Author Archives: John Pederson

#49: Larry Cocco

Larry Cocco, Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the New Jersey Department of Education, joins Julia and I to talk about what he’s learned from diving into the world of massively multiplayer online role playing games (World of Warcraft).


#48: Kiki Prottsman

Julia and I talk with Kiki Prottsman @kiki_lee about Picture Me in Computing, an annual event (11/10/12) to raise awareness of girls and women in computing.

Introduced to computers early, Kiki was brought up in a family where technology was oxygen for daily life. Kiki started as a programmer and transitioned her creative energy into web & graphic design, working closely with small businesses for nearly 10 years. While getting her master’s, Kiki spent two years as the Chairwoman of the Women in Computer Science program at the University of Oregon, where she developed Project Hatch (a K-12 outreach program) that continues to spread through local Oregon Schools. After graduation, Kiki put her heart and soul into founding Thinkersmith, a non-profit with the goal of teaching computer science using inspiring, fun and artistic methods. With a love for teaching, Kiki enjoys spending her days at the University of Oregon, instructing undergraduates and working on community projects with the Industrial Outreach Committee.

Continuing to set her sights on equity, Kiki is keen not only to attract girls into STEM, but to keep their interest alive and growing.


#40: Bre Urness-Straight

Bre is a Technology Integration Specialist, responsible for researching, developing and implementing the district-wide instructional technology professional development program for Oak Harbor School District near NW corner of the state of Washington.


#39: Darren Hudgins

Darren is a former secondary education instructor, staff developer, and coach who joined the Organization of Educational Technology & Curriculum team in 2008.

Since becoming the Instructional Programs Coordinator, he has had the pleasure of supporting, collaborating, leading, facilitating and integrating effective technology programs (such as Portland Public Schools iPad Cadre & TOSA PD, IT Support Staff Symposium, Oregon Virtual School District, Oregon EdTech Cadre, CenturyLink/ODE Regional grants for teachers, MSUB Summer Institute, MERIT keynoter and N. Marion). In addition to his professional development responsibilities, he is the event organizer for the Instructional Technology Strategies Conference ( in Portland, Oregon.

Along with a deep desire and passion to improve education, Darren holds a M.Ed. along with dual bachelor’s degrees in Human Development and Social Sciences.



#38: Richard Culatta

Richard Culatta is a leader in the field of educational innovation. He has worked in K-12, higher education, corporate, and government training environments. His current focus as Deputy Director of the Office of Educational Technology for the US Department of Education is on using data and learning analytics to create customized learning experiences for all students. Prior to joining the Department of Education, he served as an education policy advisor to US Senator Patty Murray.

Culatta also focuses on leveraging social media to create effective large-scale distributed learning environments. As Chief Technology Officer at CIA University, Culatta developed a collaborative online learning platform to extend training opportunities to CIA officers worldwide. Before his work with the federal government, Culatta was the learning technologies advisor for the David O. McKay School of Education at Brigham Young University and the Director of Operations for the Rose Education Foundation. He began working with instructional technology at the University of Rhode Island where he co-taught the university’s first technology integration workshops for faculty. Since then he has coached instructors and administrators in leveraging social media and data for learning, provided strategic consulting for organizations, and served on a variety of advisory boards across the US and Latin America.


#37: Tim Lauer

Tim Lauer is the principal at Lewis Elementary School in Portland, Oregon. Before that he was a teacher (mainly primary grades, mostly kindergarten…) and also a Teacher on Special Assignment with my district. He also had the good fortune to spend a year (2002-2003) working with the Intel Education group.

In this episode we bring out the “Tim Lauer deep catalog of stories” that pull forward into why he does what it is he does today.


#36: Brian C. Smith

My 15+ years in education have taught me the most important aspect about learning, to enjoy it.  I believe that play can be a sophisticated way of learning and I have had the privilege of creating and conducting playshops that teach both students and educators the power of learning through tinkering.

Philosophically, my work lies within the constructivist and the constructionist theory of learning described by Dr. Seymour Papert.  My approach to learning stems from my  experiences teaching and learning in inquiry and project-based environments.

Of particular interest is physical computing and the “maker movement” or DIY (do it yourself) phenomenon and how it applies to learning, teaching and education. In my freetime, I like to tinker with the Arduino prototyping platform attempting to create interesting interactive objects.  I am learning a lot along the way.

I’m a faculty member of Constructing Modern Knowledge, a hands-on, minds-on institute lead each summer by my friend and colleague Dr. Gary Stager.  As a NYSCATE Board Director have helped direct an organization with over 6000 members.   I also assist with planning, organizing and running NYSCATE’s Annual Conference each November.


