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Expand your Adjacent Possible: Developing Engaging Instruction

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Greetings <<First Name>>! I hope that you're having a good day!

Educational Duct Tape podcast listeners know that I really love the idea of the “Adjacent Possible.”  I first heard this concept in George Couros’ book The Innovator’s Mindset.  The concept goes further back than that though.  It started with evolutionary biologist Stuart Kauffman and then got exposure outside of the science community when Steven Johnson applied it to the topic of innovation.

The idea is that things don't evolve by leaps and bounds, but evolve to new possibilities that are one step away from--or adjacent to--their current state. The concept has gone from Kauffman’s explanation of how living things evolved from single-celled organisms to humans--one evolutionary step at a time--to Johnson’s use of it to explain how ideas evolve incrementally. 

From my viewpoint, it provides a great insight into one of my favorite ways to learn and grow as an educator. I believe that whatever you do, whatever you try, whoever you talk to, whoever you listen to, and wherever you go, opens you up to new adjacent possibilities. And that’s why I believe so strongly in the power of talking to and listening to other educators through my podcast.

My interviews, to be honest, are a little bit selfish: my adjacent possibilities are expanded both by hearing my guests’ ideas and by sharing my ideas with them.

However, I think that listeners will agree: the benefits of hearing these discussions is beneficial for them as well.

If you haven’t listened before, why not tune in for this week’s new episode? If you do, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
#EduDuctTape Podcast
James Varlack: Developing Engaging Instruction
James Varlack says that “Engagement is developed.” So, in this #EduDuctTape Podcast episode, I asked him how he develops his engaging instruction. We discuss how James works toward each of the 3 types of student engagement--emotional, behavioral, and cognitive--in both analog and digital ways. We discuss Jamboard, Google Docs, Google Slides, Padlet,,, Microsoft Teams whiteboard, and Google Arts & Culture.
Also in this episode, I dive into a question from a listener who wondered how Edulastic, Poll Everywhere, and Mentimeter compare. Got a question that you'd like me to answer in an upcoming episode? How about recording a question here? Or, just send your question as a reply to this email!
Have a great weekend!

P.S. Did you sign up for your chance to win a free Unlimited license for the mote Chrome Extension? You've got until tonight at midnight (11:59 PM EST on 1.29.2021) to register to win! Just head over to this blog post, scroll to the bottom of the page, and click "👉click here to enter to win one of 5 Unlimited licenses! 👈."
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