The Iceberg Model

The Iceberg Model is an awesome visual and analogy that helps you visualize and uncover the underlying causes of the events we see (the portion of the iceberg above the surface).

The analogy works because there is always an unseen portion of an iceberg that lies below the surface and with events, there are values, structures, and patterns that lead to the event.

Once you uncover the underlying structures, you can start to leverage those to transform and design outcomes or prevent unwanted outcomes.  You can use high value and high leverage concepts like the beliefs and values of your organization to create desired and positive outcomes.


Design Thinking

Design thinking has become a bit of a buzzword in education over the past few years.   In our classes I do not want it to become (and have no intent in it becoming) reduced to a buzzword.  

Design thinking is a process and a mindset.  It cannot be reduced to a simple checklist.  Lessons and projects for students should include empathy, experimentation, prototyping, reflection, and redesign.  

Abandon prescriptive scenarios.  Facilitate activities that let students “problem find,” practice empathy, interpret issues and find meaning leading to the generation of new ideas, experiments, and iterations.

Students can learn these valuable skills centered on empathy, collaboration, prototyping, and iteration if we set out to create opportunities to include these mindsets in our instruction.

The interesting thing about design thinking is that teachers are inherently designers of instruction, beginning with empathy for their students’ needs.  Ultimately, we need to support our teachers with time to create projects that allow the students to practice design thinking.  


Here are some great books to introduce kids to these mindsets:

What Do You Do With an Idea?


What Do You Do With a Problem?


The Most Magnificent Thing


Here’s a good resource to get started:

Design Thinking for Educators



Future of EdTech: Predictions and Hopes

Here are my predictions and hopes (in no particular order) for the not so far off future of how educational technology will impact teaching and learning.

  • Classrooms, schools, and districts will be truly paperless.
    • G Suite for Education will become more robust in features and capabilities for students and teachers.
  • Computer Science (coding) will become required courses and learning paths for students.   
    •, Codeacademy, Udacity, and many, others will become commonplace options for blended learning models for computer science instruction.
  • Mixed Reality, Augmented Reality, and Virtual Reality will (continue to) infuse its way into experiential, game-based, and problem-based learning.
    • Experiential projects to learn content
    • Experiential projects to help students make better decisions about learning and career pathways.
  • Artificial Intelligence will help teachers make data-driven decisions (from all online sources), personalize curriculum and content, and better assist their learners.
    • Plus conversations about strengths/opportunities for growth will help students understand how they learn best.
  • Adaptive learning programs will continue to be used, producing competency data easily accessible by teachers and SISs, LMSs, and “AI” dashboards “integrating” with other programs.
  • Devices and WiFi will get better, more secure, and “inter-connected” through the Internet of Things (IoT).
  • Making” will be infused into all classes.  Design thinking, empathizing to “problem-find” and create solutions, will be used to facilitate project-based learning.
  • Cloud-based software will be infused into projects to prepare students for the business world.
    • Think SaaS, CRM, Adobe Suite, Microsoft Suite, G Suite, ESRI GIS (spatial analysis), Project Management tools, video conferencing, email and digital marketing, budgeting, and others.
  • Edupreneurship” will blend design thinking, prototyping, and business skills for students to create solutions, products, and services to make positive local and global impacts.
    • Think app, website, 3D, laser-cutter, etc. (rapid prototyping).
  • Teachers will be just as important, facilitating and designing learning experiences, implementing the proper technology for the scenario, project, experience, and student support, while continuing to act as a relationship builder, mentor, and coach.


Pear Deck


Our teachers love Pear Deck!  

Along with being a really easy to use (it integrates with G Suite for Education), and a great engagement and formative assessment tool, below are some of the specific features of Pear Deck that our teachers like.  In another blog post, I’ll dive deeper into our systems processes for choosing educational technology.

Check in with students

Self-paced mode

  • Present lesson through Gradual Release of Responsibility
  • Allocate time for students to work independently on a portion of Pear Deck slide deck
  • Utilize multiple Pear Deck slide decks as differentiated “Station” Activities
  • Utilize differentiated Pear Deck slide decks in small group instruction
  • Pear Deck Student-Paced Overview

Take-Aways – turn the slide deck into a Google Doc for each student

  • Students can receive their individual responses on a slide deck
  • Google Doc can be used for studying and to continue the learning
  • Teacher can use comment feature of Google Docs to provide feedback on a student’s response to a question
  • How to Publish a Pear Deck Takeaway

Favorite Chrome Extensions

Favorite Chrome Extensions

These are my most used Chrome extensions for productivity, organization, communication, and efficiency.

Tab Resize. When working on a Chromebook this extension is awesome. It quickly allows you to divide your browser into two (according to your preferences) effectively “splitting your screen with a couple of clicks.

For taking screenshots of my browser particularly for training documents I use Target Process Screen Capture and Awesome Screenshot. Both are super easy to use, allow you to save to Google Drive, download or email the images. My favorite feature that both allow is the ability to annotate on the image. This saves time when placing arrows, boxes, and highlighting specific areas of the image.

For productivity my recommendation is the Google Task feature. The Google Task extension for Chrome can be used anytime in the Chrome browser. One of the best features about Tasks is the ability to add an email directly to Tasks.  Once added I can also set a deadline or due date that will appear on my Google Calendar. Perfect for staying organized within the G Suite ecosystem.

Another extension for organization is One Tab. This is a Chrome extension that allows you to quickly close all of your open tabs in the Chrome browser for later access. This is great to use at the end of the workday, but saves you time the next morning (or whenever) you need to access all of those same tabs.

Save to Google Drive is one last tab that works perfect for when you’ve opened a shared Doc or file (most likely from an email notification). One click of this extension for Chrome allows you to save the Doc or file right to your Drive for later access.

Check out these extensions to make your Chrome and G Suite experience even more productive and efficient.