Reset the Presets

Let's build a vocabulary for innovating with technology!

 Tony Vincent ready to build!

June 2017 • Fort Bend ISD Digital Learning Conference • #FBISDDLC

There are preset standards that most everyone accepts without a second thought. It takes extra effort to alter the defaults, so we end up trusting them. Defaults tend to work for most people, but sometimes unchecking the default opens up greater possibilities. Tony Vincent makes the case for taking the time to tinker with your standard settings and explore what can happen when you control the settings (instead of them controlling you). In addition to changing defaults, Tony explores the concepts of repurposing and working around obstacles to arrive at innovative solutions.


⚙ Change Defaults

The default is the standard setting. Companies and developers try to guess what most people will want as a preset. It takes extra effort to alter the defaults, so people end up sticking with those guesses. Defaults end up ruling most people’s computing experiences, and that’s the Tyranny of the Default.

Examples of changing defaults...

  • Changing Siri’s voice from female to male
  • Increasing your mouse pointer size
  • Turning off your Mac’s volume indicator drip sound
  • Starting with a blank slide when creating presentations
  • Using emojis as bullets
  • Drawing your own illustrations [Watch my video!]
  • Searching Participate Learning instead of the App Store

♻️ Repurpose

We often end up usingsomething in a way that is different from originally intended. To repurpose is to rethink what’s possible using the tools at hand, and use them in ways not originally intended.

Examples of repurposing...

  • Creating an iMovie trailer about information (instead of home movies)
  • Brainstorming ideas with others on Periscope (instead of showing what you see)
  • Using a Ring Video Doorbell to call your dad (instead of using it as a doorbell)
  • Authoring and publishing digital books with PowerPoint or Google Slides (instead of slides for presentations)
  • Setting your device’s wallpaper to be your schedule or a reminder (instead of a photo)
  • Using iPad’s Zoom Controller as a pointer (instead of using it to zoom the screen)

↩️ Workaround

Software has limitations, and you can outsmart those limitations with a workaround. A workaround is a method of dealing with, circumventing, or overcoming a problem or limitation.

Examples of workarounds...

  • Tweeting a screenshot with text (to workaround Twitter’s 140 character limit)
  • Rotating everything 90° on Pic Collage’s canvas, saving, and rotating to make landscape collages (to workaround Pic Collage’s limitation of only portrait or square images)
  • Using data validation and sections in a Google Form to require a password to see the rest of the questions (to workaround Google Form’s lack of a password protection feature)
  • Splicing together multiple clips in an app like Splice or iMovie (to work around Chatterpix Kids' & MSQRD’s limitation of 30 second recordings)
 Build a vocabulary for Innovating with technology - Tony Vincent

Change technology’s defaults and your own preset notions of what you can do to Reset Your Presets! Recognize and encourage your students change defaults, repurpose, and use workarounds.


Tony offers technology and teaching tips and resources on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Periscope. Give him a follow!