This Year be an EduHero!

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 8.26.52 AM

A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. – Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Our world is full of hero potential waiting to be motivated, supported, and skilled. Teachers hold the key to unleashing that potential, yet many are wounded heroes themselves. According to Teachers Count, the average teacher impacts 3000 students within a lifetime. How many students have you already impacted? How many will you impact this year? What kind of impact will your students have on others and the world? We need you inspired, strong, and mission minded so that you inspire your learners to lead heroic lives.

Teachers are everyday heroes going through a journey. In order to become an EduHero you have to continue this journey. This year, I’m presenting keynotes on The EduHero Journey, which is my adaption of Campbell’s monomyth. I’ve been researching Campbell’s hero journey since 1997. According to Joseph Campbell, every hero (Jesus, Buddha, Superheroes, etc.) goes through a similar hero journey. I have outlined the stages below and included a slideshare of my recent closing keynote for the ITDIMOOC. For this initial presentation, I asked Sylvia Guinan, a teacher I consider an EduHero, to co-present my research with me and share her personal EduHero journey.

The EduHero Journey

I shortened the EduHero journey into these stages. If you choose to go on the EduHero Journey this year feel free to download any of these badges I made to go on your blog, eportfolio, or website:

  1. (Call to Adventure) Mission: Your mission this year is to join a League of EduHeroes and go on your EduHero Journey. You are not just a teacher. You have the ability to be a hero and model and guide students to be heroes. What makes a hero isn’t extraordinary talents. If you think of some of your favorite heroes- Spiderman, Ironman, Luke Skywalker, Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou, etc.- many were living ordinary lives until they answered their missions and endured the journey. Their choice and ability to endure is what makes them heroes. It is up to you to be brave enough to make the difficult, but very meaningful choice to go on the EduHero journey.
  2. Refusal of the Call: Many times I’ve felt like giving up on the journey, even refused the call, and other teachers have, too. I want to tell you that you have the skills, talents, and strength to do this. Understand that reading this post is not by accident. You are either one or a few of the teachers in your school, city, state, or country hearing this call. This isn’t the first time you’ve heard it. When you first decided to be a teacher, something inside you and beyond you called you to this mission and you chose it. Being a teacher is a very difficult journey and I congratulate you for answering the call.
  3. Meet with a Community of Mentors: Fortunately, you don’t have to do this alone. There is a league of extraordinary EduHeroes ready to offer support, resources, and guidance. These are educators who connect and support each other in online communities and social networks. Find an active community of mission minded teacher to join. These communities will ask you to participate in various events that will help you learn new skills while inspiring other EduHeroes. Some of the EduHero communities I am apart of and founded, include the 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, #Edchat, and the Reform Symposium E-Conference. Find others included in the presentation and via hashtags on Twitter. Cybraryman’s EduChat list will help you find a community of teachers with your specific interests (subject, grade level, country, and city).
  4. Experiencing the Unknown: You will encounter many new terms, trends, and technologies. Don’t worry your EduHero community will provide resources and support.
  5. Tests, Allies, Enemies: You will undergo many tests throughout your journey that will build you up as an EduHero. Each one you overcome will prepare you for a major obstacle. You will need to go to your EduHero Communities for help. You will meet many who will become close friends. You may also meet teachers, leadership, and others who resent your mission and the great things you are accomplishing. Heroes aren’t always loved, respected, or supported.
  6. Supreme Ordeal: You will experience major hurdles. For me these were depression, a cyberbully, my mother’s health, and other ordeals. The tests and support of my Passionate Learning Networks and EduHero communities is what helped me overcome.
  7. Reward: After surviving the ordeal, you will find a new strength, confidence or inspiration within yourself that will help inspire others. It will feel like your superpower!
  8. The Journey Home with the Elixir: As an EduHero who just endured the journey, you get to inspire your students, colleagues, parents, and school community with your newfound inspiration, mission, and skills.

EduHero Badge

It is important as EduHeroes that we inspire our students to also go on heroic journeys. We need our learners to feel like heroes, that it is their duty to care about the world. We need to inspire them to learn math, science, languages, writing, and literacy not to take tests, but because by obtaining these skills along their hero journeys they will be able to find cures, get closer to living in a peaceful world, lead meaningful lives, and solve world issues like hunger, poverty, and illiteracy. The only way that we will raise heroes is if we, their teachers, impart to them this mission and let them know we believe that each one of them has the ability and strength to be a hero if they just choose to endure the journey and learn the skills. Some of our students never hear adults or their everyday heroes they look up to tell them they have the ability to live meaningful lives and so they choose other things like drugs, crime, money, fame, and other things that hurt others. We need them to spread inspiration and care about others.


