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In This Episode of School of Talk


This episode features Christopher J. Nesi. Chris is a teacher, host of the podcast House of #EdTech. Technology and its role in education are his professional passion.

Chris is on the cutting edge of educational technology trends and he is a creative, detail-oriented, and tech-savvy educator who is never short on innovative ideas, energy, and the desire to get involved in a school community.

Educational Technology with Chris J. Nesi

Episode Highlights:

  • Chris shares how his father, who was a high school math teacher, inspired him to become an educator.
  • Chris shares his definition of educational technology and offers his advice on where teachers can start with incorporating technology into their classrooms.
  • What school leaders need to know about investing in technology for teachers.
  • What teaching through the pandemic has taught us about educational technology and why school districts need to take this as an opportunity to shake up the system and challenge the status quo.
  • Are we doing a disservice to students by not offering a virtual learning option? Is there a way we can bring some of the skills and tools we used last year into this year and beyond to support our learners?
  • Why hybrid or virtual learning options might benefit some students as they can focus on learning at home in a more comfortable environment. 

Intro: You are listening to School of Talk. We’re creating a world where every child experiences the power of a great teacher. We believe education is the answer. It has the power to conduct change, improve lives, unlock ideas, create opportunities, and build connections.

It’s the single greatest investment we can make today to create a better tomorrow. That’s why we’re on a mission to train, inform and inspire educators around the world.

Each week we dive into a topic related to education, teaching, and learning. Whether you’re an educator by trade or an educator by spirit, we’ve got something for you. Open up your mind, and get ready to soak in some new learning.

Class is in session!

Michelle: Today’s episode is brought to you by Skooli. Skooli is an online tutoring platform for K to 12 schools that deliver security and the best technology for one-to-one learning design with the classroom in mind.

Skooli offers schools and districts the learning support students need to understand difficult concepts. Students can connect with expert tutors directly and instantly through a safe online learning environment. Skooli’s easy-to-use digital classroom can be accessed anytime and from anywhere.

In today’s episode, I’m sitting down with Christopher J. Nessie.

Chris is certified in social studies and supervision and has inspired students and teachers at the middle-high school and collegiate levels. Technology and its role in education or his professional passion. Chris is on the cutting edge of educational technology trends. And he’s a creative, detail-oriented tech-savvy educator who has never short on innovative ideas, energy, and the desire to get involved in a school community.

Chris and I chat about the world of educational technology, what teachers need to know to get started, what school districts need to consider when spending in how we take some of our learning from the distance learning period to shake up the system.

Let’s jump right in. Okay, so we’re here with Chris J. Nesi. And Chris, I know that you’re an educator with a particular interest in the world of educational technology. Maybe you could start us off with what inspired you to become a teacher in the first place.

Chris: Sure. So first and foremost, my dad inspired me to become a teacher because he is a teacher himself. He’s a high school math teacher. And unfortunately, when I was born, he had to stop being a teacher. Because being a teacher back then, way back in the 1980s, teaching, didn’t pay the bills when you had a family. So he had to leave teaching.

But he instilled in me from a very young age, you know, caring for others helping others volunteerism. And I always knew that he taught and that just, I wanted to be like my dad.

So I decided when I was, I don’t know, maybe 16 or 17. I want to be a high school math teacher. And he looked at me and he said, “Are you sure?” Because the high school math that you teach you don’t learn in college? So I said, yeah, no, I got this figured out. I’m 17. I’m smarter than you. Sounds easy. Yeah. Right.

So I went off to college and was a math major for two years. And it’s not, it’s hard to learn that level of math, I got as far as absolutely Calc Two.

And then I changed my major because he said if you still want to teach you better figure something else out. So I chose history. And, you know, I’ve been a passionate social studies teacher since 2007. And, you know, I attribute it to him.

