Category Archives: Uncategorized

Augmented Reality with Aurasma

The world of augmented reality is exploding right before our very eyes. As this platform expands its capabilities, teachers are asking a number of great questions:

  • Is this going to be expensive to bring to my classroom?
  • Are there lessons I can draw from, to incorporate into my own classroom designs?
  • Can I create my own augmented reality designs for my students?

As usual, in the technology world, the answers are a resounding…maybe.

When it comes to augmented reality, we are in luck—thanks to the good folks at Aurasma. With Aurasma, teachers can create augmented reality experiences FOR FREE. Auras can be shared with others. And yes, teachers can most definitely create their own experiences for students. We can’t write a better preview of Aurasma than the one created by a team of educators from Hillsboro ISD, Texas, at one of our ENG2: Engaging the Next Generation conferences. Check it out below.

Aurasma gives teachers a world of possibilities for creating engaging classroom resources using augmented reality. See below an example of how augmented reality can be used to solve a math problem.

The possibilities really are endless. Imagine a teacher creates a picture wall in a classroom. Using Aruasma, every picture can come alive with a video story, web links, etc. Another teacher visits a local state park that commemorates a historical event. The teacher takes pictures of all the descriptive plaques and associates vivid video with each. The following week, as students visit the park, every plaque comes alive with a descriptive video courtesy of an iPad and Aurasma. A third teacher has students research each plaque in the park and use their iPads to create their own videos at each station. This teacher uses those videos to create an augmented reality experience for future trips.

How does a teacher create augmented reality experiences? To help, we have linked a series of videos from Aurasma. But these videos don’t always give the detail needed when you are new to creating augmented reality experiences. So we are also providing a very detailed step-by-step guide that will help. Remember to use the 10 Design Qualities of Student Work when designing resources for students. Addressing student needs, motives, and values will create the best possibility for student engagement.

Video tutorials explained:

Create an Aura in under one minute. This video shows the three basic steps to create an Aura. It assumes you can take pictures and video and transfer these to your laptop. It does not show you how to share and view an Aura.

How to create an Aura. This video is just like the first video but it has spoken instructions. It assumes you can take pictures and video and transfer these to your laptop. It does not show you how to share and view an Aura.

Share an Aura. If you want students to see your Auras on a mobile device like a smartphone or iPad, you have to share. This video shows you how. Note: In our user guide, we suggest you complete this step as you finalize your Aura.

Again, our detailed user guide walks you through every step.

Good luck, and enjoy the world of augmented reality.

The Engagement People

Free Digital Tools That Don’t Require a Log-In

The truth about digital tools is that there aren’t many that are really free. Most “free” tools have some catch. The best tools give you a liberal amount of usage for free and then you can elect to buy more features. The animation program Plotagon is a good example of this. When a teacher or student joins the site, Plotagon gives to him or her a lot of scenes and characters to use for free. Anyone can use Plotagon for free for a long time. There are no time limits or expiration dates for free use. Go to the Plotagon store to add characters and scenes, and you will see that many are still free. However, some are for sale; this is where Plotagon makes its money. It’s a nice arrangement.