Ability of teachers to impact lives of individual children. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Bronzite, D. (2013). The hero’s journey: Mythic structure of Joseph Campbell’s monomyth. Retrieved from

Campbell, J. (1949). The Hero with a Thousand Faces. New World Library: Navato, CA. Retrieved from

Examples of each stage of a hero’s journey. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Hamby, Z. (n.d). The hero’s journey. Retrieved from’s-Journey.php

Monomyth. (2014, July 23). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from


Join a connected community of EduHeroes and begin inspiring your students to lead heroic journeys. Don’t forget to download your EduHero badge.

If you enjoyed these resources, consider purchasing my ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics. Right now get the PDF and Kindle version for less than a few coffees. You may also want to subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

Bookmark and Share

Read More

Goal 22: Be a Mentor or Find a Mentor #30Goals

Goal 22 of The 30 Goals Challenge 2011

“The power we have through networking is humbling, frightening, and exciting. Use it well.”~ Ruth Cohenson, @tearoof


Short-term- Find at least one teacher to mentor or find a mentor online.

Long-term- Continue mentoring that teacher long-term by communicating with him/her once a week through social media. When meeting with a person one-to-one use the tools we use for our professional networks online. This is a great way to show them how to use the tools and ease them into the journey.



Due to traveling, I am behind on posting the podcasts. I will try to get the podcasts up soon!

Mentor another teacher online for find a mentor!

Did you reflect on this goal? Please leave a comment that you accomplished this goal by either posting your own video reflection on Youtube, using the hashtag #30Goals, posting on the 30 Goals Facebook group, adding a post to the 43 Things web/mobile app, or adding a comment below! Feel free to subscribe to The 30 Goals podcast!

Keep an eye out for the book, The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators, that will be published by Eye on Education in the Fall of 2011!

Podcast is coming soon!

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

Bookmark and Share

Read More

Considering the Curriculm: TeachMeet Newcastle Keynote

I had the incredible privilege of being the keynote at the TeachMeet in Newcastle/Gateshead yesterday. I have to thank Steve Bunce (@SteveBunce) and Simon Finch (@SimFin) for their incredible hospitality and invitation. This was my first TeachMeet and I was blown away by the incredible way that educators are working with their students. For example, I saw a presentation by Alasdair Douglas (@hairysporran) about Literacy and Skateboarding through game-based learning and various other technologies! I believe that Newcastle is definitely a mecca for innovative teaching, especially with technology. It was Gateshead that helped Dr. Sugata Mitra with his Hole in the Wall experiments. Simon Finch was really great in getting me to see the way mobile learning and elearning is improving education in Newcastle.

Useful Links

Share your story. Choose to be Disraeli and empower your students!

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

Bookmark and Share

Read More

Goal 1: Be a Beam #30Goals

Goal 1 of The 30 Goals Challenge 2011


Short-term- Offer a student or other educator you see struggling support. It could be a colleague who is stressed or a student struggling with another subject. Who in your life needs your support?

Long-term- In what ways can we help students learn to support each other throughout the learning process? How can we build a supportive community with the colleagues in our school? How do we get away from the “us” versus “them” mentality?


“You cannot force commitment, what you can do…You nudge a little here, inspire a little there, and provide a role model.  Your primary influence is the environment you create.”

by Peter Senge, suggested by John Evans (@joevans)

Need Ideas?

  • Create a Wallwisher to celebrate someone’s birthday, achievement, anniversary, etc!
  • Help a teacher with a lesson plan!
  • If a student is having a bad day, tell his/her parent something nice!
  • Send a message through social media outlets!
    • Dedicate a song through BlipFm.
    • On Facebook or Twitter send a nice DM showing support.
  • Send an e-card wishing a friend well or give them a happy post-it note or a greeting card. My favorite e-greetings site is Care 2 Cards where your card supports a cause.
  • Make an Animoto video or Blabberize the message. You can find more services to show appreciation here!
  • Try these mobile apps to show appreciation!


