Two years ago I stood in a lunch line at a phenomenal learning experience called Miami Device and was introduced to the idea of gamification by Explore Like a Pirate author, Michael Matera. I had no idea at the time how that conversation would change how I teach forever. Since that conversation in Miami, I have been on the most epic adventure as I've embraced innovation in ways I never realized were possible.
In the book, The Innovator's Mindset, author George Couros says, "Change is an opportunity to do something amazing". To be honest, prior to my conversation with Michael Matera I had felt my teaching was dialed in. I was confident, my students were learning, and I was enjoying teaching. However, when I was introduced to what was possible I knew that what I was doing was good, but I also knew it could be a lot better. In my heart I realized that though learning was happening, it wasn't to the level it could be. I wanted "AMAZING" My students deserve "AMAZING".
I am not going to lie, it was super scary. I felt like a first year teacher when I decided to gamify my culinary classes. I didn't know how students would receive it. I didn't know what other teachers or administration would think. I made lots of mistakes. There were moments when I considered going back to the comfortable. However, it didn't take long before I realized something magical was happening. Learning was coming alive for my students. Teaching was coming alive for me. My passion and excitement for teaching was reborn and I know my students felt it. I will never go back to the comfortable. The journey has been life changing for me as an educator, and the adventure is far from over.
I have so much to share about my adventures as I've embraced innovation. But for now I will say, embrace change. Take the opportunity to do something amazing. An epic adventure awaits!
Tech Integration Specialist in Southern Oregon and author of Make Learning Magical. I'm passionate about finding innovative ways to transform teaching and create unforgettable experiences in the classroom.