Don Wettrick Is Hacking Innovation and Taking 20% Time to a New Level


Don Wettrick is a high school teacher in Indiana, popular education presenter and author of Pure Genius: Building a Culture of Innovation and Taking 20% Time to the Next Level. His Innovation Class has grown into an amazing place, rife with students who are creating new programs that have caught the eye of the private sector.

In Hack Learning Podcast Episode 51, Don shares several fascinating stories from the Innovation Class that focus on students who have, among other things, worked on reservations bringing innovation to native Americans and created theater groups for shy kids and students with disabilities.

One of the humblest teachers you’ll ever meet, Don also explains a revelation about Innovation Class that a student provided, right after she told him one of his ideas was “about the dumbest thing” she’d ever heard. Instead of being angry, Don said, “Why’s that?”

Then, he had an epiphany about his Innovation Class. (Listen to this funny and insightful story at about 12:05 in the podcast episode above.)

How to Be Innovative Tomorrow

Don Wettrick shares do-it-tomorrow strategies for innovation for all grade levels:

1 — Be willing to try new things and get out of students’ way.

2 — Give students ownership of activities; let them choose what to do.

3 — Collaborate with team members at your school to create a “genius time” during the week.

4 — Talk about making Innovation Class its own elective.

Are you creating an innovative environment in your classroom? Does your school need its own innovation class? Let us know how you’re innovating in the comments below and on Twitter at #HackLearning.

pure genius

Look Inside

Other Resources for Innovation

Don shares many powerful resources, other than his work and his book, Pure Genius: Building a Culture of Innovation and Taking 20% Time to the Next Level.

Connect with Don Wettrick (he even gives his personal email in the podcast and invites you to reach out to him) on Twitter and on his Facebook page.

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Author: Mark Barnes

Mark Barnes is the Founder and CEO of Times 10 Publications, which produces the popular Hacking Education: 10 Quick Fixes for Every School. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and Hack Learning. Join more than 150,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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