And I also, you know, attribute my career to all of the teachers, I had both the good ones and the bad ones, because everybody who you meet plays a role in who you are. And that’s no different than the teachers we get to work with. So my parents, my dad, and all the teachers I had put me where I’m sitting right now.

Michelle: Well, I think that’s fantastic. Thank you for sharing that. I think so many people get into this field, this career path, because of either someone who inspired them because they were a fantastic teacher or someone who inspired them. Because, you know, the student was sitting there thinking I could do better, I could make a difference. So I think that’s great that that’s how you got into the field of education. And I know that you have a little bit of special interest in the area of educational technology. Could you explain to us what does that mean? What is educational technology and you know, help us understand this better?

Chris: My definition of educational technology is any technology that can either assist in teaching a topic or particular thing. Or it’s also what we use to create, you know, whether it’s us as educators or the tech, and I hate to use the death, the word and the definition, but the technology we put in the hands of our students to, you know, create or communicate or collaborate with, you know, other people.

So, I mean, a rubber band, could be technology. So, any, and that gets more into the idea of assistive technology, right? So anything we can add to the equation that helps us do something. To me, that’s technology. And certainly, when we apply to what we do in the classroom with students, that makes it educational.

Michelle: How about when it comes to more advanced technologies, like computers, systems, and online tools. Where would you say is a good place for teachers to start with technology and educational technology like that?

Chris: I always tell people to start where you are comfortable, right? If we think of education, technology, integration, as you know, a multi-story penthouse or apartment building, nobody arrives at the top floor. Right, everybody walks in the front door walks in on the ground floor. And then you know, take the elevator where you need to go.

But everybody can start and will start at the same place. It’s just a matter of how comfortable a person is when they walk into the building. Right?

Somebody like me, I have no fear, I will push the buttons, click the switches. I’m not afraid of what’s going to happen, because ultimately, I know, I’m not going to break it. And if I do, well, if I break Google for Education, Google is gonna call me and find out what I did.

And, you know, if I did something that good, maybe I’ll get a job, maybe I won’t. But you know, too often people are afraid of, I’m going to break it or, you know, my, or, I don’t know how to do it. So I can’t possibly put myself out there in front of kids and show them I don’t know how to do something. Yes, you can.

So I think that’s where you start, start where you’re comfortable.

Michelle: I love that. I love that message. I think I think as educators, we spend a lot of time doing things that we’re not super comfortable with in front of an audience, and you kind of start to grow a little bit of a muscle for that, which is a good thing. And I think the message of just not being afraid to make a mistake with technology, usually the beautiful thing about, you know, computers.

Learn that early, and you’re probably in a good, you know, in good shape. And I think with and I hate to bring it up but the pandemic, I do think that a lot of teachers were thrown into new technologies that perhaps they weren’t comfortable with, or perhaps they wouldn’t have otherwise explored.

And I think sometimes in situations like that we can face teacher burnout, where, you know, teachers are being asked to do more things faster, because we have access to email, and we have access to Google classrooms and things like that, where you’re constantly being asked to be available.

So how would you say that we can use technology to help combat that feeling of teacher burnout, rather than just adding more to a teacher’s plate?

Chris: I don’t necessarily know that technology helps with burnout so much as an educator’s mindset when it comes to using technology or any type of professional development we get as teachers. You know, sometimes you’ll get that sandbox time where you can play with it, whether it’s technology or a new pedagogical idea. And you can kind of mull it around and play with it.

And sometimes the expectation is, well, we talked about it today. And we want you to use it as soon as you possibly can, whether you think you’re ready or not, we feel you’ve been provided with the training, and you should just be able to go and do it.

So I don’t think it’s about any, any tool, it’s about how you approach using any tool. And for everybody that that’s going to be a little bit different. And you know, the same way that I’ll tell students that you have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. The same thing applies to teachers. Right?

