Monday, May 18, 2015


Jason Cone and I had an opportunity to attend the 99U conference focused on Making Ideas Happen.  The conference aligned with Singapore American School's R&D process, and we hoped it might give us insights as we embark on actioning recommendations from the Development Teams.  I left the conference feeling more inspired by the conference than probably anything else I have ever attended. We did a short interview with 21CL Radio as a way to share out our learnings, and I’ve also included a few other thoughts and links below.

A Few Takeaways

  • Attending a non-education conference was enlightening.  Getting out of the education “bubble” and actually immersing in industry provided all sorts of insights into the work world that our students will enter.
  • Failure was a theme. It kept coming up.  A lot of learning comes through drafting, re-drafting, reflection and iteration.  Are our schools built with this in mind? Are our students able to take risks, fail, and try again?
  • There are many non-traditional jobs out there.  We aren’t just teaching students who will become doctors, lawyers, teachers and firemen.  Many people will become entrepreneurs, designers, freelancers, writers, etc.  Are schools preparing students with the skills that these non-traditional jobs require?
  • Learners who excel in collaboration, communication, problem solving and design skills can do anything and they don’t necessarily stay in the same industry because their skills are transcendent and don’t limit them.  How would we prioritize our DSLOs and where does content knowledge fit in?
  • Portfolios exist in the “real” world. Behance, who put on the conference, is an online portfolio host.  Creatives use the site to post their work, to get noticed and to find jobs.

A Few Links

Speaker Recaps. The conference format included three speakers each on the following themes: Fueling Collaboration and Innovation, Rewiring your Mindset, Startups, Scaling New Ideas, The Creative Process, and Changing the World.  

5 Tips to Make Your Portfolio a Success. Check out Behance’s Creative Career Startup Guide.

Unstuck is your online digital coach for creativity and productivity.  They have a free iOS app that gives you advice on getting un-stuck, and you can even purchase the analogue version in the format of a deck of cards.

Institute of Play. The institute of Play creates learning experiences rooted in the principles of game design—experiences that simulate real world problems, and require dynamic, well-rounded solutions. Here are their teacher resources. Lots of great articles on productivity and creativity.  You can subscribe to a feed or use your email to get on their mailing list.