Be a beam and show support for a colleague or student by the end of today! Don’t forget to reflect about the goal after you achieved it and share!

Did you reflect on this goal? Please leave a comment that you accomplished this goal by either posting your own video reflection on Youtube, using the hashtag #30Goals, posting on the 30 Goals Facebook group, adding a post to the 43 Things web/mobile app, or adding a comment below! Feel free to subscribe to The 30 Goals podcast!

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

Bookmark and Share

Read More

Children and Cardboard Boxes

In addition to this blog I have been posting a few times at the Cooperative Catalyst blog, which is a fantastic forum to read various opinions on how we can transform education. The educators have vast experience and pour their hearts out in every post. This post I originally posted on the Cooperative Catalyst blog and wanted to share with you.

Give a child a cardboard box and magic happens.

The ratty, old box becomes an airplane and the child the pilot or a hospital and the child the doctor. The cardboard box takes them on adventures and helps them explore imaginary places in their minds. The cardboard box brings them joy and inspires creativity and imagination. With a few tools, they are inspired to build upon, transform, and reinvent their cardboard boxes.

Then our children are sent to schools….

which replace the former boxes. They are taught that learning happens within walls. They are taught to learn a certain way. They must sit in uncomfortable desks for long periods of time. They must remain silent and do work. They must follow the rules and stay away from the Internet. They must stop playing and daydreaming and listen to their teachers. They must sit for hours and fill out the bubbles of a test and if they don’t do it correctly then they’re forced to repeat the gruesome cycle for another year. This type of education prepares them to work in cubicles. The children who are unfortunate to be born in bad neighborhoods suffer the worst of schooling. Their schools often look like prisons. This type of education prepares them to be in prisons. In general, most of our students are learning to follow the rules, listen to authority, and forget the imagination and creativity they had as children with cardboard boxes.

Many of us have heard Sir Ken Robinson’s message, “Schools kill creativity.” This is the problem, but what is the solution?

We want our children to be creative and create. We shouldn’t want them to think outside the cardboard box; we should want them to transform and revolutionize the box just like they used to do with cardboard boxes. See, we inherently are gifted with the ability to dream. When we are children even in the worst conditions we still come out dreaming and seeing the world as it should be. Our imaginations take us to better worlds and we dream idealistically. We don’t see the barriers of reality placed by others. We don’t just see ratty, old boxes.

This is the problem, but what is the solution? So how do we as educators ensure our schools don’t kill creativity? How do we become catalysts for change?

How do we begin to reverse the damage of schooling?

We need to find ways to convince teachers not on this forum to use technology not because our students use it or will be expected to in their careers. We need to convince teachers to use technology to tear down our classroom walls. Use technology to show students that their voices can travel the world just like ours voices do when we tweet, update a status on Facebook, share a blog post, or collaborate on a ning. We need to convince teachers to use technology to motivate students to continuously research and to show them that their work transcends beyond the class bulletin board.

We need to convince teachers to develop Personal/Passionate Learning Networks (PLNs) so they hear these messages and learn to reflect and evolve their instructional practices.

These aren’t the only solutions, just the beginning.

Yet, how do we inspire teachers to react and act?

How do we go beyond spreading the word through blogs, conferences, and workshops and get teachers to act?

I believe we have educator leaders in our Personal Learning Networks (PLN) who get buy-in. Here are things I have seen them do:

  • They are passionate in their writing and presentations.
  • They show real examples of how these ideas impact students.
  • They commit personal time to ensuring the educators they speak to have the resources to carry out the action. Often this is in a wiki or posted on their blogs.
  • They record their presentations and spread them. We should never be embarrassed to be viral. I don’t see this as self-promotion. We need to be louder and not worry about offending others. In fact, we will offend others, because anyone changing a system does. We want our messages spread. Celebrities and even our youth do not find any shame in putting up their videos on Youtube, etc. That is why they go viral or become trending topics.
  • They research the art of giving presentations. They watch the TED Talks and read books and blogs on this subject.
  • They read books and blogs by revolutionary thinkers.

Does this describe you? Were you a bit embarrassed to think it did? Don’t be! We need educator leaders to be fed up, stand up, and begin spreading a message of change. We need the goal to inspire reaction and action. So now how do we as educator leaders begin to collaborate and add power to this message?


Let’s collaborate to find a way to change the system.

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

Bookmark and Share

Read More