If you’re a teacher right now, and you are still, you know, a Lord of the board or, you know, the center of attention in your classroom, you’re doing it wrong, and I got no problem telling anybody that that’s not the way to do it. We’re also told, and we tell our kids, you know, you need to try, you can fail, you can have your first attempt in learning, throw out whatever acronym you want. But if we’re not willing to do that ourselves, how can we model that for the students? Right?

I walk into a classroom, I tell at any level, whether I’m teaching high school, middle school, college, I tell kids as soon as I meet them, I’m not the smartest person in the room. And they very quickly find out that that’s the truth. But I tell people together in the room, together, the room is really intelligent. You know, so if I’m a teacher who’s uncomfortable, be vulnerable with your students, be authentic with your students, if you want them to come to you when they don’t know something, or if they’ve got a question, you’ve got to be able to model that behavior for them as well to show them, well, hey, here’s my teacher, well, they don’t have all the answers.

But you know, what they do know how to do. They’re confident in their ability to figure it out. And that’s not something you’re going to find in any textbook or curriculum to teach kids. But if you act that way, and you live that, your kids will pick that up from you.

Michelle: I love that in such a great lifestyle, especially with, you know, you could be a master of technology today. And two years from now we may not understand what the new pieces are in the new tech and everything that’s going on.

Chris: Two years – Michelle, you might not know what’s going on next week.

Michelle: That’s, that’s right. And I think being able to just be mindful of, you know, we’re all here learning, we’re learning new things and being open to you know, what’s next, what can we do, what can we try this year, and maybe just starting with one small thing to incorporate that that doesn’t feel overwhelming.

But you know, it’s a learning experience for everyone. I think that’s great. I think students respect that. I’m sure you, you’ve experienced that yourself. And I know that we heard a lot about the learning gap that’s been caused by the pandemic, different people have different opinions about how serious this learning gap is. But do you think that we can use some technologies, maybe in like, after school programs, or, or different ways of allowing kids to access learning at different times that work for them?

Do you think we could do this to help close the gap of missed learning due to the pandemic?

Chris: Well, first I, I don’t believe in the gap, because kids just learned a lot of different things that we didn’t expect them to learn in the last, you know, 18 to 20 months.

So they may not have learned from their textbooks are from their curriculum, but they got an education, just like you mentioned before, a lot of teachers in how to communicate virtually collaborate virtually, and make it work. So even going back to the teachers who may have struggled, ultimately, we’re here now, we figured it out. And we read it, well, we’re not out of the woods, yet. We’re close, I can see what might be the edge of the forest.

Those teachers saw success. And it’s, I hope, and I believe that what any teacher learned through this process, they find what can still be usable. Now that we are back to in-person, quote-unquote, know if you can see the air quotes, normal learning, right? Don’t forget what you learned. You know, for example, one thing I’m still doing is when I have students that are absent, at some point during the day, I will record a video, you know, I’ll use I use loom that’s my screencasting video tool of choice.

And I will record a message generic, and I will still email all the students to say, hey, you were absent today, you missed World History. Here’s what we did today. Here’s what you can do to get caught up. And if I share my screen or show a slide, I’ll refer to Google Classroom, which is the LMS that you know we use in my school, then I can say I can rest easy at night knowing when I see them next time, there should be no excuse.

Now what I’m what am I battling? Kids, you need to check your email every day, especially if you’re absent. And I’m teaching these ninth graders. Yes, your email is not antiquated. Check your email, because I’m going to send you something. None of your other teachers might communicate with you about what happened while you were absent. But you will get something from me.

So if for no other reason check to make sure you’re up in my class. You mentioned what tools? Or how can we use the tools to kind of accommodate them learning like, anytime, anywhere. I think that, from my perspective, you know, hearing, you know, little old New Jersey, I think a lot of places are going to miss out on that opportunity.

Where you see school districts that are offering no virtual option. And this would be an opportunity to shake up many things in education and abandon the idea of well, that’s the way we’ve always done it. Well, we can change. We had to change, we had to be flexible and put some different things in place to make it work.

