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Pure Genius: Building a Culture of Innovation and Taking 20% Time to the Next Level Paperback – August 16, 2014
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"Wettrick has incorporated a range of creativity-generating concepts into his teaching and turned his classroom into an innovation factory. This book teaches you how to do the same and still maintain rigorous educational standards. You'll be amazed by his students' accomplishments and eager to put his ideas into practice."
Daniel Pink, author of DRIVE and A WHOLE NEW MIND
"Schools are failing our students and are in desperate need of a reboot. Don Wettrick provides compelling examples of innovative practices that create a culture of learning that is relevant and authentic. His book is a call to action to create an education system that inspires students to learn in ways that not only inspire, but provide skill sets that the real-world demands."
Author, Digital Leadership
"Don Wettrick has created a wonderful resource for bringing innovation down to earth and into the classroom. A valuable tool for educators!"
Author, Creating Innovators
"Level up your learning by understanding the pure genius of having one class dedicated to innovation, making, and the pursuit of student interests. Don Wettrick gives you the definitive guidebook on this transformational method of teaching and transforming school to a relevant place where students want to learn."
Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher, author Reinventing Writing
Don Wettrick has turned the traditional classroom experience on its head, allowing the students to take control of their own education. The results are stunning! This book should be the blueprint for the future of education."
Author, inGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity
About the Author
Don Wettrick is an Innovation Coordinator at Noblesville High School, just outside Indianapolis, IN. He is the author of "Pure Genius: Building a Culture of Innovation and Taking 20% Time to the Next Level". Wettrick has worked as a middle school and high school teacher; educational and innovation consultant; and educational speaker. Don is passionate about helping students find their educational opportunities and providing them with the digital tools they need to give them a competitive edge.
Don has lectured across the US and Europe about collaboration, social media use, and work environments that enable innovation. He also hosts an internet radio program, InnovatED, for the BAM! Radio Network. Most importantly Don works with educators and students to bring innovation and collaborative skills into education.
Don lives in Greenwood, IN with his wife, Alicia, and three children: Ava, Anna, and Grant. You can find him on Twitter @donwettrick where he tweets updates on his student's innovation work.
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The writer started his book by asking “Why do we need innovation in our schools?” then he gave the answer which indicates that innovation is to solve problems with the available resources and exploit them in creative ways. So, innovation is not related to money; any school or any classroom can be innovative without fund. The book focuses on the benefits of innovation and how to promote it anytime, anywhere by anyone for everyone with no excuses. In addition, the passion-based project, the components of innovative classes, and the use of social media are covered in this book. In addition to that, the writer allows readers to hear from students in a chapter calls “Student Voice”.
I think that the writer was lucky due to the people who were surrounding him and push him to think more and more by giving him small advice. One inspiring person was his father when he said to him “I don’t care if you teach for the next twenty years; just don’t teach one year twenty times”. That encouraged him to be innovative and to play different roles in his classes. This book is full of the inspiring quotes, for instance, “opportunities are everywhere” and “if you treat yourself like a professional, others will too”. What I loved the most in this book is the simple language, highlighting others’ works, and bringing up examples of teachers’ experiences. Moreover, the book points up some mistakes the writer did in his classes and admitted them. The writer gave many convincing examples in his book in different aspects, he recommended many books, websites, twitter accounts, and ted talks. Another thing attracted me is the internal book design. The writer included pull quotes to highlight the important ideas, and after each chapter, the reader will find keynotes for summarizing what has been mentioned, and space to give the reader the chance to write comments. What I observed after reading this book is that it changes my mind every day. After I go back to Saudi Arabia and to my work there, I’ll apply the passion-based project with my students. Also, I’ll ask them to collaborate with an outside expert and I think this will be a good idea for college students who I’m teaching. I fully agree with the writer in the big role the social media plays in motivating the students to learn from other people and generating creative ideas. Actually, I used social media with my students, for example, Twitter, YouTube, and Snapchat. To be honest, I learned a lot from my students via social media and in class.
One thing I may criticize in this book is talking about one concept in different chapters I think that may confuse the readers sometimes, for example, collaboration and projects were mentioned many times in different chapters in the book. In my opinion, if the writer includes everything about collaboration in one chapter and everything about projects in another one will be much focused. Although the book sheds the light on one idea to use with special needs students, which was a coffee shop project made by some of them, it did not mention any other ideas to use with these students.
Overall, I think Wettrick’s book is an interesting and beneficial resource for educators to refer to in order to enhance their teaching. It is also a great reference for students to read and apply some of the ideas in it in their whole life not only in schools.