Mr. D

Disruptive or Distracting?: Tell the difference & apply the benefits!


Once upon a time there was an inquisitive young student who would constantly disrupt class, always raising her hand straight up in the air, with far too many questions about this, that, and the other. Alas, she would not do as her poor teacher wished, which was simply to ask the “right” questions at the “right” times. For this reason the world of education — as opposed to that of learning — took no pleasure in this wayward child, and eventually she languished… (Grimm and Grimm, recontextualized by Ahmed, and hacked by Mr. D.)

As educators, did WE ever really learn how to “do” disruption? Sure, we regularly rethink and change, but since the way we disrupt is intimately interrelated with these notions, it’s essential that we take time to engage in some deliberate thinking, and doing, about it! In this practical session participants will walk away with a heightened awareness of how our mindfulness of, and critical stance towards, people, actions, and things can actively shift them from being merely “distracting” to productively “disruptive”. The benefits to teaching and learning are immediately applicable, especially in technologically mediated environments.

This session will provide such opportunities by:

  • reflecting on “disruption” and “distraction” in order to redefine our understanding of them, and re-imagine how we will apply our new knowledge to our teaching/learning in the classroom;
  • a hands on BYOD (Bring Your Own Disruption) “show and do” activity where participants will share and reflect on actual past experiences of “disruption” and “distraction” and, applying design thinking to them, reengineer more ideal outcomes;
  • exposing and deconstructing ersatz disruption memes that circulate among our learning communities, and actively replace them with newly created narratives based on our learning.
Possible Outcomes
  • Redefinition/further clarification of our understanding of, and capacity for, deliberate and constructive disruption in our teaching and learning.
  • Connecting glocal connected learning communities with other constructively disruptive teachers/learners through collaborative authorship of an open source online “archive” of disruption.


  • Why is all of this important anyway? What does disruption have to do with my students, my teaching, my school? How can we cultivate deliberate and sustainable practices of empowering disruption in our connected learning communities?
  • What can it mean to disrupt? What is the received wisdom surrounding disruption that creates bias? How might we deconstruct the idea of disruption, even as we attempt to (counterintuitively) re-define it?
  • How can we shift our view of disruption from, in simple terms, negative to positive? What are some essential conditions that engender the “risk taking” that is this positive form of disruption?
  • Who are the “disruption-ally privileged” populations? The “disruption-ally disadvantaged” ones? Why, and what can be done about this?
Intended Audience

Open minded learners and educators seeking to significantly transform themselves in terms of the way they actually think disruption and put it into practice in their classrooms on a daily basis.

About Mr. D

A recently self-diagnosed lifelong learner, Mr. D. is Director of EdTech, EdTech & Learning Innovation Coach, MS G8 HR Teacher, and Instructor of both Music and Design/Digital Literacy at the AmerAsian School in Okinawa (AASO). His main research focus is on generalising knowledge on the subjectivities of mediated youth learners in order to engender safer and more inclusive spaces (IRL and virtual) for their self-empowerment.


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