Most free digital tools have one seemingly insurmountable roadblock for educators: They require the user to establish a log-in and password. While many school systems permit users to do this, some do not…especially when it comes to younger students. What follows here is a review of five excellent, free, digital tools that can be used online without a log-in or password or the divulging of any personal information.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 2.51.05 PMA Schlechty Center favorite is Padlet. Padlet gives students an online canvas that can be used to brainstorm ideas and create projects. To create a canvas, or wall as it is called, students or teachers need only go to and click “Create a padlet.” The screen will transform into a creation canvas, and creativity can begin. While many free programs require a log-in to save work, Padlet allows users to bookmark a page and return to it at any time. In other words, Padlet will save the work at the established address forever! In addition, the student or teacher who creates the canvas can control many options for free. Finally, the canvas can be shared and edited by anyone with whom the teacher or student shares the URL. Depending on how it is used, Padlet can leverage the Design Qualities of Organization of Knowledge, Product Focus, and Novelty and Variety.  Here is a short video that shows all the wonders of Padlet.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 2.52.36 PMAnother digital tool that can be used without sharing personal information is TodaysMeet. TodaysMeet is a text-sharing tool that allows users to post short text statements. Teachers can require that students use their actual names or create an anonymous nickname. It can be used for brainstorming, checking for understanding, and even sharing links. TodaysMeet can be used in the Organization of Knowledge Design Quality. Here is a short tutorial.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 2.53.35 PMMy Storybook is a great tool for letting young writers create e-books. Participants who go to the website can create books for free without creating a log-in or password. The trick with My Storybook comes with saving and sharing the book. To stay in the free, no-log-in mode, participants will need to take screenshots of their work. That’s easy enough, though. My Storybook can be a great way to build Novelty and Variety into schoolwork or create a Product Focus. Here is a short tutorial.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 2.54.44 PMAnother tool, very popular with middle grade students, is Marvel’s Create Your Own Comic. In this program, students can practice their writing skills by creating actual comics using Marvel characters. With Marvel Comics, students can actually download their work in PDF format without logging in. Create Your Own Comic will be a hit with some students who seek Authenticity, Novelty and Variety, and Product Focus. Here is a short tutorial.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 2.55.50 PMOur fifth and final tool is a video conferencing tool. can be used to create video conferences without any log-in or password. Video conferencing can be a powerful tool in the classroom and can be used to leverage Organization of Knowledge, Affirmation, Authenticity, and other Design Qualities. Here is a short tutorial.

If finding digital tools that can be used without divulging personal information is a challenge you face in your classroom, perhaps these five tools will help. All of them are listed on the SC Web Resources for Schoolwork site.


The Engagement People


Easily Create Stunning Graphics in Seconds with Adobe Post

Today’s blog comes to us from Roland Rios at Fort Sam Houston ISD in San Antonio, Texas. It was initially published in his CyberCafe blog.  Adobe has created several new tools for the classroom. Adobe Slate (storytelling with text and pictures) and Adobe Voice (storytelling with voice and pictures) are wonderful programs that can leverage the Product Focus Design Quality. Adobe Post is another entry into that area.  — The Engagement People.

I recently learned about a slew of Adobe mobile apps and one of my new favorite tools is Adobe Post. It’s an iPhone app (that works just as well on the iPad) that allows you to very easily create beautiful image and text graphics.

You simply choose a photo as a backdrop, then add text. Sound too easy? And, here is the really cool part …. after you select your image, the app analyzes the image and chooses a font color palette for your text. And who knows more about creative design than Adobe? Certainly not me!

If you don’t like the suggested font and color, you can choose a different design or adjust the color palette, but I have found that for the most part, Adobe Post makes great suggestions! After you’re done you can share on social media, save to your camera roll, export to Google Drive, and more.

Here are a few of my own creations using Adobe Post …




Convert Video Online

A problematic scenario. Frustrated TeacherYou shoot some video with your iPhone and e-mail it to your Windows laptop to edit with Windows Movie Maker. You open Movie Maker and import your video when suddenly you crash! Windows Movie Maker won’t recognize an iPhone video. Grrrrrrr … Or maybe you have the reverse situation. You shoot some great video with your Android phone and e-mail it to your Mac. You open iMovie and upload the video only to find iMovie won’t recognize your Android video file. Grrrrrrr … Here’s another one. Working at home, you find a great video on YouTube to play in class, but your district blocks YouTube at school or you don’t trust your school Internet to stream the video in class. You want to download the video to your desktop at home so you can play it in class the next day. You check your permissions and determine it is OK to download and bring the video in to your desktop. Excited, you click “play” to preview your work but instead you get that message no one wants to see, “Unsupported file format.” Grrrrrrr …

What to do? Fret no more. Help is here. Enter Convert-Video-Online to the rescue. It offers a simple three-step process that converts your video (or audio) to a format you can use.

