Enabling teachers to inspire and engage students in science, technology, engineering and math.

Newsletter 2011

Progressing Toward Our Goal

Technically Learning spent a productive day in Olympia meeting with State officials involved with and supportive of our mission of enhanced STEM subject education in WA State public school (K-12). Pictured above (left to right) are TL founding board members Rebecca Deutsch and Dr. Eric Hilton, State Senator Joe Fain (47th District, Auburn) and TL Executive Director Myles Kahn. Senator Fain is a member of both the Early Learning and K-12 Education Committees.

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2011 In-Review and Looking Forward

By Myles Kahn, Executive Director

As Executive Director of Technically Learning for a little more than a year now, I am even more excited about the future and the realization of TL's goals than I was at this time last year. As will be outlined more fully throughout this newsletter we have increased our outreach in exciting ways while increasing our capacity through staffing and the development of strategic partnerships. This will directly and tangibly affect the students of the Washington public schools. The more activity there is in our successful outreach and growth, programmatically and otherwise; the busier we are, the more to report, the greater the need to inform and ultimately the greater the need for your response, whether it be in the form of donation, volunteerism or a strategic partnership in its many forms.

TL has taken a huge step forward towards its goal of reaching the children of Washington State with an engaging, dynamic and enhanced STEM curriculum. We have embarked on a pilot program with the Highline School District to implement our curricula throughout that District. The pilot will include four schools (2 middle schools and two elementary schools) serving over 600 students beginning in January 2012. TL and the Highline School District share a mutual goal of achieving District-wide implementation by way of TL training and supporting the talented professional educators in the District and supplying the curricula and equipment (laptops and LEGO Robotics kits) necessary for its implementation.

Numerous other schools throughout the Puget Sound region, as well as the Technology Access Foundation (TAF) continue to use our curriculum and tools on an ongoing basis. We look forward to expanding into other regions within Washington State in the coming year.

TL has been greatly benefitted by the addition of Katherine Apone as our first Director of Educational Programming. Katie has hit the ground running and has been an invaluable asset to TL's continued growth. Katie is profiled in more detail inside this newsletter.

Over the last year, we have added three extremely talented and dedicated members to the Board of Directors, Dr. Beth Boatright, Eric Oemig and Dr. Chris Rogers. Each of these new Directors are profiled inside this issue. Through the generous support of our partner Security Innovation, TL has moved to larger office space which provides a great work environment and welcoming home for TL. I would be remiss if I did not mention the incredible contributions of TL's full Board of Directors who give of themselves in every way imaginable to help TL continue to reach its goals. They are a talented, dedicated and generous group of skilled professionals.

Please review the entirety of this newsletter as it provides greater insight into the progress and successes of TL to date as well as our plans and goals going forward. We at TL are energized based upon the momentum which has been built and excited and hopeful that you will join with us to support the valuable work being done by TL. We cannot do it without your generous assistance and contributions. Please keep those children in need in your thoughts as you consider a gift this holiday season and during the year to come.

Schools and Partnerships Update

2012 will bear the abundant fruits of our labors in 2011. TL has entered into a partnership with the Highline School District to implement a pilot program in four schools in the Highline District with a mutual goal of District-wide implementation in the near future. Teacher training has already begun for a January 2012 kick-off by the implementation of TL's robotics curriculum in the classrooms of Cascade and Pacific Middle Schools and Des Moines and North Hill Elementary Schools.

TL Founder and President Rebecca Deutsch addressing supporters at TL's event at the Microsoft Store in Bellevue

This initial pilot program is going to reach over 600 students in the first half of 2012. In addition to supplying our curriculum and providing the teacher training and support; TL is providing laptop computers and LEGO robotics kits to these schools creating the optimum learning experience for the students.

Special thanks must be given to Des Moines City Council member Dave Kaplan, Highline School Board Director Michael Spear, Highline School District Deputy Superintendant Carla Jackson, Executive Director of Instructional Design Angus Mairs and Assistant Director of STEM Carmen Gonzales for their vision and dedication in making this partnership a reality.

TL has also begun working with Seattle's Brighton Elementary School together with the support of Principal Cothron McMillian, a long time supporter of TL. Exciting partnerships with other educational support organizations and funding organizations are progressing nicely with new announcements to be coming in our next communication.

