conquer the status quo, create authentic learning, and help your students thrive in an unpredictable world. He shares how to simultaneously be more committed to your mission while being more flexible with your methods. You’ll discover strategies to …

Read More Future Driven: Looking Forward, Giving Back

I’m happy to announce the release of Future Driven: Will Your Students Thrive In An Unpredictable World! Back at the start of summer I made a public commitment that I would have this passion project finished before the start of the new school year (See: Do Something Today to Move In the Direction of Your Dreams).



Well, we’ve been in school for a couple of weeks now. So I didn’t exactly meet my own deadline. But hey, there are still many schools who haven’t returned from summer break yet, so technically maybe I did!



The book is now available on Amazon. And for a very limited time, the Kindle version of Future Driven will only be $2.99. I encourage you to download it now. 



Plus, through the end of September, I’m donating all of the proceeds from Future Driven to Care to Learn, an organization in our community that provides for the health, hunger, and hygiene needs of disadvantaged school-age children. It is important to me to give back to our students. It’s always about students first. I want to be part of creating a better future through better schools. It starts with us.



Care to Learn was started in Springfield, MO by philanthropist Doug Pitt. You might have heard of his brother, Brad. Yes, the same Hollywood Brad Pitt you see regularly in the grocery checkout line. The organization now has many chapters in our area, including here in Bolivar. 



Image may contain: one or more people, text and closeup


About half of our students are from low income households and qualify for free/reduced lunches. With Care to Learn, we are able to instantly meet the emergent health, hunger, and hygiene needs of our students. 



If a kid needs shoes, clothes, eyeglasses, groceries, etc., our counselors take him or her shopping and meet the need right away. We know it’s impossible for students to learn their best if they have unmet needs. We are so thankful for Care to Learn.



I certainly hope you find Future Driven inspiring and helpful. Your work matters. You are needed as a change maker. Just know that if you get your copy now, you’ll also be helping kids have what they need to learn. Your support of Care to Learn will make an impact too.



Let me know if you have any questions about Future Driven or my process of being an independent author. It has been an unbelievable adventure and so many have helped me along the way. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.



Be sure to the use the hashtag #FutureDriven as you share your passion for being a future-driven educator.

Future Driven: Will Your Students Thrive In An Unpredictable World?

In Future Driven, David Geurin describes how to conquer the status quo, create authentic learning, and help your students thrive in an unpredictable world. He shares how to simultaneously be more committed to your mission while being more flexible with your methods. You’ll discover strategies to …

Read More Future Driven: Looking Forward, Giving Back

What do we, as leaders, need to do to scale innovation? From the C21 Canada ~ Shifting Minds 3.0 document, ‘Redefining the Learning Landscape in Canada’: As stated above, “The transformative view is that learning is a social process…” Later in the document, “There is no doubt that innovation is disruptive. But the disruption can […]

Read More Scaling Out and Scaling Up Innovation

Retrieved from http://sdaarchitects.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Joplin-IrvingElementary-Int-SouthWing2-01.jpg

With back to school right around the corner, I know many educators are thinking about how to make upgrades to their learning spaces for the new school year. The design of our classrooms can have a significant impact on learning. 



The choices you make in setting up your classroom will send a message to your students from the first day of school. Students will instantly draw conclusions: Is this a welcoming place? Will I work with others? Am I valued? What kind of learning will I be doing here? 



I believe it’s important to create an environment that values students, gives them in a voice in the classroom, and creates a space that is forward-thinking and modern. 



Although your school may not be able to purchase expensive furnishings, there are things you can do to design on a dime. I know several teachers in our building found ways to do inexpensive upgrades to their classrooms. 



Here are seven articles that I found helpful in thinking about design upgrades for our school.

6 Must-Have Classroom Spaces for Project-Based Learning

By: Danish Kurani. These six spaces facilitate learning that goes beyond the realm of the traditional classroom and can be created in almost any type of building. Whether you’re planning a new building or updating the one you’re in, these are possible for you.

Designing Learner-Centered Spaces — THE Journal

Learning Spaces Learning spaces must become learner-centered. Editor’s note: The following is excerpted from a chapter of the book, ” Learning Transformed: 8 Keys to Designing Tomorrow’s Schools,” published by ASCD in June. The authors and publisher have given their permission to republish portions of chapter 4, “Designing Learner-Centered Spaces.”