We like that CVO does not require any registration or e-mail disclosure like other conversion platforms we have seen. If you use this tool, you will want to avoid the ads at the top and along the side.

Here is a quick tutorial about how to use the site:


We hope this post helps you “Grrrrrrr” a lot less!


The Engagement People

A Serious Misconception

As we travel around the country visiting schools, as we research and stay atop the latest trends in digital learning, we offer this blog to discuss the biggest misconception we see in the use of digital technology and learning.

To begin this discussion, let’s review the definition of engagement as given to us by Phil Schlechty in this one-minute video.

The biggest misconception we see in the use of digital technology is this:  Students love technology and will engage in learning if technology is used.

We live in the twenty-first century. For our students, technology is a way of life. There is simply no consideration of life without it. Students use technology in everything they do. It is not viewed as an engagement device. It is embedded in their everyday lifestyle. Students do not engage with an iPad or a laptop. They may engage with the applications available on those devices. Or they may not.

For students to engage with digital tools, they need to be given the same consideration they require for engagement with all their schoolwork: Educators need to address their needs, motives, and values.

A good example to make this point comes from the gaming industry. Plain and simple, the games that engaged young people 10 years ago are now extinct—save for a few nostalgic collectors. (Let me know the next time you find your young person playing PAC-MAN or Super Mario.) Truthfully, to stay afloat in the gaming industry, games must either evolve into new generations on an annual basis, or companies must continually create new experiences to engage their customers.

The same holds true with ed tech applications.

Three years ago a teacher in South Carolina was very excited about implementing Edmodo into his classroom. His students loved it and engaged—for about six weeks. That is because they engaged with the novelty and variety of a new platform; once that initial novelty and variety wore thin, they were no longer engaged. They had not engaged because of the technology. They were engaged with the novelty and variety of a new digital tool—for a while.

This very big misconception often leads to disastrous mistakes in the use of technology.

At the classroom level, teachers may take old work and simply convert it to digital work. What was once a lecture and worksheet is now a video and PDF worksheet. It can be time-saving. Imagine that all a teacher might have to do to prepare for a class is link a video and PDF from his or her cloud drive into a work design platform (what you may call a learning management system, including Google Classroom, Edmodo, Canvas, Blackboard, Moodle, Schoology, etc.). In the world of SAMR, we call this “living at the substitution level.” Nothing has really changed except the technology.

At the district and school level, this misconception often manifests itself into one-size-fits-all technology purchases and required use. For example, a district may purchase instructional software and rotate every student in a school through the software on a weekly basis— whether that learning style meets a student’s needs, motives, and values or not. In the initial start-up, students engage because of novelty and variety, but sooner rather than later they become bored to tears with repetitive work. A district may purchase a math app and require its use by all students. But by far the most common practice we see is the purchase of a single work design platform and the requirement that it be used by all teachers for multiple years. Some districts even provide templates and mandate their use in the name of “quality and consistency.”

Another current popular movement in the American education scene is the adoption of personalized learning platforms. They promise to adapt to students’ needs and interests and allow every child to progress through a body of content at his or her own pace. It sounds like the silver bullet that education continues to relentlessly pursue. These platforms are purchased and implemented for large numbers of students. There are even schools built around the platforms. And the complaints of boredom are already beginning to surface.

To provide engaging work and get the profound learning that comes with it, the silver bullet is here and has been for a long time: It is called design. When teachers design work for students that is rich in content and that addresses their needs, motives, and values, engagement and profound learning will follow. To do that, teachers need to know and use a wide variety of digital and non-digital tools. They need to stay on the cutting edge of the latest tools available (see our blog on digital collaboration). All the tools we seemingly criticize in this blog can come into play. We are not criticizing the tool. We are critcizing the standardized use of digital tools without regard for a student’s needs, motives, and values because of a misguided belief students will engage with technology because it is technology.

