We are excited to introduce you to the first cohort of littleBits Lead Educators!
From Richmond, VA to Grosse Pointe Farms, MI to New Market, AL to Eureka, CA, we have assembled an incredible team of teachers, library media specialists, tech integrators, innovation strategists, STEAM coordinators, instructional coaches, and more.
The littleBits Lead Educator Program is a collaboration between littleBits – our education, product & community experts – and top educators across the country. The goal is to co-design student-centered activities, tools, and resources using littleBits. These educators are the teachers, coaches, librarians, specialists, administrators, and after-school all-stars that seek out new technologies and design best practices around those tools. They are the education leaders who want to promote student-centered, interest-driven, and curiosity-focused learning spaces, and who are excited by using the design process as a framework for achieving those ends.
Over the next six weeks, we will take an intensive dive into the littleBits design process. They will get their hands dirty testing final prototypes of the Code Kit app, give feedback on curricular content, and work with students and each other to design lessons and tools for the community.
We’re constantly on the lookout for educators dedicated to bringing STEAM into the classroom and beyond. If you are interested in future opportunities to share your expertise and expand your learning networks, email email@example.com.
And now, may we present, the littleBits Lead Educators…
Executive Director, Montclair Learning Center
North Caldwell, NJ
Executive Director of the Montclair Learning Center (STEM After School and Summer Camp programs). Electrical Engineer, MBA with experience in the education, telecom and banking industry.
Nicholas Briley (collaborating with Jorge Valenzuela)
Technology, Robotics, & Pre-Engineering Teacher, Frontier Middle School
Ian Chow-Miller started his career teaching Social Studies in Long Island, NY and in the South Bronx and after ten years a mid-life change found him teaching STEM subjects to middle school students in Western Washington. He currently teaches Robotics, pre-engineering, and Technology at Frontier Middle School. He also coaches soccer, FIRST LEGO League, and FIRST Tech Challenge. As a leader in his district, Ian writes the curriculum for the Robotics’ courses as well as provides training around the state. in 2013 he became an ambassador for LEGO Education, and in 2017 he became an ambassador for Makey Makey and a Lead Educator for littleBits. Ian loves devices and tech tools which lend themselves to open-ended projects, discovery, play, and learning. If his students aren’t making, building, testing, or breaking something in class, then he feels like he’s not doing his job.
Recently Ian realized one of his life-long dreams of becoming an author as Cavendish Square publishers will be putting out three of his books on Robotics.
When not teaching or coaching or playing with Tech tools, he is usually testing out project ideas with his two boys at home, or engaging in one of his many hobbies like mountain biking, gardening, or reading comic books.
Teacher, Ridgewood & Cutten School
August Deshais is a kindergarten teacher at Ridgewood Elementary, in Eureka, CA. He was a 2015 PBS Digital Innovator, Common Sense Education EdTech Mentor, National Writing Project teacher-consultant, founded the Cutten Maker Lab for students in grades 3-6, and is a proud geek dad. He co-facilitates a monthly Next Generation Science Standards collaborative for K-12 teachers for the Humboldt County Office of Education and was named the 2016-2017 Humboldt County Teacher of the Year.
Laura Fleming (collaborating with Billy Krakower)
Library Media Specialist, New Milford High School
New Milford, NJ
Educator, Speaker, Consultant, Author of the best-selling, Worlds of Making: Best Practices for Establishing a Makerspace for Your School.
Educational Leadership Resident, High Tech High
San Diego, CA
Jean Kaneko is currently a High Tech High GSE M.Ed Resident. She has been a maker educator for over 7 years and is focused on utilizing making to create equitable learning environments for all students. She specializes designing curriculum that provides deeper learning experiences for K-12 students. Jean is an international speaker promoting maker-centered education. Her TED-X talk “Failure Made Me Do It” highlights the importance of failure in learning. Prior to teaching, Jean produced computer graphics, special effects and interactive entertainment for movies, tv, commercials and large format films.
Learning Technology Integrator, Albemarle County Public Schools
I am a teacher, educator, and student who is passionate about teaching and learning. I currently work as a Learning Technology Integrator for Albemarle County Public Schools in Charlottesville, VA. This role enables me to work with a variety of people who care deeply about putting the child at the center of what happens in schools. When I am not helping teachers integrate technology, I often mentor students who are passionate about science and engineering and the ways these two domains impact the local community.
STEAM Coordinator, Riverside Presbyterian Day School
Kelly Knight has worked for two years as the STEAM coordinator at Riverside Presbyterian Day School located in Jacksonville, FL. She facilitates a dedicated classroom makerspace where students, grades K-6, visit once a week to enhance their learning with STEAM themed projects and challenges. Kelly provides students with access to a variety of tools and multiple forms of technology so that they have the opportunity to develop diverse skill sets. Students learn basic design and engineering principles, as well as circuitry, coding, robotics and most recently 3D printing and design. Coding education has been enhanced by learning through technology like littleBits, as well as Sphero, KIBO, MaKey MaKey, and LEGO WeDo. Students have also used programs like Scratch and its app counterpart ScratchJr to develop coding skills. Kelly is looking forward to sharing examples of lessons and her reflections on coding with littleBits in the classroom.
Teacher, Beatrice Gilmore Elementary School
Woodland Park, NJ
Billy Krakower is currently the Computer Technology Instructor, Gifted & Talented, STEAM Teacher for grades three and four. He is also a co-teacher of ELA for Special Education students at Beatrice Gilmore Elementary School in the Woodland Park Public School District. For the past ten years, Billy has served as Special Education Teacher, in the Inclusion setting, and Resource Room setting. He enjoys preparing his students for the 21st century by teaching them how to use web 2.0 tools such as Edmodo, Skype, Google Hangouts, Google Docs, and Social Media.