So like what I do in the video, cool, awesome. But a school district should still try to offer some virtual option for kids or some type of hybrid option because you know that there are students who, for whatever reason, have social anxiety, any type of learning difficulties that might face just I mean, think of being a middle school student. If going to middle school isn’t tough enough with everything that’s changing your body, and you’re trying to learn, think of the middle school kids last year over the last year and a half, who got to go through all of that stuff at home, and just focus on their learning and not worry about being embarrassed.

Or the kids who worry about do I have the right shoes? Or what am I wearing? Or what do I say? Or where do I fit in, in the hierarchy of the lunchroom, none of that mattered. And they did really good at school. And now those kids who maybe for the first time since they were young elementary students, now they’re being thrown back into the hustle and bustle of what does it mean to go to school? Right? My ninth graders, their last normal year of school was when they were in sixth grade. Because in seventh grade, that year ended in March, basically, last year, I know I got kids who were home the entire year, they never did, or took advantage of what my district offered hybrid.

So they haven’t been in school in a very long time. And now I got they don’t care about world history right now. I got to teach them what it means to sit in a classroom again, which I already see the frustration from, from their point of view where it’s like, you know, for some of them, Hey, mister, I did this at home. Now I got to sit here for six and a half hours, I can’t just get up and go and do what I want. In some ways, it’s a disservice to kids.

Michelle: It certainly is. And I think that was a challenge before the pandemic, some kids sat there and were like, Why do I have to be here all day, I feel like I could get this work done in two hours. Of course, being young, you might not understand the social benefits of being in a school or the other skills that you’re learning, subconsciously. But now, educators are facing this challenge of having to recall all the students and having them sit in a classroom and try to go all the way back to what we had before.

And perhaps the answers a little bit more somewhere in the middle, like you mentioned a hybrid model where they have some options to learn in class with their peers, as well as at home. As you mentioned, you use Google Classroom and you use Zoom.

And giving some of your students the option to pick up some of their learning while they’re at home is excellent because as you said, we might be dealing with students who are having more social anxieties than usual or, you know, fears of or perhaps just missing school because they’ve got the sniffles, and they’re not allowed to come back in right now. So to ensure that they’re at least picking up some of that learning that they would have missed during the day.

So they don’t feel like they’re falling behind on top of everything else, they don’t feel like they’re like, missed a lesson, they don’t know what everyone’s talking about. I think that’s a great option to offer them. And I’m glad to hear that we’ve got educators out there that are doing that, that are going to those extra steps and, and offering it to those kids.

Chris: And it doesn’t take much to do that.

Michelle: That’s that goes along with what you mentioned at the beginning that it doesn’t have to be hard, it could be one small thing that works well for you. And don’t take two hours to do it take five minutes. 

Chris: Work smarter, not harder.

Michelle: That’s, that’s the idea behind technology, we just have to wield it to our advantage.

Chris: As a wise man once said, using technology isn’t difficult. Just give it a try. (I’m that wise man!)

Michelle: I was gonna ask, I love it, I love it, just give it a try. I’m with you.

Are there any trends in the world of educational technology, that you feel like teachers or school districts even should be paying close attention to this year and beyond?

Chris: I think this year, I don’t I don’t know if they’re necessarily related to technology, but I’m sure they can be. And that is, you know, the social-emotional piece of education. And there are a number of tools out there that you can, you know, help your students just kind of cope with what’s going on.

And whether it’s the students you work with, or even just taking advantage of some of the tech, you know, for you, with your colleagues, you know, something like to, you know, maybe get into meditation or just relaxing, nobody says you can’t do something like that in your classroom, you know, with your students.

And you should be it’s almost like, absolutely, you know, that the pandemic, you know, showed all the blemishes of education. Now, we’re more hypersensitive to these things. And we can work every day to get a little bit closer to whatever perfect education looks like.