Tips for Creating Wow-Worthy Learning Spaces

“Look at your learning space with 21st-century eyes: Does it work for what we know about learning today, or just for what we knew about learning in the past?” -The Third Teacher Does your classroom mirror the rectilinear seating arrangement popular in Sumerian classrooms, circa 2000 BCE?

6 ways to personalize learning with flexible seating

Putting students at the center of learning takes a double commitment. One to ensure that instruction and learning address distinct student needs, interests and aspirations, and one to provide spaces that support a student-centered program. It also requires educators to consider the various teaching formats they use and creating learning environments to support them.

Flexible Seating and Student-Centered Classroom Redesign

I’m a firm believer in keeping the focus on what’s really important: the students. If student motivation and higher engagement is truly the desired end game, then we as teachers must adapt right along with our students in our classrooms.

Three Ways to Design Better Classrooms and Learning Spaces

The problems that plague education around the world aren’t the result of a lack of attention or care. Parents, business leaders, political leaders and educators in countries everywhere are dedicated to improving how they educate their people. Every year, billions of dollars are spent on education initiatives in curriculum and teaching practices.

6 Ideas for Classroom Design

As the new school year nears or begins for you, consider how the design of your classroom can have a huge impact on you and your students. Try these ideas to design your classroom this year. To learn more, check out one of our previous posts: Purposeful Learning Spaces.

What are you plans for upgrading your classroom for back to school? How will you use your space to inspire learning? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More 7 Resources for Designing Innovative Learning Spaces

Retrieved from http://sdaarchitects.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Joplin-IrvingElementary-Int-SouthWing2-01.jpg

With back to school right around the corner, I know many educators are thinking about how to make upgrades to their learning spaces for the new school year. The design of our classrooms can have a significant impact on learning. 



The choices you make in setting up your classroom will send a message to your students from the first day of school. Students will instantly draw conclusions: Is this a welcoming place? Will I work with others? Am I valued? What kind of learning will I be doing here? 



I believe it’s important to create an environment that values students, gives them in a voice in the classroom, and creates a space that is forward-thinking and modern. 



Although your school may not be able to purchase expensive furnishings, there are things you can do to design on a dime. I know several teachers in our building found ways to do inexpensive upgrades to their classrooms. 



Here are seven articles that I found helpful in thinking about design upgrades for our school.

6 Must-Have Classroom Spaces for Project-Based Learning

By: Danish Kurani. These six spaces facilitate learning that goes beyond the realm of the traditional classroom and can be created in almost any type of building. Whether you’re planning a new building or updating the one you’re in, these are possible for you.

Designing Learner-Centered Spaces — THE Journal

Learning Spaces Learning spaces must become learner-centered. Editor’s note: The following is excerpted from a chapter of the book, ” Learning Transformed: 8 Keys to Designing Tomorrow’s Schools,” published by ASCD in June. The authors and publisher have given their permission to republish portions of chapter 4, “Designing Learner-Centered Spaces.”

Tips for Creating Wow-Worthy Learning Spaces

“Look at your learning space with 21st-century eyes: Does it work for what we know about learning today, or just for what we knew about learning in the past?” -The Third Teacher Does your classroom mirror the rectilinear seating arrangement popular in Sumerian classrooms, circa 2000 BCE?

6 ways to personalize learning with flexible seating

Putting students at the center of learning takes a double commitment. One to ensure that instruction and learning address distinct student needs, interests and aspirations, and one to provide spaces that support a student-centered program. It also requires educators to consider the various teaching formats they use and creating learning environments to support them.

Flexible Seating and Student-Centered Classroom Redesign

I’m a firm believer in keeping the focus on what’s really important: the students. If student motivation and higher engagement is truly the desired end game, then we as teachers must adapt right along with our students in our classrooms.

Three Ways to Design Better Classrooms and Learning Spaces

The problems that plague education around the world aren’t the result of a lack of attention or care. Parents, business leaders, political leaders and educators in countries everywhere are dedicated to improving how they educate their people. Every year, billions of dollars are spent on education initiatives in curriculum and teaching practices.