Billy has an Advance Certificate in Educational Leadership from Long Island University and a dual Masters Degree in Special Education & Elementary Education from Long Island University. Billy is also a Microsoft Office Specialist.
Billy Krakower has presented at various conferences on Technology in the Classroom including ASCD16, ISTE 2014, ISTE2015, New Jersey Association of School Administrators Techspo, New Jersey Association of Educational Technology Annual Conference, Edscape, NJEA Teacher Conference. Along with a few unconferences that include edcampNJ, edcampPhilly, edcampNYC, edcampNOLA (Skype), edcampBoston (Skype) NJECC Annual Conference and the NJEA Technology and Learning Conference. Billy has presented on such topics as Connecting Beyond the Classroom, Twitter & You, Tech Tools to use for the PARCC, Google Hangouts, Edmodo and The Science Behind a Mystery Location Call.
Billy is one of the lead organizers of edcampNJ. He is co-moderator for the #njed (New Jersey Educators) & #satchat (School Leaders) chats. He is a member of the NJASCD Executive Board, Technology Committee Chair and the Immediate Past co-director of NJ-ASCD Northern Region. Billy is the co-author of three books, “Connecting Your Students with The World,” “Using Technology to Engage Students with Learning Disabilities,” and “140 Twitter Tips for Educators.”
Math Teacher / STEM Coordinator, Hoboken Charter School
Christopher Kunkel is the STEM Coordinator and middle school math teacher for Hoboken Charter School. Chris is in his ninth year teaching at Hoboken Charter School. Previously Chris taught math in Camden, NJ through the Teach for America program. Chris studied both math and physics as an undergrad and has a masters in educational administration. Besides teaching math, as STEM Coordinator, Chris facilitates HCS’s robotics team, Girls Who Code club, Destination Imagination team, math team, and numerous other clubs and classes.
Instructional Coach, Woodcrest Junior High
I am a proud mom of two active kids and get a kick out of going to their softball games, taekwondo, swimming, tennis, and watching them imagine/tinker/build/create. My family enjoys camping and going to the beach or the mountains. After teaching elementary students for 19 years, I took a new path and became an instructional coach at Woodcrest Junior High in Chino Valley Unified School District. I have found a passion to engage students’ learning by cultivating their thinking using technology. As a believer that all students of varying abilities should have opportunities to explore engineering and inventing, during lunch I facilitate a STEM lab where students use littleBits to tap into their creativity. What I love most during this time is Special Ed students working with Gen Ed kids creating and building together or side by side. I appreciate the interaction technology provides. I look forward to more exciting avenues students will use to elevate their learning.
Library Media Specialist, Dorris Jones Elementary
I am an Elementary School librarian in Rockwall, Texas. I have two kids and am married to a wonderfully nerdy IT manager. His love of all things tech has definitely rubbed off on me and has made its way into the library. I believe it’s my job to present kids with any opportunity that makes them future-ready. Whether that is showing them how to love reading, or showing them how to code a night light.
Technology Specialist, KIPP DC Heights Academy
Blair Mishleau is currently the Technology Specialist at KIPP DC Heights Academy, in Washington, DC. He is passionate about technology access for his students, personalized learning, and joy in the classroom. He has taught for the past five years and has completed numerous fellowships focused on educational technology, personalized learning and more.
Teacher, Grosse Pointe South High School
Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
Innovation Strategist, Beaverton School District
Creator of the Techandia Podcast, Jon has been an educator for over twenty years. Jon currently works as an Innovation Strategist for the Beaverton School District. Jon has presented and keynoted at conferences around the United States, sharing his love of learning and educational technology. Jon constantly strives to learn and share ideas with educators. #teachinginbeta
Technology and Engineering Education Curriculum Specialist, Richmond City Public Schools
Jorge Valenzuela has served as an educator for the past 13 years and holds both computer science and administrative credentials. He also has recently earned the honor of being a distinguished STEM educator by the Teachers College at Columbia University by earning the NASA Endeavor STEM Teaching Certificate. In addition, Jorge is a certified Project Lead the Way, Design and Modeling teacher.
Currently, he supervises the Technology and Engineering Education program at Richmond Public Schools and serves school division priorities with STEM leadership projects that connect K-12 classrooms to higher education and the workforce.
Jorge is also a national faculty member with the Buck Institute for Education and a National Teacher Effectiveness Coach with the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association. He also serves as the council chair for the Virginia Council on Technology and Engineering Education Supervision (VCTEES) for the state of Virginia.
Jorge is extremely dedicated to assisting educators enhance their practice, by conducting effective professional development in the areas of Integrative STEM Education, Project Based Learning and curriculum unit planning.
Librarian, Walnut Grove Elementary
New Market, AL
I have been a Pre-K-6 school librarian for 6 years. I also work part-time as an adjunct faculty member in the library at Calhoun Community College. In my first career as a research librarian I worked for state government, a defense-based think tank, and National Public Radio in Washington, D.C. I became a librarian because I love asking questions, finding information, and helping others find what they need to pursue their interests. In my spare time, I love to travel with my family, work on our farm, and read lots and lots of books and news on a variety of topics.
School Library /Technology Integration Specialist, Woodsdale Elementary School
My name is Sandra Wiseman. I have served as the School Library Media/ Technology Integration Specialist at Woodsdale Elementary for the past 30 years. Woodsdale is located in Wheeling, West Virginia and is an PreK through 5th grade facility housing 490 students. I have degrees from West Virginia University and the University of South Carolina and became National Board Certified in Library and Information Science in 2008. I have been married for 24 years and have a 23 year old daughter named Robyn who is a graduate student at King’s College in London, England. I live in Glen Dale, West Virginia.
We’ll keep you posted on progress, so check back for more updates soon!
Sr. Manager of Learning + Engagement