So I think being mindful, and certainly there are tools that can help us do that, you know, you can use, you know, Google Keep to organize your thoughts. You can use Google Docs, to you know, to journal, you know, you can get your kids to do these types of things as well.

Or if it’s recording audio notes to yourself to reflect on your practice, you know, do those things. And again, whatever you’re going to do for yourself, your students, whatever age level and grade you’re working with.

You can have them try those same things too because you’re adding it to your toolbox now, just think of how adding that same tool or tools to a kid’s toolbox would be to a fourth-grader or a ninth-grader, to start to develop those skills, when we might be developing them now as adults if we can get the kids to start to develop these skills, and, you know, use the forces of technology for good self good, you know, it’s a win-win.

Michelle: Those meditation apps and things like that can be so useful. And the other thing, just as you’re talking about it that came to my mind was when I was teaching remotely, I realized, suddenly, I was an elementary school teacher. So we used a lot of paper. And suddenly, I felt like I was saving tons and tons of paper. And I felt like that was something that we should look into moving forward.

And I’m sure it’s a little different in high school, I’m sure you have a little bit more access to technology, in the sense of, you know, all the kids know how to take them, things like that, for the most part. But I do think like, you know, we’ve learned the social-emotional skills and this environment like, these are two things that are pressing on us right now. And I think we can use technology to help us in both those areas.

Chris: Absolutely. I mean, again, technology can hurt us, but technology can also help us. And it’s just finding that balance, it’s not going to solve all your problems. There’s no, there’s no magic pill, there’s no magic tech tool that’s going to make it all better. But in moderation, and with the right combination, everybody can find a recipe that works for themselves.

Michelle: What do you think is the single most important lesson that owners of ed-tech companies should take away from the pandemic?

Chris: Dear ed-tech companies, give more to teachers. Free is my favorite four-letter F word. Now, I know that that’s not entirely possible to give everything away for free because the human beings who run these companies, they got to feed their families, I get it. But give what you can, right?

I think more ed-tech companies should have more free options, and maybe overdeliver for free. One example that comes to mind would be something like Padlet used to be Wallwisher. And when they convert it from completely free to freemium.

You know, if you are one of the lucky users who had 10s, or multiple 10s, of Padlets, created, you got to keep them. But if you weren’t super into Padlet, and you had, you know, one or you didn’t really use it, but you played with it, you know, you got screwed, because you only had the default three Padlets available. That has irked me for years.

So I think more could be done in terms of giving more to teachers, because ultimately, we’re the ones on the ground in the trenches using the technology. Right. You know, Google has positioned itself magnificently, the way Microsoft did when I was a young child. You know, when kids come out of school now, and they go off into college into business, and they pursue things and you know, they start their companies, what technology they’re going to turn to run their businesses, probably something Google related.

I’m not saying this is the downfall of Microsoft. But the more we can expose our kids to and show our students, the better.

Also, dear ed-tech companies, I feel like I’m Jimmy Fallon, you know, doing the thank you notes. Except that I’m not thanking them. Maybe one day, I will thank them.

Dear ed-tech companies, ask teachers what they need. Step two, listen. That would go a long way. For example, Google does many wonderful things for us as teachers, some free some paid, they, you know, they cover a lot of what we can do, and many tools that we can use. They, I think they think they’re listening to us, but they could listen better. So for Google, I’ve done it. And I know a lot of people do it.

When we tweet at you. Don’t read the tweet by replying, Oh, go back into the site you’re using and fill out the little help form. No. I just tweeted you my complaint or my question, or my suggestion, take that. Also, I’m trying not to lose my thought here because I’m on a roll. I think. So Google is good. Answer the tweets.

Oh, here’s my thing with Google. When you talk about the new features you want to roll out and this is any ed-tech company, don’t talk about them months in advance and then roll them out after my school year starts.

