9 Lessons That Teachers Can Take from Mr. Beast

What does the world’s most successful YouTuber have to teach students and teachers about creativity, learning, and education?

Meet Mr. Beast, the most successful individual YouTuber in the world. With 140M subscribers on his main channel and dozens of other channels in operation, Jimmy Donaldson’s life has been defined by his creative work on the platform.

His videos earn billions of views annually across multiple languages, and his first retail products have met with mind-numbing success.

The scary thing? He’s only 24 years old.

I have questions.

As an educator and creator, I’ve been intrigued by Jimmy’s story for some time.

How does he view formal K-12 and college education?

What’s his approach to learning and creativity?

What can we take from his story as creators, learners, and educators?

Several videos and documentaries later, I’ve got some answers and takeaways to share. Some surprises, too.

1. Extreme learning guarantees extreme results.

“I would say since I was eleven years old, almost every waking hour of the day I’m thinking about YouTube in some form or capacity.”

Quote and Image from How Much Money MrBeast Makes | The Full Story (Graham Stephan)

One thing that becomes quickly apparent in Jimmy’s story is his absolute obsession with learning more about the YouTube platform and the art of video production.

It’s manic. It’s compulsive.

He’s been continuously learning about YouTube content creation for over 13 years and he just refuses to stop.

It’s a kind of frenzied focus that we’re not sure we’d recommend for our own students or children. As educators, we’re in the business of developing the whole child, but to hear him describe it, Mr. Beast-style obsession doesn’t leave much room for other life priorities.

Still, Donaldson seems to have a good relationship with his mother and brother. He has a girlfriend and enjoys long-lasting friendships. He’s a renowned philanthropist and seems driven by opportunities to help others. Balanced lifestyle or not, the world could use more Jimmy Donaldsons.

There’s a clear takeaway here: extreme learning leads to extreme results. Mr. Beast’s level of obsession isn’t the path for everyone, but there’s a powerful principle at work here that is worth emulating.

2. It’s still possible to start at zero and become a master artist.

“I had no idea what worked. I had to teach myself everything.”

Quote and Image from How Mr. Beast Became Successful on YouTube (PowerfulJRE)

Watching Donaldson entertain millions of global viewers each month, you might be forgiven for guessing that he grew up in wealthy suburbia, enjoyed the stability of a nuclear family, attended elite private schools, or was given the financial resources to acquire cutting-edge equipment as a teen.

That’s where you’d be wrong — on all counts. He enjoyed none of those advantages.

He started at zero.

Jimmy grew up in lower class neighbourhoods of Greenville, North Carolina with a single mother. His first computers and cameras were giveaways from friends and family — some of the lowest quality gear possible. He never attended a formal course or received specialized training.

He’s entirely self-taught. He scratched and clawed and experimented and failed and learned and failed again and learned some more to become the creative genius that he is today.

He’s another testament to the 10,000 hours hypothesis popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers. Put in 10,000 hours at just about anything, and you’ll become an expert.

It’s an incredible story, and the takeaway is powerful: you don’t need a single external factor or advantage to become skilled in a creative field.

You don’t need a head start. You just need to start.

3. Accelerate your growth by learning with others.

“Most of my growth came after I graduated high school. Basically what I did was somehow I found these other four lunatics … We were all super small YouTubers and we basically talked every day for 1,000 days in a row and did nothing but hyperstudy what makes a good video, what makes a good thumbnail, what’s good pacing, how to go viral. We’d just call them daily masterminds … We were very religious about it. That’s where most of my knowledge came from.” How Mr. Beast Became Successful on YouTube (PowerfulJRE)

Image Source: Forbes.com

Think carefully about what he just described.

A group of teenagers decided to collaborate — in person and online — every day.

All day, every day. To learn.

And when he says “all day,” he means it. Jimmy describes connecting with his friends on Skype in the mornings and remaining in the calls for literally the entire day.

Daily masterminds. For years. That’s a lot of learning in community.

Here he describes why this level of collaboration is such a powerful hack.

“It’s like, if you envision a world where you’re trying to be great at something … and it’s just you learning and [messing] up and learning from your mistakes, in two years you might have learned from twenty mistakes. Where if you have four other people who are also messing up, and when they learn from their mistakes and they teach you what they learned, hypothetically two years down the road you’ve learned five times the amount of stuff. It helps you grow exponentially way quicker.” — How Mr. Beast Became Successful on YouTube (PowerfulJRE)

He’s right, of course. This perspective matches everything we know about the powers of collaborative learning, peer assessment, and the iterative design process.