#35: Karen Fasimpaur

I have a keen interest in the area of open educational resources, particularly in elementary and secondary education (K-12). Currently, I run a small educational technology company. (I also keep a blog there, largely concerned with mobile technologies.) I have worked in education, including software and textbook publishing, for over 15 years. I have also taught overseas in Africa. The confluence of this experience with the current state of technology and massive collaboration and with circumstances in my own life has led me to think seriously about devoting a large amount of my time in the future to developing and advocating for open educational resources.


#34: Doug Levin

Named by Tech & Learning as one of the top 10 most influential people in EdTech in 2011, Douglas Levin is the Executive Director of the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA). In this position, he works with and represents U.S. state and territorial educational technology directors to other national education groups, federal policymakers, the U.S. Department of Education, the private sector, and the media. SETDA provides national leadership on technology-based education reform and school improvement, supports state members with meaningful professional development opportunities, and engages in partnerships to advance the use of technology in support of effective teaching and learning.

Doug brings 20 years of Washington, DC-based education policy and research experience to SETDA, gained through prominent roles in the private and non-profit sectors. He formerly worked with the National Association of State Boards of Education, the American Institutes for Research, and Cable in the Classroom, the cable industry’s national education foundation. He played key roles in developing the nation’s first three national education technology plans and in conducting research and evaluations of major educational technology programs and initiatives, including as primary author of the groundbreaking Pew Internet study of internet-savvy students, The Digital Disconnect. By appointment of Governor McDonnell, he serves on the Virginia Open Education Curriculum Board and is a 2006 recipient of a Making It Happen award for educational technology leadership. Doug served as an IEL Education Policy Fellow from 1998-99, holds a Master of Arts degree in Sociology from George Washington University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the College of William and Mary.  


#32: Karen Peterson

Karen A. Peterson, M.Ed. is the Chief Executive Officer for the EdLab Group. Currently, she is the Principal Investigator for the National Girls Collaborative Project, SciGirls – A New National TV Series, the Computer Science Collaboration Project, and Bio-ITEST: New Frontiers in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, all of which are funded by the National Science Foundation. These projects all address gender, racial and socioeconomic underrepresentation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Peterson serves on local, regional and national boards which develop and administer programs designed to increase underrepresented students’ interests in STEM. Peterson has published in The Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering and has co-authored evaluation reports and promising practices reports in informal information technology education for girls for the National Center for Women & Information Technology and the Girl Scouts of the USA. Peterson has also managed U.S. Department of Education grants designed to provide professional development opportunities to Puget Sound area teachers.

For over 20 years, Peterson has been active in education as a classroom teacher, university instructor, pre-service and in-service teacher educator, program administrator, and researcher. Serving as Western Washington University’s first ”Internet Librarian,” she assisted teacher education faculty and students in the integration of technology into K-12 classroom teaching. She currently serves on the board of TrueChild, a research and action center devoted to challenging and transforming gender stereotypes and their impact on young people so they achieve their full potential. A graduate of the University of Washington, Bothell campus, her Master’s thesis focused on gendered attitudes towards computer use in education.


#31: Gary Stager

It can sometimes be difficult to wrap your head around Gary Stager.  I’ve always told people, “I don’t want to know whether he’s 100% real or not.  If I realize “not”, I’m going to be crushed.  Like Santa.”

I can confirm that after the hour we spent with Gary Stager today…he is absolutely, 100% real.

Not that I ever doubted.



#30: Susan Brooks-Young

Susan Brooks-Young has been involved in the field of instructional technology since 1979. She was one of the original technology users in the district where she taught and has continued to explore ways in which technology can be used to facilitate student learning. She has worked as computer mentor, technology trainer, and technology curriculum specialist.

Prior to establishing her own consulting firm, Susan was a teacher, site administrator, and technology specialist in a county office of education in a career that spanned more than 23 years. Since 1986, she has published articles and software reviews in a variety of education journals. She is also author of eight books which focus on education technology and leadership.

Susan works with educators internationally, focusing on practical technology-based strategies for personal productivity and effective technology implementation in schools, including mobile technologies running iOS or Android OS.