6 Ideas for Classroom Design

As the new school year nears or begins for you, consider how the design of your classroom can have a huge impact on you and your students. Try these ideas to design your classroom this year. To learn more, check out one of our previous posts: Purposeful Learning Spaces.

What are you plans for upgrading your classroom for back to school? How will you use your space to inspire learning? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More 7 Resources for Designing Innovative Learning Spaces

Retrieved from http://sdaarchitects.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Joplin-IrvingElementary-Int-SouthWing2-01.jpg

With back to school right around the corner, I know many educators are thinking about how to make upgrades to their learning spaces for the new school year. The design of our classrooms can have a significant impact on learning. 



The choices you make in setting up your classroom will send a message to your students from the first day of school. Students will instantly draw conclusions: Is this a welcoming place? Will I work with others? Am I valued? What kind of learning will I be doing here? 



I believe it’s important to create an environment that values students, gives them in a voice in the classroom, and creates a space that is forward-thinking and modern. 



Although your school may not be able to purchase expensive furnishings, there are things you can do to design on a dime. I know several teachers in our building found ways to do inexpensive upgrades to their classrooms. 



Here are seven articles that I found helpful in thinking about design upgrades for our school.

6 Must-Have Classroom Spaces for Project-Based Learning

By: Danish Kurani. These six spaces facilitate learning that goes beyond the realm of the traditional classroom and can be created in almost any type of building. Whether you’re planning a new building or updating the one you’re in, these are possible for you.

Designing Learner-Centered Spaces — THE Journal

Learning Spaces Learning spaces must become learner-centered. Editor’s note: The following is excerpted from a chapter of the book, ” Learning Transformed: 8 Keys to Designing Tomorrow’s Schools,” published by ASCD in June. The authors and publisher have given their permission to republish portions of chapter 4, “Designing Learner-Centered Spaces.”

Tips for Creating Wow-Worthy Learning Spaces

“Look at your learning space with 21st-century eyes: Does it work for what we know about learning today, or just for what we knew about learning in the past?” -The Third Teacher Does your classroom mirror the rectilinear seating arrangement popular in Sumerian classrooms, circa 2000 BCE?

6 ways to personalize learning with flexible seating

Putting students at the center of learning takes a double commitment. One to ensure that instruction and learning address distinct student needs, interests and aspirations, and one to provide spaces that support a student-centered program. It also requires educators to consider the various teaching formats they use and creating learning environments to support them.

Flexible Seating and Student-Centered Classroom Redesign

I’m a firm believer in keeping the focus on what’s really important: the students. If student motivation and higher engagement is truly the desired end game, then we as teachers must adapt right along with our students in our classrooms.

Three Ways to Design Better Classrooms and Learning Spaces

The problems that plague education around the world aren’t the result of a lack of attention or care. Parents, business leaders, political leaders and educators in countries everywhere are dedicated to improving how they educate their people. Every year, billions of dollars are spent on education initiatives in curriculum and teaching practices.

6 Ideas for Classroom Design

As the new school year nears or begins for you, consider how the design of your classroom can have a huge impact on you and your students. Try these ideas to design your classroom this year. To learn more, check out one of our previous posts: Purposeful Learning Spaces.

What are you plans for upgrading your classroom for back to school? How will you use your space to inspire learning? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More 7 Resources for Designing Innovative Learning Spaces



I gave an assignment to one of the graduate classes I teach to consider a technology purchase a school has made recently. Was there a good return on the investment? Was the total cost of ownership considered? Was there a clear purpose for obtaining the technology in the first place? Students then explore these questions by talking with a principal or other decision-maker about the process of acquiring the new technology in their school.



One of my students shared about how their school had purchased a software program to help with a broad array of learning objectives. I am paraphrasing below the response she shared from the school leader she interviewed.  

We don’t really spend much on technology. We purchased the software to help with mastery of content, but our data didn’t show it was effective. We bought it to increase student achievement across the curriculum. It was fun, engaging, and relevant for students, but we make our spending choices based on how it impacts our data. We are data-driven.

