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Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

Zack Dowell - Table Top Inventing PodcastIn This Episode

  • Can a fish be trained like a dog?

  • Can a school project be both art and science as well as entertainment and curiosity?

  • How do we bring engagement back to the classroom?

    Today's podcast will grab you by the ears and entertain them all the way through.

Welcome to the Table Top Inventing Online Radio Show. Every week we interview successful individuals from across the career spectrum and share their stories. We want parents and educators to learn the tools they need to get and keep the interest and curiosity of teenagers.

Today's guest is a special treat. Zack Dowell knows how to have fun and learn at the same time. He's sort of a professional at it. He's currently working on the most fun project!

This project involves several departments across his campus: math, science, engineering, computer science, theater arts, and Zack is planning to recruit sociology and psychology as well. What kind of a project could capture the interest of so many different kinds of people?

Keep listening, and I'll let Zack tell you.

Every now and then I have a guest that "Nerd Snipes" me. The term "Nerd Sniping" is from the XKCD cartoons, funny but somewhat irreverent. Essentially, today's episode grabbed the nerd inside me, and I got a little excited.

Projects like the one Zack is working on are a perfect example of the kind of learning we seek and value at Table Top Inventing. If you want your kids to be exposed to more fun and interesting applications of technology that capture the imagination, let's talk. Visit our website, ttinvent.com, and find out how we can connect. Kids need inspiration, and we love to provide it--just like Zack is doing at Folsom Lake College.


Original Episode Date: 5/27/16

Category: Innovative Educators

Direct download: 089_-_Multidisciplinary_Projects_with_Zack_Dowell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:14pm PST
Comments[0]

Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

 In This Episode

  • How does a young lady pursuing a career in biogenetics find herself a successful artist?

  • How can a small company file a lawsuit against a huge company without getting crushed?

  • How do you fall in love with 3D printing after avowing never to use it?

The stories behind these curious juxtapositions are waiting for you in today's podcast.

Welcome to the Table Top Inventing podcast. I am Steve Kurti, aka "the Mad Scientist", and I'm pretty jazzed about something that happened this last week.

We just finished up our first Inventor Camp of 2016 in Apple Valley, CA, last Thursday, but on Wednesday while we were in full swing, I had the coolest thing happen.

One of the challenges this year involves binary numbers, byte conversions, and ASCII tables. If you're a techno geek, you'll get those references, but if you're not, those are terms for how the data moves around in your computer, cell phone, and the internet. I wanted the kids to see under the hood so-to-speak and see that things aren't really as mysterious as they seem.

I was talking to Lilli and Trevor who were tasked with programming up a little solution for encoding letters and numbers into binary, and Lilli was telling me about how her program worked. She was pretty excited that she could look at the 8-bit represented by the LED lights and look up the letter on a chart.

I turned to Trevor to ask him if he knew what they needed to do next. He answered,

"Yup. I'll get to that in a minute, but right now...

MY BRAIN IS ON FIRE!"

It was so awesome and so funny, I had a fit of laughter on the spot. That is what I love to see: Kids with their imagination on fire. 

Today's guest, Tracy Hazzard, also loves to see kids with their imagination on fire. Tracy is the CEO of Hazz Design Consulting, a design company headquartered in Orange County, CA. Let's find out how Tracy is igniting the imagination. 

Tracy said my favorite phrase "Successful Failure". We have a dozen different ways to say this same thing: "failing forward", "Failure is the first step to success", and a host of others. The basic idea is to stop being so afraid of being wrong or of making a mistake along the way.

Anything big requires learning, and true learning always starts by being bad at something before being really good at it. If you want your kids to experience "successful failure", check out Inventor Camp at TTInvent.com.

Let's Ignite more Imagination.


Original Episode Date: May 5, 2016

Category: Business Professional

Direct download: 089_-_Designing_Success_with_Tracy_Hazzard.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 8:48am PST
Comments[0]

Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

In This Episode

  • What is it like to write a video game from code in a printed book?

  • Can techie kids learn to have good people skills?

  • How does a computer game programmer become a politician?

Jay Obernolte - Table Top Inventing PodcastYou'll have to listen to today's episode to learn the answers to these fascinating questions.

Hi, this is Steve, "The Mad Scientist" Kurti, and today's guest on the Table Top Inventing podcast is a first for us. We've had game-changing researchers, game-changing teachers, game-changing investors, and other game-changers on our podcast including other programmers.

However, we've yet to have a game-writing politician. Today's guest has experience as a programmer and coder right down to the assembly language level, but he has also started a small company and has now crossed over into the world of politics.

As a tech person myself, I was curious what would drive a successful programmer and business owner to step into the political arena. The path is an interesting one as always.

Let's welcome our first public servant to the podcast, California Assemblyman, Jay Obernolte.

Jay mentioned my favorite concept on the podcast toward the end: life-long-learning. I have always wondered what causes someone to leave a successful career to try something new, but learning and trying something new is a great reason in my book. As a perpetual learner myself, I am always interested in challenging my skills against some new idea or task.

I also understand what Jay said about moving from coding into managing people. My personal experience with starting a business has hit multiple roadblocks as I try to navigate how to understand the social world of marketing. Tech folks like us often choose computers, engineering, or science because at some level it is simpler to understand than people.

However, there is no shortcut in life to success that doesn't include learning to have great relationships. That's why in our Inventor Camps we always have students work in teams and show off their work at the end. Talking to other teammates and presenting our work to others are crucial skills for any professional in today's world.

Subscribe to the Table Top Inventing podcast to hear stories of other world-changers to equip yourself and your teens for the rowdy world of innovation.


Original Episode Date: 4/29/15

Category: Business Professional

Direct download: 088_-_Games_and_Politics_with_Jay_Obernolte.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 11:32pm PST
Comments[0]

Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

Joanie Connell - Table Top Inventing PodcastIn This Episode

  • How much does work-life balance matter to today's professionals?
  • Why do people communicate differently on email vs phone vs face-to-face?
  • What are the effects of helicopter parenting on the kids we are trying to protect?

Today's podcast will reveal the answers to these crucial questions.

Welcome to the Table Top Inventing Online Radio Show.  Every week we interview successful individuals from across the career spectrum and share their stories.  The best information on how to raise intelligent, curious, successful kids is out there, and we're collecting it into one place on our on-demand radio show.

Today's guest is particularly well-acquainted with the pitfalls surrounding current trends in parenting and education.  Joanie Connell is a PhD psychologist with a degree in engineering who coaches high-performing professionals.  In her work with these high-profile individuals, she has become painfully aware of some glaring issues in modern parenting and education habits.

Let's jump straight into this action-packed interview.

Joanie and I discussed things I've believed for quite some time, but she brings the psychological and social credibility.  Her background in engineering and work with professionals strikes a curious juxtaposition with the stories and woes of executives with unmotivated kids.

I loved her advice to just let kids be bored sometimes.  It's so easy as parents to feel like we must be in an "educational moment" all the time, but Joanie's wisdom says we should back-off and allow kid's natural curiosity take over.

I couldn't agree more.  Our whole Inventor Camp framework revolves around letting kids jump into the deep end of the pool to see if they can figure out how to swim.  Standing back while kids discover things on their own inspires more learning than over-scheduling or helicoptering ever can.

It is a hard thing to let our kids face life on their own.  I know.  I have teens too.  But you don't have to take this road alone.  Sign your kids up for Inventor Camp and become a part of a growing community of parents who are learning to pull back on the helicoptering.  Head over to our Inventor Camp page and sign your teen up for the best summer of their lives!

We'll help you step back and let your teenager step up.


Original Episode Date: 4/22/16

Category: Business Professionals

Direct download: 086_-_Understanding_Engineers_with_Joanie_Connell.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 6:19pm PST
Comments[0]

Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

Peggy Healy Stearns - Table Top Inventing PodcastIn This Episode

  • Can you learn to write software without programming experience?
  • How is educational software unique?
  • How important is technical confidence for young learners?

Join us for a look at technology through the lens of educational software.

Welcome to the Table Top Inventing Online Radio Show.  Every week we interview successful individuals from across the career spectrum and share their stories.  Hearing the stories of others who have been down a tricky path and navigated to success has a way of inspiring confidence that I too could find success.

Today's guest, Peggy Healy Stearns, began developing and writing educational software on some of the very earliest personal computer systems.  What was the road like?  What lessons has she learned about the intersection between technology and education?

Buckle up for a fun journey through the development of some of the best selling educational software inspired by the advent of the personal computer.

Every now and then, I have a guest who completely educates me on the history and perspectives of a particular aspect of education.  Peggy has seen educational software from one end to the other.  There probably isn't a trend in ed software in the past 30 years she hasn't touched.

Sometimes it's just good to reach out for someone else's expertise, and I'm so glad I get the opportunity every week to be educated by some of the best minds in the country.

If you think you might like a little extra help inspiring your teens this summer, point your browser to the ttinvent.com website and find Inventor Camp.  This summer at Inventor Camp, teenagers across the country will be inspired to try on the title "Inventor".  Your kids may need a little push to start, but just like Alex, after the first day at Inventor Camp, they'll be hooked.


Original Episode Date: 4/15/16
Category: Innovative Educators

Direct download: 085_-_Young_Makers_with_Peggy_Healy_Stearns.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 11:16pm PST
Comments[0]

Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

Ted Dintersmith - Table Top Inventing PodcastIn This Episode

  • Why would an entrepreneur and noted venture capitalist zoom in on education?

  • How serious are the educational challenges we face in the US?

  • Is there a simple path forward to creating a better education for every student?

My guest today is Ted Dintersmith, noted venture capitalist, author, and executive producer of the Sundance-acclaimed education documentary, “Most Likely to Succeed.”  Ted believes that with the best of intentions, we’re ruining the futures of our kids, and our country. He says we stubbornly cling to an obsolete education model that prepares kids for assembly line jobs that no longer exist and that failed policies have turned school into a dreary regime of testing and accountability. Worse,  he believes that even our best students learn little, as so many lose curiosity, creativity, intrinsic motivation, and sense of purpose.  Ted is fresh off a 50-state tour of schools and communities with his film, throughout which he has also seen the very best of learning experiences which have provided for Ted an inspiring vision of how schools can launch kids into lives of competence and purpose. 

There are lots of opinions about how and why we should change the education in the US. If you only take one point away from today's show, consider this. What would happen if suddenly tomorrow we told every teacher in the country, "We trust you to turn our kids into curious, thoughtful, productive humans"?


Original Show Date: April 7, 2016

Category: Business Professionals

Direct download: 084_-_Succeeding_at_Education_with_Ted_Dintersmith.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 8:53pm PST
Comments[0]

Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

Peter Skillen - Table Top Inventing PodcastIn This Episode

  • Do kids really secretly enjoy hard problems?
  • What happens when we let children control their own learning?
  • What can US educators learn from Canadian educators?

Join us for some perspectives from the other side of our northern border.

Welcome to the Table Top Inventing podcast. I'm going to begin today with an excerpt from Marvin Minsky's book, The Society of Mind.

"Why are processes so hard to classify? In earlier times, we could usually judge machines and processes by how they transformed raw materials into finished products. But it makes no sense to speak of brains as though they manufacture thoughts the way factories make cars. The difference is that brains use processes that change themselves Ñ and this means we cannot separate such processes from the products they produce. In particular, brains make memories, which change the ways we'll subsequently think. The principal activities of brains are making changes in themselves. Because the whole idea of self-modifying processes is new to our experience, we cannot yet trust our commonsense judgments about such matters."

Minsky goes on to describe how difficult it is to study the brain, and conjectures that with further research, we will discover that the brain is simply a very complex computer with billions of small, interconnected parts.

I'm not sure if I agree with Minsky or not. We used to believe that cells were amorphous, gelatinous corpuscles, but the closer we look, the weirder they get--unlike atoms and elementary particles. In recent years, we've delved deeper into cells and their nano-processes than anyone ever thought possible... and cells are still... mysterious.

But I digress. Today, I want us to focus on the main job of learning: helping the brain become better at building itself.

Today's guest is an expert at helping children learn to build their brains. Peter Skillen is a truly fascinating individual, and I think you'll agree with me by the end of the podcast.

From our experience at Table Top Inventing, the approaches and ideas Peter shared are spot on, and Peter has decades of experience letting kids take charge of their learning. If you want to see what happens when kids grab their learning by the horns and charge off in unexpected directions, find an Inventor Camp near you. Signup now at ttinvent.com/InventorCamp.

 

 

 


Original Episode Date: April 3, 2016

Category: Innovative Educators

Direct download: 083_-_The_Longterm_View_with_Peter_Skillen.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 9:55am PST
Comments[0]

Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

In This Episode

  • What is possible if you shut off the television?

  • Can you really do anything you want, if you set your mind to it?

  • How hard is it to learn to fly over 80 kinds of planes?

Scott Glaser - Table Top Inventing Podcast

Join us today as we rocket into a conversation about goals, dreams, and the grit to achieve them.

I love today's interview. I admit to having favorite episodes. This is one of them, but maybe not for the reasons you might think.

Today's guest is an engineer who loves to fly planes. He has degrees in aerospace engineering, but his true passion is being in the seat holding the stick or the wheel.

Scott Glaser is a one-of-a-kind individual. He wasn't able to go directly into military aviation but never gave up on the idea of flying military jets. Years later, he is now certified to fly many different kinds of planes including military aircraft. How did he manage to get to where he really wanted to be in the first place?

You'll have to listen in to hear the story, but I'll give you a hint: he learned to fail well.

I love Scott's story. I especially enjoyed the part where he said that it is important to Fail a LOT! You don't hear that very often trumpeted from the from of the room, but every innovator knows how important it is to be resilient. Scott specifically mentioned learning to "dust yourself off".

I have been interviewing many professionals and innovators for our podcast, and they are all giving this message, "Learn to fail well." Learning how to succeed is what we normally hear about, but learning to fail well is much harder yet infinitely more valuable to the innovator. I have heard it said, "If you aren't prepared to fail, you aren't prepared to innovate."

If you want your teenager to learn to fail well, go to ttinvent.com and find out how you can get them involved in our programs. Failing well is in our DNA, and success is the natural outcome.


Original Episode Date: March 25, 2016

Category: Business Professionals

Direct download: 082_-_Getting_What_You_Want_with_Scott_Glaser.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 11:22pm PST
Comments[0]

Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

Ben Owens - Table Top Inventing PodcastIn This Episode

  • Are there important innovators and inventors in public schools?
  • Can being an engineer prepare you for the classroom?
  • How can a public school bring project-based learning into every class?

Join us as we speak with a true educational inventor from the mountains of western North Carolina.

Welcome to the Table Top Inventing podcast where we bring fresh perspectives at the intersection of innovation, education, and parenting.

You have probably heard of 3D printing by now and possibly even the term "maker education", and if you are a teacher, you have certainly heard the term "project-based learning". For those not familiar with the term, imagine going to school, but instead of sitting at desks in rows doing worksheets, you spend the day building catapults, writing new computer games, or growing a garden.

Project-based learning is like a rich canvas on which to hang all of those seemingly disconnected facts such as torque and momentum or cell division. However in school, educators often worry about meeting standards such as Common Core or in getting students ready to pass their yearly competency tests.

Yet the very best educators out there know that something is amiss with a system when we begin "teaching to the test" rather than helping students learn how to learn. Ben Owens is just such an educator, but he isn't teaching at a private school. He isn't talking about projects in a homeschool environment.

080 - Ben Owens 05Ben is a high school teacher in the public school system at a very special high school in western North Carolina, Tri-County Early College. Their whole school has switched to a project-based learning model for the high school years in conjunction with taking classes at the collocated community college.

You have to hear Ben's story.

I am so exited about Ben's experience and the commitment of Tri-County Early College to bring project-based learning to rural Appalachia. If you are a teacher or a parent, I want you to know that project-based learning is NOT a pipe-dream. It is a very real, very effective model for your school and for your kids.

If you live near Murphy, near Atlanta GA or Orlando FL, or in southern California, go to ttinvent.com/InventorCamp and signup for Inventor Camp this summer for a taste of project-based learning. It is a transformational experience where learning is both challenging AND fun.

PBL prepares kids for life in ways that worksheets and lined paper can never prepare them. Join the revolution.


Original Episode Date: 3/18/16

Category: Technology Educators

Direct download: 081_-_Project-Based_Learning_with_Ben_Owens.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 10:54pm PST
Comments[0]

Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

In This Episode

  • When is the best time to introduce technology to your kids?
  • Is there and advantage to introducing technical problem-solving early?
  • How do we introduce coding in kindergarten?

Today's guest will fascinate you with the answers.

I'm sure that at some point in our lives we have heard the words, "You're just a girl." Those four and a half words can be very dangerous. One of my favorite Youtube videos is the "Like a girl" video. Powerful girls have always known they can do anything, but where did that power come from?

We are going to dive in head first to the topic of girls in technology, and I couldn't have picked a better guest. Kiki Prottsman is a pro in every sense of the word. People call her a "Technological force of nature" that doesn't sound like "just a girl" to me.

