Table Top Inventing Podcast (Technology Educators)

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

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

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

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

  • 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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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

Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes


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:

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


Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

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 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 |


Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes


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 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

Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

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 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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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 or you can just visit 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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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, 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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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 to find out how to get your kids involved in some "hard fun" this summer?  If you know today's guest, Tim Vandenberg, email 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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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 or by clicking on the Inventor’s Bootcamp button on the 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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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 or you can just visit 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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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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.


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

Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

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

Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

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

Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

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

Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

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):

3D Printing news/community link:

Category: Innovative Educators

Original Release Date: 9/25/14 

Direct download: 002_-_David_Thornburg_Interview.mp3
Category:Technology Educators -- posted at: 4:00am PST

Show Notes | YouTube | iTunes

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