Is Minnesota the best place to learn?

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While the “Twin Cities” (Minneapolis + St. Paul) is the second-largest economic center in the Midwest, it seems like the first-place champion of teachers solving their own school problems, largely with technology today.

Here are a few recent examples:

Flipgrid (started by teachers at the University of Minnesota) uses video the way students do and is redesigning the 21st century classroom online.

Kidblog (started by an Elementary School teacher) gives students a voice in a more digital, authentic, and formative way.

FANschool (developed by me, a Social Studies teacher) started out of my frustration that 9th graders wouldn’t go to world news on a daily basis — I had to deliver it to them in a way that was more in their sweet spot for learning. And the fantasy football model provided the best way to improve those daily habits.

InsertLearning (developed by Language Arts and Science teachers) turns websites into engaging lessons by allowing teachers to add questions, discussions, insight, and more into text.

Pivot Interactives (developed by a Physics teacher) gives students integrated measurement tools so that they can collect data from videos and analyze the events for themselves.

Edjinotes (developed by a Middle School teacher) is starting to use emojis to bridge classroom reading, thinking, creativity, and discussion.

And that’s just a few… Here’s the full list of people working on education technology in Minnesota.

Why are these quicker-digital-classroom-innovations happening here?

Maybe it’s because University of Minnesota education programs rank third in the world.

Or because groups of teachers and parents started the first charter schools in the nation here, inspiring school-experiments like Harvest Prep, Country Day school, and Venture Academy.

Maybe it’s because established school districts like Farmington Area Public Schools and Spring Lake Park Schools collaborate with transformative ends in mind.

Or because our communities care about what we become as much as what we achieve.

Maybe it’s because after-school programs actually listen to students.

Or because the teachers and parents who started Top 20 Training and Best Prep are focused on more than just academic intelligence.

Maybe it’s because companies like Capstone, Capella, and Adventium Labs value learning “skunk works” like MyOn, Sophia Learning, and Andamio Games.

Or because youth sports organizations like SportsEngine and Asiya care about more than just winning (also see any “Mighty Ducks” movie).

Maybe it’s because the creators of Tonka Trucks, the Oregon Trail and Number Munchers, Nerf balls, and YOXO toys reinvented play here.

Or because we care about your heart.
Or because we lead the national league in parks.
Or because we experiment with cheeseburgers and beer

Whatever it is, Minnesota is certainly the top-scoring state when it comes to lifelong teaching and learning.

And it’s because teachers and parents get together and ask: If not us, who? If not now, when?

(written by FANgeopolitics)

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Founded by teachers and technologists, we turn students into FANs of learning with fantasy sports-like games for school content + current events.

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