Simply put, more brains are better than one brain. Accelerate your learning by learning with others.

4. For significant results, action is everything.

“Like, the entire room is a huge LEGO fort. He was intense, and he was passionate about what it was that he was working on at the time.”

Quote and Image of Jimmy’s Mother from The Origin and Rise of Mr. Beast (Curiosity Stream)

We’re all creative beings. For many, the trick is simply to identify their passions, unlock them, and give them the opportunities they need to blossom and flourish.

And by “opportunities,” I mean taking action. I mean creating. Publishing.

This bit about action isn’t automatic. Lots of people have dreams and ideas of creative work. But few people act on them.

In Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert writes: “This is the central question upon which all creative living hinges: Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”

I like the scene of the little LEGO builder told by his mother in the excerpt above, because it gives us a valuable snapshot of Mr. Beast before YouTube.

He was a builder. He was an experimenter. He was a creator before he was online.

From LEGO to videos to businesses, Jimmy has had the courage to bring forth the treasures hidden within him.

His creative passions have led to consistent action.

And when it comes to results, action is everything.

5. Proficiency requires resilience through adversity.

“Every night before bed, I’d just be like, it sucks. It’s a lot of work. And I feel like I’m not getting anywhere, but if I just do it long enough, eventually it will click. Eventually, I’ll figure it out.”

Quote and Image from The Origin and Rise of Mr. Beast (Curiosity Stream)

Every successful creator has experienced discouragement and dark days.

Days when nothing seems to be going right. Days when it seems like the only ones who even see the work are laughing.

They’re going to happen.

Most creative spaces require considerable investments of time, patience, and focus in the face of difficulty. Quality content — regardless of the medium — doesn’t happen just because you’re present.

Mr. Beast doesn’t talk about his lows often, but listen to his story enough times and you’ll realize that he’s dealt with more than his share of adversity.

From equipment fails to editing disasters to dismissive comments to the theft of all of his gear, there were many moments when he could have thrown in the towel and moved on to other hobbies.

But he refused to let problems, setbacks, or failures defeat him. Refused.

And fifteen years later, he’s enjoying the results.

6. Failure isn’t just something to survive: it’s an essential part of the creative process.

“Just fail. A lot of people get analysis paralysis and they’ll just sit there and they’ll plan their first video for three months … Your first video is not going to get views. Your first ten are not going to get views. So stop sitting there and thinking for months and months on end. Get to work and start uploading. All you need to do is make 100 videos and improve something every time. Then on your 101st video we’ll start talking about maybe you can get some views.”

Quote and Image from MrBeast: Future of YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram | Lex Fridman Podcast #351

In Mindset, Carol Dweck taught us the importance of a growth mindset in learners of all ages.

Those with a fixed mindset view new learning and potential failure as a threat to identity. If X doesn’t go well for me, it will mean I’m dumb or a loser or both.

In contrast, those with a growth mindset embrace the challenges of X precisely because it represents new territory. Failures are interesting to those with this mindset. Failures are viewed as opportunities to learn.

“Make 100 videos and improve something every time.” For me, that’s the key phrase in the quote above.

Yes, we will make mistakes in the creative process, but that’s actually the point. Austin famously took six tries to draw a butterfly, but he never would have achieved proficiency without trying for the first time.

That’s the beauty of content creation online. There’s literally infinite ways [to improve]. Every little thing can be improved and they can never not be improved. There’s no such thing as a perfect video.”

Weightlifters welcome muscle failure because it means they are pushing their limits.

Creators should be no different.

Try, fail, learn, and improve one more thing every single time.

7. Traditional schooling isn’t a required path to success. For some students, it’s the obstacle.

“Even in high school, I never once studied. I literally wouldn’t even take my books home. I legit don’t think I studied once for all of high school at my house … I didn’t have the best grades … I hated school with a passion, but [my mom] forced me to go to community college. That was the worst thing ever. That made me hate life, like borderline suicidal. I just can’t stand having to just sit there and listen to this dumb stuff and listen to some teacher read out of a book.” — How Mr. Beast Became Successful on YouTube (PowerfulJRE)

Image Source: Tubefilter.com

As a committed educator, this one hurt.

“I hated school with a passion.”

“That was the worst thing ever.”

“That made me hate life.”