Districts need to provide the capacity to support engagement through design primarily by finding creative ways to give teachers the time, tools, and technical support to design engaging schoolwork. This can and does happen in schools around the country. We hope it begins happening in more and more of them.

The Engagement People


Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

Here at the Schlechty Center, we have analyzed the Every Student Succeeds Act. We are pleased with much the new legislation has to offer. We note there is a definite retreat from the overindulgence in high-stakes testing that we have lived under with No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. We hope states will take advantage of this and implement reasonable accountability measures that are conducive to a positive learning environment for students and educators. A detailed analysis of the law is available here. An executive summary from NASSP is available here.

ESSA has a lot in it for districts to consider. It is important to remember that ESSA is only one part of what schools work with to bring a great learning experience to students. Districts can gain a lot by examining how all these parts relate to a cohesive transformation strategy. Our Strategic Change Agenda is a fully customizable tool that can walk your district through this process from beginning to end. It can be used to create an entire transformation strategy. It can be used to guide an ESSA school improvement plan.

Here are specific ESSA highlights that intersect with what we have to offer at the Schlechty Center:

Title I

Title I of ESSA requires that states develop a statewide accountability system to improve student academic achievement and school success. We particularly noted that student engagement, educator engagement, and school climate may be included in addition to achievement assessments, graduation rates, and English language proficiency.

Districts must develop a comprehensive support and improvement plan for the lowest performing five percent of all Title I schools and all high schools that fail to graduate less than one-third or more of their students. Districts will still create school improvement plans, and now engagement is specifically addressed. Our Strategic Change Agenda will guide you through the process.

Student engagement cannot happen unless teachers design engaging work. Our Designing Engaging Work workshop explores the heart and soul of providing engaging work for students. Teachers need a process to create engaging work, and this is it. Designing Engaging Work is offered on-site or in conference formats.

All the best-laid plans can go astray if the capacity to deliver is not addressed. The Schlechty Center’s Taking Stock examines a district’s capacity to implement changes needed as a result of ESSA.

Walking to Learn gets right into the classroom and is an excellent tool to discover and explore what is going on with student learning so educators can make quality decisions on change. It can be used alone or with other premium offerings to address ESSA needs.

In Coaching for Design II, we train teachers and leaders to coach the process of designing engaging work. C4DII is an excellent tool to maintain a culture of designing engaging work in your district.

ESSA addresses staff engagement, and the Schlechty Center offers Creating a Strategy for Engaging Staff. Delivered on-site, this premium offering can be used to truly look at staff engagement in your district.

Title II

Title II of the Every Student Succeeds Act provides grants to districts and states to improve teacher, principal, and school leader effectiveness. We couldn’t be more excited.

In March 2015 we will unveil a new Principal’s Network. Offered at a very modest cost, this network will allow principals to connect and learn on a wealth of topics of concern to them. Best of all, the network will be digital and will not require any time away from the school building.

We offer off-site workshops for teachers, principals, and school leaders in our Summer Academies and Working on the Work Conferences.

Title IV

Up to 60 percent of Title IV funds could be used to support the effective use of technology with no more that 15 percent going to hardware. This means funds can and should be used for professional learning in technology areas.

The Schlechty Center offers Engaging the Net Generation and Engaging the NEXT Generation—the best technology integration workshops in America. We show your teachers how to use technology to engage students, not just replace existing work. Your teachers will not only learn about many digital tools, but they will also learn how these tools can be effectively used for profound learning. We offer these sessions on-site or in conference settings.

Implementing ESSA will require the collaboration of educators and school boards. Our online course School Boards for the 21st Century offers quality school board training in an online environment. Our School Board Conferences offer training in a workshop environment.

