Smart Social Podcast: Keeping students safe so they can Shine Online

Using Student Tech to Solve Problems and Motivate Students with Guest Kevin Brookhouser

Episode Summary

Kevin Brookhouse has been an English and History teacher for over 20 years. He focuses on how technology can enhance education. Josh spoke with Kevin about technology in the classroom and how using technology can set kids up for success. In most classrooms, students have extrinsic motivators like grades to do good work. But when we want them to be creative, Kevin says, extrinsic motivators don’t really work. In order to focus on thinking innovatively and creatively we have to rethink those motivators. Kevin mentions Drive by Dan Pink, a book for managers who want to motivate teenagers. In the book, Pink talks about providing people more with more freedom and giving them positive affirmation when they do a good job. Kevin and Josh also talk about helping teens to find their purpose. These internal motivators work better for creative adventures as you’re not asking students to follow set guidelines. Instead, you are giving them the freedom to find a creative solution to a problem. Josh and Kevin also talk about learning to code, or or at least have some interest in HTML. People often strive to learn a second or even third language. That’s a great endeavor, and there’s no reason that coding shouldn’t be considered a language all its own. Being able to create a website or other platform to share your ideas is becoming crucial to having a positive imprint online. But I’m Not Tech Savvy Kevin says you’re no longer allowed to say you’re not a tech savvy person. In 2020, that’s not going to cut it. Tech is everywhere from the computers we use to the smartphones we put in our pockets. Unless you want to live under a rock, technology is going to find you. That said, anyone can be good at technology. You just need to change your mindset and be willing to learn. The only reason Kevin is good at technology is because he had the drive to learn more. He searches for the answers he doesn’t know. You can do this, too. You don’t have to be an expert, or even feel like an expert, to be able to use technology. Search engines are your friend. The #1 search engine is Google, followed by YouTube, which is owned by Google. Not sure how to do something? There’s probably a YouTube video out there that can help. Josh was able to learn how to do some remodeling by watching YouTube videos, and he had no experience in that field before he started. Students can create solutions and solve real world problems using technology. Kevin’s book, The 20time Project, shows teachers how to give students a percentage of time during the day to solve a problem or their choosing. The students get to choose the problem they want to solve, and then for 20% of the day they get the freedom to search for the answer. This model for a classroom works really well these days since everyone has a smartphone! Kevin says he had a hard time with students when he first introduced this method because for years, students and teacher had an unwritten contract: the teacher tells you what to do and the student does it exactly as they were told. This teaches students to be compliant and follow directions. But for this project, Kevin doesn’t tell his students what to do. Because in the real world, no one is going to tell them what to do. Learning isn’t limited to what happens in the classroom. By doing the 20time project, students are taught to continue learning no matter where they are in life, whether in college or on the job. Kevin says anyone who is going to be a good worker also has to be a good learner. How do I use these digital devices for good? Think of technology as a production device instead of a consumption device. Use the devices to learn and create things instead of passively consuming content. Build your digital portfolio by creating content on the devices. Having devices isn’t bad, they’re actually really good things to have. But the more emphasis you put on creation instead of entertainment, the better your students will use their devices. Kevin also mentions that instructional videos are great conversation starters at dinner. For more information about Kevin and his books go to

Episode Notes

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