Let today's interview sink down and resonate where it can make a difference in the world around you.

I could try to fill the last few seconds of the podcast with how awesome Kiki was, but you'll know when you hear her. Look at Kiki's show notes page and look up Code.org, her Youtube channel "KIKIvsIT", her website, and the other things we put there. For more on girls in technical fields listen to our interview on the Table Top Inventing podcast with Julia Fallon.

Make a difference. Don't just tell the girls in your life they are awesome. Give them opportunities to prove it.


Original Episode Date: March 11, 2016

Category: Innovative Educators

Direct download: 080_-_Powerful_Girls_with_Kiki_Prottsman.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 9:48pm PST
Comments[0]

Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

Jason DiVenere - Table Top Inventing Podcast

In This Episode

  • What is the best way to get a flight into space if you are not currently an astronaut?
  • How serious is space tourism?
  • How can we feed that inner drive to explore?

Today's episode is about exploration which reminds me of a quote by T.S. Elliot.

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

That's a great commentary on getting perspective, but Elliot is not suggesting we can get perspective without exploration. Instead, he is saying to get your rear end up off the couch and go see some new scenery!

You better strap yourself in with a 5-point harness for today's episode! We are blasting off with Jason DiVenere. Jason loves to explore. For fun, he might hop on a plane to Sydney, Australia, for lunch or an afternoon at the Sydney Opera House. During college, he spent time driving around the Mojave desert in southern California for the DARPA Grand Challenge team at his university.

Somewhere along the way, Jason became enamored with space travel. So in addition to exploring the desert in southern California or flying all over the world, his ultimate goal is to travel in space.

This goal drove him to some interesting lengths, but you'll have to listen to the rest of the podcast to satisfy your curiosity.

But before we jump in, Jason wanted me to point out that in our interview he is sharing his opinions. We mention Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic, but he is not speaking in anyway for those companies. He is only sharing his experiences and perspectives.

Jason's story is compelling. He ended up working for the front-runner in space tourism simply because he wanted to go to space and he wouldn't take "no" for an answer! He's got curiosity AND grit--both characteristics that we want to see in every teenager.

If your teenager likes to build things but you're worried that they need more challenge, sign them up for an Inventor Camp near you. Inventor Camp is full of excitement and learning. We use powerful technology, and we don't dumb down the difficulty. Students get immersed in real scenarios, and versatile, real tools such as 3D printers, computer programming, and electronics.


Original Episode Date: 3/4/16

Category: Business Professionals

Direct download: 079_-_Space_Travel_with_Jason_DiVenere.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 7:19am PST
Comments[0]

Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

In This Episode

Jonathan Schwartz - Table Top Inventing Podcast

  • Join us for the interesting plot twists in today's podcast.Can shop class make kids better at math?

  • What thinking skills are learned in a shop class?

  • How exactly does a professional kayaker become a math teacher?

Welcome to the Table Top Inventing podcast. We took a much needed one week break from the show last week, but we're back at it this week with a power-packed show. Today we're tackling the topic of shop class from a very compelling angle.

Over the last 10 years, shop classes such as wood working, auto shop, welding, and other classes have disappeared from almost every school in America. With the university focus toward intellectual property, engineering, and cutting edge science, high schools just stopped teaching these classes...

but at what cost?

The overwhelming feedback we keep getting on this podcast from successful professionals is the need for hands-on training. Yet in school, where else do kids get hands-on training if not in shop class? "Robotics!" some say, or "Engineering classes," others say. My experience in those classes is that the curriculum is so scripted that very little original thinking occurs.

However in shop class, students are forced to grapple with the reality that they drilled the hole too big or that the part is just a bit too short. These errors or incorrect assumptions teach lessons in a way that no scripted curriculum can. Failure is one of the best teachers we have, but we've become afraid to let it into the classroom.

Today's guest, Jonathan Schwartz, is no stranger to shop class or to inventing, and ironically is also a math teacher at his high school. You'll be shocked about what he says about his shop classes versus his math classes as far as thinking skills, but I'm not letting the cat out of the bag. You'll have to listen in for the answers.

I know I say this every week, but its true every week. I just loved this interview with Jonathan. He is one of the most interesting guests we've ever had on the podcast because he teaches both a "core" subject as well as a shop class. His insights are priceless.

If your school doesn't offer shop class but you would like your kids to be exposed to more critical problem solving, you need to know about Inventor Camp. This year we'll be offering Inventor Camp in southern California, western North Carolina, Atlanta, and Orlando. To keep your kids from getting behind, go to ttinvent.com and sign up for Inventor Camp. We're preparing kids for the innovation economy!


Original Episode Date: 2/25/16

Category: Innovative Educators, Makers & Innovators

Direct download: 078_-_Math_and_Shop_Class_with_Jonathan_Schwartz.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 9:44pm PST
Comments[0]

Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

  • Do you have to be an engineer to make robots?
  • Are there any advantages to growing up on a farm?
  • How hard is it to build a life-sized R2-D2 robot?

Michael McMaster | Table Top Inventing PodcastNormally on the Table Top Inventing podcast we are discussing some form of inventor or innovator, and today is no exception. For most of us, the word "Farmer" does not really bring up images of innovation, but that would be a grave mistake.

Some great innovations have come from the farm. Every star in Hollywood looks great because of a gentleman named Eli Whitney, and if you visited a farm and got to drive one of those huge tractors, you would discover that onboard are sophisticated GPS systems, computers, and great air conditioning.

Today's guest brings a blend of down home wisdom and high tech curiosity. He even mentions one of my favorite electronics platforms--Arduino(R)! Let's find out how Michael McMaster went from farm boy to sci-fi robot builder.

I love learning about the unusual paths that some people take to success. Michael certainly has an unusual story with lots of opportunities for failure, getting back up again, and finding another way to try.

Michael's experience with practical, hands-on learning on the farm just underscores again that the Table Top Inventing classroom experiences such as Inventor Camp are an ideal place to start innovating. Head over to ttinvent.com and check out Inventor Camp.

 


Original Episode Date: 2/11/16

Category: Makers & Innovators

Direct download: 077_-_Robotics_and_Farming_with_Michael_McMaster.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 5:55pm PST
Comments[0]

Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

  • Does your child want to become a doctor but doesn't have the grades?

  • Have you ever wondered what happens when you get put to sleep by an anesthesiologist?

  • What is the purpose of licenses and credentials?

Dr. Wayne Smith - Table Top Inventing PodcastJoin us as we strap on our boots for a trek along alternate paths into healthcare.

Today's podcast breaks a streak I've had for quite sometime on our podcast. For various reasons, I have not had the opportunity to interview a medical doctor for the Table Top Inventing podcast. However, healthcare is one of the fastest growing fields in our country today.

In fact, engineering and science to address healthcare challenges is also a quickly growing field. So I'm glad I found an unique and interesting anesthesiologist to speak to us about his journey to becoming a doctor and what a young person entering the field might want to consider.

Dr. Wayne Smith is a very curious individual with an unusual story to tell about starting with a 2.6 GPA out of high school and eventually exiting his residency in anesthesiology with excellence. This is not your typical 4 years of pre-med followed by 4 years of med-school followed by a residency. 

Dr. Smith certainly doesn't pull any punches. He worked hard and found a way where most others would have quit. Along the way, he discovered the valuable lessons of learning how to learn and seeking excellence for its own sake. Hold on to your seats as we take off for an aerial view of a curious path into healthcare.

If your student needs that little spark or push into a life of curiosity, head over to our website ttinvent.com and find our Inventor Camp. Just like Dr. Smith, Inventor Camp helps students become curious about life and to seek out answers for themselves.

Dr. Smith said, "Learning is secondary only to things like sleeping and breathing and eating." Let us inspire your teenager to find that same excitement for learning!


Original Episode Date: 2/4/2016

Category: Business Professionals

Direct download: 076_-_Flying_High_with_Dr_Wayne_Smith.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 10:00pm PST
Comments[0]

Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

  • How can we get teens to discover their innovation potential?
  • What is the secret of educating for innovation?
  • How much will innovation matter over the next 20 years?

Tony Wagner - Table Top Inventing Podcast

Join us for a gripping look into the future economy and what students will need for success.

Today's guest is an expert in residence at Harvard's Innovation Lab and an extremely innovative educator. If you have been wrestling with how to bring innovation into your classroom, this episode was made just for you. And yes, we do talk about the F-word--the other F-word--failure and how it relates to educational success.

Tony Wagner has been an educator for his whole career. We don't normally think of English teachers as innovators, but you will soon discover why he is uniquely qualified to discuss creating innovators.

Get ready for some shocking revelations.

Tony is one of those powerful thinkers who shape how we view a topic. In the business world, we call him a "thought leader". He has seen the shift to the "Innovation Economy" and has captured the thoughts of the country's business leadership on how to navigate into this new space. It is no accident that the innovative approaches we are bringing to tech education brought us into contact.

For several years, Table Top Inventing has been offering Inventor Camp, a place of innovation, to teenagers. Let us show you just how innovative your teenager can be. With 3D printers, computer programming, and electronics, they won't be bored.

Parents AND students both tell us, "We can't believe how much learning happened in just 4 days!"

To sign up for Inventor Camp go to ttinvent.com/inventorcamp.

 


Original Episode Date: January 27, 2016

Category: Innovative Educators

 

Direct download: 075_-_Innovators_and_the_F-word_with_Tony_Wagner.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 9:00pm PST
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Show Notes
| YouTube | iTunes

In this episode:

  • What does it feel like to be a student with dyslexia?
  • Do some forms of teaching create more powerful learning?
  • What is the real meaning and purpose for letter grades?


This thought-provoking episode holds the answers to these questions.

Today's episode is one of the most quotable episodes we've had. We have had a few like this one, Michael Wesch's episode #25 for instance. You will want to listen closely because of the power packed educational perspective of this master educator.

Stephen Bralley is currently a district superintendent with a large private school district of K-12 schools. He has been a K-8 principal and teacher. He has also taught in high school. I've seen him in action, and he is an inspiring and inspired educator. Today's episode is very candid, and we don't pull any punches about the challenges in education.

Stephen and I have been good friends for more than 25 years, and I have always respected his ability to lead and to teach. He is genuine, thoughtful, and caring. So when I think about a good classroom experience, he is one of the models that comes to mind, and it is no coincidence that we have modeled our Inventor Camps after the most engaging and inspiring educators we know.

Inventor Camp is popping with excitement and learning. The technology is powerful, and we don't dumb down the intensity much. Students get flooded with real scenarios, and versatile, real tools such as 3D printers, computer programming, and electronics.

We often have parents AND students tell us, "We can't believe so much learning happened in just 4 days!"

We want to help you and your kids create the future!
Learn more about Inventor Camp today!

Original Episode Date: 1/21/16

Category: Innovative Educators

Direct download: 074_-_Hands-on_Education_with_Stephen_Bralley.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 8:00pm PST
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Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

  • Have you ever wanted to work at Google?
  • Does Google really have a climbing wall at the office?
  • How important is practical programming experience if you want to work at Google?

Eric Hennigan - Table Top Inventing PodcastToday on the Table Top Inventing podcast we are talking to a Googler*. If you are curious about some of the things you've read about Google, their employees, and the amenities at the office, stay tuned.

On the interview, Eric Hennigan and I had such a great conversation that we went over time. So we added some bonus interview footage at the end. Don't miss it.

After college, Eric worked for the US Navy as a programmer. That experience convinced him to sharpen his skills as a programmer, and he went back for a PhD in Computer Science from UC Irvine. Along the way he discovered the best students are actually self-taught.

Eric has worked at several companies as a programmer, including Zodiac Aerospace, but currently he is a coder for Google. He doesn't say much about his duties as a YouTube ad wrangler, but his views on getting a great education are priceless.

Every time I talk to Eric I learn something new. He is just full of excellent insights and thinks deeply about life and learning.

For the last month or two, we've been talking about our Resonance Innovation Fellowship, but we're closing registration on that soon. However if you have students destined to be a programmer or engineer like Eric, stop by the Table Top Inventing website (ttinvent.com) and learn more about Inventor Camp this summer. Inventor Camp is not your typical summer camp. Students actually learn more in 4 days at camp than in weeks during school, but they don't even know they are learning because it's so much fun.

The future can always be read by those who create it!

Original Episode Date: January 14, 2016

Category: Business Professional, Technology Educator

Direct download: 073_-_Googling_with_Eric_Hennigan.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 12:51am PST
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Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

  • Excellence in Learning with Andrew PudewaHow is the Suzuki Method related to writing?

  • How can students get past the "blank page" road block?

  • How can limitations actually increase creativity rather than decrease it?

Today's podcast will have several surprises and interesting practical approaches for teaching and learning. I have interviewed many fascinating guests, but you will be hard-pressed to find a better overview of powerful learning ideas on our podcast.

If you have ever played a musical instrument, you've probably heard of the Suzuki method for learning to play the violin. Today's guest has had the privilege of studying directly with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki. His insights from working with Dr. Suzuki have significantly influenced his current passion of inspiring students to write with excellence.

Andrew Pudewa understands learning at a very deep level. His experiences with Dr. Suzuki and subsequently in starting the Institute for Excellence in Writing have common themes which we discuss in the interview.

This next year we will be taking a select group of 10-15 teens on a journey of self-discovery, deep intellectual curiosity, and innovation leadership. This is not a club, social gathering, or homework tutoring. The students in the Resonance Innovation Fellowship will be on a quest to find impact and world-change through the backdrop of technology. Email Steve at stevekurti@ttinvent.com to take the next step!

Original Episode Date: January 7, 2016

Category: Business Professionals

 

Direct download: 072_-_Excellence_in_Learning_with_Andrew_Pudewa.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 10:45pm PST
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Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

Finding Resonance with Dr. Steve Kurti

  • Do you have teenagers?

  • We often think of teenagers as difficult or challenging, but is it possible that they are really the most innovative members of our society?

  • How much could a teenager create if they had the right tools?

  • Join us today as we discuss the potential in those wonderful years of teenagerhood.

WARNING! This is a listener advisory. The word "amazing" is over used in this podcast and will have to be retired from the English language after being so overworked in this episode.

Today's podcast is going to be a little unusual, but not in the way you might think. I'm not going to let you in on the surprise just yet. Instead I'm going to share one of my favorite quotes by George Bernard Shaw.

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

I've always wondered a little bit if I'm unreasonable because I've always tried to remold the world to suit me better or to match how I think the world SHOULD operate. Mostly this drives my wife crazy, and I get misunderstood a lot. However with the help of some friends in my mastermind group, I'm starting to get better at clarifying what we do and why.

The suggestions of my friends actually inspired this episode of the Table Top Inventing podcast. So here is the secret: Today's guest is me! Well, that's not the only secret, the host for today is a former guest of the show, Jody Maberry!

Jody and I hit it off so well in our interview that he and I started talking regularly. Jody is a great guy, he hosts two other podcasts, "The Park Leaders" podcast and the "Creating Disney Magic" podcast with Lee Cockerell, the former EVP for Walt Disney World in Florida.

If you want to give your teenager an opportunity to find a new level of curiosity and drive to discovery, you need to know about the Resonance Innovation Fellowship.

This next year we will be taking a select group of 10-15 teens on a journey of self-discovery, deep intellectual curiosity, and innovation leadership. This is not a club, social gathering, or homework tutoring. The students in the Resonance Innovation Fellowship will be on a quest to find impact and world-change through the backdrop of technology.

To find out more about the Resonance Innovation Fellowship, email me at stevekurti@ttinvent.com.

Don't wonder about the future. Email us, and we'll help you create it!

 

Original Date: December 31, 2015

Category: Makers and Innovators

Direct download: 071_-_Finding_Resonance_with_Dr._Steve_Kurti.mp3
Category:Makers and Innovators -- posted at: 10:52pm PST
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Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

Educating Your Curiosity with Geoff WiggsHi, I'm Steve, the host of the Table Top Inventing Podcast. This is the 6th and final episode in our "Powerful Podcast" series this December.

Today you'll hear Geoff Wiggs say...

"Art teachers who've never been to Europe, who've never been to the Louvre, who've never been to the National Galleries in London put pictures of paintings up, and you say, 'Wow, that's a pretty painting.'

Then you go and stand in front of it in the Louvre or in the National Gallery of London, and the scale and the brightness of the pigments and the brush strokes brings everything out. It changes everything. It goes from being a sterile picture to being an event, but you have to have a level of intellectual curiosity to hike to Paris, get into the Louvre, stand in line long enough to see this painting... and then you've got to have a little bit of a soul to say, 'Wow, that was really amazing!'" 

Geoff is a big fan of experiential learning as you'll hear on today's interview. Today's episode may be a little edgy and irreverent, but I don't think any of us is surprised that a few students make it through the US Education system with some scars.  Geoff is now a successful attorney in northern CA and his experience is worth some tough reflection.

