Thinkery EdExchange: Equipping and Inspiring Educators

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Thinkery doesn’t just work with learners. We offer programs for educators, too.

Thinkery EdExchange, our professional development series supported by the City of Austin GTOPS program, Dell and Capital One, enriches Austin’s educational landscape by bringing curious, passionate educators together in a collaborative environment. The yearlong program empowers participants to use technology and innovative practices in diverse learning environments to inspire students in STEAM subjects.

EdExchange participants receive 15 hours of Thinkery professional development, six weeks of onsite collaboration with Thinkery staff, community networking opportunities, access to STEAM activity kits and a $250 classroom supplies stipend.

We recently sat down with Scott Mann—a lifelong learner, AISD educator and EdExchange alumnus—during his summer break. We didn’t have to travel far. Scott spent his summer at Thinkery, working as an Instructional Lead in Thinkery Camps.

We discussed his involvement in Thinkery’s EdExchange and summer camp programs. See what Scott had to say about his experiences!

Tell us about yourself! Tell us about your background, education and interests.

I am foremost a lucky husband and proud father. I was raised in small town Texas but have been fortunate to study, work and travel in different countries. I enjoy cooking and eating tasty foods, as well as making music with my friends.

Scott Mann

What inspired you to become an educator?

Many amazing teachers impacted the trajectory of my life, and the thought that I could make a difference in the life of another through education has always motivated me.

Serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama helped me understand the underlying process of behavior change in an individual at different stages of life. This fascinated me and I wanted to learn more.

Discuss your involvement in Thinkery’s EdExchange program.

A huge thanks to my wife who sent me the link! I participated in the first and second cohort. It has truly been a transformative experience. I had been standing at the base of a wall that blocked my path to implementing design thinking and effective technology use in my classroom. The people of EdExchange reached down and lifted me to the top, showed me the amazing view of what lies ahead, and then proceeded to help clear the path with informative professional development and the resources I needed to provide foundational learning experiences for my students. My classroom is finally the learning environment I always wanted.  

Scott Mann - EdExchange

How has your EdExchange experience shaped the work you do in your classroom?

Both EdExchange and Thinkery Camps have changed the way I approach education. When planning a lesson or unit of study, I now start with, “What will my students DO/MAKE/CREATE in order to learn this concept/idea?” I have seen the power of a positive, well-structured environment that promotes curiosity, failure and persistence, and how those skills are the underlying indicators of success across all curriculum areas and life. I want that for my students.

Tells us about your involvement in Thinkery’s summer camp program! How did you get started?

Mr. Rory McDougal helped me find my way to summer camp. I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to be a part of the Thinkery Camps team. And what an amazing team, from top to bottom. Every member of camp is present to the needs of those around them and loves what they do. There are days that I literally skip from the parking garage to the building, I’m so happy to be here! 

Scott Mann - Camps

What advice do you have for educators interested in Thinkery’s EdExchange program?

Be a lifelong learner. There is no greater, or more powerful lesson you can give your students than to share your learning experience with them. EdExchange will take you where you want to go and to places you didn’t even know were possible.

Share Scott’s story with an educator you know and love. Applications for Thinkery’s 2016–2017 professional development series close on Friday, August 5. Apply now!

EdExchange is made possible with the generous support of the City of Austin GTOPS program, Dell and Capital One.

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