Now I certainly realize there are limited resources in every school, and honestly this software sounds like test-prep to me, and there are far more valuable, authentic ways to use technology in my view. But I was also puzzled by the idea that a method or strategy could increase engagement, be fun and relevant, and yet if it doesn’t show an measurable impact in data, it’s not valuable or worthwhile. That seems to be the line of thinking.



We’ve spent a significant amount of money in our district on Chromebooks as part of our digital learning initiative. And I’m thankful for the support of our district to provide this learning tool for students. But there have been questions raised about how we know this digital transformation is resulting in learning gains. What data proves that this is working?



And I can understand when a school is spending a lot of money, we want to see evidence that it’s money well-spent. But that evidence may not be quantifiable. I believe providing a Chromebook for students to use for learning is a necessary part of preparing students as learners for life in a world that is increasingly digital. But I don’t think it’s possible with any degree of validity or reliability to show direct links between this tool and a learning outcome.



What if we applied the same type of thinking to other aspects of school?



Can you show me that your school library has a measurable impact on student achievement?



Could you please show us that your textbook has a measurable impact on student achievement? 



What data can you present to demonstrate that music, art, career education, or athletics has a measurable impact on student achievement? 



We spend significantly on all of these in our district because we think they are incredibly important (the importance of the textbook might be up for debate). And we know they are important not because we have data measures that tell us so. But we do have plenty of evidence that demonstrates their impact. We know they are good for kids and good for learning.



When I hear the term data-driven, I admit it makes me cringe just a little. I always try to view learning through the lens of being a dad. I never want the complexity of my child’s learning reduced to a number. It is dehumanizing. Is it inevitable in the current system? Yes, it probably is. College entrance emphasizes the ACT score for instance. But I know there are many brilliant students who are not accurately represented as learners based on an ACT score.



Instead of data-driven, shouldn’t we first be student-driven. George Couros has written about this idea and shared it in his presentations. People are always more important than any metric or number. When we reduce a person’s abilities to a number we risk putting limits on their potential and capabilities. NBA superstar Stephen Curry didn’t allow the numbers to keep him from greatness. Coming out of college he was considered by scouts to be undersized with athleticism far below the NBA standard. He couldn’t run as fast or jump as high as the typical elite athletes in the league. From a data-driven perspective, at best he would be a marginal contributor on an NBA team. He would be a role player.



But what the NBA scouts didn’t account for was his commitment to excellence, his incredible work ethic, his passion and instincts for the game. He turned the numbers upside down. He used creativity and risk-taking to gain the upper hand on superior athletes. His success reminds me of this Jon Gordon quote:

The world will try to measure you by scores and numbers, but they’ll never be able to measure the power of your desire and size of your heart. 

When we are student-driven, we make decisions that recognize a student has potential far beyond what the numbers might indicate. We don’t make our decisions based on numbers alone. We make decisions based on good thinking that includes what we know about human potential and what students need to succeed in a complex, uncertain world.



So even if we can’t quantify the impact of a digital device, that doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable to learning. Our world is increasingly digital and being an effective learner means being an effective digital learner too. Being student-driven also means being future-driven, especially in today’s rapidly changing world. We are doing the right thing for our students when we do what’s best for them in the long run, not just to raise a score in the short term.



Later this summer, I’m releasing my new book, Future Driven: Will Your Students Thrive In An Unpredictable World? It will empower you to crush the status quo, create authentic learning, and unleash your passion to help students succeed in a time of unprecedented change. In hockey, the puck is traveling at speeds up to 100 mph. And that’s why players say you don’t skate where the puck is, you skate where it is going. The same is true for our students and schools. We must be student-driven and future-driven to create learning that will serve students well in our modern world. The puck is moving fast, and we have to help our students keep up.



In the coming weeks, I’ll share more details about my book release and give my blog readers an in-depth preview. I’ve poured all my energy, effort, and enthusiasm into this project, and I’m excited to share it with you. It truly is a passion-project. And I think you’ll love the message and want to add it to your professional library.



You might also want to check out this post from George Couros and this one from Lisa Westman both with strong ideas regarding being student-driven.



Question: What are your thoughts on being student-driven and future-driven? What role does data play? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More Not Data-Driven But Student-Driven And Future-Driven