9 Dots

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Here is the slidedeck from my presentation at Google Teacher Academy in Chicago. The topic was innovation. Here is the script….


In 1997 Apple challenged us to think different.

In 2008, that message resonates even louder and with greater urgency.

That ad campaign honored a wide range of people of accomplishment. One such individual was James Watson.

In 1954, along with Francis Crick, Watson described the structure of the DNA molecule. Watson and Crick were awarded the Nobel Prize for their efforts.

Here is Watson, on the left, Crick on the right, examining their model.

If you will recall your high school biology class, DNA is made up to two complimentary strands, wound around each other in what is known as a double-helix. DNA is the raw material of your chromosomes, and each of you has 46 in each body cell. Sections of your chromosomes are called genes. When genes are expressed in combination with environmental factors, they determine your traits.

DNA can be recombined in different combinations to yield very different results, even in siblings.

Different species have different chromosomes and genes which make them unique, but they still have DNA as their genetic material.

Science has even provided us with the understanding of how to manipulate DNA, giving rise to the field of genetic engineering.

In 2008, we have common technology that provides us with the raw material or platform for expressing our thoughts, our creativity, our innovation, really ourselves. We can mix and remix content and tools in a recombinant dance, to extend and create. To innovate.

In 2008, it is not unreasonable to think of these technologies as our “digital DNA.”

Of course, these tools range from the 140 character conversations of Twitter, to Second Life with our digital but DNA-less identity, and with a host of Web 2.0 tools in the middle.

More importantly, the suite of Google Tools, from Gmail to Google Earth, provides educators with unparalleled access to the type of imaginative environment that can be used to “think different.”

In 1997, would you have imagined what think different could be mean in 2008?

Today, you have an opportunity to think different. Today you have an opportunity to surround yourself with people of like talents, that have a like purpose. Today can be one of those days that change how you approach your craft and career.

For today, and for tomorrow, think beyond the nine dots.

The challenge of this puzzle is connect all the dots without lifting the pen or pencil and to do so in 4 lines.

Most will try and solve this by drawing lines within the boundaries of the dots. Not until you extend your thinking beyond your self-imposed boundaries, will the puzzle be solved.

There are numerous pathways for using technology successfully. This conference enables you to see a clear pathway for just that.

Remember, thinking different with the help of Google begins today.

Thank you

4 Responses to “9 Dots”
  1. How moving. Wish I could have been there. Challenging us to think differently is a pathway to changing our predisposed DNA. As many have said in our district, we must change our pedagogical DNA if we want to change the way learning happens in the classroom. Providing learning opportunities for educators and students to connect the dots differently has to be one of our priorities. Google tools and other collaborative web 2.0 tools helps make those opportunities easier to happen. Thanks for sharing!

  2. DSJ says:

    Thank you Janice, your comments are appreciated. Unfortunately, I was right in the middle of jet-lag from my return from China, so I could have done a better job presenting…

  3. drezac says:

    Hey there Jakes-
    Nice to see you today, and interesting to be in a “classroom” again with you. I’ve been looking into Google apps for my school, and it wasn’t until today that I actually saw some real info on it.

    If you go to Google.com you have to search through an ungodly amount of junk to find out how to sign up for the “free edition of Google Apps.”

    I’ve been looking for this for months. You know anyone that uses Google Apps not only for the classroom, but as an LMS for teachers as well? I see a tech director (ahem) in a couple years implementing an all-Google Type of environment where teachers all have Google phones and are able to use Google gadgets seamlessly in their classroom.

    Anyone in IL who’s really off the Google Map, so to speak?

  4. Alan Levine says:

    Nicely done (and shared)– especially for including your notes, without which it would have been a pretty set of pictures to flip through.

    Yet, it seems more than “thinking differently” (which never hurts, of course). Maybe “doing differently”

    And of course, everything goes great with google.


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