Innovating the Classroom for an Uncertain Future: An Interview with Don Wettrick

Innovating the Classroom for an Uncertain Future: An Interview with Don Wettrick


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Don Wettrick is the Innovation Coordinator at Noblesville High School in Indiana, and is the author of “Pure Genius: Building a Culture of Innovation and Taking 20% Time to the Next Level.”  Don is also the founder of StartEdUp, an organization designed to help transform the school culture toward innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship for students.  In our conversation, Don and I discuss the need for innovation and what teachers can do to help prepare students for an uncertain future.

1. Tell me about your education journey.  How did you get to where you are today?  2:24

2. How do you balance family, teaching, and entrepreneurship?  6:55

3. What makes Don Wettrick tick?/Why Innovation?  10:06

4. What is the innovation class?  13:41

5. What issues have you faced as students become entrepreneurs in your class?  15:57

6. What are some of the biggest successes you’ve faced in implementing the Innovation Class?  18:43

7. What is the easiest way to include reflection in your Innovation Class or 20% Time?  22:46

8. What have been your biggest challenges in implementing the Innovation Class?  26:06

9. How do we give all students opportunities to innovate?  32:39

10. How can teachers incorporate the three pillars of motivation (autonomy, mastery, and purpose) from Daniel Pink’s Drive in their classrooms?  35:11

11. What is your vision for the American Education system?  38:37

12. What is your number one tip for shawesome educators?  41:51

“Don’t teach the same year twenty times.”

My Top Takeaway

  1.  Accept the challenge to innovate

As you just heard, Don is a very passionate teacher.  He has seen the future and he knows that education in its current state doesn’t prepare students for a future of automation.  Don has taken the leap.  He helps students every day to be passionate, creative thinkers.  As I mentioned in the interview, adding a 20% Time to your class if a fairly small change, but it is also a change that can have a massive impact on your students’ lives.  We don’t know what the future holds, but we do know that there will be fewer jobs to go around as technology races toward artificial intelligence.  In this uncertain world, teachers must be leaders, helping students acquire the skills to adapt and thrive in any situation.  It’s not easy.  But, then again, it’s not supposed to be.  So accept the challenge, and join the mass of teachers giving their students a fighting chance in the future.

What do you think?  What ways can we innovate our classrooms to help prepare students for the future?  How do you prepare students for the future?  Let me know in the comments below!

Links

Don’s Twitter: @donwettrick

StartEdUp Website: http://www.startedupinnovation.com/

Mother Jones Article: https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/10/you-will-lose-your-job-to-a-robot-and-sooner-than-you-think/ 

Boston Dynamics YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/BostonDynamics

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