Month: December 2016

Hard Fun

Hard Fun

You’ll find the future where people are having the most fun.

-Steven Johnson

I’ve been a bit obsessed these days with Steven Johnson and I can’t get the idea of the adjacent possible out of my mind. I’m slow reading his book, Where Good Ideas Come From, savoring his detail of the history of innovation.

And he has a new book out about play: Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World–now I know what I want for Christmas!!


As I consider the parallels between of innovation and education, the big ideas from constructionists seem to be at the intersection of these two fields. Guy Claxton says it best when he answers the question, “when is learning?-when there is disappointment or surprise.” Then the concept of hard fun really becomes foundational when we consider how our classrooms become the petri dish of ideas for the future.

So this notion of challenging and stimulating engagement of a task or project, what I am calling hard fun, has some requirements:

  1. Time in order to think, plan and execute ideas–this seems almost implicit.
  2. Complexity so that students can call upon their prior knowledge and develop interdisciplinary skills.
  3. Intensity so that one gets lost in the idea and has to grapple with the challenges that present themselves in the learning.
  4. Connection, not just between subject areas but with people, as students look to each other and experts for collaboration.
  5. Relevancy, which is not only obvious for the students but also encapsulates the concept of shareability, in that this project or idea can be consumed by a larger audience.

I think if we approach learning more in this way, with a more playful approach to exploring curiosities, innovations might naturally emerge. And I know Steven Johnson would argue that curiosity, not necessity, is the mother of invention.






For the last few years, I’ve hit a wall–a firewall–the GREAT FireWall, to be specific. And I have only survived it through steel determination (and a VPN).  But now I plan to escape the Google censorship issues of China and move to Spain, so it’s time to get my Google On.

With that in mind, Google put on an amazing online conference on Dec 3rd-4th, from Australia to America. The keynote speeches were enlightening and I found the UK presentations really fascinating.

Although I plan to go back and revisit some of the break out sessions that I missed, here are some of  the tools and takeaways from the sessions I participated in:

  • Demo Slams- 5 mins of staff meetings dedicated to up-skilling Google Apps.
  • Chrome extension: Stayfocused keeps kids on task when on the web.
  • Using Vocaroo: Audio recording that you can save and download.
  • Magisto: simple video design using 10 pictures.
  • Canva: Microsoft publisher online but a whole heck of a lot easier to use.
  • Connected Classrooms on Google+: Google+ communities that offer an easy way to connect with other like-minded teachers. You can also search on Twitter using the #MysterySkype
  • Using Skype for the Classroom: Mystery Calls, doing cultural comparisons and doing expert interviews with people in different places around the world.
  • Design Thinking: how to define a problem and creating a testable prototype.
  • Epic Fail/Epic Win Wall: a great way to develop grit, learn and grow.

After watching Google On Air, I recognize that there is so much more to know and I am really motivated to get Level 1 Certification. Perhaps you might be inspired to go deeper in your understanding of using technology in the learning process.

Wanna take learn more? The conference was recorded and you can go back and listen to it. Also, check out Teachercast  and  Google For Education Training.

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Judy Imamudeen

Judy Imamudeen

Developing learners as leaders is my joy! As a highly qualified International Baccaluearate (IB) teacher and educational leader, I am committed and passionate about executing its framework and empowering students in creating a future world that works for everyone.

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