Table Top Inventing Podcast

About Us

TTI Home
TTI Mission
TTI Podcast


Technology Educators
Business Professionals
Makers and Innovators



Keyword Search

November 2016
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30




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,, 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

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...


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

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

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

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

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 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

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

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




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

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 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

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 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

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, 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

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

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 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

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 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

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 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

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


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

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

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 ( 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

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 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