The pride and joy of the Schlechty Center is that we model what we teach. We have an amazing array of tools that we believe are second to none in delivering quality professional development. We will totally customize any offering to meet your needs. Looking for five to ten days of on-site professional development in technology? Call us. We can do it. Need on-site coaches for professional development or designing engaging work? Call us—we can do it. Need specialized help with your improvement plans? Call us. We can do it. We are just a phone call away: 502-895-1942.

We close where we started. Keep your eye on the big picture! Make ESSA a part of a cohesive transformation strategy.


The Engagement People

2015 in Review

2015As the year comes to an end, we offer you this review of our 2015 blogs in case you missed any. We’ve included a short synopsis with links to the original full-length blogs in case you see something you missed and want to refer back to the full-length version. We have also grouped these by broad topics. Enjoy.

Digital Tools and Engagement

In February 2015, guest blogger Roland Rios from Fort Sam Houston ISD in Texas introduced you to SafeShare.TV: a great site to play YouTube video without ads. We also reviewed the MindShift Guide to Digital Games and Learning. This document is a must- read for all teachers using gaming in the classroom. March came and we were on to The Amazing World of Gamestar Mechanic. Gamestar allows students to create digital games based on teacher-given content. Imagine the possibilities. March also gave us a great review of Whyville, an online multi-user virtual environment where students can learn from embedded games while all along being a citizen of Whyville. In April we looked at Augmented Reality and Engagement and by May we had moved on to explore an exciting new video editing program: EDpuzzle. In August Roland Rios introduced you to Google Cardboard, an inexpensive virtual reality program. An exciting animation program called Plotagon was covered in August. This cool animation software is free with lots of options. We are still using our free version. September is when Pixar-in-a-Box was unveiled in a blog called When Digital Collaboration, Engagement, and Design Come Together. Tuva came your way in October of 2015 in a blog called Need Data? Get Tuva! This exciting data- analysis program offers a ton of classroom opportunities to use the Design Qualities. In November we turned back to animation with a blog called Scratch: A World of Possibilities. Finally, in December we reviewed the very cool Kerbal Space Program. Imagine you work at Cape Kennedy building rockets that you actually fly out on missions.


In February, we gave you our slant on combining technology with design and engagement in one of our first blogs entitled Digital Tools and Engagement. By applying the Design Qualities to the design of digital work, teachers can really leverage these powerful tools. Also in February we based a blog around the great work of Midlothian ISD teacher Ann Witherspoon; our post was entitled Product Focus and Creativity. Phil Schlechty also blogged this month on a topic called The Teacher’s Dilemma. Our next transformation post appeared in May when we talked about Collaboration in a Digital World. May also gave us a moving slant on Digital Equity featuring a video from Kid President. In June, Ron Wright wrote of his personal experience with the power of making in a blog entitled Makers. It was August before transformation appeared again. This time it was in the form of a blog called In Support of Engagement. This important blog shared some recent evidence and articles written in support of the need for engagement in school. We urged you to move beyond strategic planning by considering a Strategic Change Agenda in September. Finally, in November we dissected the very important NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition.

It has been a great Year One for the Engagement Connection. We have enjoyed bringing you these thoughts on engagement, digital tools, and transformation. We hope they were helpful to you. Here’s to 2016!


The Engagement People




Kerbal Space Program

At its heart and soul, the Kerbal Space Program (KSP) game is a laptop-/desktop- based space program simulator. Young players start from scratch building a rocket, adding crew, launching-failing-fixing-relaunching, returning to earth, planning and executing missions, etc. Along the way, they learn a lot of STEM content. The free demo is available here.

Watch this Seth Macy review for PC.

We downloaded the free demo. Once it was installed, we were able to play the game without an Internet connection. We would note here that while the demo is free and very satisfactory, KSP is intended as a game for purchase. There is an edu version for schools. There is a classroom package available for $330 dollars that comes with 25 seat licenses. Kerbal is quick to point out that the seat licenses go with the computer—NOT the student. So, a classroom teacher with four classes could buy one 25-seat package and use it all day. Also, and we thought this was really cool, the licenses do not expire. Buy it once and you are set.