Geoff is a lot of fun. I think I enjoy talking to him because he's always curious and has unusual perspectives on life. Curiosity is one of those traits that rarely follows us from childhood to adulthood, but those who manage to keep it intact as they mature seem to have a much more interesting life. If you want to give your teenager an opportunity to find that level of curiosity and drive to discovery, you need to know about the Resonance Innovation Fellowship.

This next year we will be taking a select group of 10-15 teens on a journey of self-discovery, deep intellectual curiosity, and innovation leadership. This is not a club, social gathering, or homework tutoring. The students in the Resonance Innovation Fellowship will be on a quest to find impact and world-change through the backdrop of technology.

To find out more email me at stevekurti@ttinvent.com.

Don't wonder about the future. Email us, and we'll help you create it!

 

Original Episode Date: December 28, 2015

Category: Business Professionals

Direct download: 070_-_Educating_Your_Curiosity_with_Geoff_Wiggs.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 10:02pm PST
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Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

Gray BrightHi, I'm Steve, the host of the Table Top Inventing Podcast. This is normally the point where our podcast theme comes in with the resonant voice of an inspiring high school educator, Willie Jones.

This is the 5th episode in a series of 6 of our most powerful podcasts from the first year of the Table Top Inventing show.

Here's a sneak peak from today's episode...

"Nearly everything I've built has come from a genesis of me going, 'I wish that existed!' and there's always been a fun element to it!" --Gray Bright

LOL! I love Gray Bright. His episode was one of the most high energy, fun interviews we did in the first year. You won't want to miss this funny, high-energy interview with a lively engineer. We talk about questions like:

  • Can a robotics engineer actually be any good as a stand-up comedian?
  • What happens if you retrofit your car with effects from a racing video game?
  • Do real engineers play with Legos?
  • How do you make your fridge shutoff automatically when you put on weight?

If you are an inventor and a kid at heart, you will LOVE today's interview. I am reminded of a quote by the late Randy Pausch, a computer science innovator from Carnegie Mellon. He said,

"I am going to keep having fun every day I have left, because there is no other way of life. You just have to decide whether you are a Tigger or an Eeyore."

For Randy, having fun was serious business because at the young age of 47 he died of complications from pancreatic cancer. Yet before he died, he had a chance to give his "last lecture" in which he discussed the importance of living life to the fullest and having fun. The dramatic circumstances of his last months compelled him to consider what was really important in life, and he realized that every single day is a gift. Some people like Randy and our guest today, Gray Bright, just seem determined to find all the fun life has to offer.

Gray was one of my favorite guests! He made me laugh all the way through, and I have always been inspired at how early his engineering ideas began. If you want to inspire a young inventor you know to pursue their dreams just like Gray has, you need to know about the Resonance Innovation Fellowship.

This next year we will be taking a select group of 10-15 teens on a journey of self-discovery, excellence with integrity, and innovation leadership. This is not a club, social gathering, or homework tutoring. The students in the Resonance Innovation Fellowship will be on a quest to find impact and world-change through the backdrop of technology.

To find out more email me at stevekurti@ttinvent.com.

Don't wonder about the future. Email us, and we'll help you create it!

Original Episode Date: December 24, 2015

Category: Makers and Innovators

Direct download: 069_-_Inspiring_Engineers_with_Gray_Bright.mp3
Category:Makers and Innovators -- posted at: 10:00pm PST
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Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

Troy Hartman - Table Top Inventing - Profound & Powerful Podcast SeriesHi, it's Steve, the host of the Table Top Inventing Podcast.

This episode is the 4th in a series of 6 episodes--2 every week--in the month of December. We're bringing back 6 of the most Profound and Powerful Podcasts from our first year.

Here's a taste of what you'll hear today...


"It was the easiest thing to do to just add a pair of skis, because I had already built the jet-pack. I was in Mammoth. There was snow, and I just said, "I'm gonna do this!" --Troy Hartman

What?! A back pack with jet engines?! That's crazy! How did a guy who was not a thrill-seeker get to the point of turning himself into a human rocket? Tune in today to learn about risk and courage from a non-thrill seeker.

My wife can tell you that my interview with Troy Hartman was probably the highlight of 2014 for me. Troy is an intelligent engineer who knows how to take calculated risks. He isn't a thrill seeker, but he understands deeply the value of taking the leap--literally--when it's time. If your techie teenager needs a little push to step outside their comfort zone and really begin innovating, you need to know about the Resonance Innovation Fellowship.

In 2016 we'll be taking a select group of 10-15 teens on a journey of self-discovery, excellence with integrity, and innovation leadership. This is not a club, social gathering, or homework tutoring. The students in the Resonance Innovation Fellowship will be on a quest to find impact and world-change through the backdrop of technology.

To find out more email me at stevekurtiATttinventDOTcom.

Don't wonder about the future. Email us, and we'll help you create it!

 

Original Release Date: 12/21/15

Category: Makers and Innovators

Direct download: 068_-_Calculated_Risk_with_Troy_Hartman.mp3
Category:Makers and Innovators -- posted at: 8:00pm PST
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Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

David Thornburg - Profound and Powerful Podcasts Hi, I'm Steve, the host of the Table Top Inventing Podcast. Normally, our podcast theme music comes in at this point, and we hear that inspiring voice.

If you've been following our episodes this month, you will know that we are adding an extra episode every week on Monday's for a total of 2 every week. Today's episode is 3 of 6 in our profound and powerful podcast series this month.

This episode revisits one of my favorite maker education evangelists, David Thornburg. Here is a taste of his story...

"Up through the middle grades, I had been identified as mildly mentally retarded. Yet when I started my undergrad work at Northwestern University in Electrical Engineering, I changed majors because in all the electrical engineering courses I could ace the finals on the first day of class." --David Thornburg (What made the change?)

Wow! How could we get our students prepared to ace their entry-level college finals on the first day of class? Listen to the whole episode for David's educational formula.

David Thornburg is one of the wisest educators I know. His views on inquiry-driven, project-based learning are both practical and powerful. If you would like to supercharge the education of your teenager in a similar way to David's education at Lane Tech, you need to know about the Resonance Innovation Fellowship.

This next year we will be taking 10-15 select teens on a journey of self-discovery, excellence with integrity, and innovation leadership. This is not a club, social gathering, or homework tutoring. The students in the Resonance Innovation Fellowship will be on a quest to find impact and world-change through the backdrop of technology.

To find out more email me at stevekurtiATttinventDOTcom.

Original Release Date: 12/17/15

Category: Innovative Educators

Direct download: 067_-_A_Real_Education_with_David_Thornburg.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 9:00pm PST
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Michael Wesch & Steve KurtiShow Notes | YouTube | iTunes

Hi, I'm Steve, the host of the Table Top Inventing Podcast. This is normally the point where our podcast theme comes and my friend Willie Jones asks, "Do you dream of a classroom where learning is natural?".

Last episode we mentioned that we're releasing 2 of our best episodes every week until New Year's Eve. We wanted to share some of this year's best content at a time when you'll be able to digest it and reflect on how next year could be different. This is the second of six of our best episodes from the first year on the Table Top Inventing Podcast.

 I love this episode with Michael. He is a deep thinker and an insightful educator. I particularly like his comments about the "black boxes" in our society. Education truly is the great equalizer, but it must be an active process. If you would like to supercharge the education of your teenager, you need to know about the Resonance Innovation Fellowship.

This next year we will be taking a select group of 10-15 teens on a journey of self-discovery, excellence with integrity, and innovation leadership. This is not a club, social gathering, or homework tutoring. The students in the Resonance Innovation Fellowship will be on a quest to find impact and world-change through the backdrop of technology.

To find out more email me at stevekurtiATttinventDOTcom.

Don't wonder about the future. Email us, and we'll help you create it!

Original Release Date: 12/14/15

Category: Innovative Educators

Direct download: 066_-_Transformational_Learning_with_Michael_Wesch.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 9:20pm PST
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Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

Dr. Linda PolinHi, I'm Steve, the host of the Table Top Inventing Podcast. For the next three weeks we are going to bring back six of our best podcast episodes. Since you are smart, you noticed that we're going to release two episodes every week. We'll be releasing an episode on Thursday as usual, but we'll also be releasing one every Monday.

In this episode, originally airing on November 6, 2014, Dr. Linda Polin and I have a lively discussion about taking back education from the forces that have corrupted it, including the answers to questions such as: 

  • How can you learn secrets directly from a great inventor?
  • How do we take back education from the dark forces of the universe?
  • How can we help students become who they were meant to be?

This was one of my favorite episodes! Dr. Linda Polin is a rockstar educator and not your run-of-the-mill boring college professor. She keeps threatening to retire, but there are many good teachers out there because they sat in her classroom to learn the true art of teaching!

Original Release Date: 12/10/15

Category: Innovative Educators

Direct download: 065_-_Taking_Back_Education_with_Linda_Polin.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 11:31pm PST
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Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

 

How are ambition and serving others related?  Can we END neglected diseases in the third world?  How important are values and lifelong learning to success?  Join us on today's episode for a peek behind the curtain of true success.

Welcome to the Table Top Inventing podcast where we discuss innovation, success, and the path to a good life for teens and those who guide them.  We have a special treat for you today.  I had an opportunity to bump into a successful executive at a business conference earlier this fall.  I was so impressed by his story and the values of their company that I knew I had to find a way to bring his wisdom to our show.

Mark Stoleson is the CEO at Legatum a global private investment fund based in Dubai--The United Arab Emirates.  In the interview, Mark and I mostly cover the amazing successes and lessons he's learned along the way.  We didn't spend much time discussing the failures and challenges along the way, but afterward he told me,

"Steve, hopefully what will come out of this is something that is inspiring and not so far out of reach for people.  If we pull back the curtain a little farther, it has not been a continuous upward trajectory since elementary school with everything being a walk through fields of daisies.  It's had its ups and downs.  It's been a real life.

The secret of success in facing a challenge or a setback is what you do with the situation.  Even if hanging-on and persevering is the best you can do, that's doing really, really well.  Because it forms who you are and your character.  Some of the greatest benefits and opportunities come out of times of challenge."

I love the way Mark frames his experience.  As you listen to this interview remember some of the greatest success stories began in humble places.  It isn't about getting it right every time.  Success is about how you face what life brings.  Let's listen in for timeless wisdom from a life well-lived.

Original Release Date: 12/03/15

Category: Business Professionals

Direct download: 06420-20Ambition20and20Serving20with20Mark20Stoleson.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 10:00pm PST
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Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

 

What is the role of Hope in a teenager's perspective?  Can pain propel us to find the good things in life?  How can we help teens discover their dormant potential?  Join us on today's episode for a deep discussion filled with gratitude and expectancy.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Welcome to the podcast where we discuss innovation and potential in teens.  At this time of year, we explore gratitude and the effects of thankfulness on our lives.  Today's episode is about "Hope"--specifically hope for parents and educators who may have a student with unrealized potential.  If you need a shot in the arm or encouragement to stay the course, today is for you.

"Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird,
That cannot fly."

This excerpt from Langston Hughes is a favorite of mine.  Dreams and Hope carry us through the difficult spots in life.  I've lived gritty "hold fast to dreams" experiences.  Sometimes it is only our hope about a situation that keeps the flame burning.  At times, we are a light to our students--the only light.  If this is where you are, Allison's perspective and experience will give you hope to hold on, to continue being a light.

Allison is a professionally certified educational therapist and the Program Development Manager at the National Institute for Learning Development (NILD).  As a young person facing chronic pain, she learned the value of hope and tenacity, and these experiences shaped her desire to see the full potential in students cultivated and bloom into beautiful things.  Let's listen in for a hope-filled journey through the life of a passionate educator.

Original Release Date: 11/26/15

Category: Innovative Educators

Direct download: 06320-20True20Potential20with20Allison20Jenson.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 11:53am PST
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Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

 

How can your teen grow up to work with their childhood hero?  What is the path to finding a passionate and exciting career?  What are some alternatives for intelligent teens who aren't thriving in an academic environment?  Listen in today for wisdom on these questions from a life-long entrepreneur.

This is the podcast where we discuss innovation, excellence, and entrepreneurship for teens and the adults who cheer for them.  Today's guest is a personal development enthusiast.  I won't tip the cards on the show just yet, but let me share a quote by one of my favorite physicists, Albert Einstein.

"All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual."

Humans contain the most powerful innovations coming in the future.  Every great product or human accomplishment began in the mind of a person.  In fact, the seed of those ideas probably began in the mind of teenagers.  Can parents and educators inspire teens to pursue those seeds of world-change?

I believe so strongly in those seeds of potential that we're starting a new project called the Resonance Innovation Fellowship where teens can find the mentoring and support to discover their full potential.  We have extensive experience working with teens and helping them accomplish unbelievable results.  If you know a high school student willing to push themselves, explore themselves, and grow more than anyone they know, send me an email at stevekurti@ttinvent.com and mention RIF--Resonance Innovation Fellowship.

Kevin Miller grew up as an entrepreneur.  In fact from his earliest memories, he always thought of himself as an entrepreneur.  Recently his enthusiasm for personal development led him to work with the Zig Ziglar brand, and he's now the host of "The Ziglar Show", one of the top 10 most popular business podcasts in the world!  Listen in today to hear the exciting and gritty details of growing up as an innovator.

Original Release Date: 11/20/15

Category: Business Professionals

Direct download: 06220-20Free20Agent20Kevin20Miller.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 6:56am PST
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Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

What does it feel like to patrol the DMZ near North Korea?  What does it feel like to take a projectile to the chest in Iraq?  Is leadership really the same across all organizational structures?  Join us today to hear from an excellent leader retired from active military service in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, and most recently West Point.

This is the podcast where we discuss leadership and innovation for teenagers.  I can't wait to introduce today's guest!  We've been counting the days until Jonathan retired from his position at West Point so we could interview him for the show.  While in active military service, he wasn't allowed to speak publicly about his experiences, and having previous experience as a researcher in civil service with the Navy, I understand why the military has such strict policies.

Why should we be interested in the opinions of a retired military officer?  I have asked myself that question having been in the bureaucracy of the Navy, and eventually left because my free entrepreneurial spirit could not be reconciled to long term service as a civil servant.  So why would I interview a retired military officer for our podcast?  To be honest, there are still aspects of the military that call to my heart such as the Navy Seals training in San Diego.  The discipline and serving for a higher cause still calls to the heart of every red-blooded, patriotic American--regardless of your beliefs about the current politics.

The US is still the leader in innovation world-wide, specifically because we are so free thinking, but free-thinking requires solid, robust protection.  Many brave Americans pledge their lives and relinquish some of their freedom of choice to protect the ideals upon which our free-thinking is built.

I also believe that strong innovators must believe in the future and their innovation with the same discipline that a soldier holds to the commands and structures put into place by an honor-bound military.  So I had to interview Jonathan Silk to learn more about his philosophy of leadership.  You'll find Jonathan's story and perspectives irresistible.  Join me today as I interview an American hero.

Original Release Date: 11/12/15

Category: Business Professionals

Direct download: 06120-20Leading20People20with20Jonathan20Silk.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 5:01am PST
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Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

Must you be technically inclined to have a career in science and engineering?  Can something as simple as a Dragon Fly change the course of a person's career?  How soon is NASA planning to have astronauts on Mars?  Join us today for a fascinating discussion about science and technology from the perspective of a science communicator.

This is the podcast where we discuss curiosity and innovation for teenagers.  I can't wait to introduce you to Sarah!  Today she and I will be discussing the path we take to our ultimate career.  Often when students finish college to enter the work force, there is a bit of a haze as they begin choosing where they will work.  This confusion is normal if they've never taken the time to actually understand themselves.

Now, I'm not here to suggest that teens cannot become deeply self-aware.  I'm just pointing out that education is often not concerned with helping students learn about themselves but rather with understanding the world around them.  As a result, the path to a career is often circuitous after college.

I believe that more exposure to the career world and more reflection are the key to having an earlier revelation of one's loves and passions as it regards a choice of careers.  In fact starting in January, I will be leading an exclusive, charter group of teens through this process to jumpstart their career exploration early!  If you know a freshman or sophomore willing to push themselves, explore themselves, and grow more than anyone they know, send me an email at stevekurti@ttinvent.com and mention RIF.

Sarah Marcotte is a science and engineering communicator.  She began her career in museums with Art History but through a bizarre experience on a New York City sidewalk, she fell in love with science and engineering--subjects she'd never given a second glance in high school.  Join me as we follow Sarah's path to an exciting career!

 

Original Release Date: 11/05/15

Category: Innovative Educators

 

Direct download: 06020-20Going20to20Mars20with20Sarah20Marcotte.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 10:21am PST
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Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

What is a microbusiness?  What lessons can teenagers learn by running a microbusiness?  Can teens run successful, money-making microbusinesses?  Join us today to discover more about teens with microbusinesses.

This is the podcast where we discuss success and innovation for teenagers.  No spoiler alerts today, but if you are interested in teenagers getting a jump start, stay locked in here!  

