Using empathy to transform public education
Overwhelmed by the number of student crafted trees that just went into the dumpster after his literature unit on the book Speak, Dan Ryder sought new ways to engage his students in rich learning. Fueled by what he found in the #dtk12 community on twitter, Dan’s new approach led to “Of Mice and Tiny Houses,” and ultimately the creation of a new Success & Innovation Center at Mt. Blue High School. Idea wrangler, design thinker and head scratcher, Dan Ryder teaches at Mt. Blue Campus in rural college town, Farmington, Maine where he serves as Director of the Success & Innovation Center, a problem solving studio that combines best practices of human centered design, restorative practices and social emotional learning and makerspaces. With 20 years of classroom teaching, recognition from state (WCSH 6/MEA Association Inspiring Educator March 2017) and national organizations (Apple Distinguished Educator 2017, Horace Mann NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence 2018), and experience integrating creativity and design thinking into humanities courses for struggling 9th graders through AP-enrolled 12th graders, Dan has developed a set of skills and body of knowledge he enjoys sharing with others. Dan works everyday to make the world a little more interesting than how he found it. Co-author of Intention: Critical Creativity in the Classroom from EdTechTeam Press (2017), he lives with his brilliant and beautiful wife and two amazing kids in a North Jay.