To learn the game, we first worked through the training program. In step one we built a rocket ship. The process was accurate and called on actual science principles. First we chose a command capsule, then a fuel tank, engine, etc. We like that the process caused us to think, research, and inquire. Young students may really engage with the Novelty and Variety of the process. It is scientifically accurate. For step two we learned to pilot our rocket. We were given basic controls including throttle, pitch, yaw, and roll. We learned abut staging and specialty controls like RCS. In step three we learned to fly a spacecraft in orbit. In step four we learned about experimentation and the scientific process for our space missions. With all this training in hand, we were ready to tackle a mission.

All of this opens the doors for KSP to address a lot of Design Qualities that may lead to student engagement.

The teacher can control some content in the edu version by creating customized missions. The science principles contained inside the game will meet a lot of classroom standards and twenty-first-century thinking skills. There is nothing here that a parent would find objectionable. The content is so obviously science-based.

KSP is not a game a teacher can sit down and master in 30 minutes and then implement in the classroom. It is far too complex for that. We suggest that teachers learn right along with their students. Check out the teacher resources and, as we often recommend, find and join a cohort of fellow teachers using the game. Start with the demo package before you invest.

Kerbal Space Program is a wonderful simulation game that has a lot of potential for engagement and profound learning when matched to the needs, motives, and values of young learners. We hope you check it out!


The Engagement People

Scratch: A World of Possibilities

We are always on the lookout for games that allow students to create while their teacher designs the parameters. We recently blogged regarding a platform called Gamestar Mechanic. In this platform, teachers can set a variety of mathematical conditions based on standards they need to cover, leaving the student to create the games. It can be a powerful alignment of content and social motives.

Scratch achieves the same goal in a very different manner. Simply put, Scratch allows the student to place one or more characters on a graph and to cause the character(s) to move around based on mathematical formulas. Watch this short video and see how a square is drawn using graphing coordinates.

Scratch can also be used to create animated stories. It lends itself well to language arts content. Scratch also follows computer logic using “if/then” statements.

Scratch can be used to leverage a variety of Design Qualities. Students who create games are working in Product Focus. There may be real Authenticity since this is a gaming platform. Initial use may be very Novel.

Scratch comes to us from the MIT Media Lab and is absolutely free!

As in all games where students are going to create content, the teacher must learn the basics of playing the game. Becoming a master is not necessary, but learning the basics is. Students also need to learn the game parameters up front. Scratch is moderately complex, but there are excellent tutorials available. We like the series created by Kevin Briggs for learning to use the platform. A YouTube search of “Scratch Kevin Briggs” will reveal the entire series. The actual Scratch tutorial videos can be found at this link: Scratch Tutorials. Here is an introductory video:

If we had one suggestion for Scratch, it would be to put together a game-based series of challenges that help students and teachers learn the game, similar to the Addison quests in Gamestar Mechanic.


Let us know what you think about Scratch!

The Engagement People

The NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition—A Review

The NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition is an important document. Educators with an eye on the future who are concerned about engagement and interested in technology integration need to read this report. This blog post will be unique in that it will be more of a study guide to use with the report. We suggest you go to the report, download it as a PDF file to your desktop (completely permissible), and then keep this blog post open as you read the report. Don’t see a download option? Just print it as a PDF to your desktop (so you can highlight, underline, and write in the margins).

Who are these guys?