Mr. Beast doesn’t hold back when it comes to his school and college experiences.

Listening to this brought up all kinds of questions for me.

Did he ever enjoy any of his teachers in K-12 education?

Did he ever get any opportunities to experiment with media creation in school?

One thing becomes crystal clear here: the traditional K-12 school experience is not a required stop on the highway to success.

And by “success,” I’m not just thinking of financial freedom, although Mr. Beast certainly has that. I’m thinking of self-actualization, the ability to cultivate quality relationships, becoming a contributing member of society, and the practical power to make the world a better place.

Mr. Beast is just one of millions of creators, entrepreneurs, and leaders who didn’t need traditional education and never once saw value in it. He saw school as something to survive, to outlast, to get away from.

As a teacher, this is a little discouraging. But I also find it liberating.

You know that seventh grader who refuses to finish assignments and obsesses endlessly about creating games on Roblox? Yes, do what you can to push, support, and hold him to high standards. Encourage him, love him, let him know that he belongs and that he matters.

But once you’ve done all that, don’t lose sleep over him.

Chances are, he’s going to be fine.

8. Creative work can thrive where friendships fail.

“I was really shy, especially when I was younger. I really didn’t like being around people … Outside of sports, it was just literally YouTube. That was all I watched. No one in my school watched videos, so I kind of just felt like an outcast, ’cause I was just hyper obsessed over it.”

Quote and Image from The Origin and Rise of Mr. Beast (Curiosity Stream)

“I kind of just felt like an outcast.”

If you’re a teacher, you know these kids.

They’re present in our rooms and in our halls. But they’re disconnected. And as much as we try to do to include them, connect them, love on them, and help them engage in the life of our learning communities, we’re not always successful.

Here’s the thing. Friendships and relationships are incredibly important. But they’re not everything in a child’s life or development.

The story of Mr. Beast reminds me that in the absence of busy social lives, some students will dive deep into creative pursuits. I find that comforting.

Where does that leave me as a teacher? No, I can’t actually make middle schoolers build deep friendships with other middle schoolers.

But I can get to know the creative impulses of my students. Curiosity and encouragement from adults that students know, like, and trust can go a long way to fan those flames of passion.

We’re not giving up on relationship-building. But just maybe, while some of these students struggle along, we can help them develop a life-giving world of creative work that will boost their self-confidence, define their identities, and introduce them to others who think like they do.

In a world of obsessive gaming, vaping, drugs, and TikTok consumption, the path of creative work can be one of the healthiest for our students to walk.

Let’s cheer them on.

9. A creative life is a fulfilled life. Take time to create.

“If I’m not creating, then I don’t feel fulfilled, I don’t feel like I’m progressing, and I feel like I’m wasting my time.” — How Much Money MrBeast Makes | The Full Story (Graham Stephan)

Image Source: Variety.com

Adobe released a report in 2022 that confirmed what many of us already know: the more we create, the happier we feel.

Every human being has a creative impulse inside of them.

I do. You do. Everyone we know does.

Fulfillment in life comes in many forms: meaningful faith, family, friendships, generosity, gratitude, service, and alignment between values, identity, work, and play.

For an increasing number of people, including Mr. Beast, fulfillment is also found in creating.

There are a couple of important takeaways here for educators.

One is to weave as much creativity into our instruction as possible. Give students the tools and opportunities to design and express and create multimodal representations of their learning. There are a host of good reasons to do this.

The second takeaway is more subtle, and I don’t want to pile another should on already-tired teachers. But here it is.

Do you want to go from burnout to on fire as a teacher? Try taking some time to indulge your creative side.

Explore. Experiment. Draw. Write. Photograph. Speak. Share.

Punch fear in the face and hit publish.

When you share your creative work with the world, you’re giving us all a gift.

But you’re also developing yourself. You’re taking another step toward self-actualization. You’re building confidence and competence with every rep.

You’re hopping on an upward trajectory that will make you a better educator and increase the value of what you have to share with the world at the same time.

Creative work is fulfilling.

Mr. Beast’s story makes me sad and glad at the same time.

As an educator, Mr. Beast’s story is both saddening and inspiring. He’s experienced phenomenal creative success despite his education experience, not because of it.

School fail.

But his story has a lot to teach students and teachers about the nature of learning and creativity. Whatever your role in education, there are powerful lessons to be taken from his journey.