So Google is my example of this. You talk about all these new features in May and June. And then they don’t come out till Thanksgiving. Well, at Thanksgiving I’ve been in school for two and a half months. And I start in September. Routines are set and a no I know they’re good at updating stuff and also why are we dripping the rollout on some of these tools?

And this is not just a Google thing, you got to feature, you’ve tested it, if you’re not testing enough, don’t talk about it. And when it’s ready for primetime, boom, give it to everybody.

Michelle: Right? But it’d be accessible to all of those that want to use it. Yes. I’m with you. I think that’s a really good point. I think you’re right. A lot of tech companies do that, you know, whether you’re a teacher just using it for something else, and you’re like, why don’t I have this feature?

Chris: I mean, they tease you with, you know, the features or, you know, the freemium models are, you know, so watered down, where it’s like, I mean, most teachers, whether it’s in the US, Canada, or other places around the world, teachers are, for the most part, a lot of us spend our own money to do these things. Yes, I mean, I love Pear Deck. But if my district wasn’t paying for it, I wouldn’t pay for it myself.

I would use a combination of, again, free – favorite four-letter word – I’m going to combo all of the free things together, and I will make a Transformers or a Voltron of technology.

And I’ll get it done with as much free stuff as I can because I’m not in a position to shell out money for this yearly membership or that yearly membership. It’s not easy to do.

Michelle: Right, we can only do so much, you know, from your own pocket. And, and I actually think that you someone who would purchase a few things on your own, probably does more than most people would, you know, I think yes, that’s, that’s already a bonus kind of teacher that’s doing going above and beyond there.

So I think you’re right like I think our school districts and the people that are making these purchase decisions, need to listen to their teachers, about what we need in the classroom and purchase the things that would support us.

Chris: And along those lines at the district level, more districts need to have a director of technology or an innovation person with classroom experience, and teachers that are empowered to be involved in the decision making to purchase what we’re going to find valuable.

Ask your teachers, supervisors, administrators, ask your teachers, take surveys. So that way, you know, when you’re spending time in classrooms, see what the teachers are using, find out what they don’t like, and then stop spending money on it. Find out what they do like and spend the money invest the resources there, we know that the resources are sometimes scarce and we need to make use of every dollar we’ve got.

So right, let’s put the effort in.

Michelle: Right and you know, being there on the frontlines every day and seeing what needs to be done or what you as an individual would feel like would benefit you in your classroom. Those are the people that we need to just directly ask in some way, whether it’s a survey or something else. And I think that sometimes gets lost. I think there’s a little translation issue there, between teachers to districts to beyond.

Chris: You need to have people that not only can speak education, but speak technology. And that’s not always going to be the same one person.

Michelle: But there are people out there who exist, for sure. Listen to your teachers, districts!

Chris: We’re waiting! Somebody just come to my door, just ask me, I’m right here, I’m ready.

Although I’m also the person, I’m the guy in my building, who I make no bones, or I’m not shy in any way to go to a supervisor or my principal, or send an email that say, can we get this? Can we do this? Can we do this? Can we go here, can we so I’m a very squeaky wheel.

Michelle: Which is wonderful. And I think you need that and you need to befriend, that person in your school for sure. But I think especially for newer teachers, I think it’s really hard sometimes to be the one that speaks up, you don’t want to cause a fuss and it takes a little while I think to get comfortable doing that.

Not for everyone, but for many, but good for you for being that person. Is there a piece of educational technology that you’re really excited about right now, or that you would suggest to anyone listening?

Chris: I’m never one to recommend any one tool because there’s so many people like me out there who are an ambassador for this program, or they endorse that. And I am an ambassador for nothing.

I endorse nothing, I just go with what I use. So I gotta go back to where we started, we sort of started this conversation, which is, you know, find something that works if that’s, you know, learning the ins and outs of your LMS. Learn the ins and outs of your LMS, go through the features, go through the settings, and leverage one new feature or two new features that maybe you haven’t taken advantage of before, always in keeping in mind, how is this going to benefit my students? How is it gonna benefit me as the teacher and you know, go from there.

