tools for hacking education

10 Fixes for Every School

Disclaimer: You won’t find 10 fixes for every school in this article. You will find a few, though; enough to whet your appetite for the first book in the Hack Learning Series–Hacking Education: 10 Quick Fixes for Every School (Times 10 Publications, 2015).

The idea for Hacking Education originated in a blog post I wrote and published at Brilliant or Insane, about solving three gigantic problems in education. Here is the beginning of that post:

There’s an amazing Voxer chat group called Talks with Teachers, composed of remarkable educators who converse about best education practices, technology integration, assessment and many other subjects. We recently discussed things that make teachers’ jobs difficult. The chat was not about principals, but upon further consideration, it occurred to me that school principals could easily solve most of these issues.

Granted, school principals and teachers often have different perspectives, based on the worlds they live in. Still, some of educators’ biggest problems have shockingly simple solutions.

This is a glimpse of the problems addressed in the B or I post:

Problem #1: faculty meetings

Your faculty meeting needs a makeover. After nearly 20 years and roughly 24,000 minutes of lost time, I realized that faculty meetings are a place where great ideas go to die. The average faculty meeting consists of lectures that teachers don’t need in the first place about information that won’t improve their methods. Does your faculty meeting resemble the picture above? Are you the woman with the phone? It’s okay; I won’t tell. Hey, I used text, tweet, read email or chat with a peer during faculty meetings, because I wanted to get back as many of those lost minutes as possible.

Problem #2: muting teachers

While many school principals might say faculty meetings or private meetings give teachers the opportunity to be heard, what typically happens, much like in the classroom, is the same people do all the talking in faculty meetings. As some shy students are uncomfortable with class and private discussions, there are also teachers who fear that they will look bad, if they speak in a staff meeting or in a principal’s office.

You can read the rest of the blog post at Brilliant or Insane.

A hot discussion on social media ensued, and someone suggested that there was a book in the mix. “There are more problems like these,” the enthusiastic teacher wrote.

Not long after that comment, author/educator Jennifer Gonzalez and I wrote Hacking Education, and the Hack Learning Series was born.