Self-directed learning. Collaboration. Resilience. Multiple iterations of work. Excellence. Generosity. Finding joy in the creative process. These are all values and practices that are easy to see in the journey of Jimmy Donaldson.

From student to teacher, classroom to district, we could all use a little more Mr. Beast.

The Tech Rabbi (Rabbi Michael Cohen): Creativity, Design, and Innovation in Education

Rabbi Michael Cohen (The Tech Rabbi)

Who is The Tech Rabbi, Michael Cohen?

RABBI MICHAEL COHEN is a designer, educator, creativity instigator, podcaster, YouTuber, speaker, and an Apple Distinguished Educator. He’s also the Director of Innovation at Yeshiva University of Los Angeles Boys High School and the author of Educated by Design: Designing the Space to Experiment, Explore, and Extract Your Creative Potential.

⭐️ Use the timestamps below to jump to specific parts of this conversation in YouTube. ⬇️

05:09 – It’s story time! Please share with us about a low moment or an experience of adversity that you’ve faced in your teaching or education career, and describe how you overcame it.

08:54 – I can’t say enough about your book, Educated by Design: Designing the Space to Experiment, Explore, and Extract Your Creative Potential. So many good directions we could go here, and it’s been fun to hear you discuss your ideas chapter by chapter on your podcast. But let’s start with this quote:

“We want our students to believe that they have the ability to create something incredible, but for that to happen, they must experience the freedom of authentic learning. Our students must be allowed to take risks and be given the space to experiment, fail, and try again.”

Can you talk more about what you mean by authentic learning? How can school leaders and teachers move their practices and thinking in this direction?

12:15 – You also wrote that “I believe that creativity is a mindset, not an art set.” I love that quote because I hear the growth mindset there – the ideas that our identities and capacities to learn are not fixed, that we all have creative capacity.

What is your word to students and educators who have decided that they are not creative people?

16:39 – How are you looking to grow professionally and improve your practice next year? Can you share about a specific professional goal or project that you’re currently working on?

19:55 – Outside of education, what’s another area of learning for you? What is it that ignites your passions outside of the classroom and brings you alive as a human being? Tell us why this area interests you and why you enjoy it.

20:38 – Share about one personal habit or productivity hack that contributes to your success.

Voices and resources that spark Michael’s thinking and ignite his practice:

On Twitter

EdTech Tools


1. What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20 – 10th Anniversary Edition: A Crash Course on Making Your Place in the World by Tina Seelig

2. Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. by Brene Brown

YouTube Channels


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Episode 134 – Jesus Huerta

Meet Jesus Huerta

JESUS HUERTA is an elementary school teacher at Kennedy Gardens Elementary School in El Centro, California. He’s also an instructor for the Krause Center for Innovation, a 3D print enthusiast, a futurist, and a believer that technology is for everyone.

Competing During Uncertainty

About a year before our interview, Jesus was a finalist for the Leroy Finkel Fellowship, an award given annually to a teacher who presents “an innovative technology-enhanced curriculum project that is standards-aligned, replicable, relevant … and fun.”

Jesus had entered the contest and had made it to the short list, but he was laid off by his school just days before he was expected to present. Despite the professional uncertainty, Jesus gave everything he had to the presentation and won the award based on the 3D printing work his students were doing to create prosthetics (see a full description of the project with videos). As gratifying as it was to be recognized in the contest, it was equally satisfying to be given another teaching position shortly afterward.

The Evolution of 3D Printing and Learning

Jesus has been teaching for six years, and he’s been 3D printing the entire time. From classrooms to conferences, he carried his printer around with him wherever he went in his first years.

One way that 3D printing has really changed in the period since, Jesus says, is that the financial barriers to entry have come way down: printers and filament have both fallen a lot in price. Software has also improved and diversified and the 3D printing community has grown over these years as well.

It’s an exciting space, because 3D printing just keeps moving forward. Jesus shares a number of ways (other than prosthetics) that 3D printing technology is being used to provide medical solutions and improve quality of life around the world. On top of all the other competencies and skills that students build as they learn to design and print in 3D, the list of real-world applications only seems to grow.

Board Games, the Design Process, and Entrepreneurship

Another project that has really energized Jesus and his 5th graders is a board game project. The project combines the best of entrepreneurship, the design process, collaboration, and presentation skills. Working in partners or small groups, students begin by drawing a board game design, followed by a cardboard prototype. Further iterations follow.

