On this episode of Tackling Tech Podcast, powered by Dyknow, Brett McGrath speaks with Dr. John Spencer, a current college professor, former middle school teacher, and author. John teaches workshops on creating Creative Classrooms, PBL, and Design Thinking. His quest is to transform schools into bastions of creativity and wonder.

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Don’t have time to listen to the episode? Here’s a peek at what’s inside…


From K-12 to Higher Education

John Spencer is a former middle school teacher who now is a professor, author, and maker. He serves as a Professor of Educational Technology at George Fox University School of Education. He shared that this unconventional path from middle school teacher to higher ed professor was not something he necessarily saw as his career path, but could not imagine himself in any other role. 

Through his experience in K-12, he worked with STEM, design thinking, PBL, and creative learning, which have all powered how he instructs his higher ed students to model their classrooms and promote creative learning.

The Creative Classroom

John Spencer believes strongly in the creative classroom and allowing creativity to drive instruction in K-12 education. According to John, the creative classroom is first and foremost centered on the idea of student voice and choice. Students need to have ownership of their learning and be self-directed. They should be self-managers and self-starters. This idea of self-direction should drive every part of the creative process.

1. Inquiry Process: Students own the questions that they ask

2. Ideation Process: Students generate their own ideas

3. Research Process: Students engage in critical thinking and creative research 

4. Assessment Process: Students take ownership of self-assessment and peer assessment


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