You know, if you want your students to be more creative and you know, create things in the classroom, you know, find a tool, you know, whether it’s you know, like Adobe Spark, or you want him to do things with, you know, Google Slides or you want to play with Wakelet. Go ahead, pick one, try one, right. You know, you don’t have to try everything. You don’t have to use everything. It’s a process, it’s not something that anybody is going to do overnight.

So pick a learning goal that you have picked something you want your students to do, and then find a tool that will help them do that. You know, for example, we’ve got Pear Deck, and Nearpod, very similar.

Teachers asked all the time, Mr. Nesi, what should I use?

I don’t know, flip a coin, they both do pretty much the same thing! Try both, see what you like, explore the features and make a decision for you. You don’t need to be an expert in both things.

Michelle: Mm-hmm. And that’s also the beauty. Like, there’s really no pressure to do one thing. You know, whatever works for you. 

Chris: Do you have Outback Steakhouse in Canada? Their whole motto is, no rules, just right. There are no hard fast rules to using and integrating educational technology.

It’s, it’s what you want it to be. I mean, you’re going to go off and do many episodes of this podcast. And you’re going to talk to other people who are similar to me who are into educational technology. And you might ask every one of those people, what’s your definition of educational technology. You talk to 10 people, you might get 10 different answers.

So it’s just best practices, and how you approach it. And even that, there’s a lot of latitude somebody can have with how they approach and how they use technology as a teacher or in their schools in classrooms.

Michelle: Absolutely. And you know, it’s probably also dependent on the grades that you teach, and the group of students that you have that year, whether you know, you really, really dive into technology, or you keep it very simple, very surface level.

Chris: You’re right, that’s also a factor. Know the other human beings you’re interacting with. Right. Now, I would say that I’m dealing with the littles, you know, the first graders, second graders, the little ones – they’re capable of a lot more than some teachers might think they’re capable of. So don’t be afraid to raise the bar on your students.

You know, in my high school classes in the last couple of years, TikTok got huge. It’s a lot of fun. There is now, on most projects I do, a TikTok option. Not to necessarily put it out on TikTok, but to use the tools that the app offers to be creative and show me what you know and what you understand. So, again, not afraid. Sometimes it’s going to work. Sometimes it’s not. We’ll see what happens. This is all one giant experiment.

You got me on here, probably thinking, I’m gonna talk to a social studies teacher who is into educational technology! No, (laughs) I’m like a mad scientist who happens to show up to school every day, who, metaphorically speaking might blow the whole thing up at any moment.

Michelle: And I think that’s fantastic. I’m sure your students love that.

Chris: I think so. And if it doesn’t work today, I’ll fix it. I’ll try something different tomorrow. What’s the worst that happens? You try again?

Michelle: I think that’s an amazing message. Do you want to leave this interview off with that message? Or would you like to leave one other idea, question message, something like that, to leave us with today?

Chris: No, I’m, as my wife says, quit while you’re ahead. So I’m going to stop.

Michelle: Thank you so so much, it was great to hear from you and to get all of your insight into the world of ed-tech. And you’re obviously very well versed, and you know, our crazy mad scientist that’s here to teach us.

Chris: I hope that, you know, what we talked about today makes a difference, and it will make a difference for at least one person who hears it. And to you, thank you for listening.

Michelle: Thank you for sharing. Thank you to Chris, for joining us on this week’s episode. If you’d like to learn more about Chris, you can go to, where you’ll find links to all of his social handles as well as his podcast.

Thanks again to Skooli for sponsoring today’s episode.

A recent study shows that most students are five months behind in math and four months behind in reading. Schools and districts can no longer ignore the impact the pandemic has had on their students’ learning, both in and out of the classroom. So how do we move forward?

Head over to to download the free report and understand the long-term impact of learning loss caused by COVID-19 and its latest variants.

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