Jesus describes a very authentic learning experience that occurred when one 5th grader forgot to bring her group’s prototype into class for her group’s pitch. Yes, there was some distress and some tears in that instance, but after thoughtful debriefing and reflection, he knows the real life lessons learned will last a lifetime. By project end, Jesus is always impressed by what his students manage to come up with, saying he would likely purchase them for his own family if they were commercially available.

Increased Access to the Joys of STEAM Learning

Something that Jesus has wanted to do outside of his classroom for some time is offer evening classes that align with his core passions: 3D printing, robotics, the design process, engineering, game design, coding, drones, and anything else related to STEAM.

In particular, he wants to create opportunities for kids who can’t access this kind of learning in their schools, districts, or towns. He’s built a partnership with an LGBTQ center to share space, and he’s proud to support diversity and equity for all learners by doing so.

Learning is for everyone,” Jesus says. A kid’s gender, culture, language, religion, or orientation shouldn’t be limiting factors – and that’s something that Jesus has always been passionate about. Historically speaking, STEAM learning has tended to include more boys than girls, and evening that playing field is another part of his mission. He’s also looking at ways to include adults and mature learners, too.

Personal Passions: Creating with Wood and Playing the Violin

One of the areas of learning that Jesus recalls fondly from his childhood is drawing. In recent years, he’s revisited this passion through woodburning and carving. He’s also passionate about the sounds of the violin, and it’s been a joy to practice an instrument he’s always appreciated but never played. Jesus brings these passions into his classroom, too, using applications like Google Quick Draw, Google Music, and SoundTrap to helps students create a wide variety of digital art and media pieces.

A Productivity Tool: Wunderlist

Jesus loves using the Wunderlist app to track to-do items and track his progress, and the gamer in him enjoys the satisfying ding the app makes every time he checks off another task.

Voices and Resources That Spark His Thinking and Ignite His Practice

When it comes to a Twitter follow recommendation, Jesus doesn’t waste any time. “Paul Gordon does even more than I do,” Jesus says. One of Paul’s core passions is esports, but he also does 3D printing, laser cutting, design thinking, and more. He’s an advocate of risk-taking and a culture of yes, and he’s been a great education partner. Follow Paul @TeachTheTech.

One edtech tool that has really captured his imagination is the Oculus Quest, an all-in-one VR set. Users no longer need controllers – the set will now recognize user hands. His kids have played around with an Oculus app called Virtuoso that allows them to play piano in VR, and it’s blowing their minds. Other apps, like TiltBrush or Sculptor VR, allow users to paint and sculpt in VR as well.

For a book pick, Jesus points to Designed to Learn: Using Design Thinking to Bring Purpose and Passion to the Classroom by Lindsay Portnoy, a PhD and master of design thinking. Her book confirms a lot of what Jesus believes about STEAM education, and it’s opening his eyes to more possibilities. Lindsay also hosts the weekly #DesignedToLearn Twitter that Jesus says is well worth the time. Follow Lindsay @LPortnoy.

Because his wife works in the criminal justice system, Jesus says they’re both enjoying a podcast called Crime Junkie. The series is so good that occasionally Jesus gets a few episodes ahead of her, and then he’s got some explaining to do! Follow this podcast on Twitter @CrimeJunkiePod.

Over on YouTube, Jesus points to the Uncle Jessy channel as a great source for 3D printers, techniques, and projects. Jesus appreciates how he follows up review videos with subsequent videos that clarify and update previous evaluations. Follow the creator on Twitter @UncleJessy4Real.

On Netflix, Jesus and his family are enjoying NCIS. They’ve been enjoying it so much that he’s actually a little sad that he’s been missing it for the last 15 years.

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Episode 106 – Andrew Arevalo

106 - Andrew Arevalo.png

Meet Andrew Arevalo

ANDREW AREVALO is a 4th grade educator in the city of El Centro in southern California. He is a speaker, innovator, and game designer with passions for blended learning, design thinking, and gamification. He also has his Master’s degree in education and has been recognized as a CUE Emerging Teacher.

From Delight to Disappointment

Andrew experienced some adversity as recently as last year, when he finally worked up the courage to speak at a national education conference. He was absolutely delighted when his proposal was accepted, but that joy was quickly followed by disappointment when he learned that he would be docked pay for the missed day of school. Eventually, after encouragement and support from family and friends, he decided to sacrifice the income in order to attend the conference and speak.

