Archives: theories

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Looking Back – 5 Reasons I’m Glad I Went to ASCD 2014

I’ve been a big fan of ASCD ever since I started graduate school for teaching. ASCD publishes the best books on teaching and education. However, I had never been to the ASCD Annual Conference before this past weekend. Sometimes you don’t know what to expect from a big conference like that. You are never really sure if you are going to walk away with a bunch of ideas or just a big bag of free junk from companies you’ve never heard of. I’m glad to say I left with more ideas than junk and ASCD is my favorite education conference so far. Here are 5 reasons I’m glad I went to ASCD 2014 in Los Angeles.

1) Meet Your Favorite Education Authors

In the span of about 30 minutes I got to speak with 4 of my favorite current educational authors. I met Charlotte Danielson, author of the Danielson Framework for Teaching, which I believe is a very valuable resource for assessing teachers. I used it both in graduate school and as a teacher.

Charlotte Danielson

Here is a picture of Kishari, ZBL’s Tactical and Communications Officer, with Charlotte Danielson

After talking with Charlotte, I turned around and saw the curriculum design super-duo “Wiggins and McTighe.” Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe are the authors of one of my favorite education books, Understanding by Design. I’m really into curriculum design, and the root of my interests comes from their book. So I was really excited to talk to them and tell them how I nailed my first teaching interview because it was centered around my ability to design curriculum using the UbD framework.

Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe

Here is a picture of me (David) with Grant and Jay. They had even heard of my work on Zombie-Based Learning.

About 15 minutes after meeting Wiggins and McTighe, I got to speak with Robert Marzano and Sonny Magaña. They have just published a book, Enhancing the Art and Science of Teaching with Technology. I pointed out all of the new Classroom Strategies books I had gotten for Christmas, proving my educational nerd cred.

I also got a chance to sit down and talk with Andrew Miller, a great writer for Edutopia and the Buck Institute as well as a thoughtful educator. We talked Zombies and eventually turned into some.

Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller and David Hunter becoming Zombies

2) Meet Education Entrepreneurs

It is always nice to meet with fellow educational entrepreneurs and discuss our latest ideas. I got to spend some time with one of my favorite presenters, Dave Burgess, author of Teach Like a Pirate. We shared our latest strategies and feelings about education publishing.

Dave Burgess

Here is a picture of myself and Dave. Representing Zombies and Pirates.

I also got to discuss ideas with the godfather of digital gradebooks, William Zaggle. William is now Chief Innovation Officer at Scantron.

William Zaggle

Here is a picture of William and I swapping stories of about our career as delinquent students.

3) Amazing Presentations

Sometimes I look at a conference program and I’m disappointed at how much it doesn’t excite me. Not the case with ASCD. I had quickly double booked my schedule with presentations I wanted to see. The ones I did catch, were excellent. The presenters shared theory as well as practical strategies for the classroom.

My favorites included Margit McGuire’s presentation on “Accessing the Common Core for ELLs through Problem-Based Learning.” She provided valuable strategies for engaging English Language Learners in higher order thinking and aligning their work to Common Core Standards. View the slides from the presentation here. John Larmer presented on “Project-Based Learning: The What, Why, and How” which provided great strategies for using PBL.

4) Amazing Featured Talks

The presentations were great, the Featured Talks were world-class. Imagine getting to see your favorite TED Talks presenters live. That’s what it was. I saw Sir Ken Robinson twerk (it was easy to miss) as he shared insight from his latest version of The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything. I sat front row to hear Jane McGonigal’s latest research (coming out in a book next year) on how the way you approach games influences what you get out of gaming. I was even excited to hear her refer to lessons I’ve designed in the Q+A! And she was kind enough to retweet those lessons when I posted them afterwards.

Jane McGonigal Tweet

5) Demo the Latest in the Exhibition Hall

Wandering the floors of exhibition halls is tiring work. It doesn’t take long to get overloaded. But it is a great chance to check out the latest in education. I sat down at Adobe’s booth (partially because they had a seat and partially because I love the Adobe Youth Voices program). I got a short presentation of Adobe Presenter 9, which they’re really leveraging for teachers to use when they create flipped videos for the classroom. I would have benefited from that as a teacher (see my random range of flipped videos).

I also got to meet Matt Lavery, founder of LeAH assessment programs. View his TEDx Talk here.

Matt, LeAH

Here’s Matt and I talking about ways that we could work together to empower teachers through assessment.

6) BONUS: Show off Zombie-Based Learning

We got to walk around and either introduce ZBL to people or connect with people who were already fans.

Zombie-Based Learning T-Shirt

Here is one of the great shirts that we wore.

Lots of people asked about where they could get the shirts. Maybe at ASCD 2015?

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5 Laws of Zombie Migration

5 Laws of Zombie Migration

Dead Reckon

Ravenstein’s Laws

Nearly 130 years ago, cartographer and exercise-guru Ernst Ravenstein, introduced the world to his original laws of human migration. The original laws that he wrote have somewhat stood the test of time and provide some foundation for our modern theories of migration. Ravenstein and others continued to work on the laws and the following is a basic idea of the laws still around.

  1. every migration flow generates a return or counter-migration.
  2. the majority of migrants move a short distance.
  3. migrants who move longer distances tend to choose big-city destinations.
  4. urban residents are often less migratory than inhabitants of rural areas.
  5. families are less likely to make international moves than young adults.
  6. most migrants are adults.
  7. large towns grow by migration rather than natural increase.

 5 Laws of Zombie Migration

Migration will play a large role in surviving the zombie apocalypse. It is not only important to know where people will move, but maybe more important to know where zombies move and why. It could be possible to disrupt zombie migration patterns to keep them away from new settlements. This is why I propose these rules. Just as Ravenstein’s have been amended, I suggest readers provide feedback on these laws.

Law 1 – every zombie migration flow generates a return or counter-migration of survivors.

For all large flows of zombies to a new area, there will be a counter-movement of survivors fleeing that area. The ratio of zombie migration to counter-movement of survivors may change over time.

Law 2 – the majority of zombies move a short distance.

While some zombies can go on an epic journey, most will prefer to move short distances whenever possible.

 Law 3 – zombies who move longer distances tend to choose big-city destinations.

If a zombie does move a long distance, they will probably not stop moving until they come across a large city with opportunity to find survivors.

Law 4 – urban zombies are often less migratory than zombies of rural areas.

Urban zombies will not move as far as rural zombies. Rural zombies require greater distance to find survivors given the lower population density. As the zombie apocalypse continues, the survivor population density becomes even lower, causing rural zombies to seek areas of higher population density (suburban and urban areas). Conversely, urban zombies are longer satisfied in the higher population density.

Law 5 – large towns draw lots of zombies.

Building from our previous laws, it is safe to predict that large towns will attract most zombies. Cities have higher populations of zombies who are willing to stay in that area and rural zombies are more likely to move to those cities.


We see from these laws that cities are hot destinations for zombies. However, once a city is completely zombified we will probably have to examine zombie migration under more useful tool such as Lee’s push and pull factors. For example, Human over-population is a factor that will push people to move elsewhere. Similarly, an over-population of zombies and an under-population of living humans will lead to a zombie push factor, encouraging zombie migration to another area.

What do you think? What makes zombies move?