I remember reading an article several years back that discussed the dilemma of being a modern teen. In ages past, societies considered teens to be adults, and expected them to step up into the adult world and prove their worth to the society.  If we observe the teenager, we see the deep desire for significance.

Yet in the modern system of education, teens are asked to solve problems and challenges with little or no lasting value.  With apologies to my own fields of study, solving for x or finding the equations of motion of an already well-known set of differential equations just feels hollow and thin.

How do we navigate this juxtaposition between a teenager's internal drive for significance and the typical 4 years (and possibly another 4 year in college) of knowledge gathering which seems disconnected from reality?  I'll look up the article and post it in the show notes, but the conclusion of the article was to restructure our expectations and opportunities we offer during these years filled with passion and purpose.

On the podcast we discuss an alternative to our modern conundrum of how to keep teens engaged in meaningful education.  Carol Topp is an Engineer turned accountant--I know that's an unusual shift.  In the last few years, she has worked with many teens in her accounting practice, helping them structure what she likes to call a "microbusiness".  The experiences and learning that occurs in a microbusiness can be a great catalyst toward adding significance to the otherwise "dry learning" teens dread.  Let's find out more about Carol's experience and explore some new possibilities.

Original Release Date: 10/29/15

Category: Business Professionals

Direct download: 05920-20Teen20Microbusiness20with20Carol20Topp.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 5:43pm PST
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Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

 

What constitutes a "good life"?  Why do some people thrive on change and variety?  What does a rancher do in his spare time?  Join us today to hear some surprising answers to those questions.

This is the podcast where we discuss the path to innovation and the good life.  Over the last year, we have spoken with lawyers, CEOs, top-tier researchers, world-class educators, and other successful individuals.  In today's episode, we are exploring a different facet of success:  the ability to adapt.

Our guest today has tried, failed, and succeeded at more types of careers than any 10 individuals combined.  Yet, with the recent job statistics, it appears that students entering the job market in the next few years may have similar experiences.  Recently, my friend Dan Miller who has been on our podcast shared with me that the average amount of type at a given job has now dropped below 3 years!  That means that over the course of a 40 year career, today's students are likely to have worked at more than 12 different companies!

What if these graduating students took the chance with today's fast-changing job market to find what they truly love as they crawled their way around different opportunities?  Today's guest shares the experiences of lifetime of different opportunities from performing weddings to being a radio personality and everything in between.  Let's listen in to find out more about Brent Gill.

Original Release Date: 10/22/15

Category: Innovative Educators

 

Direct download: 05820-20A20Good20Life20with20Brent20Gill.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 4:42pm PST
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There is a crossroads in middle school. Failing to navigate them can be disastrous.

Students who struggle with math in middle school stand at a crossroads, and watch as career options slowly erode.  Do you know any of those students?  Have you ever personally felt the frustration of math limbo?

Imagine physically standing at a crossroads and watching as one road is suddenly choked by thick undergrowth creeping across while from another road a forbidding figure in black steps across your path.

I have personally watched my daughter struggle with the frustration of having the math road blocked. As a parent it hurts to see this happen.

Our guest on the podcast struggled with math in middle school and experienced the road block. However, he experienced a one-in-a-thousand opportunity to come back to the crossroads and choose a different path. His mission in life now is to keep the cross roads open for as many middle schoolers as possible.

Today's podcast is an opportunity for a second chance.  In fact, we hear second chance stories on our podcast quite frequently.  If you know a teenager or a parent with a teen who needs a second math chance, subscribe to the TTI podcast in iTunes and share it with others.

Click here to subscribe: http://InventingPodcast.com

How else will they know unless YOU show them this second chance? Subscribe and share today.

 

Original Release Date: 10/15/15

Category: Innovative Educators

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Are we overlooking some of our best technical talent through subtle discrimination?  What is the best way to have influence over the public policy that influences you?  Exactly how straight or winding is the path to career success?  Join us as we discuss these big issues on today's podcast.

This is the podcast where we talk innovation.  Today's guest is working to influence educational technology in Washington state.  We delve in pretty deep to civic responsibility from the perspective of education as well as having girls in science, technology, engineering, and math.  Which reminds me of a quote I saw the other day on a t-shirt:

Some girls like to chase boys.  I just like to pass them!

Experience has taught me that girls in our inventor classes do NOT solve problems the same way that the boys do.  However, do NOT take that to mean girls solve problems in some inferior or superior way.  They just do it differently.

Unfortunately, because of the stigma, socialization, and other factors, only about 40% of the students in our teen inventor classes are female.  This asymmetry has been discussed and dissected in many articles and books, but the fact remains that if we want more girls in STEM subjects, we need parents, friends, and teachers to encourage every girl they know to explore their technology interests because there is some force in society or perhaps buried deep in our lizard brain from the past that pushes girls aside when they begin to excel in technology.

However it does not have to be that way.  Let me tell you a short story.  Amy, Elizabeth, and Charity--not their real names--were students in our inventing camp this summer.  Their job was to build an asteroid lander to safely deposit a probe to the surface.  These 5th and 6th grade girls built the fuzziest, cutest, most awesome probe.  It had a lamb and motors and microprocessors and conductance sensors and it was beautiful precision in motion.

In the same class, Maddie discovered computer programming and decided on the spot that she had to have programming in whatever job she chose because in her words, "Programming is so much fun!"  We believe that every girl should have the opportunity to find out if she likes technology and to receive all the encouragement she needs to succeed at it.  To find out more about getting your girls involved in technology, visit InventingZone.com to learn more.

Our guest today discovered in college that she loved computing and technology after getting politely pushed in other directions in high school.  Julia Fallon is working with Educational Technology and Teaching Excellence in Washington state.  She has a heart for helping students reach their full potential and for successful integration of technology into classrooms.  Let's find out more about Julia's story.

Original Release Date: 10/08/15

Category:| Innovative Educators |

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How do you keep a business running for 50 years?  How valuable is a good reputation?  What is the value of premium products in today's market?  Join us as we consider the value of quality on today's podcast.

This is the podcast where we talk innovation.  Today's guest innovates the old-fashioned way, and I think you are going to like Jim.  I don't normally start my introduction right off this way, but after speaking with Jim, it seemed appropriate.

Jim's dad started a small job shop 70 years ago, and Jim and his brother Bob turned that small machine shop into a stable business over the last 50 years.  They've weathered economic upturns, downturns, and major customer orders going south.  Their company is built around good old fashioned hard work and high quality.  Their products are well-known to outlast the competition by a long shot.

I got a funny feeling as I was interviewing Jim because his approach to quality and supplying a premium product felt very close to home.  If I could build a business to last 50 years around high quality and no compromise, I would be very proud.  As the founder of Table Top Inventing, I found myself taking careful notes!

Small businesses like McWelco are getting more rare these days, but great wisdom is sometimes stored in strange places.  Today, Jim McKinley tells us about how they survived 50 years and what he feels are the important values of a strong business and a successful life.

 

Original Release Date: 10/01/15

Category: Business Professionals

Direct download: 05520-20Creating20Excellence20with20Jim20McKinley.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 5:28am PST
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How does a small town girl become an associate dean in a college of engineering? Do you have to get a PhD to have an important position in a university?  What is ThinkBox, and why should we care about it?  Join us as we consider the idea space within universities on today's podcast.

This is the podcast where we talk innovation.  On today's podcast, we are speaking with an innovative Associate Dean who thinks regularly about the free exchange of ideas within the university, which reminds me of a great quote by Alfred Griswold in his "Essays on Education".  He said,

"Books won't stay banned. They won't burn. Ideas won't go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas. The source of better ideas is wisdom. The surest path to wisdom is a liberal education."

I had the great honor to go to college as well as to graduate school, and I'm quite certain bad ideas can only be banished by better ideas.  This concept was born in the heart of a university.  Alfred Griswold was the 16th president of Yale University and had quite a bit to say about a concept in higher education we call "Academic Freedom".

The concept of academic freedom and I became great friends while I was in graduate school, and I believe with all my heart there should always be a respected place in society where all ideas area accepted in with open arms, shaken around until they get dizzy, and then the ones that can stand up on their own get to stay until better ideas come along.  Here in America and the west, the university has always been that place.

Many new ideas are being run through the testing grounds of universities these days, including makerspaces, the hottest technologies, and every other imaginable idea.  Here at Table Top Inventing we are particularly excited about Inventing, Making, and using a full body experience to discover deeper learning.  However this week, we want to give a shout out to all those amazing professors and educators who have helped shape who we are and what we do.  If you're curious about what we do, visit InventingZone.com to find out.

Our guest today is Lisa Camp.  Lisa is the Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives in the Engineering School at Case Western Reserve University.  I have a soft spot for Case because it is my alma mater for graduate school, and Lisa shares some of the cool things that are happening at Case and other universities around the country--particularly around makerspaces and the free exchange of ideas.  Without further delay, let's find out more about Lisa.

Original Release Date: 09/24/15

Category: Technology Educators

Direct download: 05420-20Thinking20Free20with20Lisa20Camp.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 8:36am PST
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Can we actually get smarter?  Is IQ as static and unchangeable as we've been taught?  What is the path to getting smarter?  Join us for a thought-provoking discussion on today's podcast.

Hey there Innovators!  Today's guest will challenge your perspective on the world!  According to the late Dr. Reuven Feuerstein,

"The chromosomes do not have the last word!"

If you had the same biology textbooks and took the same developmental psychology classes I did in college, you were no doubt taught that IQ is a fixed quantity, independent of age and learning.  I never did like that answer because I always felt like I wanted to know more, be more, do more.  The idea of any fixed quantity bothered me then, and still grates against my optimistic view of the world.

Well, recent research is beginning to give a scientific basis for the results achieved by Dr. Feuerstein and others who have believed for years that cognitive modifiability is real.  Perhaps my grandma was onto something when she did that crossword puzzle from the newspaper every week.  New research indicates that exercising the brain strengthens it just like the muscles in the body!  This is great news for be because now I can train for higher performance, but it is particularly great news for those with traumatic brain injuries, learning disabilities, or other cognitive challenges.

These new ideas underline more than ever, the advantages of practicing and training the native creativity in teenagers.  We'd love to talk to you more about inspiring your teens to deeper questioning, higher problem solving, and broader creativity.  Just visit InventingZone.com to learn more.

Today's guest is from the National Institute for Learning Development.  Kristin Barbour has been working with traumatic brain injury cases for years and now serves as the executive director for NILD.  Brace yourself for some unbelievable insights with Kristin on today's interview.

Original Release Date: 09/17/15

Category: Business Professionals

Direct download: 05320-20Getting20Smarter20with20Kristin20Barbour.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 4:58am PST
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How do you escape from the burnout trap?  What is the path from merely existing to really living?  What will our kids learn from our work habits?  Join us for the compelling answers on today's podcast.

Hey there Innovators!  Today's guest has seen the world from many angles and has some perspectives on how to find a life worth living.  As the old proverb goes,

Find something you love to do, and you'll never have to work a day in your life.

Our philosophy at Table Top Inventing revolves around helping students find the joy in learning.  We believe the first step to a happy life is to explore then to do more of what seemed to work.  That doesn't seem too complicated, but how many of us have worked in jobs we don't like, all the while telling ourselves we really need the money?

We never want students to wander into life without an idea of what they love to do.  If your student or child is creative and inventive, go to InventingZone.com to find out more about how Table Top Inventing can help.

Today's guest is from Hawaii, but not too long ago, he lived in Milwaukee, WI.  He was sleeping 4 hours a night as a bread delivery guy and not getting much time with his kids, but now he's writing and speaking and loving life.  How can such a change occur?  Let's find out!

Original Release Date: 09/10/15

Category: Business Professionals

Direct download: 05220-20Really20Living20with20Kimanzi20Constable.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 2:35pm PST
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What is so powerful about the question, Why?  Is the path to success a straight road or a crooked and winding path?  How is skateboarding related to corporate finance?  Join us for the circuitous answers on today's podcast.

Hey there Innovators!  Today's interview is with a guest from the future.  I won't spoil the surprise on that one.  I love to elicit questions.  I believe that questions are essential to life, and I'm in good company because Voltaire said,

"Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers."

I am fond of the idea that answers are very short lived while questions can be self-perpetuating and almost immortal.  If I ask, "How does water fall?"  You could say, "Under the influence of gravity, water falls at 9.8 m/s^2."  That answer takes less than five seconds to say, but if I accept the answer, that's the end of my curiosity in that direction.

However, it turns out that the answer just given is only a small part of the processes possible with water.  By hooking a water hose up to a speaker or mixing water with Ethylene Glycol or watching water drop into sand, hundreds and thousands of new questions arise each leading to more questions.  Our guest today calls this the search for "Why?".  This simple word can lead to the farthest reaches of outer space or to the inner universes of atoms, nuclei, and even stranger things...

Here at Table Top Inventing, we believe that the best questions don't have simple answers.  Complexity and the intricacy of the real world can be a vehicle to a never ending stream of inspired questions.  Questions are the beginning of a quest, and quests can lead to all sorts of interesting places.

Our after school Inventor's Guild classes in Thousand Oaks, Hesperia, and Orange County are designed to be the genesis of intelligent questions not simple run-of-the-mill answers.  To learn more, email classes@ttinvent.com or visit InventingZone.com.

Today's interview was recorded on a Sunday from a guest on Monday.  How is that possible?  Well David Seto is an interesting character, and I connected with him while he was in Hong Kong on Monday which was Sunday afternoon here in California!  David has tried everything from law to finance and is now trying his hand at entrepreneurship.  He grew up in NYC, and his parents literally owned and operated a "mom and pop" store.  Let's find out how a kid from NYC grew up to be a curious coordinator of corporate finance.

Original Release Date; 9/3/15

Category: Business Professionals

 

Direct download: 05120-20Asking20Why20with20David20Seto.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 4:07pm PST
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How can a math deficiency be a roadblock to your dreams? What does one do with 12 different college degrees? How can a college education prepare you for the new career landscape? Join us for the informative answers on today's podcast.

Hey there, Innovation Nation!  Today's guest is long-time friend of my wife's who has an amazing story and a more impressive college preparation than anyone else I know.  With all the education she has, you might be tempted to believe that she's inaccessible or aloof, but far from it!  She's a compassionate, passionate math educator who wants to change the world!  Around here we love World-changers, which reminds me of a quote you'll hear again in the interview, a quote by Edward Everett Hale:

"I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything; but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do."

If you listen to our podcast long enough or visit one of our Inventor Camps, Inventor Workshops, or tech mentoring programs for high school students, you'll find out that we're passionate about inspiring world-changers.  We want students to find their curiosity if it's been lost.  We want them to face their fears and find courage.  Then we want them to use their curiosity and courage to become leaders who change their world.

This is not just talk.  We have seen 4th graders decide they want to become inventors, middle schoolers decide to find a career that "has computer coding as a significant part of the job", and college-bound high school seniors decide to alter their college plans so that they can make a bigger impact on their world.  These are real stories from real kids we've worked with in the last month.  If you are curious, go visit InventingZone.com to find out more.

So with this focus, it should not surprise you that we seek out friends and colleagues such as Dr. Rachel Winston, a math-teacher with a passion to see high school students get into whatever college most fires their imagination.  Rachel believes that education should ignite the brain's excitement for learning.  Her passion for students, though, is very practical as anyone could observe by visiting her in the classroom.  I hope every student can discover the passion for learning Rachel has found.

Original Release Date; 8/27/15
Category: Innovative Educators

Direct download: 05020-20More20Input20with20Rachel20Winston.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 5:01pm PST
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Phil Drake and Steve Kurti - Table Top Inventing Podcast

How important are failures in the process of success? Just how different is a career in computer science in 1977 from the same degree in 2015? Can small town students find success in the "real world"? Join us for the down home answers on today's podcast.

Hey there, Innovation Nation! Today's guest is from my home town of Franklin, NC. Franklin is a small town in the Smoky Mountains and home to some of the most down-to-earth, gentle, gracious folks in the country--I'm not biased or anything. As a kid, I always dreamed about growing up to be significant, and businessmen like Mr. Drake fired my imagination. However as a young teenager, noone told me how to get on that path to significance.

Unfortunately, many young teenagers are like I was:  a little misguided. I didn't know what it took to realize great dreams, but T. E. Lawrence--an English archaeologist and military officer--sums up the process quite poetically.  He says,

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did."

Great deeds do not begin on the drawing board. They begin in the heart. Perhaps rather than trying to find out how great our students are by testing them, we should instead spend time working to inspire them.

At Table Top Inventing, we exist to inspire teenagers. Our summer Inventor's Bootcamps, after school Inventor Workshops, and exclusive tech mentoring are all designed to inspire students to aim higher. Our globe is facing significant challenges over the next 20 years, and today's students will be the ones to solve many of the current problems.

Students must learn that they can find the answers they need through research, experimenting, and collaborating with others. They need to discover just how powerful they can really be, but these realizations will not happen by accident. The proper environment for innovative, creative learning is essential. Learn more at InventingZone.com.

