Friday, March 6, 2020

Coffee with a Geek Interview with Mamta Narula

Listen on iTunes Podcasts:  HERE

I had the great opportunity to listen to Mamta Narula at last year's NYSCATE Conference.  Mamta agreed to be a participant in our Fab 5 Presentations.  The catch?  Mamta was in India!  She was fantastically patient and we connected with her from across the miles through Google Hangouts.  Her presentation was a fantastic success.

So it is with great enthusiasm that I will have the opportunity to talk more with Mamta about her vast experience in educational technology.

A little about Mamta in her own words:  "I am an educator from India and I firmly believe that learning is a continuous process and learning should be shared. I have a keen interest in exploring and using Technology tools in Teaching. I regularly incorporate tech tools in my teaching and share it with other educators also."

How to Connect with Mamta:

Youtube Video:  HERE

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Coffee with a Geek Interview with Dr. Jill Reese

LISTEN HERE on iTunes Podcasts

DATE:  February 14th, 2020

I am really honored and excited to chat with Dr. Jill Reese.  She's  is not only a Music Education Professor but has an amazing Youtube Channel that she uses for Ukulele Instruction.  She can be seen around the College town where I live, having Ukulele jam sessions!  I can't wait to talk to her about education, her use of edtech, and Ukulele playing!

Here's a little about Jill in her own words: "Jill Reese is Associate Professor of Music Education at The State University of New York at Fredonia. She earned degrees in Music Education from Temple University (Ph.D.), University of Michigan (M.M), and Michigan State University (B.M.). She taught vocal/general music in the public schools of Michigan, and early childhood music in Michigan and Pennsylvania. She presents and publishes research nationally and internationally on topics including technology, improvisation, early childhood music, general music, and ukulele. She is the founder of Fredonia Ukulele (an intergenerational community ukulele group) and a YouTube channel that provides over 100 original ukulele play-along videos for teachers, students, and amateur ukulele players and has over 49,000 subscribers and over 14,000,000 views since 2015. She was awarded the 2017 Fredonia College Council Award for Community Engagement for facilitating community ukulele and early childhood music experiences through community-university partnerships. Her solo-authored book, Navigating Music Learning Theory: A Guide for General Music Teachers was released in August of 2019 through GIA Publications. Her co-authored book, Q & A for MLT: General Music Perspectives, is under contract with GIA Publications and is projected for publication in 2021."

Ways to Connect with Jill:

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Coffee with a Geek Interview with Ryan McGinnis

iTunes Podcast Link HERE

Really looking forward to interviewing friend and colleague Ryan McGinnis.  Ryan is a really dynamic technology integrator for CA Boces in the Southern Tier of New York State.  He truly is a great source of pedagogical and innovative best practices.  Can't wait to chat with him about his thoughts on upcoming technology trends and big ideas.

A little about Ryan in his own words:  "3rd year as a Professional Development Coordinator (Technology Integration), newly appointed CA BOCES Data Protection Officer, spent 10 years as classroom teacher (5th, 2nd, STEM), 2 years as an Elementary Principal."

Ways to connect with Ryan:

Twitter: @RyanMcGTech

Work Website:  HERE

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Coffee with a Geek 2019 in Review

It's that time of year when we look back and reflect on the year and hopefully set goals and resolutions to improve our lives, both personally and professionally.

I'm so thankful for all the people that sit and chat with me and discuss their thoughts and ideas around education.  I find it so beneficial to hear from others to gain much needed perspective.

Anyway, my goal for this year and the past is to talk about education matters that are important, with trendsetting educational leaders.  So here is my year in review.