The experience was absolutely worth it, igniting his passions further and connecting him with other inspiring voices in education. To other educators who face similar financial dilemmas, Andrew says “You’ve got to go for it. You just never know who you’re going to meet, and who will inspire you.”

Like Father, Like Son

On July 7, 2019, Andrew tweeted this touching tribute to his father:

“First and foremost, I love my dad!” Andrew says. Greg Arevalo has generously served his community for decades, and he is well-known and loved by many as a result. It’s a tremendous legacy to step into, an honor that Andrew, his brother (a local high school principal), Andrew’s fiance, and his sister-in-law all carry with pride. Greg never pushed the path of education on his sons, but he quietly sold the profession by the joy that was so evident in his work and the growth he consistently witnessed in his learners.

How a Lost Pitch Event Led to a Game-Changing Opportunity

A few months ago, Andrew participated in a pitch event at the University of San Diego thanks to a connection with Lisa Dawley, Executive Director of the Jacobs Institute for Innovation in Education and someone Andrew calls an amazing soul. Andrew was pitching a model for personalized professional development in front of a Shark Tank-style panel of judges, and he followed acts like Sir Ken Robinsons and Dave Burgess.

Even though his pitch wasn’t selected as the winner, something very special came from the experience – he was invited to participate in an exclusive gathering of educators and intellectuals from all levels and contexts of education across America. The purpose of the gathering, held recently in New York City, was to support important conversations around some of the most pervasive problems and challenges that we face in education today. Andrew left the event completely invigorated and inspired by the expertise and vision shared by the other attendees. What he thought was a loss became a huge win.

What’s Setting Andrew on 🔥 in Education Today

Many of Andrew’s dearest passions continue to come directly from his own teaching practice and the activities happening right there in his classroom. Lately, his fourth graders have been developing future job titles and descriptions, university courses that will support these future jobs, buildings that will house and facilitate these future courses, and city infrastructures that could support the university campus with the sustainable development goals in mind.

Students are using cardboard and LEGO to build structure prototypes, and Andrew plans to record short day-in-the-life-of video presentations for each project that will be linked to unique QR codes, connecting parents with their child’s ideas and work.

A Professional Goal: More Reflection

One of the aspects that Andrew would like to strengthen in his professional practice is the reflective process. We’re all busy, we’re all moving fast, and too often we find it hard to find the time to give our professional projects and work the thoughtful analysis they deserve. Just as reflection and metacognition is valuable for our learners, these activities can’t help but make us better educators when we actually make the time to reflect. As he collects thoughts and impressions in a journal, they continue to inform and inspire his first book, another project that he can’t wait to share.

Personal Passions Away From Education

Andrew loves playing mobile games like Clash Royale, partly because they disconnect him and help him relax. Lately, he’s also enjoyed seeing an emerging trend of educators who game with their own children — a way that games can be used to strengthen family relationships.

A Productivity Habit: How can I make it better?

A go-to mindset that works for Andrew is to finish every project with the question of “How can I make it better?” Just as we discussed in the professional space, sound processes of reflection can make sure that we are constantly growing, evolving, and improving. Of course, the flip side of this question is “When is enough enough?” We have to balance that commitment of constant innovation with the need to let things go and simply move on.

Voices & Resources That Inspire Andrew’s Thinking

Over on Twitter, Andrew says you are simply missing out on life if you are not following @AnnKozma723. Ann is the Educator Innovation Lead at Flipgrid, and she brought nonstop ideas and inspiration when her Flipgrid team visited Andrew’s district recently.

For his edtech tool pick, Andrew is pointing out the Oculus Quest, an industry-leading VR set that is changing our understanding of what is possible in education.

Amina's Voice by Hena KhanIf a school day goes by and Andrew hasn’t read some of Amina’s Voice to his fourth graders, he hears about it! This book by Hena Khan unpacks identity, belonging, and purpose in clever and kid-friendly ways – a great addition to your classroom library.

Another education podcast that Andrew is digging is OnEducation, hosted by Mike Washburn and Glen Irvin – two educators who are passionate about changing the game and giving air time to real conversations in the education space. Follow the podcast on Twitter @OnEducationPod

For his YouTube channel recommendation, Andrew shouts out someone who he just happened to connect with at a coffee shop earlier this year. The channel is called Bernadette Teaches Music, and it’s hosted by a music teacher with international teaching experience. Follow her on Twitter @Ukuleleplazi

The last great content that Andrew watched on Netflix was The Game Changers, a documentary about vegans who have transformed their mindsets and their bodies to achieve seemingly impossible feats. As a former vegan himself, Andrew found their message interesting and inspiring.

