New Ideas (EDIM516 Unit 1)

Hi! I’m Porter. Here’s my short intro:

This week, we’re asked to consider three questions about finding new teaching ideas. While I am not in a classroom to try out a lot of ideas, I am exposed to new teaching tools and ideas almost every day. Where do I find the majority of them?

In my career life, I have the great pleasure of supporting one of the largest most active professional learning communities for educators in the world, the Discovery Educator Network (DEN). I connect with teachers across the US, Canada, and the UK on a regular basis through a variety of in-person and online avenues.

Just this week, I attended the Discovery Education Fall VirtCon focused on Kathy Schrock’s 13 Literacies for the Digital Age.

2015-10-24_13-05-52While I attended in-person which is a bit more formal, more than a thousand educators attended the event from the comforts of home or at small viewing parties at schools and in homes. I also attend and host PD webinars where I learn about new tools and strategies for teaching.

I follow these people on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. I subscribe to a few blogs too and use to stay caught up.

Who do I look to for support and research for new ideas? I look to this Discovery Education Community for help. There’s no smarter teachers and administrators anywhere than those in the DEN. When I need help, one of the first places I go is to a Facebook group DEN Friends. I’m not the only one who relies on this group to look for support and research new ideas:


What challenges do you face as you try to incorporate new ideas and research with your students? The greatest personal barrier I face is that I don’t have access to students to incorporate the ideas. But let’s not focus our attention on that. What I lack in actual students, I think I make up for in numbers of teachers who share their experiences with me. I know teachers with full autonomy, materials, and devices to incorporate new ideas. There are not a lot of them who have everything they need, but there are a few. Most teachers I know face challenges with access to devices or supplies for new activities and ideas. Access to new web tools can be complicated in some districts too if there are a lot of filters and processes for access to the Internet.



10 thoughts on “New Ideas (EDIM516 Unit 1)

  1. I am glad to be working with you through this class. As a member of the Discovery team, I may pick your brain for some ideas. We implemented the Science Tech Book to the special education science curriculum this year and we are trying to utilize it as the main resource in the curriculum. So any ideas you have that can help with this would be great.


    1. Hi Kelly,
      Consider joining that group on Facebook that I mentioned: DEN Friends. There you will find others who are using the Discovery Education Science Techbook. They will be excited to help you with ideas. Just join the group and ask!


    1. I learn a lot from my colleagues. In the spring of 2015, two of my colleagues participated in an escape room set up at Discovery headquarters. They had such a great time that they came running to me to tell me all about how it works. We contacted the person at Discovery who set it up and asked him to set one up for the DEN Summer Institute (DENSI). Normally, this would not count as learning… except I had to help run things. I didn’t implement this alone, but now I could because I got to try it with support. After DENSI, I joined a facebook group about breakout games similar to an escape room where I am continuing to learn.


      1. This is a great example of something I wouldn’t know much about but would be curious and would be grateful to have people that could help me make it happen. The ease and opportunity with which an idea like this can come to life is a huge part of this course. Thanks for sharing this one.


  2. Porter,

    Glad to meet you. So this is your last class, eh? How long did it take you to go through all the classes for your Masters? I am trying to do as many as I can, while still keeping it manageable with work, but I am always curious to know how other people plan this kind of endeavor 🙂

    I too have no students, or at least no kids. I teach teachers, so I totally get where you are coming from about not always having that direct contact with kids. I too live vicariously through the stories and experiences of the teachers I work with!

    You sound like you will be a great asset to the group. I look forward to learning from you and seeing the things that you bring to this class.


    1. Last class. I took all of them really quickly until I stopped… I was part of the inaugural class; a change in job responsibilities sidetracked me for several years. I had taken seven classes, so I’m knocking out the last three this fall. I am excited to be back on track.


  3. Porter,
    As I re-read your post and the comments I kept adding more things to my lists of what I need to go back and read more thoroughly – like the escape room info, for example. I’m fascinated by your job as I’ve spent a lot of time thinking lately about where I might be heading at some point. I love working with my students! Yet I feel strongly that we need to affect systemic change (in education? in tech ed? in mindset? don’t know…) and jobs like yours are doing that. Kudos to you!


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