Sunday, August 15, 2021

Disruptive Thinking: Making it a Reality

While COVID-19 represented the most disruptive force ever to impact the field of education, educators did what they always do – go above and beyond for kids and each other.  They consistently made lemonade out of a never-ending supply of lemons.  Challenges were once viewed as obstacles. Now they are seen as opportunities to innovate. Now educators are faced with another disruptive force: artificial intelligence (AI). Yet again, they will rise to the occasion. 

A golden age of transformation is upon us, and the time to act is now.  By leveraging the lessons learned during the pandemic as well as from recent disruptors such as Amazon, Netflix, Uber, DoorDash, and Airbnb, educators can plan and work to future-proof learning for all kids. To do so, the right mindset and strategies are needed to create classroom cultures where learners are empowered to replace conventional ideas with innovative solutions to authentic solutions.  This is the essence of preparation for now, where AI is dominating the landscape and the unknown, something that is woven throughout Disruptive Thinking in Our Classrooms. As I have said for years and emphasized in the book, “Don’t prepare learners for something. Prepare them for anything!”

When it comes to change, there is always a dominant focus on the why. At this point, I think every teacher and administrator has some context, especially in light of the pandemic, as to the need to rethink practice. Many people get hung up on how to effectively implement innovative strategies that lead to new and improved results aligned to research and based on actual evidence. Herein lies the driving force that compelled me to write the book.  

Below are some of the ways the book can help you make disruptive thinking a reality in your classroom, school, district, or organization.


Broken into four parts, this book combines stories, insight from thousands of school visits, practical strategies, research, lessons from the pandemic, and examples from classrooms to assist educators in transforming their practice. The parts are:

  1. Rethinking “normal”
  2. Rethinking learning
  3. Rethinking the learner
  4. Rethinking our mindset

Each chapter ends with a “disruptive challenge” designed to challenge educators to disrupt their current thinking or professional practices in some way.

Supplemental resources

Over time things change. Knowing this compelled me to reflect on how to create a relevant resource that would evolve over time. I have been blogging since the book was published to align updated content, ideas, and strategies to each chapter to deliver on this goal. I have also developed new graphics to support educators as they work to help their learners become disruptive thinkers.  To this end, a Pinterest board materialized that is updated regularly. As I learn and reflect through my work in schools, my goal is to keep this link fresh with innovative content.

Study guide

I can’t speak highly enough about ConnectEDD as they have been a true partner as a publisher. Not only do they support their authors, but they are building a vibrant community. To that end, a comprehensive study guide can be found on their site.  If you are looking to grow individually or collectively as part of a book study, be sure to have this resource on hand. Impressive bulk discounts are also available. For more information, email


Developing a short, catchy hashtag (#) that no one else is using extensively is a challenge these days. In the end, we came up with #DisruptiveThink. The overall purpose is for educators to share their questions, reflections, and innovative practices they have implemented on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. It also represents a convenient way for me to interact with readers at any time, even if my social media handle isn’t included.

Disruption represents a continuous call to action, as forces that radically change society will always be in play. We have the ultimate antidote: employing a mindset and strategies that equip learners with the needed competencies and the ability to always be prepared. The solution is disruptive thinking.

Looking for professional learning when it comes to AI? Contact us today to learn how Aspire Change EDU can support your school, district, or organization with a focus on sound pedagogy, evidence-based practices, and professional growth -


  1. I would like to see more about what Principals all over the world need to do in these disruptive times. Unfortunately, very few of them really know how to handle disruption. Many of them in India would rather overload their teachers with excess work believing that they would any way be saving time in commuting to school. Excess work in the online mode leads to more stress. There have been days when one had to sit in one place for hours in order to teach students, and then it was all about workshops and seminars, just to keep teachers on the job. In many cases, it has all boiled down to making the teachers earn their salaries.

    1. Great question! Check out what Nathan Hall did at his school