“What is on the five-year horizon for K-12 schools worldwide? Which trends and technologies will drive educational change? What are the challenges that we consider as solvable or difficult to overcome, and how can we strategize effective solutions?” (NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition, page 1). Any time a report comes out that attempts to answer these important questions, readers should be leery. We started at the end to find out who the authors were. We wanted to know if they could have hidden agendas, like profiting from technology use. We were pleasantly surprised. The report called on the collective experience of 56 contributors. Their work was fully transparent and even documented on a public wiki. The contributors represent a global collection of experts from public education. In addition to K-12 educators, there are representatives from colleges and universities, nonprofit think tanks, and the New Media Consortium (NMC, a nonprofit think tank). We noted only two representatives from the commercial technology world and they were from Intel. We found the panel balanced and did not see any conflicts of interest. In short, the report is a true attempt to answer the aforementioned guiding questions without any obvious ulterior agenda! Good job, NMC!

What does the report say?

The panel found two long-term trends for the future of education in the next five years:       “ … (1) rethinking how schools work in order to bolster student engagement and drive more innovation, as well as (2) shifting to deeper learning approaches, such as project- and challenge-based learning” (page 1).

We have been advocating for this at the Schlechty Center for many years. Everything we do has student engagement at its core. Phil Schlechty has said many times that learning begins with a product or problem about which the student cares.

To those of you who have worked so hard to advance these very changes, you should feel good that the tide is turning. You are on the right path.

These are the main two conclusions, but the report also examines 18 trends including innovations like collaborative learning approaches, the shift from students as consumers to creators, blended learning, STEAM, 3D printing, and adaptive learning.

The report also addresses challenges to making the changes that are trending. Some challenges are solvable and others are quite “wicked.” For example, one solvable challenge is the way we do professional development. In the area of technology integration, we must shift from PD sessions where teachers “sit and get” to a very active, participatory, collaborative, engaged design similar to what we expect teachers to facilitate for their students.

NMC reports that scaling innovative classroom designs is a “wicked” challenge. We agree. With years of prescriptive teaching models as the dominant classroom pedagogy, shifting to a design model where teachers create original customized work that meets the needs, motives, and values of their students (i.e., engages them) is a disruptive innovation. But to be sure, it is happening. To see examples in action, visit the Quest to Learn website or the High Tech High website and see what is going on.

The report sees BYOD and makerspace innovations as being increasingly on the rise. We have blogged about the maker movement, and its inclusion in this report is excellent. Product Focus is at the heart of the maker movement.

How can we use this report?

NMC clearly states, “Education leaders worldwide look to the NMC Horizon Project and both its global and regional reports as key strategic technology planning references, and it is for that purpose that the NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition is presented” (page 1). In short, this report can be a great reference point for educators seeking to implement change that supports engagement and technology integration.

Are there some follow-up questions for educators to discuss?

We think so:

How do the findings in the report align with your classroom pedagogy?
What roadblocks prevent you or your district from moving forward to address engagement?
Does this report cause you to celebrate or does it cause concern about the future for your students?
What capacity building do you need to do in order to create a core business of engagement?
How would you answer the guiding questions in paragraph one of the report (page 1)?

Here is a possible PD activity using this report:

  • Divide the 20 different “big ideas” in the report (two conclusions and 18 trends) among members of a study group, participants in a faculty meeting, attendees at a PD session, etc. (If you have less than 20 people, have each person pick one idea of interest. Large groups will have multiple people on each idea.)
  • Study the big ideas with these guiding questions:
    • How does this relate to engagement?
    • What Design Qualities does it leverage?
    • Can it be utilized in a design environment or is it a rigid program?
    • Why would you advocate (or not advocate) for this idea as a positive addition to a teacher’s design toolbox?
    • What capacity issues does this idea present for you?
  • Have each participant prepare a digital presentation that answers the guiding questions using a digital tool new to them (or not new to them).
  • Divide participants in half. Spread Group A out around the room with their presentations (computers) in hand. In five-minute bursts (we call this Speed Sharing), allow Group B to visit three to five different presentations, depending on time. When finished, swap roles so Group B presents and Group A visits.

You may just cultivate some trailblazers to lead you forward!

As always, we welcome your comments and discussion below.

The Engagement People