Open, Connected Learning

[George Couros in this Edsurge article visits an exemplary teacher’s classroom and uses the experience to highlight how Jeff Unruh is tapping into social media and digital opportunities to remake learning for his students.]

George Couros
Oct 14, 2015


Editors’ Note: The following excerpt is from The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity, which will be published this month by DBC, Inc.

I walked into the room and could tell right away.

I had never met the teacher, Jeff Unruh, before and knew very little about him, but the atmosphere in his classroom spoke of his commitment and passion. Turning to the colleague who was with me, I asked, “Do you think he is on Twitter?” I wanted her to make an educated guess, and her thoughts were the same as mine: definitely.

How did we know? Everywhere we looked, we could see the marks of connection, collaboration, and, yes, innovation.

Unique seating spaces, and an environment that encouraged students to take risks and think differently gave clues of this teacher’s values. Notices about “Genius Hour” and the school’s recent “Maker Faire” were prominently displayed. And his class was learning how to play chess with a master player, who also happened to be a grandparent of one of the students.

Notice that I haven’t mentioned anything about technology in this classroom. While students had access to computers, it was the learning environment that was different. It offered multiple, amazing opportunities for learning tailored to reach students where they were at, and tap into their strengths and passions.

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