Guest/ Topic
Youtube Link
Dr. Shantel Scott- Teacher and Technology Innovator
Jennifer Gonzalez- Cult of Pedagogy  Need I say more?
Rabbi Michael Cohen- Edtech Leader
Canada Connect Conference Interviews

Scott Merrick- Virtual Environments ISTE PLN Leader
Mike Tholfsen- Microsoft Edu 
Luke Nifaratos- SAM (SMART Approaches to Marijuana)
Black Mirror Support Group- Awesome Group of Educators discussing pop culture
Kirsten Lewis- 3rd Grade Teacher Extraordinaire
Create-a-thon Winning Students- Creative Students!
Katharine Birbalsingh- Headmistress of the Michaela School
Kristen Swanson- Educator and Entrepreneur (Edcamp, Slack)

Monday, December 16, 2019

Coffee with a Geek Interview with Kristen Swanson


Really honored to have a chance to talk to Kristen Swanson.  I met Kristen a few years ago at the ISTE Conference and enjoyed chatting with her about her creative ideas and insights.  Little did I realize that Kristen would go on to co-found Edcamp, as well as, be a big part of her newest venture Slack!

A little about Kristen in her own words:  I currently serve as the Customer Experience Chief of Staff at Slack. I'm passionate about transforming how people work every day.
A lifelong educator, I also founded Edcamp, an organization that brings free, organic professional learning across the globe. In 2015, Edcamp was named one of the 10 most innovative companies in education by Fast Company.
I've published 3 books on learning design, and my work has been featured at TEDx, Educon, PBS Newshour, and more. I hold a doctorate degree in adult learning and organizational development.
I can't wait to chat with Kristen about making educational ventures happen in the entrepreneurial space.

Ways to Connect with Kristen:
Twitter:  @kristenswanson

Video was recorded using the Zoom Platform (Really easy experience!)
Video was edited using the Microsoft Photos program
Intro Music
Music from
"Danse Macabre - Xylophone" by Kevin MacLeod (
License: CC BY (

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Coffee with a Geek Interview with Katharine Birbalsingh

WHAT:  Interview with Katharine Birbalsingh

WHEN:  November 11th

One of the questions I ask of many of my guests is:  "If you could design you own school, what would it look like?"  Katharine Birbalsingh has been a part of creating a school!  Katharine is the Headmaster of the Michaela School in England.  This school runs along what I think is a Charter School Model, which I will ask her about in some detail.  Another focus will be on Katharine's perspective on educational technology.

Recently, Katharine has appeared on the Rubin Report.  Dave Rubin, in my opinion, is an outstanding interviewer because he asks probing questions and provides ample time for his guests to respond.  I will ask Katharine about her experience having a voice on such a wide ranging platform.

My overarching interest however, will be to really understand Katharine's work, her results, and her ideas, specifically around changing the dynamic of education.   I can't wait to hear her thoughts.

Music Selection:  "Ambler"
Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Coffee with a Geek Interview with Create-a-thon Winning Students

View this episode on iTunes HERE

I had a great opportunity to interview some students from Thomas C. Armstrong Middle School.  These students were the winners of the first Create-a-Thon in the area.  Like a Hackathon, the format for this contest is:  a) Pitch an idea b) Develop a team to work with c) develop your idea d)present the idea.  The best ideas are then evaluated by a panel of Judges.

These students idea was to create a way for teachers to evaluate their gender bias and then provide ways to make their classrooms more inclusive.  You can see their results by looking at their Padlet that they created:  HERE

A little about these students:

Calista lives with her wonderful parents, little sister Addie and three dogs, Kip, Charlotte, and Brownie. Calista plays midfield for Wayne Modified Team and Wayne Wings. Calista is always up for a challenge!

Jaden plays defense for Wayne’s Modified Soccer team. An interesting fact about Jaden is he has a twin brother, Corbin. He also has a little sister named Olivia.

Araya is an only child and has two cats, Max and  Sugar. Araya enjoyed participating in the Create-a-Thon.

Here are the questions I asked the students:

1. Tell me about your Create-a-Thon Winning idea

2. How did you like working through the design thinking process

3. Do you think this process helps to prepare you for your future?

4. From Doing this Hackathon, do you think it could be done in other schools?

5. What are your future plans?

Speed Geek Questions:

1. What is your favorite book?
2. What is you favorite way to unplug from technology?