Today's guest is no stranger to innovation. Phil Drake started programming a computer in 1977 when computers still had to be programmed by hand if you wanted them to do anything. You might think that such a forward thinking individual would come from New York City or LA or San Francisco, but this entrepreneur started life on a farm as the son of the local "tax man". Let's listen in to the story of a fascinating homegrown businessman.

Original release date: August 20, 2015

Category: Business Professionals

Direct download: 04920-20Running20the20Numbers20with20Phil20Drake.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 7:10pm PST
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Table Top Inventing Podcast: Kirk BowmanHow does a music teacher for a school district create a successful software business? What is the connection between entrepreneurial thinking and great school performance? How can farm work encourage a young man to become an entrepreneur? Listen in for the wide ranging answers in today’s podcast!

Hey there, Innovation Nation! Our guest today has a broad background with a distinct entrepreneurial thread. Entrepreneurs are the reason we have iPhones, cars, planes, and most other modern conveniences. They see a problem in the world and proceed to fix it. I came across a great quote today about entrepreneurs from Nolan Bushnell. He says,

“The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”

Nolan knows what he’s talking about because he’s done quite a few things including starting Atari and Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza. He lives entrepreneurship and his son, Brent Bushnell who was on our podcast earlier this year, caught the same entrepreneurial bug, and we want to pass that same spark onto all the kids in our Inventor’s Bootcamp this summer.

If you think about many of the tech startup companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook, etc., they were started by passionate young entrepreneurs that caught the vision early. We know how to fan those flames in our Inventor’s Bootcamp. We introduce teens to technologies they never knew they could learn, and then set them loose to innovate. Kevin is one of those teens. He started by learning about 3D printing, and recently his mother told me that he’s begun taking all kinds of things apart at home just to see how they work!

Today our guest, Kirk Bowman, is from the great state of Texas, and he and I discuss the effects of entrepreneurial tendencies on his life trajectory. He started his first business as a farm kid selling blackberries and now has a software company and is starting a consulting business focused on helping businesses properly price their products. Join me for a fascinating discussion about how entrepreneurial thinking can shape your world.

Original release date: August 13, 2015

Direct download: 048_-_Value_of_Entrepreneurship_with_Kirk_Bowman.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 6:00pm PST
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Ed Kless - Table Top Inventing PodcastIs it possible that questions are more powerful than answers? What is the ultimate question? What are the Latin roots of the word “educate”? Listen in for a deep discussion about the answers in today’s podcast!

Hey there, Innovation Nation! You are in for quite a ride today. Strap on your oxygen tanks because today, we are going deep.

“Language was invented to ask questions. Answers may be given by grunts or gestures, but questions must be spoken. Humanness came of age when man asked the first question. Social stagnation results not from lack of answers but from the absence of the impulse to ask questions.”

This quote by Eric Hoffer has become my new favorite. Our guest today, Ed Kless mentioned it, and I had to go find it afterwards. Hoffer basically says that curiosity is the engine of human social structures. Curiosity in this context is not just following random synapse firings but rather the pursuit of intelligent, thoughtful impulses of the human heart. From these impulses spring the desire to understand others, to understand the world around, and perhaps in its most powerful form, to understand ourselves.

I’ve said it here on the podcast before, but it always bears repeating: Answers are short-lived and uninspiring, but a burning question can fuel curiosity and even a whole life’s work. Curiosity about numbers and burning questions about how they behave have driven mathematicians such as Paul ErdÅ‘s to create a rich and vibrant understanding of math. Burning questions about how the most basic elements of the universe interact have driven physicists such as Erwin Schrödinger, Richard Feynman, and the ubiquitous Albert Einstein to develop a robust theory of matter and energy along with a rich understanding of their underlying constituents.

Questions always involve a quest, and quests are rich and varied things which almost never end up the way we imagined them in the beginning. I’m not one of those who believe the “journey is the destination”, but the journey certainly makes for great stories and wonderful memories once we reach a destination. For some of us, the journey often calls us back to the open road of life to ask ever deeper questions or perhaps just to find some other interesting destination. No matter your disposition in life, questions and the pursuit of their answers are at the core of what it means to be human as Hoffer suggests.

Today, Ed Kless and I will delve into deep water. Ed is a fellow podcaster. He is a businessman. He is a philosopher. He is a thespian. Let’s find out more about our fascinating guest.

Original Release Date: 8/6/15

Direct download: 48_047__Great_Questions_with_Ed_Kless.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 6:00pm PST
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Alma Ripley - Table Top Inventing PodcastHow can normal public schools integrate STEM subjects deep into their curriculum? Why would a fine arts teacher need to know how to use an oscilloscope? What is an oscilloscope anyway? Listen in for the exciting answers in today’s podcast!

Hey there, Innovation Nation! Today I’m talking to an innovative public school administrator whose favorite quote is by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather the wood or divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”

I couldn’t agree more. There is a deep drive inside of us to face the unknown and to find the courage to explore it. Yet for too long we have tried to tame this desire and keep the fires of passion quietly smoldering in a corner, but here at Table Top Inventing we fan the flames until the fires of curiosity begin to light children from the inside. A deep and burning curiosity will drive a student to explore the unknown and to carve a space for themselves in this frontier.

The fires of curiosity and the “yearning for the vast and endless sea” drive everything we do here at Table Top Inventing. The fires burn particularly brightly in our Inventor’s Bootcamps every summer. I’m always excited to see the new ideas and creative machines the kids build, and we always have one or two students that walk in the door as an average child and leave with their curiosity brightly burning!

To find out more about the Inventor’s Bootcamp visit http://www.InventingZone.com or you can just visit http://www.TTInvent.com and click the Inventor’s Bootcamp button.

Today we get to take a peek into the mind and heart of a true “lead learner” from an elementary school in Albuquerque, NM. Many administrators claim the title of “Lead Learner” but few take it to the heights Alma Ripley has.

Original Release Date: 7/29/15

Direct download: 046__STEM_Trajectory_with_Alma_Ripley.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 3:21pm PST
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John Griffith - Table Top Inventing PodcastHow can a teenager from a good, decent, wonderful family end up making a mess out of their life by the age of 15? What is the path from poor teenage choices to a life of purpose and meaning? Where can parents look for some hope if their teen has taken a very bad path? Listen in for sobering answers in today’s podcast!

Hey there, Innovation Nation! I got to talk to one of the most amazing individuals on today’s podcast! If you like underdog, transformation stories, then today’s episode is tailor made for you, and I think you’ll agree with Norman Vincent Peale who said,

“People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things. When they believe in themselves they have the first secret of success.”

Confidence, or believing in yourself as the quote says, radically shifts what is possible. Belief for or against our own ability can have dramatic effects on what is possible. As individuals and even as a society, we often believe something to be impossible–such as running a four minute mile. No documented cases of a mile being run faster than 4 minutes was documented until an English runner named Roger Bannister did it on May 6, 1954. For thousands of years we have run and competed in running games. Yet for some reason in the years just following Roger Bannister’s record-breaking run, many athletes began to run a four minute mile, and now it is common for a professional male middle distance runner to be able to run a four minute mile. Why the sudden change?

Truthfully, we don’t know exactly what causes achievement, but we do know that limiting beliefs can have a significant effect on us. For this reason, we work very hard to remove limiting beliefs as students tackle challenges in our Inventor’s Bootcamp every summer. Students are encouraged to try new things and notice the outcomes because trying a new activity often leads us to new thinking. In fact, it turns out that the secret sauce for Roger Bannister had quite a bit to do with a new type of training that he began around that time. He noted significant changes in his running times after some of his training adjustments and continued in that direction. This approach of varying the inputs and observing the outputs is just the practical application of the scientific method which is in high regard during Inventor’s Bootcamp.

If you’d like to find out more about Inventor’s Bootcamp, visit TTInvent.com and click on the Inventor’s Bootcamp button.

Today I get the privilege of introducing you to one of the most remarkable individuals to be on our podcast, John Griffith. John’s is truly a story of tragedy and triumph. I won’t spoil the plot, so join me as we go on a journey through innocence and tragedy to great hope.

Original Release Date: 7/23/15

Direct download: 045_-_Breakin_It_Down_with_John_Griffith.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 9:00pm PST
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Caleb Simonyi-Gindele - Table Top Inventing PodcastHow do we foster curiosity and innovation in kids? How does a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy sharpen your business skills? How important is human uniqueness? Listen in for the thought-provoking answers in today’s podcast!

Hey there, Innovation Nation! My guest today is a curious Canadian. I won’t give too much away just yet, but his focus on the importance of uniqueness prompted me to look up this quote by Salman Rushdie.

“Human beings, you see, do absolutely two primary things. We see like and unlike. Like becomes, in literature, simile and metaphor. Unlike becomes uniqueness and difference, from which I believe, the novel is born.”

Similarities and differences drive the uniqueness of human culture. Without similarities we would have no common ground upon which to connect. Yet without the differences, we would have no reason to exist because another person could just as easily take our place.

Teenagers are at that point in their lives when they are just beginning to find out what makes them unique. We have found the environment we create in the Inventor’s Bootcamp to be one of those magical places where uniqueness and creative exploration grow. Every single class we can honestly say, “I’ve never seen that before!” Students never cease to amaze us like the bottle-top-vampire-security-system built by three teenage girls last summer. The new skills students learn and the uniqueness they bring make the Inventor’s Bootcamp an unforgettable experience.

To learn more about Inventor’s Bootcamp, visit TTInvent.com and click on the Inventor’s Bootcamp button.

As with most of our guests, I can honestly say that Caleb Simonyi-Gindele is unique. His perspective on business seen through the lens of both a curious innovator and a trained Marriage and Family Therapist is truly one-of-a-kind. Let’s dive in and pick the brain of a truly deep thinker.

Original Release Date: 7/16/15

Direct download: 044_-_Human_Uniqueness_with_Caleb_Simonyi-Gindele.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 9:00pm PST
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Jody Maberry - Table Top Inventing PodcastCan a student get A’s in College Calculus after almost failing algebra in high school? How does a financial analyst find his way to becoming a Park Ranger? What is the power of a story to influence students, customers, or acquaintances? Listen in for the engaging answers in today’s podcast!

Hey there, Innovation Nation! Today’s guest is anything but ordinary. As a Park Ranger turned MBA, he’s a real story teller! As humans we long to have the world woven into a story. John Steinbeck said,

“We are lonesome animals. We spend all of our life trying to be less lonesome. One of our ancient methods is to tell a story begging the listener to say-and to feel- ‘Yes, that is the way it is, or at least that is the way I feel it.’ You’re not as alone as you thought.”

I was actually thinking that very thought this morning as I listened again to one of my favorite stories. I like to start my day of with a good story to launch me into the day. I love harrowing stories with heroes and villains and underdogs. Do you like stories like I do?

If so, you might resonate with this story. Last summer during one of our Inventor’s Bootcamps, we had a young teenager. His name was Eric, and he wasn’t fitting in very well with his team. He was obviously a bright young man but needed to find his place in our high tech summer camp. He had tried the electronics and programming but hadn’t meshed very well. Then he tried the 3D design and was taken to another world! He spent the rest of the week designing and 3D printing his designs. The real kicker? Eric was on the Autism spectrum and yet found a way to thrive in his team!

To find out more about Inventor’s Bootcamp, visit InventingZone.com!

And now to our story teller of the day: Jody Maberry. Jody started off as a pretty bad high school student, but even though he dropped his Basic Algebra class twice in college for poor grades, two years later he was getting an A in calculus. Let’s listen in to find out how this transformation occurred.

Original Release Date: 7/9/15

Direct download: 043_-_A_Good_Story_with_Jody_Maberry.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 9:00pm PST
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Tom Friedhof - Table Top Inventing PodcastDoes being a drummer really correlate to strong logical skills? How important is reading books to success? How important is application in the learning process? Listen in for answers in today’s podcast!

Hey there, Innovation Nation! If you don’t know what LoL is, I bet your kids do. Our guest today has helped companies like Riot Games, the XPrize Foundation, and Hollywood’s “The Wrap” craft great looking websites. In our interview, Tom referenced a great quote by the late Stephen Covey from his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

“Remember, to learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know.”

I am the poster child for this quote. Every time I learn something, I want to go find out if it really works. My problem is that I read and learn so much! Yet the wisdom is backed by some of the best educational theory. There are probably hundreds if not thousands of papers on the subject of applying knowledge and the value of application. There is no substitute for trying an idea if we want it to stick.

We see the value of this idea every year in our Inventor’s Bootcamp summer program for teens. Just a couple weeks ago we had our first Inventor’s Bootcamp of 2015, and I remember vividly a girl named Claire. She was trying to understand how to wire up and use her team’s Impact sensor which measures the change of pressure with time. I could tell my words were quickly making her eyes roll back in her head, so I encouraged her to try the computer code to see what would happen. She tinkered with it for 5 or 10 minutes, and then I heard my favorite sound: “Ohhhhhhh!!” and a second later, “I get it. That is sooooo cool!”

This experience gets played out dozens of times every week during Inventor’s Bootcamp because we let kids use technology and get their hands on it.

If you’d like to find out more about Inventor’s Bootcamp, visit TTInvent.com and click on the Inventor’s Bootcamp button.

And now let’s introduce Tom Friedhof. Tom’s company ActiveLamp creates beautiful, intuitive websites for some very well known brands. Yet he didn’t get his start in the coding world in the normal fashion. Let’s get the story from Tom.

Original Release Date: 7/2/15

Direct download: 042_-_Gotta_Do_It_with_Tom_Friedhof.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 6:00pm PST
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Yong Zhao - Table Top Inventing PodcastHow do we create young adults that do NOT come back to live in our basements? What is role of parents in creating opportunities for their children? How important is it to hold children accountable for their decisions? Today’s podcast will shed light on these questions.

Hey there, Innovation Nation! Today’s show is both profound and practical. If you have been wondering, “How in the world can I get my kids to become independent thinkers–to take action on their own without being micromanaged?”, you have tuned into the right episode! As parents and educators, we are often plagued with an unwillingness of children to think for themselves or else to take responsibility for their thinking and actions. You will hear today’s guest relate conversations he had with his own children, saying things like,

“We can expand your horizons. We will be there to support you, but you have to take responsibility for your own choices.”

It can be a tricky thing as an adult responsible for children to say on the one hand, “I can help you do that better/easier/faster,” while on the other hand saying, “You’ll have to figure that out on your own.” Which decisions do we encourage children to make on their own, and which ones do we help them navigate?

This delicate balance between fostering independence and opening the door to opportunity takes practice to perfect. If we don’t give children enough rope, they never get the opportunity to make the necessary mistakes to learn complex tasks. On the other hand if we never intervene or help them, they make miss grand opportunities to take giant steps forward.

This tension between “You should try that on your own” and “Here can I show you a different way?” is precisely the experience we strive to create in the Inventor’s Bootcamp. Cassie was a student in one of our camps last summer. At first, she stood back while one of the other members of her group did all the computer programming. To be fair, she wasn’t particularly interested in programming, but then the other team member had some extenuating circumstances and couldn’t show up to finish the project. Suddenly, Cassie needed to learn the coding for their group’s project to succeed. She stepped up to the challenge because we didn’t rush in to solve her problem.

At other times, students may be facing a challenge for which they have no framework. In these moments, we introduce the basic concepts, help them get their feet wet, and then step back to see how far they can run on their own. We are always amazed at what students can do on their own. To get your students connected this summer, visit InventingZone.com, and declare your child’s independence!

Our guest today is an expert on this subject of independent thinking and student choices in education. Dr. Yong Zhao started his educational career in the unlikeliest of places: the Sichuan province in China in the home of a poor peasant farmer. Let’s follow his journey to independent thinking to find clues for our own children.

Original Release Date: 6/25/15

Direct download: 041_-_Inspiring_Independence_with_Yong_Zhao.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 6:00pm PST
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Jared Easley - Table Top Inventing PodcastHow does a successful corporate professional at the top of his game recover from a layoff in December? How can buying a bottle of maple syrup be a life-changing experience? Does noticing and helping other people really matter in business? Listen in for the solid answers in today’s podcast!

Hey there, Innovation Nation! My guest today is a great podcaster. In fact, he and his partners have started a conference for podcasting called “Podcast Movement,” but before we dive into today’s interview, something Jared said reminded me of a quote from the book “The Go Giver” by Burg and Mann:

“All the great fortunes in the world have been created by men and women who had a greater passion for what they were giving – their product, service or idea – than for what they were getting. And many of those great fortunes have been squandered by others who had a greater passion for what they were getting than what they were giving.”

We often have this view of business as a one way street where businesses take our money, but if we back up a moment and take a good look, we’ll notice that the best and most trusted businesses have a long-standing habit of serving their customers very well. In fact, I heard a story about a Nordstrom’s employee who took a return on some snow tires! See the show notes for a link. However in real life, can we really be that generous? Does generosity matter?

