Stories on maker education and innovation 


National STEM Video Game Challenge 2010 Youth Prize Winners

As I have reviewed materials from the conference, I have become more convinced that education has a huge impact to the future of our economic future.   I have also enjoyed seeing the results of “game based learning” challenges. The students in this video give me hope that the US can continue to be innovation leaders. I am blown away that these students are in middle school. Wow!  I hope that I can inspire my boys to have that sort of creativity.

These students are truly exceptional.   I would be interested to learn about the parents and teachers who supported these students.   Whatever it is, we should try to reproduce what they are doing.

As parents, mentors, and educators, how can we create challenges in our families and communities that inspire young people to be creative and innovate?

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Can gaming have a positive impact to students? Answers from

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If we spend 3 billion hours a week playing online games, is it possible to direct some of that human energy to creating positive change in the real world?   Can gaming have a positive impact on students?  In the past week, I had the opportunity to explore some of the content from the conference.     During this event, the speakers and thought leaders explored how games can improve our planet.

Why should teachers consider using games to enhance traditional learning?  Dr. Rick Van Eck, a leader in instructional design and technology, has a great TED talk exploring the major benefits of game based learning.     I wanted to share this content to help you understand the context of the conference.

From the conference, I was especially moved by the keynote by Jane McGonigal.     You can view the full talk here ( She talked about the influence gaming can have on emotion, mental resilience, social relationship, self image, and engagement.    She challenged the community to work together to help measure and prove that games can have larger positive impact.   I loved her story behind the birth of  As a game designer, she created this game in response to a concussion she had experienced resulting in a period of profound depression.   In response to this dark time in her life, she designed the game to make small steps to wellness.   This game looks like it would be helpful to anyone going through a traumatic life event or illness.  I love that she collected her back story and academic literature review at .

In other contexts, Jane McGonigal has promoted the idea of online games that you play in the real world.    For example, you should checkout World without oil.   While I feel some of the execution of the game can be improved, the game idea has really resonated with me.   As an aspiring game designer, I will definitely explore this concept more deeply.

To the team that constructed the organization and conference, I greatly appreciate all of your work.    You have given the world a lot to think about.     I am more convinced that online and real world games can create positive changes in health, education and our planet.

What kind of social change do you want to make in education?   What are you passionate about teaching?   Can we use games to teach that topic?  When does teaching by gaming make sense?

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Average debt at graduation is $25,000. How can we reduce these costs?

Published on June 15, 2012 by in Uncategorized

The Price of Higher EducationSource: H&R Block

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The Gamification of Education Infographic

The Gamification of Education Infographic #gamification #edtech via @Knewton
Gamification of Education

Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

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What makes a great teacher?

Why is this important?

  • Great leaders are born from great teachers.
  • For those that do not belong to the top 20% of society, the quality of education seems to be degrading.
  • Over 30% of high school students never graduate.
  • For minorities, over 50% of high school students do not finish.

If we value education as a nation, we should find ways to create great teachers, support them, reward them, and reproduce their success.  The Gates Foundation has been doing some amazing research in this area.

In this video, Bill Gates challenges the community to construct thoughtful measures that help us celebrate and discover what makes an awesome teacher.



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Starting with WHY

Published on June 5, 2012 by in Uncategorized

Space Shuttle Launch

My wife and I grew up in the great state of Florida. I was born and raised on the west side in the city of Tampa. Sarah was raised on the other side of the state in the shadows of the rockets on the Space Coast. We are HUGE fans of NASA. I can remember my Dad breaking out an “old school” slide projector to show us the history of the Apollo missions. Several times our family took mini-road trips to the east coast to see the Shuttle launch. Both of my parents work in the medical field. These things, combined with an “overdose” of watching Star Trek, influenced my love for science. In my adult life, I work as a software engineer who especially loves to rip off ideas from biology.

Growing up in Cocoa Beach, FL, Sarah was in a prime location to explore the coastal wildlife and to see all things NASA. If you visit Sarah’s childhood home, you can run to the beach at the end of the street and see a few launch pads. Sarah’s dad had an awesome career working at the Space Center. When you grow up surrounded by engineers and rocket scientists, it is almost natural to become a lover of science. I have to say that I am very proud of my wife. In her young adult life, she has completed her doctorate in biomedical science. She now teaches microbiology and biology in a local college. It has been awesome to see her experiment with different teaching and engagement styles.

Together we have a shared passion for science. Like all teachers, my wife has to work diligently to keep her students engaged. This topic of student engagement seems to dominate our dinner conversations. As a technologist and media geek, I enjoy the opportunity to help my wife be successful in her work.

From my corporate perspective, I have started reading a lot of content related to leadership. The books “Developing the leader in you” by John Maxwell and “Entreleadership” by Dave Ramsey both point to a profound principal: the best leaders are those that teach. Even though I work as a professional computer geek and my wife is a college professor, it seems we are both in the same business of teaching.

Born out of this passion for science and desiring to become better teachers, my wife and I decided to commit to blogging about our life lessons. In this work, we hope to celebrate great teachers, schools, and organizations that teach. We also hope to explore opportunities that can improve our craft of teaching.

We hope to cover some of the following types of content:

  • Examples of great teaching
  • Showcases of great schools
  • Teaching principals and rules of thumb
  • Teaching styles
  • Media resources
  • Teaching communities
  • Books
  • Articles
  • Web technology that supports teaching and learning

We hope that you will become a regular visitor. Thanks for joining us as we learn to improve our craft of teaching.


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