Don Wettrick is an Innovation Specialist at Noblesville High School, just outside Indianapolis, Indiana. 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 United States 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.
His keynotes are built around real student examples and not rhetoric. While the keynotes are passionate and energetic, they all have steps to take action… today.
Building a Culture of Innovation
In this keynote, Don lays the foundation of what “Innovation” looks like and why creating a collaborative work culture is the first (and most important) step to integrating innovation into any classroom. Through his partnerships with top companies like Google, Facebook, and several start-ups in Silicon Valley, comparisons are made between great work environments and the traditional school model. This is also a frank discussion on embracing failure, taking risks, and the importance of self-reflection.
Don’t tolerate social media, embrace it!
Most educators have been told to get on Twitter and get a “PLN,” and take part in chats. However, this keynote is on the advantages on embracing (not tolerating) social media for both educators AND students. Are you a social media “Owl,” “Crow,” or “Hawk?” What is the difference? Lastly, this is a presentation on how to truly “teach” our students about digital citizenship, not by giving them a list of what they cannot do, but a look into the limitless possibilities that are on social media.
Innovation in Education
Genius Hour/ 20% Time Explained (and why Innovation needs more than one hour a week)
This is the “nuts and bolts” of our innovation class, and explanation of the “Genius Hour” or “20% Time” movement. This keynote is filled with actual student examples of projects that worked and a honest discussion of the pitfalls of projects that fall flat. This keynote is not the typical “rhetoric” of what needs to be changed in education, but an honest look at why an Innovation class is so necessary in every school.
The Innovative Educator
PM, PR, TA, and VC (Project Manager, Public Relations, Travel Agent and Venture Capitalist).
The role of the teacher is always evolving. In this keynote we take a look at how many innovative educators are: project managers, public relations executives, travel agents, and venture capitalists. Examples of how all these “hats” we wear point to the same reality: innovation and relevance in our profession.
Ferris Bueller’s Day of Education
AKA Does School Get in the Way of Learning?
This entertaining, yet very frank keynote recalls the John Hughes classic movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” The portrait of the American classroom is not a pretty one as Ben Stein leads a class….. anyone? anyone? Discussion. But is there a point to lampooning this “typical” classroom? Are there still classrooms like this? More importantly, does school get in the way of learning? This thought provoking is a favorite of audiences in that it asks the hard questions set to a classic movie. But make no mistake that the “entertainment” value of the keynote does not get in the way of the audience asking themselves big questions. This keynote happens pretty fast…if you don’t stop and really listen you could miss it.
Opportunities Are Everywhere
… and student dependency needs to be ushered out
This keynote is all about getting our students to find opportunities… on their own. We need to stop supplying our students with everything they need. Having them deliberately look for mentors, collaborators, or service opportunities has been the most crucial element I have taught my own “innovators.” This talk is how my students make the connection that finding opportunities and waiting around for something to happen, separates the successful from the dependent. This inspiring keynote is also a call to action for educators as we see examples of how students and teachers looking for opportunities to serve leads to success both in the classroom, and in life.
Empower the Bully!
(Yes. you read this correctly.)
This powerful keynote goes against the grain of “getting tough” on bullies. In fact, it poses the question: could we put the bully to work? Often times students that are “bullies” have a low sense of self worth, but if we seek for opportunities for the bully to be an agent of change, it can cause not only change, but can reshape the entire school culture. Highly passionate, yet practical, this discussion calls for participation and WILL lead to greater understanding, and important steps to take today.