We think it does. In fact in our summer Inventor’s Bootcamp classes, students are always encouraged to share what they’ve learned with other students rather than keeping the knowledge to themselves. Just last week when we had our first class of the summer, one of the students became known as “the wiring guy” because he figured out and memorized the wiring for the robot motors everyone was using. Not only did the other students get the help they needed faster, Audin “the wiring guy” got a great sense of confidence from helping.

To learn more about Inventor’s Bootcamp, visit TTInvent.com and click on the Inventor’s Bootcamp button.

I’m excited, today, to introduce you to Jared Easley. Jared recently suffered a dramatic corporate downsizing incident that left him reeling but managed to silence all the doom and gloom voices that seem to plague us at moments like that. He cites as his inspirational turn around, the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” and the sincere gratitude of a podcast listener. Let’s find out more about this fascinating story.

Original release date: 6/18/2015

Direct download: 040_-_Investing_in_People_with_Jared_Easley.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 6:00pm PST
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Tim Vandenberg - Table Top Inventing PodcastCan fooling around, goofing off, and playing help your innovating power?   How can you use Monopoly(R) to teach kids better math skills?  Is there really a killer strategy for playing Monopoly?  Listen in for the playful answers in today's podcast.

Hey there, Innovation Nation!  Today we're just going to play around on the podcast, and we're going to start with a snippet from one of my favorite books:  Surely, You're Joking Mr. Feynman by Nobel prize winning physicist Richard Feynman.  In the book he writes,

"Then I had another thought: Physics disgusts me a little bit now, but I used to enjoy doing physics. Why did I enjoy it? I used to play with it. I used to do whatever I felt like doing--it didn't have to do with whether it was important for the development of nuclear physics, but whether it was interesting and amusing for me to play with..."

So I got this new attitude...  I'm going to play with physics, whenever I want to, without worrying about any importance whatsoever.

Within a week I was in the cafeteria and some guy, fooling around, throws a plate in the air. As the plate went up in the air I saw it wobble, and I noticed the red medallion of Cornell on the plate going around. It was pretty obvious to me that the medallion went around faster than the wobbling...

It was effortless. It was easy to play with these things. It was like uncorking a bottle: Everything flowed out effortlessly. I almost tried to resist it! There was no importance to what I was doing, but ultimately there was. The diagrams and the whole business that I got the Nobel Prize for came from that piddling around with the wobbling plate."

We often watching kids--or even adults--goofing off and we say, "Oh, they're JUST playing around."  We treat playing around as if it is unimportant or useless.  However, here is one of the most famous Nobel prize winning physicists telling us that it was precisely the act of playing around that led him back to a love for physics and eventually to his Nobel prize winning work--or should I say Nobel prize winning playing around?

At Table Top Inventing, we love to play around.  We usually call it "hard fun" because we're actually learning and putting loads of effort into our play.  Yet it is still play.  It is fun, and it disarms students enough that they forget they are learning.  Why don't you grab your smart phone or pull up a browser on your computer and go check out InventingZone.com to find out how to get your kids involved in some "hard fun" this summer?  If you know today's guest, Tim Vandenberg, email HQsupport@ttinvent.com for special information about our Inventor's Bootcamp in Mr. Vandenberg's backyard. 

Today's guest knows quite a bit about play.  He's a no-nonsense teacher in some respects because he works with middle schoolers, but on the other hand, he uses the game of Monopoly(R) to teach kids to master their math facts and hone their negotiation skills.  Without further adieu, Tim Vandenberg.

Original release date: 6/11/15

Direct download: 039_-_Monopoly_Mania_with_Tim_Vandenberg.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 10:00pm PST
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Lee Cockerell - Table Top Inventing PodcastHow does a cook in the army learn to become the Executive Vice President of Operations for Walt Disney World? What is the importance of Role Modeling? How important is having dinner together as a family? Listen in for the timeless answers in today’s podcast!

Hey there, Innovation Nation! My guest today has connections in one of the most magical places in the world! I won’t spoil the surprise yet, so let me distract you for a moment with a great insight from James Baldwin:

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”

Unfortunately, I have observed this to be true with my own kids! Kids seem to have a sixth sense for seeing the difference between what we say and what we do. In today’s episode we’ll touch on this topic, and I think it is a particularly poignant topic. In our Inventor’s Bootcamps, we encourage kids to explore, tinker, try stuff because the process of trying something new, varying the approach, and iterating until success is the only way to learn anything. It is such a powerful idea that the best business leaders encourage it, and we use the same process in our company whenever we try a new idea.

If you’d like your kids to learn this success formula in a fun and engaging Inventor’s Bootcamp environment this summer, visit ttinvent.com and click on the Inventor’s Bootcamp button.

And now to break the suspense about today’s guest! For 10 years, Lee Cockerell was directly responsible for the Disney Magic at Walt Disney World Resorts in Florida. Since then he has focused in on great leadership and training another generation of great leaders. Let’s listen in as Lee shares some timeless treasures of leadership.

Original Release Date: 6/3/15

Direct download: 038_-_Leadership_with_Lee_Cockerell.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 9:00pm PST
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PodClear - Table Top Inventing PodcastWhat kind of a company gets started on a road trip? In the podcasting world, what is a “double-ender”? How does a boot-strapped US-based startup company get connected with a startup incubator in Chile?

Hey there, Innovation Nation! Today’s guests have a fascinating story. If you’ve ever thought about starting a company in your spare time or if you’ve had an idea for a company in the strangest place, you’ll find some kindred spirits on today’s show.

“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R & D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R & D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.”

These words from Steve Jobs underline the fact that innovation is driven, not by money or even other technology, but by people. Creative, observant humans are the engine of innovation. It is easy in our tech-filled world to equate new tech break throughs with underlying technological infrastructure, but in reality while currently available technology does enable future technologies, the future begins with a dream in the heart of a person.

“Even though the map to educational makerspace success remains vague, pioneers in the field are pushing forward and reporting their findings.” – Gene Roddenberry In the late 1960’s, Gene Roddenberry had a dream. He turned this dream into a television show we all know as Star Trek. In this fictional future, the crew of the USS Enterprise used a device called a tricorder. This device had the capability of reading information from it’s surroundings, geo-locating the user, taking chemical, biological, and physical data along with connecting the user to the computer in the sky aboard the USS enterprise for analysis.

Today the tricorder has largely become a reality in the smart phone and it’s supporting technologies. We are connected to the computer in the sky via our cell signals and WiFi. We can geo-locate ourselves using the GPS features on our phone. We can take a photo of an object, and the “computer in the cloud” can tell us what that object is, what it can be used for, and it’s other physical, chemical, and/or biological properties. With appropriate add-ons these devices are now also monitoring our health, connecting us to the electronics back at home, and allowing us to track other humans on the planet via their GPS signals.

It can easily be argued that the smart phone and many of it’s supporting technologies began as an idea in Gene Roddenberry’s creative imaginings. So here at Table Top Inventing we spend the bulk of our time investing in the inspiration of creativity in teenagers. We know that by feeding their fanciful imagination and then putting tools in their hands to begin exploring the possibilities, a new generation of innovators will arise quite naturally.

Just the other day, some students in our Inventor’s Bootcamp learned that hobby-grade, quad-rotor technology could be used to lift a person off the ground. Now I don’t know exactly what they will do with that knowledge as time goes on, but they are already discussing how they can improve their own DIY quad-rotor project. Perhaps they will invent an improved hoverboard like the one I saw just this week!

To find out more about Inventor’s Bootcamp, visit InventingZone.com

Speaking of innovation, today’s guests are quite familiar with the development of game-changing technology. Spencer Handley, Hannah Russell-Goodson, and Josh Lankford recently started a small company called PodClear. Their technology is already revolutionizing how I am conducting podcast interviews. Listen in for engagingly clear answers in today’s podcast!

Original Release Date: 5/28/15

Direct download: 037_-_Changing_the_Game_with_PodClear.mp3
Category:Makers and Innovators -- posted at: 9:00pm PST
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Josh Burker - Table Top Inventing PodcastHow can educators integrate geeky-ness with accessibility? How important is documenting our learning to the larger educational community? and What exactly is a Kreg jig?

Hey there, Innovation Nation! You are going to love today’s guest. He is a master of fun with technology. A good friend of mine, Tim, told me back in graduate school that we became physicists because physicists have the coolest toys! I could not agree more, and physicists have believed this for a very long time. In fact, Carl Gauss, a physics-famous pioneer from the early 1800’s said,

“It is not knowledge, but the act of learning, not possession but the act of getting there, which grants the greatest enjoyment.” –Carl Friedrich Gauss

Learning is indeed a quest, and even though it may be hard at times, it is most definitely fun. Around here we call that “hard fun”, a term we lovingly adopted from the Pepperdine OMET/MALT program. Hard fun is a way of life. Life is indeed hard–sometimes very hard–but we are dedicated to having fun in the process! Learning without fun causes boredom and has killed many powerful learning opportunities. On the other hand, learning without hard work does not engender a strong feeling of accomplishment or excitement upon completion. By marrying the two, learning experiences become both profound and deeply satisfying–a recipe for educational ecstasy.

Perhaps that imagery is a little more powerful than you were ready to hear today, but I would like to challenge you to think bigger when it comes to the educational experiences you observe and create. We began asking ourselves what was possible to learn in a few short days, and out of that question grew one of the most fun and challenging experiences we have ever seen in the education of teenagers. We keep talking about the Inventor’s Bootcamp experience because we have seen teenagers face almost insurmountable technical challenges, time after time, and continue to find enjoyment in the over-the-top difficulty level of the experience. The students keep telling us, “It was hard, but really fun!”

You can find out more about Inventor’s Bootcamp by visiting http://www.InventingZone.com or by clicking on the Inventor’s Bootcamp button on the TTInvent.com website.

Today’s guest is no stranger to “hard fun”. Josh Burker is an educational technologist with extensive experience. He particularly enjoys making technology “invisible” as well as extremely accessible which is a skill many teachers would like to see in their tech department. Josh has honed his skills and become a recognized expert on “Hard Fun”, and his new book called “The Invent to Learn Guide to Fun” shares his extensive toolbox! Listen in for lively answers in today’s podcast!

Original Release Date: 5/21/15

Direct download: 036_-_Hard_Fun_with_Josh_Burker.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 11:17pm PST
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JuiceBoxx - Table Top Inventing PodcastHow can you get your Kickstarter idea funded? Is it possible to be immune to a brain freeze? What would cause successful college students to abandon their degrees?

Hey there, Innovation Nation! Today we’re talking entrepreneurship, and at the center is one of my favorite topics – learning how to learn. Alexander Pope said,

“A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.” …learning how to learn itself is a really dangerous skill to have. Once tasted, the spring of knowledge spoils our ability to live an average life."

His assertion was that if we learn, we should go all the way. On the podcast today, Andrew Lien asserts that the idea of learning how to learn itself is a really dangerous skill to have. Once tasted, the spring of knowledge spoils our ability to live an average life.

We believe this idea so strongly that we’ve built a whole company around it, including one of our favorite activities–Inventor’s Bootcamp. We fill a room with 3D printers, embedded processors, sensors, 3D design software, and computers for programming, and then set students free to discover that ever dangerous idea: I can learn on my own. In every class, several students are set free to discover the universe without the limits imposed by others.

To find out more about the Inventor’s Bootcamp visit http://www.InventingZone.com or you can just visit http://www.TTInvent.com and click the Inventor’s Bootcamp button.

Our guests from JuiceBoxx today do not sugar coat their feelings about formal learning. They aren’t hostile to traditional learning, but they have learned how to learn, and that, my friends, has proven to be a very dangerous skill for them.

Original Release Date: 5/14/15

Direct download: 035_-_Powering_Innovation_with_JuiceBoxx.mp3
Category:Makers and Innovators -- posted at: 9:00pm PST
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Stephen Key - Table Top Inventing PodcastDo you need a patent to make money on a great idea? What choices to inventors have to bring their ideas to market? Can you start a successful business as an art major?

Hey there, Innovation Nation! Today we’re talking inventing–one of my favorite subjects–and I just read a great quote by the business strategist Gary Hamel:

“As human beings, we are the only organisms that create for the sheer stupid pleasure of doing so. Whether it’s laying out a garden, composing a new tune on the piano, writing a bit of poetry, manipulating a digital photo, redecorating a room, or inventing a new chili recipe – we are happiest when we are creating.”

I agree whole-heartedly as does my guest on the podcast today, inventing coach Stephen Key. I just lose track of time when I’m creating something, whether it be a recipe I’m developing or a 3D design I’m making and printing in our 3D printing lab. I am truly happiest when I’m creating.

We believe this idea so strongly that we’ve built a whole company around it, including on of our favorite activities–Inventor’s Bootcamp. We fill a room with 3D printers, embedded processors, sensors, 3D design software, and computers for programming, and then set students free to discover that ever dangerous idea: I can learn on my own. In every class, several students are set free to discover the universe without the limits imposed by others.

To find out more about the Inventor’s Bootcamp visit http://inventing.zone or you can just visit http://www.TTInvent.com and click the Inventor’s Bootcamp button.

Our guest today is a well-known inventor and coach to upcoming inventors. His students have been on the television show “Shark Tank”, and most of us have probably used one or more products designed and licensed by Stephen Key. Today’s interview is a peak into the mind of a great inventor.

Original Release Date: 5/7/15

Direct download: 034_-_Inventing_and_Licensing_with_Stephen_Key.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 9:00pm PST
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Francesco Ferrazzino - Table Top Inventing PodcastWhat is the difference between virtual reality and augmented reality? What are the advantages of failure? How can the latin expression “forma mentis” improve your success?

Hey there, Innovation Nation! I read a book recently by a Stanford University Professor, Carol Dweck. The name of the book is Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Carol Dweck says,

“If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning. That way, their children don’t have to be slaves of praise. They will have a lifelong way to build and repair their own confidence.”

This approach to learning grows a student’s confidence and ability to explore. In our Inventor’s Bootcamp experiences, students are taught this type of exploratory and challenging mindset. We fill a room with 3D printers, embedded processors, sensors, 3D design software, and computers for programming, and then give the students a big challenge. Every year, we never cease to be amazed at the creative solutions and capability demonstrated, as Carol Dweck has correctly predicted.

To find out more about the Inventor’s Bootcamp visit InventingZone.com or you can just visit http://www.TTInvent.com and click the Inventor’s Bootcamp button.

Today our guest is the founder of a literally game-changing company. Proxy42 was founded by Francesco Ferrazzino and a video for their amazing new game can be found at father.io. After the interview, I strongly recommend you take the 2.5 minutes to watch it. This approach will change how games are played. If you’re listening to this from the United States, you may find Francesco’s accent a little thick, but I will make no apologies. This interview is among the best I’ve ever had. Listen to it, and the re-listen to it. His ideas are powerful.

Original Release Date: 4/30/15

Direct download: 033_-_Augmented_Reality_with_Francesco_Ferrazzino.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 7:04pm PST
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David Hancock - Table Top Inventing PodcastHow difficult is it to write and publish a book? You’ve heard of guerrilla warfare, but what is Guerrilla Marketing? Do you need to have a college education to write a book?

Hey there, Innovation Nation! I am thoroughly enjoying the warmer weather. Our little orchard out back is beginning to come to life. I love seeing the fruit growing on our apple, peach, pear, and apricot trees. It reminds me of the growth and excitement we experience every summer in our Inventor’s Bootcamps. I get really excited about Inventor’s Bootcamp because there’s so much growth and creativity and excitement as the students build crazy engineering contraptions with 3D printers and wire them up with a little electronic trickery and programming prowess. The amount of creativity, confidence, curiosity, and deep thinking of the students in these summer camps is almost unbelievable.

To find out more visit InventingZone.com or you can just visit http://www.TTInvent.com and click the Inventor’s Bootcamp button.

Today our guest is the founder of a game-changing book publishing company, David Hancock! Morgan James Publishing is revolutionizing the way authors interact with their publisher. Publishing has never been easier, and no company has ever worked this hard to help authors succeed. Listen in to today’s podcast to find out more!

Original Release Date: 4/23/15

Direct download: 032_-_Guerrilla_Publishing_with_David_Hancock.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 7:58pm PST
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Pepperdine MALT - Table Top Inventing PodcastHow can 3D printers be used to enhance learning? What is the role of a teacher? What doors does our digital world open to us?

Hey there, Innovation Nation! Today you get to see behind the curtain at Table Top Inventing a little as Debby Kurti and I visit with students from her alma mater. Several “Debby-isms” pop up in this episode which reminds me of one of Debby’s favorite quotes by Socrates:

“I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.”

Looking in from the outside, we tend to see education as a wise sage standing at the front of a room doling out knowledge to the attentive rows of students at their desks. However for thousands of years, some have believed that education is fundamentally an internal and very personal pursuit. That philosophy is at the core of what we do at Table Top Inventing: students need a great environment, engaging tools, and space to explore. To find out how you or your child can sample such an experience this summer, visit InventingZone.com or you can just visit http://www.TTInvent.com and click the Inventor’s Bootcamp button.