Tom Fullerton

#24: Tom Fullerton

Friday, September 9, 2011 – 11:30am CDT

Pedagogical Consultant with the Lester B. Pearson School Board, on loan to Simon Fraser University. Working in teacher inquiry with the Field Programs Department. Conseiller pédagogique avec la commission scolaire Lester B. Pearson, en prêt de service avec L’Université Simon Fraser. J’accompagne les professeurs qui poursuivent des enquêtes dans leurs pratique. #opensource #openlearning


Debby Kurti

#23: Debby Kurti

Friday, September 2, 2011 – 11:30am CDT

I am an educational experimentalist. My teaching style is an eclectic blend of constructivist pedagogy fused with social learning theory that allows me to facilitate interesting experiences that peak my students’ curiosity and desire to know more. If it involves helping others learn, I love trying it out. In my field, there is no way to be an expert at everything, so I am an expert at learning and at setting up engaging educational experiences. I am great at connecting people to the resources they need and at connecting people to other people. It’s so much more fun that way!

Projects By Jen

#22: Jen Wagner

Friday, August 26, 2011 – 11:30am CDT

Jennifer Wagner, creator of ProjectsByJen, has been successfully encouraging teachers since 1999 to use online projects in their PreK-6 classrooms. Using various ideas, Jennifer will help you understand how online projects will help you make the most of your time in a variety of ways. Winning numerous awards for her creative ways in encouraging teachers to collaborate, her teaching style is very user friendly, creative, and personable.

Jose Vilson

#21: Jose Vilson

Friday, August 19, 2011 – 11:30am CDT

Jose Luis Vilson is a math teacher, coach, and data analyst for a middle school in the Inwood / Washington Heights neighborhood of New York, NY. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Syracuse University and a master’s degree in mathematics education from the City College of New York. A New York City Teaching Fellows, Jose Vilson spoke at the NYCTF Induction Ceremony in 2007 in Lincoln Center. He has worked on developing professional development for his fellow teachers on such topics as working on goals for the classroom and using educational data systems. Through his work as an educator, he’s developing a citywide and national voice for all teachers, working with groups such as the Teacher Leaders Network and the General Electric Fund to promote new ideas for educators, creating assessment tasks, and developing curriculum maps.

When not working on these occupations, he’s also a committed poet, writer, web designer, and community organizer. He co-authored the book Teaching 2030: What We Must Do For Our Students and Public Schools … Now and In The Future with Dr. Barnett Berry and 11 other accomplished teachers. He currently serves as the president of the Latino Alumni Network of Syracuse University, as a board member on the Board of Directors for the Center for Teaching Quality, and has served as board member for Media Make Change, an organization committed to the integration of social justice and social media. He’s part of the first cohort of Acentos Fellows as part of the Acentos Foundation, and a member of LATinos In Social Media (LATISM), the Capicu Poetry Group, BlogCritics, and the AfroSpear.

Gary Goldberger

#20: Gary Goldberger

Friday August 5, 2011 – 11:30am CDT

As FableVision’s Co-Founder & President, Gary Goldberger is torchbearer of the company’s mission, setting strategic goals and building cross-industry partnerships and alliances, with a special focus on digital gaming – including PBS/PBS Kids, MIT Education Arcade, Nickelodeon/Noggin, Scholastic/Weston Woods, and Jim Henson Productions. Gary is a strong believer in the possibility and potential of digital media to help solve the worlds’ most pressing problems, along with using media & technology to making learning more engaging for young and old alike.

One of the leaders of Games for Change-New England, Gary speaks nationally about positive uses of gaming in education and other pro-social applications. In Boston, he has worked closely with the Mayor’s Office and the Governor’s Office to identify resources and programs that will help establish Boston as the hub of digital gaming.

Melanie McBride

#19: Melanie McBride

Friday July 29, 2011 – 11:30am CDT

Melanie McBride is a Toronto-based early adopter, educator and digital culture specialist exploring emergent learning, literacy and play. In 2010, she joined Ryerson University’s Experiential Design and Gaming Environments (EDGE) lab where she is researching and writing about autonomous learning and play in situated, informal gaming and digitally-mediated social environments and affinity spaces. Melanie is also at work on a book about the hidden curriculum of emergent learning, literacies and educational paradigms (spring 2012). Melanie has taught secondary (high school), post-secondary, industry, alternative, at-risk and adult education. When she is not writing and researching she can be found raiding and pvping in World of Warcraft or flooding things in Minecraft.

Interactive New Media

Prior to becoming a teacher, Melanie was an active participant in online life and culture and worked for over a decade as an interactive new media storyteller. Her research, writing and ideas have contributed to award-winning e-learning and interactive new and trans-media projects with government, national media and educational clients including: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Trapeze Media, Phantom Compass, Learning Agents, Mystus Exhibits and distinguished museum clients in North America, Europe and the Middle East. Melanie’s interactive histories for the CBC Archives projecthave repurposed by teachers for use in Canadian classrooms and are cited as primary sources in and wikipedia. Melanie has written about technology and culture forMindjack Magazine, Howard Rheingold’s Smartmobs and her blog at Her ideas and blog posts are frequently cited by leading technologists, educators, educational press and included many course syllabi and presentations.

