Tag Archives: KIH

When Students Take Over

My students made a video to document how they took over the Water Project last year.

My “PLN”

Don’t hear PLN used so much any more. I remember the fun arguments about it but anyway most of the key people that I learn with now have a F2F component to our relationship. That is one of my favorite things about the #MichED community is that I get to physically meet and hang out with them a few times a year. It makes the relationships and growing together stronger.

But my main source of support and growth comes from my colleagues who I can discuss education nuances with daily. So I want to give a shout out to two of them who push my thinking but also could push yours too because they blog.


The first is Trevor Muir who I have referenced in other posts because he is an excellent public speaker. He writes at Shift Paradigm (er) (ing). Trevor’s strength is in caring and relating to students. He gets to know them as humans and connects and grows them as people. He also teaches social studies so we share content interests. The style of his writing is stories (like this one for example) so if you want to be inspired subscribe to his blog. No really you should right now!


by Makenzie Hutchings

by Makenzie Hutchings

The second in Nate Langel who sent me a tweet to a post he wrote last night. So apparently he started a blog a few weeks ago and neglected to tell me! His blog is Quantum Enlanglement. Nate is an energetic science teacher who likes to push kids to passionate learning. He is not afraid to question the thing that we call school and to ask whether or not what we are doing is actually about learning. He will challenge what you think about how school should be. Go subscribe now!

As much as I enjoy my online relationships, these are two of my daily colleagues who push my thinking all of the time. I am excited that they can push yours too! And don’t just read their current post. Go back and read it all. It’s worth your time.

Schools should take place in the real world.

Very proud to call Trevor Muir my colleague. Check out his great TEDx talk!

NovaNow Conversations

This week is the ISTE conference in San Antonio. It is the largest ed tech conference in the country (or the world?). It has thousands of people attending, big names, great sessions, huge vendor hall (someone has to pay for it) and everything else an event of that size can offer.

I will not be attending but this is not a bitter post about that. ISTE is great I’m sure and would enjoy being there. But today I want to talk about my school’s conference, NovaNow. It is the opposite of ISTE in many ways. It will be small, intimate, vendor free, conversational, and actually located in a school. NovaNow is about conversations with great educational minds in the MidWest. There will be no “sage on the stage” (we don’t have a stage actually). Attendees are a vital part of the conference because they ARE the conversations.

I want to highlight a couple of conversation leaders coming from outside of Michigan to join our conversations that you will get the opportunity to hang out with:



Shelly Blake-Plock is a former social studies teacher who started the blog TeachPaperless. He is currently building @AnEstuary, a new way of professional development for teachers. He also helped launch @DHFBaltimore, an after school tech program for inner city Baltimore students. Shelly is interested in merging digital/physical space, human-centered tech, and poetry.




John Spencer is a middle school teacher in Phoenix, Arizona. He actively blogs and sketches at Education Rethink about education and life. John has authored five books, including: Pencil Me In, an allegory for educational technology; Teaching Unmasked, about the impact of paradox; Sages and Lunatics, a memoir and critique on factory education; and A Sustainable Start, a realistic look at the first year of teaching.




Theresa Shafer is the Online Community Manager for New Tech Network. If you have ever interacted with New Tech Network online you were talking to her! She is the energy behind all of the social media resources and an expert on connecting people. Theresa also started and hosts #PBLchat weekly. Theresa blogs at ThereresaShafer.blogspot.com.





Brian Bennett is Customer Solutions for Education for TechSmith. He is a former high school science teacher who “flipped” his classroom. Brian created the #flipped chat and is passionate about student learning. He blogs at brianbennett.org.



The full lineup can be found on the Conversation page of the NovaNow website. I hope you will join us! This will be a weekend that you won’t want to miss!

Introducing NovaNow

color small 3This past winter I had the privilege to attend and lead a conversation at Educon at Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia. As I assume everyone already knows, it is a wonderful conference full of deep conversations with wonderful educators from around the U.S. and Canada. It absolutely met my high expectations and it was great to meet so many online friends face-to-face for the first time.

2012-03-26 07.19.18I teach at Kent Innovation High, a New Tech Network Problem Based Learning High School that is similar in philosophy to SLA. We have decided that Educon is too rich of an experience to be limited to the East Coast. A parent and a student that went with me to Educon met with Chris Lehmann and Diana Laufenberg about modeling a conference after Educon at our school. They were very gracious and generous in sharing with us how they set up and run Educon.

So without further adieu we are excited to introduce NovaNow, the Time to Innovate is Now! September 27-28, 2013 at Kent Innovation High in Grand Rapids, Michigan. NovaNow is a conference for educators of all kinds to share their best ideas, plans, and dreams about learning. It is also a place where thoughtful questioning and critiques are encouraged. Presentations are not given, but rather conversations are led around learning.

Photo Credit: A Deeper Blue via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: A Deeper Blue via Compfight cc

Located in the Midwest between Chicago and Detroit, this conference will coincide with the world class public art show ArtPrize, named one of the five festivals in the world that you won’t want to miss by Time Magazine. So stay Saturday night and enjoy the outdoor art on Sunday.

Check out the conference site to register or even better yet put in a submission to lead a conversation.  Follow #NovaNow on Twitter to hear more news about the conference. We look forward to you joining us this fall!