Today on the show we have a panel of 4 students from the Pepperdine Master of Arts in Learning Technologies or “MALT” as the insiders call it. We take a deep dive on the role of a teacher and the power of maker technologies in the learning environment. Listen in!

Original Release Date: 4/16/15

Direct download: 031_-_Maker_Learning_with_Pepperdine_MALT.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 8:27am PST
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Gray Bright - Table Top Inventing PodcastCan a robotics engineer actually be any good as a stand-up comedian? What happens if you retrofit your car with effects from a racing video game? Do real engineers play with Legos? How do you make your fridge shutoff automatically when you put on weight?

Hey there, Innovation Nation! Today is going to be a fun episode. If you are an inventor and a kid at heart, you will LOVE today’s interview. I am reminded of a quote by the late Randy Pausch, a computer science innovator from Carnegie Mellon. He said,

“I am going to keep having fun every day I have left, because there is no other way of life. You just have to decide whether you are a Tigger or an Eeyore.”

For Randy, having fun was serious business because at the young age of 47 he died of complications from pancreatic cancer. Yet before he died, he had a chance to give his “last lecture” in which he discussed the importance of living life to the fullest and having fun. The dramatic circumstances of his last months compelled him to consider what was really important in life, and he realized that every single day is a gift. Some people like Randy and our guest today, Gray Bright, just seem determined to find all the fun life has to offer.

Here at Table Top Inventing, we believe that inventing and fun are almost synonymous. That’s why we created the Inventor’s Bootcamp. If you love creating and inventing, check out our summer fun at http://www.TTInvent.com/BootcampNow or you can just visit http://www.TTInvent.com and click the Inventor’s Bootcamp button.

Our guest today is Gray Bright. We laugh all the way through this interview, but we’re talking about serious fun. Gray’s creativity and mischievous ideas are infectious. Join us for a fun conversation about inventing, fun, and never growing up!

Original Release Date: 4/9/15

Direct download: 030_-_Inventing_Fun_with_Gray_Bright.mp3
Category:Makers and Innovators -- posted at: 11:07pm PST
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Henrique Guerreiro - Table Top Inventing PodcastHow does a teacher in a rural US school end up in an International School in Thailand? What is it like to feel the blast of a terrorist bombing? How does a teacher navigate learning during an Ebola Crisis in Nigeria?

It’s springtime in the high desert, and I’m starting to get spring fever. For me, spring fever almost always compels me to a road trip. I think that traveling and seeing new places, stimulates the brain in ways that few other activities can. In fact, one of my favorite quotes about traveling is from T. S. Elliot:

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

Road trips also get me to thinking about our Inventor’s Bootcamps, because we always manage to work a road trip into our plans. I love our Inventor’s Bootcamps because students learn so much and see so many new sights. The students build crazy engineering contraptions with 3D printers, wire them up with a little electronic trickery, and program them to do amazing feats. The creativity, confidence, curiosity, and deep thinking of the students in these summer camps is almost unbelievable.

To find out more visit InventingZone.com or you can just click the Inventor’s Bootcamp button on the menu bar above.

Today’s guest started his teaching career in a rural school with only 63 students and ended up teaching in the primary grades of 3 other countries across the globe. Henrique “Rico” Guerreiro shares insights into education in Americanized schools around the world has some interesting twists. Listen in to today’s podcast for the curious answers to the questions above and a great conversation about education abroad!

Original Release Date: 4/2/15

Direct download: 029_-_International_Education_with_Henrique_Guerreiro.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 9:00pm PST
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Chris Schaffer - Table Top Inventing PodcastCould recent research be a breakthrough in Alzheimer’s treatment? Is science more than equations and logical pursuits? Could it be that science is more about creativity than logic? Listen in to today’s podcast for the surprising answers!

Hey there, Innovation Nation! I am thoroughly enjoying the start of springtime here in the high desert. The flowers are blooming, and our little orchard out back is beginning to come to life. I love seeing the flowers and trees growing and getting ready to bust out in a cacophony of color and excitement. It reminds me of the growth and excitement we experience every summer in our Inventor’s Bootcamps. I get really excited about Inventor’s Bootcamp because there’s so much growth and creativity and excitement as the students build crazy engineering contraptions with 3D printers and wire them up with a little electronic trickery and programming prowess. The amount of creativity, confidence, curiosity, and deep thinking of the students in these summer camps is almost unbelievable.

Today’s interview may bring some surprises. My discussion with Chris Schaffer, a professor at Cornell University, unearths some common myths and dusts off the truth about science. The perspectives in today’s podcast are not for the faint of heart, so prepare for a massive unveiling.

Original Release Date: 3/26/15

Direct download: 028_-_Science_and_Creativity_with_Chris_Schaffer.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 11:05pm PST
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Brent Bushnell - Table Top Inventing PodcastWhere can I find a circus that employs engineers? Can learning to prepare sushi impact engineering ideas? How can we rebrand Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math to be fun? How do we make STEM subjects more like driving a Ferrari than like driving a grocery getter?

Today, we have a high-energy, fun interview with an engineer who has started a high-tech circus! Creating more intelligent, creative, fun innovators is what we specialize in at Table Top Inventing. In fact, an opportunity is coming this summer to participate in our Inventor’s Bootcamp. I get really excited about Inventor’s Bootcamp because there’s nothing more fun than a room full of teenagers building crazy engineering contraptions with 3D printers and wiring them up with a little electronic trickery and programming fun. It’s enough to make your head spin!

To find out more visit: InventingZone.com or you can just visit http://www.TTInvent.com and click the Inventor’s Bootcamp button.

Grab a hold of something solid because today’s podcast is going to rock your world! Brent Bushnell, the founder and CEO of Two-Bit Circus, is going to blow the doors off. Brent and his business partner Eric have started a high-tech circus staffed not with circus barkers and tight rope walkers but with engineers, scientists, and computer programmers. Let’s listen in to a high flying conversation!

Original Release Date: 3/19/15

Direct download: 027_-_STEAM_Carnival_with_Brent_Bushnell.mp3
Category:Makers and Innovators -- posted at: 9:00pm PST
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Kevin Simmons - Table Top Inventing PodcastWhat is a Cube Satellite? Can normal schools really get their projects into space? Are there ways to simulate space conditions or run outerspace experiments without breaking the bank? How does a middle school teacher end up working at the National Science Foundation and starting a business getting middle schoolers into CubeSats?

Few people understand fun, science, and teenagers better than our guest today. Kevin Simmons has a small business aimed at getting middle schoolers into space projects and satellite experiments. I don’t want to spoil the fun so let’s let Kevin tell us more about it.

Original Release Date: 3/12/15

Direct download: 026_-_Cube_Satellites_with_Kevin_Simmons.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 9:00pm PST
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Michael Wesch - Table Top Inventing PodcastWhat is digital ethnography? How difficult is it to learn to use a 3D game creation engine? How would Maker Schools change how we do education? Why are initiation rituals a critical right of passage into a society?

Speaking of rituals, today’s guest Michael Wesch advocates the adoption of some curious rituals. Keep your headphones in or your bluetooth synced up, because today’s podcast has enough quotable ideas to really stir your noodles. I won’t give any spoilers, so let’s listen in to the conversation Michael and I had recently at the Bakersfield College Learning Technologies Conference.

Original Release Date: 3/5/15

Direct download: 025_-_Digital_Anthropology_with_Michael_Wesch.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 9:00pm PST
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Tyler Tervooren - Table Top Inventing PodcastTyler Tervooren is an independent entrepreneur and founder of Riskology.co. He's started 7 businesses and traveled to more than 20 different countries.  His life sounds exciting to outsiders, but anyone who’s known him a while knows it hasn’t always been like this.

He grew up in a small town where you were praised for living a simple, conservative life. You were supposed to play it safe and always go for the sure thing. Step out and do something unusual, and you were quickly discounted as a weirdo.  Living that life felt safe, but unfulfilling. So, when he moved away the day after graduating high school, he started to make a priority of stepping outside his comfort zone and trying new things to see where they’d lead.

There were a lot of false starts and bad paths, but every failure taught a lesson never learned before. Along the way, Tyler met people who were living lives he couldn’t imagine.  They had weird, fun jobs he’d never heard of. They’d been to places he didn’t know existed. They were happy because they’d found ways to get around the default life path.

They weren’t broke (in fact, they were usually quite wealthy), they weren’t outcasts (quite the opposite), and they weren’t crazy.  A lightbulb went on. It actually was possible for normal people to take big risks in life and succeed.

For more than 10 years, Tyler's been fascinated with learning the strategies and tactics normal people can use to do things usually reserved only for the super-privileged.  He studies how investors behave; new breakthroughs and little-known truths of human psychology; and the strategies of thriving artists.

What he's found is most big risks in life are only risky because we don’t understand them. By combining our passion and intuition with proven research and smart-strategy, we can win at almost anything.

Now, he builds courses to teach the principles of Smart Riskology to anyone willing to learn and writes about his findings on the Riskology blog.  Listen in to today's podcast to learn more about Riskology from Tyler.

Original Release Date: 2/26/15

Direct download: 024_-_Riskology_with_Tyler_Tervooren.mp3
Category:Makers and Innovators -- posted at: 11:37pm PST
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Mike Ghost - Table Top Inventing PodcastWhat happens to trash once it hops into the trash truck from my garbage can? What is the value of a 4-year education beyond the classes offered? Why would federal investigators show up to a landfill? How do we turn play into learning?

Today are talkin’ trash with Mike Ghost! Well, not exactly like that… Today we’ll be talking to a former district manager for Waste Management about what happens to your trash after it leaves the can at the curb. Along the way, we’ll also discover how one man’s journey through high school to college to the workforce and back to college led him to appreciate the value of an education.

This week’s Great Inventor Secrets is actually brought to us by Jonathan Butcher and Daniel Cheung who were featured on last week’s podcast. We had so much great material that I wanted to share a few more minutes of our conversation with a couple of great inventors. Tune in and learn more!

Original Release Date: 2/19/15

Direct download: 023_-_Talking_Trash_with_Mike_Ghost.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 9:00pm PST
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Jonathan Butcher and Daniel Cheung - Table Top Inventing PodcastHow does an embryonic heart form? How exactly does one set about 3D printing a fully human, fully compatible heart valve? How does failure influence innovation? Is there more to a 3D printed heart valve than just the printing?

Today we have an exciting interview with Jonathan Butcher, a research professor at Cornell University, and one of his graduate students, Daniel Cheung. Before we get started I’d like to remind you to share our podcast with your friends and colleagues. The ideas you hear on this podcast will literally change your world and your student’s horizons. We discuss innovation, success, inventing, learning, and other crucial life skills. On today’s show specifically, Jonathan and I discuss the role of failure in learning. We discuss the path to research success. Oh, and we jump head first into the topic of 3D printing heart valves. There was so much to cover that we skipped the inventor secrets in lieu of the great interview. This is some heady stuff. Put on your diving gear. We’re going in deep today!

Original Release Date: 2/12/15

Direct download: 022_-_3D_Printing_Heart_Valves_-_J_Butcher_and_D_Cheung.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 9:00pm PST
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Mark Haapala - Table Top Inventing PodcastWho exactly are Perspicacity and Perspicuity, and why are they on our podcast? What would make an insurance claims investigator participate in renaissance fairs? If the devil is in the details, why are they so important? What can cause a classroom full of budding mathematicians gape in amazement?

Speaking of world change, on the show we have an investigator who pries into the business of large corporations. Now it’s not what you might think, but I’ll let Mark tell you more about what he does.

Original Release Date: 2/5/15

Direct download: 021_-_Mark_Haapala_and_the_Devil_in_the_Details.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 9:00pm PST
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Laura Fleming - Table Top Inventing PodcastWhat is the best strategy for starting a makerspace in your school? How long should you take to plan your makerspace before you get started? Is flying by the seat of your pants a good idea or a bad one? What are the key features of an 8 foot tall DIY teeter totter? Stay tuned for the answers in today’s podcast.

Our guest today is Laura Fleming. Laura is a librarian and media specialist at New Milford High School in Jew Jersey. A little over a year ago, she started a makerspace in her library, and the results have been unbelievable. I’m not a big fan of spoilers, so let’s get straight to the interview.

Original Release Date: 1/29/15

Direct download: 020_-_Flying_by_the_Seat_of_Your_Pants_with_Laura_Fleming.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 9:00pm PST
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Ben Meredith - Table Top Inventing PodcastWhat would lead a music director to a career in computer coding? How can you get people to read your online posts even if the content seems at first to be bland? Is it really necessary to create an explosion every time I light the grill? Why did Nikola Tesla wiggle his toes 100 times every night? What does all this have to do with inventing and education?

Our guest today, Ben Meredith, is a self-taught web developer who creates great WordPress plugins. If you aren’t familiar with WordPress, it is a web kit to help average people start a website. Forbes says that 20% of Websites are now powered by WordPress–that’s somewhere north of 60 million websites powered by WordPress–and Ben is developing plugins for this extremely powerful web force. Listen in to see what Ben has to say about the power of the web and self-education.

Original Release Date: 1/22/15

Direct download: 019_-_From_Choir_to_Coding_with_Ben_Meredith.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 9:00pm PST
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Larry Roland - Table Top Inventing PodcastWhat is the career path from a mail room clerk to the Marketing Director for a multinational company? What does a marketing guy think about the need for algebra? What is the secret for starting a conversation with someone you don’t know? What is my secret weapon for taking a shallow conversation to a deeper level? Stay tuned for the answers in today’s podcast.

Our guest today, Larry Roland, is the marketing director for a major multinational transportation company. Larry shares some candid thoughts about what it means to be educated and how he got his own education.

Original Release Date: 1/15/15

Direct download: 018_-_Social_Engineering_with_Larry_Roland.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 9:00pm PST
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Judy Houser - Table Top Inventing PodcastDo you have to be a techno-geek to start a makerspace? Why are school makerspaces a great social equalizer? How large a log can a small SUV pull? What is Steve’s favorite kind of chainsaw? Tune in to today’s podcast to find out the answers to these and other questions. On today’s show, we are featuring Judy Houser. Judy started a Makerspace this last fall, and we decided to share her story because many teachers want to know how REAL PEOPLE start a makerspace. I suppose that’s no offense to mad scientists like me, but we do want to spread the word that Makerspaces can be started by anyone with a big idea. Tune in to today’s podcast to meet Judy and find out the answers to these and other questions.

Original Release Date: 1/8/15

Direct download: 017_-_Firewood_Physics_and_Judy_Houser.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 9:56pm PST
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Troy Hartman - Table Top Inventing PodcastHow does someone who hates the idea of sky diving end up in a career as an aerial stuntman? What exactly do you have to do to lose your pilot’s license three times? What is the value of risk? In the arena of life, is it more dangerous to play it safe?

Our guest today is Troy Hartman, the man with a JetPack! Troy has an amazing story, and it’s peppered with little choices that involved risks. Definitely check out the show notes today to see Troy’s JetPack videos. We showed one particular video in all of our Inventor’s Bootcamp summer camps in 2014 because he did such a great job describing the emotions and responses to risks. Let’s tune in to hear what this engineer and pilot turned stuntman has to say about risk.

Original Release Date: 1/1/15

Direct download: 016_-_Risk_and_Reward_with_Troy_Hartman.mp3
Category:Makers and Innovators -- posted at: 4:28pm PST
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Liz Heinecke - Table Top Inventing PodcastAfter working in molecular biology research for ten years and getting her master's degree, Liz Heinecke left the lab to kick off a new chapter in her life as a stay-at-home mom. Soon she found herself sharing her love of science with her three kids as they grew, journaling their science adventures on her KitchenPantryScientist website.

Her desire to spread her enthusiasm for science to others soon led to a regular segment on her local NBC affiliate, an opportunity to serve as an Earth Ambassador for NASA, and the creation of the iPhone app KidScience, with the goal of making it simple for parents to do science with kids of all ages, and for kids to experiment safely on their own.

You can find her at home in Minnesota, wrangling her kids, writing for her website, updating the KidScience app, teaching microbiology to nursing students, singing, playing banjo, painting, running, and doing almost anything else to avoid housework. Liz graduated from Luther College and received her master's degree in bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Original Release Date: 12/25/14

Direct download: 015_-_Top_Fuel_Science_with_Liz_Heinecke.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 9:00pm PST
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Josh Stumpenhorst - Table Top Inventing PodcastHow does a classroom Knucklehead become the Teacher of the Year? From the perspective of a statewide Teacher of the Year, what skills create the best teachers? What is the relationship between Teaching and Learning? What lessons can a teenager learn from 100,000 volts?! Do small children really make the best scientists? Listen in to today's podcast to learn the answers to these and other fascinating questions.