Education and Teaching

Melanie holds a Specialist degree (BA Hons) in English Literature from University of Toronto and an Intermediate/Secondary teaching degree (B.Ed) from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto. Melanie has also attended Ryerson University for media studies and received a post-graduate certificate in online writing and information design at The Centre for Creative Communications, Centennial College. Melanie will begin an MA in York/Ryerson University’s joint graduate program in Communication and Culture in 2012.

From 2005 to 2009, Melanie designed and taught post-graduate professional courses in interactive writing, social and participatory media and online publishing as a part-time faculty member at Centennial College’s Centre for Creative Communications. In 2009, Melanie joined the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) as an Intermediate/Secondary Media Arts teacher working with at-risk youth aged 18-20.

Speaking and consulting

As a speaker, Melanie has appeared at The National Inner City Educators conference, The Canadian Association of Communicators in Education (CACE), Trillium Lakelands School Board, Magazines Canada’s Web Weekend series, The Atlantic Magazines Association conference and various industry and PD workshops. As a consultant, Melanie has provided social and participatory content and learning strategies for education, online publishing, advocacy and entertainment media.

Research Interests

Social justice, situated informal learning, gaming/game culture, MMOs and multiplayer games, virtual and persistent worlds, transmedia, remix and maker culture, Open technology, Open education, critical pedagogy, critical theory, hidden and null curriculum, privacy

Jen Orr

#18: Jen Orr

Jen OrrJuly 22, 2011 – 11:30am CDT

Jen Orr, a first grade teacher from northern Virginia, will be joining us to talk about being a first grade teacher, parent, and “edtech” person.  Her blog, “Elementary, My Dear, or Far From It” can be found at  We’ll be bugging her about her takeaways from ISTE 2011 and her recent experiences at the Northern Virginia Writing Project Summer Institute.

Justin Baeder

#17: Justin Baeder

Friday July 15, 2011 – 11:30am CDT

Justin Baeder is a public elementary school principal in Seattle and a doctoral student at the University of Washington.

His professional and research interests focus on principal performance and productivity, and are guided by the belief that one of the most effective ways to improve student learning is by empowering principals to become more effective in their core work.

Justin writes about educator performance at Education Week, and speaks on principal performance and productivity at conferences and professional development sessions for school leaders.

To get in touch with Justin, please use the contact form or send an @ reply on Twitter to@eduleadership.

Dean Shareski

#1: Dean Shareski

Dean Shareski (that would be me) is a Digital Learning Consultant with the Prairie South School Division in Moose Jaw, SK, Canada. I specialize in the use of technology in the classroom. I hold a Masters of Education in Communications and Technology through the University of Saskatchewan. I also am a sessional lecturer for the University of Regina.

Since late 2004 I’ve been immersed in understanding what the Read/Write Web is all about and how the new shape of knowledge changes how we all learn. I believe teachers and students ought to use technology to connect ideas and learners in safe, relevant, authentic ways to answer questions, share ideas and develop community. Learning can be, and should be, fun and personal. I was fortunate to be awarded the 2010 ISTE Award for Outstanding Leadership in Technology and Education. This honor is mostly a reflection of the great people I work with both within my school division and beyond. My greatest asset is that I know smart people and how to find them.

I’ve been fortunate to work along side Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Will Richardsonin varying roles for the Powerful Learning Practice. This company offers a unique professional learning experience for educators around the world. It has been a great learning experience for me as I help create community and learning in virtual spaces and help teachers change practice to improve learning for students.

I mostly blog here but occasionally for Tech and Learning Magazine and theHuffington Post.

More important than any of that is my family. I’ve been married for 26 years to my lovely wife Paula. She’s a teacher-librarian and part time quilter. We have 4 children ages 24,21,19 and 12. They are all very different and yet all amazing. Thank goodness for their mother. I developed a strong interest in videography. I run a small business on the side that includes developing video for businesses and personal requests as well such as weddings and funerals and special projects. I’ve also designed and manage a number of websites.  Other than technology, my passions include golf, music, travel and my faith. I write out of a strong belief that school and learning must be different. My personal growth as a learner has been exponential as a result of my exploration of technology and connectivity to some of the best and brightest in education today. I’m discovering that great minds and ideas exist locally and also through personal, virtual connections.