John Burns

Hack Your School


The term ‘Hacker’ originally described individuals who explored and modified telephone and computing systems.  In the 60’s, the ‘Hacker Ethic’ espoused curiosity, altruism and a healthy scepticism for the status quo.  Hackers had little respect for dogma and saw ‘sacred cows’ as targets to be questioned, investigated, improved or discarded.

With the compelling case for change in education already well established there’s a significant opportunity to review our institutions through the lens of that same hacker ethos.  How could we reimagine professional learning, faculty meetings, home communication, learning spaces and more if we weren’t bound by the dogma of the past?

Participants in ‘Hack Your School’ will learn how to identify and implement potential ‘hacks’ within a discrete school improvement model.  They’ll also look at key strategies and tools used to pitch successful initiatives and garner support for ideas.  This session is open to any educator interested in challenging the status quo in their individual classroom, division or school community.

Outcomes Include
  • Active facilitation with a high level of participant involvement;
  • A practical school improvement model for identifying and enacting change;
  • Agile development, design thinking, project management and bottom-up strategies;
  • Design, marketing and communication techniques for sharing ideas and garnering support; and
  • A focus on both classroom and whole school change.
Intended Audience

This extended session is for anyone interested in leading small or large change initiatives within their school.

About John

John is the Director of Learning Innovation at Shekou International School in Shenzhen where he’s spent the last three years focused on scaling innovation in teaching and learning. He previously worked for Apple where he led schools and jurisdictions through the implementation of contemporary practice. He’s also developed iPhone apps that have featured in TV advertisements worldwide and has taught in the UK, Australia, China and Taiwan. In June 2015 he will take up the role as Director of Creativity & Innovation for ISS schools worldwide.

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