Josh Stumpenhorst is a 6th grade Language Arts and Social Science teacher at Lincoln Junior High School in Naperville, IL which is part of Naperville Community School District 203. In addition to teaching, he is an athletic director, team leader, computer club adviser track coach, basketball coach, and serves on numerous curriculum and technology committees at the school and district level. He holds a Master’s Degree in curriculum and instruction as well as a National Boards Certification in early adolescence social science.

Beyond traditional professional development, Josh is an active member of the twitter (@stumpteacher) and blogging community as well as a respected presenter. He has presented at technology conferences such as the International Society of Technology Conference, Illinois Computer Educators Conference, Midwest Education Technology Conference and the Illinois Education Technology Conference. Josh has also presented on a variety of education topics at the Illinois Reading Conference, Reform Symposium, a variety of EdCamps as well as numerous other presentations to local and regional school districts and colleges.

Josh is also credited for starting “Innovation Days” based on the motivation theories written by Daniel Pink where students choose and drive their learning activities. In addition to Pink’s acknowledgment of Stumpenhorst’s work, Josh has helped numerous other classrooms around the country and internationally to start their own Innovation Days.

His work has been recognized by the International Society of Technology Educators as they named Josh a member of their “Emerging Leaders Class of 2011”. Josh has also been recognized as the Illinois Computer Educators, “Educator of the Year” for 2012 and he is the 2012 Illinois Teacher of the Year. In addition, he was recognized with a California Casualty Teaching Excellence Award by the National Education Association and was the Illinois Education Association’s Excellence in Teaching Award winner in 2012. Josh was also named as a Pearson Foundation Global Learning Fellow in 2013.

Josh is an active blogger at Stump the Teacher and his work there has received recognition through numerous EduBlog Awards nominations. In addition, you can find written contributions of his at SmartBrief Education and the EdReach Community where he is the lead on the Disruptor Channel. Josh can also be heard as a regular guest commentator on the BAM Radio Network and has also appeared as a guest on Huffington Post Live. As a connected member of the social media community, Josh regularly consults at education conferences and professional development activities as he is seen as one of the more prolific connected educators.

Josh Stumpenhorst Book CoverWe are looking forward to Josh's new book coming out in February 2015 called "The New Teacher Revolution: Changing Education for a New Generation of Learners". From the Corwin website:

It’s time to throw out the old rulebook. Today’s classroom demands teacher innovation, embracing of new technology, and rejection of outdated practices, especially when someone tells you it’s “always been done” a certain way. His orthodoxy-challenging methods have produced outstanding student outcomes, and in these pages he details how to maximize teacher effectiveness by thinking outside the box:

  • Build student relationships on trust and respect rather than fear and punishment
  • Rethink homework and letter grades, which—in their current forms—are harming learning 
  • Leverage technology by not treating it as a “shiny toy”, but rather understand its power as a tool for rapid progress
  • Educators who welcome large-scale change are about to pull ahead of those who don’t.

Original Release Date: 12/18/14

Direct download: 014_-_High_Voltage_Learning_with_Josh_Stumpenhorst.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 9:00pm PST
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Geoff Wiggs - Table Top Inventing PodcastGeoff Wiggs is a 3rd career attorney. His resume includes a service in the Air Force, a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and a Master’s in Business Administration. United States Air Force – Airborne Vietnamese Cryptologic Linguist Geoff served nearly 10 years in the United States Air Force as a Vietnamese Cryptologic Linguist. He spent 52 weeks at the Presidio of Monterey learning the Vietnamese language. His service included stations in the Far East as well as in Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm.

Computer Consultancy – Orcas Technologies, Inc.
For nearly 20 years, Geoff ran his own computer consultancy, Orcas Technologies, Inc. He has a degree in Computer Science from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Pepperdine University with a focus in Strategic Implementation. As an independent computer consultant, he worked with Wholesale Food Distributors to optimize their 
departmental processes and help them get the most out of their computer software and hardware. He worked with distributors across the nation.

Master in Business Administration
While running his own business, he found time to pursue his Master’s in Business Administration from Pepperdine University. He focused in Strategic Implementation. After receiving his MBA, he worked for two years as a management consultant through his computer consultancy.

Law Practice
After spending a few years working as an independent management consultant, he decided to go to law school. While he was in law school, he concentrated on Consumer, Bankruptcy and Startup Law. While in school, he worked as a volunteer clerk in Chambers in the San Jose bankruptcy court and graduated from Santa Clara in May, 2009. For family reasons he was unable to sit for the bar exam until February of 2011, when he took the exam and passed. After passing the bar, he started his own law practice. Today, he focuses his practice on bankruptcy and consumer law as well as general civil law.

Original Release Date: 12/11/14

Direct download: 013_-_Fire_History_STEM_and_Geoff_Wiggs.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 8:38pm PST
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Ian Roy - Table Top Inventing PodcastOur guest this week is Ian Roy. Ian is deeply involved establishing a makerspace on the campus of Brandeis University. They are about six months into their odyssey and are having a great time. Their first serious project has been with the E-nabling The Future  mission to 3D print prosthetic hands for those who need them. He is also the research technology project lead and helps with odd work-flow analysis issues.

In the great inventor secrets this week we talk about cowboys and innovation.  Come find out the connection!

Category: Innovative Educators
Original Release Date: 12/4/14

Direct download: 012_-_Cowboys_Innovation_and_Ian_Roy.mp3
Category:Makers and Innovators -- posted at: 2:00am PST
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Suzie Ama - Table Top Inventing PodcastSuzie Ama has been a professor at Cerro Coso Community College for 15 years, and she teaches web design and development and computer literacy in the Business and Information Technology Department. She also teaches the college’s Online Faculty Training course, which trains new faculty in technologies, learning theory, and best practices for teaching online. She has served as Curriculum and Instruction Chair, Student Learning Outcome Assessment Coordinator, Accreditation Steering Committee Standard II Co-chair, Department Faculty Chair, and (currently) Program Review Chair.

Her teaching philosophy is based on the need to equip students to become lifelong learners. After students finish a program of study, whatever their terminal degree may be, they will need to be adept at keeping skills and knowledge current in a rapidly changing knowledge economy. This is greatly facilitated by engaging with a worldwide community of learners in one’s discipline. Suzie incorporates small-group learning opportunities in her classroom to equip students with communication and collaboration skills that will make them effective lifelong learners.

Suzie has a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Visual Communications from American Intercontinental University and a Masters of Science in Education with emphasis in Online Teaching and Learning from California State University East Bay. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Science in Nutrition from University of Bridgeport. In addition to Web technology, learning theory, and human nutrition, Suzie is also very interested in topics pertaining to philosophy, theology, ecology, economics, and sustainability. She also enjoys vegetable gardening, yoga, hiking, and distance running.

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/suzanneama

In this week's episode we also have a harrowing tale, a story of honor and duty, and some words for reflection at this time of year.  Tune in for this episode!

Category: Innovative Educators
Original Release Date: 11/27/14

Direct download: 011_-_Thanksgiving_Episode_-_Suzie_Ama.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 4:52am PST
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Gene Sherman - Table Top Inventing PodcastWhat is the secret for great invention ideas? Where can you go to find a community to help you innovate? If you're a techie (aka geek, smarty-pants, or red-hot genius), where can you find "your people"? We'll we answering these questions on today's podcast so download and listen in!

Vocademy is an idea that I have had for many years. A place that teaches real “hands-on” skills. Not just traditional shop skills, but a place that also teaches the most state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques. A place open to everyone, of every age, 7-days a week. Open during hours when normal people can come and learn. With no barriers or bureaucracy. Then we add a “dream workshop” for those in the community that want to learn, build, create and become “Makers.” To bring back “shop class for everyone!”

I have witnessed the demise of hands-on skills in this country. Not for lack of people who want or need these skills and knowledge, but for lack of places to learn and use such skills. Many agree that once this country loses its ability to make and build things (with our own hands), we will have lost what made America great. Edison, Franklin, the Wright Brothers, Harley Davidson, Apple, HP and many others started in small workshops with basic tools. Many more Americans should have the same opportunity to innovate, collaborate, and create their dreams. NOT just access to these tools, but proper and practical instruction to use them correctly and safely!

America used to have “shop” classes. Whether it was wood shop, metal shop, industrial arts or even art classes, it was a place for makers, inventors and dreamers. For those who wanted to use their hands, in addition to their minds. It was the place where kids found that they love to tinker, to take things apart and put them together. The starting place for the many people who love to to design, to build, and to create! Some were lucky enough to have a dad or an uncle that had a small workshop and were willing to share their know-how. But now these places are very rare, if not completely gone. For many, a personal workshop just an expensive dream. But many people still need and want these skills.

That’s why, with a lot of hard work, passionate people and determination, we created Vocademy – The makerspace. The place to learn and make anything!"

Category: Makers & Innovators
Original Release Date: 11/20/14

Direct download: 010_-_Gene_Sherman_Interview.mp3
Category:Makers and Innovators -- posted at: 1:34am PST
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Justin Lukasavige - Table Top Inventing PodcastJustin Lukasavige coaches people to do business better by using the power of their personal stories. Justin graduated from college with a degree in aviation and immediately became a commercial pilot. Knowing it wasn’t the story he wanted to live, he began coaching people to get out of debt. He grew his business so quickly (with the help of coaches and mentors) that other business owners took notice and asked for advice on doing the same. Justin is currently working with a handful of startups and non-profits in marketing and product.

More about Justin can be found here:  http://www.coachradio.tv/about

 

Category: Business Professionals

Original Release Date: 11/13/14

Direct download: 009_-_Justin_Lukasavige_Interview.mp3
Category:Makers and Innovators -- posted at: 10:44pm PST
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Linda Polin - Table Top Inventing PodcastDr. Linda Polin teaches courses in learning, technology, and design, as well as in research design. Her research interests focus on learning and knowledge sharing in online communities. Her current research interests focus on knowledge co-construction and sharing, such as learning in informal online communities. Dr. Polin is studying informal yet self-organized learning communities in massively multiplayer online gaming and literature-based role-playing communities on the Web.

Category: Innovative Educators

Original Release Date: 11/6/14

Direct download: 008_-_Linda_Polin_Interview.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 1:49am PST
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John Westrum - Table Top Inventing PodcastJohn Westrum is the Vice President of Operations at Afinia, a division of Microboards Technology, LLC.  John has been instrumental in introducing the Afinia 3D printer into the US market, and has a long-term view on products and sales with his 20+ year tenure as a VP at Microboards.  John knows his business inside and out including the marketing and sales, the support and engineering, as well as the purchasing side.  We approached John because we were interested in his views both of Maker Education as well as his perspective on our core question, "What is the purpose of an education?".

Category: Business Professionals
Original Release Date: 10/30/14

Direct download: 007_-_John_Westrum_Interview.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 2:00am PST
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Dan Miller - Table Top Inventing PodcastDan Miller, President of 48 Days LLC, is our guest this week on the TTI Podcast. Dan specializes in creative thinking for increased personal and business success. He believes meaningful work blends our natural skills and abilities, our unique personality traits and our dreams and passions. He is active in helping individuals redirect careers, evaluate new income sources, and achieve balanced living. Dan is the author of the New York Times best-selling 48 Days To The Work You Love, No More Dreaded Mondays and Wisdom Meets Passion.

If you’ve ever buried your dreams in an attempt to be “practical” or “realistic,” Dan believes embracing those very dreams is the most practical way to enjoy life and achieve success. In his mind, a clear sense of direction can help us become all we were meant to be.

Category: Business Professionals

Original Release Date: 10/23/14

Direct download: 006_-_Dan_Miller_Interview.mp3
Category:Makers and Innovators -- posted at: 5:00am PST
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Meg Backus - Table Top Inventing PodcastMeg earned her Masters of Library Science from and has taught in Syracuse University’s School of Information. For the past two years she has worked as the Systems Administrator and Chief Maker at the Chattanooga Public Library where she lead the The 4th Floor project, a public laboratory and educational facility with a focus on information, design, technology, and the applied arts. She has 5 years of library experience, having developed innovative, civic-minded library projects featured in Wired, on NPR, and in the Whitney Biennial. Meg explores and tests various service models for creative, open-ended public spaces--models which leverage community expertise, allow for growth and flexibility, and evolve according to local needs in ways that align with fundamental library values like inclusiveness, access, and cooperation. She thinks of libraries as active testing grounds for building the society that should exist.

Meg loves to read and perhaps above all else is committed to remaining open to new experiences. She is just as interested in promoting opportunities to learn traditional crafts like weaving as she is in facilitating classes using Arduino and 3D printers.

Geoff Millener - Table Top Inventing PodcastGeoff Millener was born in New Zealand, raised in Tennessee and educated in Massachusetts. He attended Amherst College, where he spent a great deal of time reading, writing and being cold; he has since returned to Chattanooga, where he’s employed by the Mozilla Foundation working to bridge the digital divide through coordinating the Gigabit Community Fund projects and building a Hive Learning Community. He also teaches an introductory class on 3-D printing for the Chattanooga Public Library’s 4th Floor.

Category: Makers & Innovators / Innovative Educators

Original Release Date: 10/16/14

Direct download: 005_-_Meg_Backus_and_Geoff_Millener_Interview.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 2:00am PST
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Gary Stager & Sylvia Martinez - Table Top Inventing PodcastGary Stager is one of the world’s leading experts and advocates for computer programming, robotics and learning-by-doing in classrooms. In 1990, Dr. Stager led professional development in the world’s first laptop schools and played a major role in the early days of online education. In addition to being a popular keynote speaker at some of the world’s most prestigious education conferences, Gary is a journalist, educator, consultant, professor, and software developer.

Sylvia Martinez works in schools around the world to bring the power of authentic learning into classrooms, particularly in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math subjects. Sylvia speaks, writes, and advocates for student-centered, project-based learning, gender equity in technology, computer programming, and life-long learning.  For the past ten years, Sylvia was President of Generation YES, a non-profit working to empower young people to improve their schools and communities with modern technology.

Together this dynamic duo has written a great new book titled, "Invent to Learn".

Category: Innovative Educators

Original Release Date: 10/9/14

Direct download: 004_-_Gary_Stager_and_Sylvia_Martinez_Interview.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 2:00am PST
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Alex Huthmacher - Table Top Inventing PodcastToday on our podcast we will be talking with Alex Huthmacher.  Alex is the Manager of Network Infrastructure at 21st Century Fox where he Manages projects, configures network devices, firewalls, switches, load balancers, ect.  Before working at FOX Alex was network engineer at Sandia National Laboratories where he focused on security in network integration.  Alex has also worked at the Xerox data center in San Diego where he helped them migrate the infrastructure to Texas.  With all this experience you might expect a much older man, but Alex's determination, hands-on experience, and insatiable curiosity have served him well at his young age.

Category: Business Professionals

Original Release Date: 10/2/14

Direct download: 003_-_Alex_Huthmacher_Interview_1.mp3
Category:Business Professionals -- posted at: 6:03pm PST
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David Thornburg - Table Top Inventing PodcastDr. Thornburg has worked in the field of educational technology since the early 1980's. His focus is on STEM education, and he is a strong proponent of tinkering as a pathway to helping children learn about engineering.  He is the co-author of the book "The Invent to Learn Guide to 3D Printing in the Classroom" which is aligned to both the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core Math standards. 

Dr. Thornburg's Book (co-authored with Norma Thornburg and Sarah Armstrong): http://www.inventtolearn.com/3d-printing-in-the-classroom/

3D Printing news/community link: http://www.3ders.org/

Category: Innovative Educators

Original Release Date: 9/25/14 

Direct download: 002_-_David_Thornburg_Interview.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 4:00am PST
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Eric Sheninger - Table Top Inventing PodcastMy guest today is Eric Sheninger.  Eric is a Senior Fellow and Thought Leader on Digital Leadership with the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE).  He began his career in education as a high school Science Teacher, but realizing that his true passion was leadership, he went on to the district level and ultimately became the principal of New Milford High School. He has distinguished himself as a thought leader in education and won many awards.  As a writer, Eric has an award winning blog, a great new book called "Digital Leadership", and almost 70,000 followers on Twitter.

Category: Innovative Educators

Original Release Date: 9/18/14

Direct download: 001_-_Eric_Sheninger_Interview.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 4:00am PST
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Clark Barnett - Table Top Inventing PodcastClark BarnettWe are excited to share the thoughts of a fantastic K-5 educator.  Clark Barnett has been an educator for 13 years in grades K-5. During this tenure he has spent the majority of his time teaching 4th grade. Clark earned his Master’s of Education Technology from Pepperdine University in 2005, and in addition to teaching 4th grade, he has been an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University since 2006. Over the past 4 years he has been teaching with iPads in the classroom and is currently piloting the only 1-to-1 tablet classroom in the Conejo Valley USD.

Category: Innovative Educators

Original Release Date: 9/11/14

Direct download: 000_-_Clark_Barnett_Interview_-_Podcast_Kickoff_1.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 4:00am PST
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