We sign off on this fun conversation, and Andrew gives us the best ways to follow him and connect online. See below for details!

You can connect with Andrew …

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Episode 102 – Dr. Jacie Maslyk

102 - Dr. Jacie Maslyk

Meet Dr. Jacie Maslyk

DR. JACIE MASLYK is an educator, speaker, and author at ISTE, SolutionTree, and Steam-makers.com. She’s an Assistant Superintendent for the Hopewell Area School District just 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, PA, and she brings a passion for #STEM education, makerspaces, literacy, leadership, and creativity in education.

Stonewalled as a Young Administrator

Soon after Jacie became a principal at the age of 30, a veteran teacher approached her and flatly stated that there was nothing she could learn from her. It was an instant realization for Jacie that she was going to need to break down stereotypes and build trust with the teachers in her building.

Eventually, this initial antagonism softened into a mutually beneficial relationship, but it took work to get there. It required demonstrating her commitment to the school, to the staff, to the learners, and the community over the long term.

The Heart and Mission of Unlock Creativity

Unlock Creativity by Dr. Jacie MaslykIn the past, says Jacie, school systems have been focused on data and accountability, a mindset that has led to an overdependence on standardized tests and rigid structures. That mindset seems to be shifting into an era of innovation that is paving the way for creative thinking in classrooms.

It starts with teachers, she points out: when educators believe that they are creative and have the ability to do creative things, that passion and interest spills over into their classrooms and into the imagination of students. Teachers must find more ways to model creativity and vulnerability with and beside their students so that they can see active models of creativity and failure and perseverance in front of them. As a result, students will become more passionate learners and grow to become critical and creative thinkers as adults.

What is your creative outlet? Whatever it is, share it with your students, Jacie says. You never know what might connect in a powerful way with one or more of your learners. 

What’s Setting Jacie on 🔥 in Education Today: Maker Education

Jacie feels like she’s been on fire for maker education for quite some time, but lately she’s seen even more of a resurgence. Maker education is a fantastic way to build full engagement with every learner and provide equitable on-ramps for students who .

When students are given opportunities to learn with their hands, their learning can grow exponentially. On top of that, STEM learning and maker education builds the very skills and dispositions that are so critical in the 21st century economy: flexible thinking, tolerance for ambiguity, problem solving, improvisation, and so on. If you’re looking for practical makerspace ideas, check out Instructables, Maker Maven, and Demco.

Professional Goals and Growth

“I’m always looking to learn and grow from others,” says Jacie, crediting her engagement with social media for her deepened hunger for learning and exposure to new ideas. Among other projects, she’s currently working with Kristen Nan on a new book that will combine views from central office with views from the classroom. The book’s theme will be built around Las Vegas, focusing on the bets that we need to make in education today. Keep an eye out for this one!

Personal Passions and Continued Learning

Jacie’s biggest area of learning at the moment is her sons and their passions, including professional wrestling and American Ninja Warriors. She enjoys the time they’ve spent lately on their own American Ninja obstacle course in the back yard.

Her Tried and True Personal Productivity Hack

When it comes to personal productivity, Jacie says she remains a fan of the old school notebook. Whether it’s a to-do list, some reflections, a quote that resonated, or anything else that grabs her attention, she enjoys the process of physically writing things down and carrying them with her in a tangible way.

Voices & Resources That Inspire Her Work

Over on Twitter, Jacie recommends following @FroehlichM, guest on episode 51 of the Teachers on Fire podcast and host of the Teachers Aid podcast. Mandy is currently offering a free course based on teachers wellness and self-care.

The one edtech tool that Jacie currently considers indispensable is Voxer, her daily source for real-time professional development. 

One Drop of KindnessWith two young boys in tow, a lot of Jacie’s current reading is in children’s books. Two of her favorites in that category are One Drop of Kindness by Jeff Kubiak and EngiNerds (MAX) by Jarrett Lerner.

Jacie’s got two favorite podcasts, and both are hosted by former guests and friends of the Teachers on Fire podcast: Teach Better Talk, hosted by Jeff Gargas and Rae Hughart, and STEM Everyday Podcast, hosted by Chris Woods.

We sign off on this inspiring conversation, and Jacie gives us the best ways to connect with her. See below for details!

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