On another front, TL has partnered with Ideal Network to help provide financial support to TL while providing consumer deals. Please see Ideal Network's website at and choose TL as your beneficiary. It's a win-win for everybody!

Last, but certainly not least is the exciting additional of Katie Apone as TL's Director of Educatonal Programming. Katie joined TL in July after spending the last few years helping to integrate technology in the Dominican Republic's educational system through her work with the Peace Corps (see article below).

Technology in the Dominican Republic:

Unique issues create additional challenges

By Katie Apone

Immediately prior to joining the staff of Technically Learning, I spent 27 months as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic. I served in a rural town of 3500 people as an Education volunteer in the area of Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

TL Founder and President Rebecca Deutsch addressing supporters at TL's event at the Microsoft Store in Bellevue

I primarily worked out of the local high school's computer lab to organize and lead courses for students and community members, some who had never used a computer before. My students and I also worked with two Lego Robotics kits, on loan from Technically Learning, to engage the students in hands-on technology projects. At times, it was difficult working in ICT in the Dominican Republic because power outages are very common; my town routinely had electricity for only about half the day.

The principal of the high school and I went to a conference with other educators from the Dominican Republic to brainstorm ideas on how the better the country's education system. We talked about how teachers, parents, and students are great assets to a school, but it was hard to argue that electricity wasn't just as important. How can a computer teacher do his or her job if they don't have electricity?

During my Peace Corps service, I tried to inspire and motivate the staff of my high school to solve these problems for themselves. By working together, connecting them with other educators in the country and introducing new educational ideas, I hope that I helped make my adopted high school a more positive and effective learning environment.

After working in education in the Dominican Republic, I truly appreciate the abundance of resources the United States has. The American education system is by no means perfect, and our country is going through tough economic times, but we should keep this in perspective within a global view. I'm excited to be part of an organization that improves public education in Washington State with all its great, available resources: constant electricity, the motivated teachers and schools involved with Technically Learning, supportive community donors and the hard-working staff and volunteers of TL.

Help Technically Learning Grow!

Students in public schools need hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities to spark their interest in and give them the opportunity to gain experience in these fields. Your donation will be used to help provide the necessary LEGO™ Robotics kits and laptops to help teachers inspire our next generation of engineers and scientists.

Please Consider a Donation of:

One Mindstorms LEGO Set - $300

A donation of $300 will help us purchase one LEGO Mindstorms kit. Each classroom receives at least five Mindstorms kits.

One Laptop - $400

A donation of $400 can be used to purchase one laptop for our students to use in class. We give each classroom at least five laptops to ensure students have ample access to them to learn critical programming skills.

Sponsor One Classroom - $3,500

Your generous donation of $3,500 will help us purchase the materials for a new classroom. This will help up to 20 new students see our impactful curriculum. We will grant our curriculum and teacher training to this class at no cost to the teacher or school.

Sponsor One New School - $10,000

A donation of $10,000 or more will give us the funding needed to help a new school in the Puget Sound area. Due to kit and laptop reuse the impact of a donation of this caliber may impact more than 60 students, setting them well on their way to educational success.

We appreciate donations of any amount.

By focusing on training and supporting teachers of Washington State public schools, Technically Learning is building a sustainable model where teachers have the knowledge, confidence and equipment to continue these programs for many years. Our curricula allow for students to practice high-level critical thinking, work in teams and problem-solve difficult real-world situations, which are skills crucial to their success in STEM careers. Our programs have produced exciting results; read more about it in our newsletter!

Simply type the amount you'd like to give below and click "Donate"



If you are interested in volunteering with Technically Learning, please contact Executive Director Myles Kahn. We welcome volunteers from all across the country, as many positions can be done remotely; that means anyone even you can lend a hand!

Currently, we are seeking volunteers for the following positions: Curriculum Development volunteers help TL staff with curriculum at various stages of innovation and composition.

For Special Events volunteers, creativity and personality are your best assets. We are looking for volunteers who would be willing to help plan and host fundraising events here in Seattle. Know a good coffeehouse or bar that would be willing to host an event? Maybe you are a pop culture expert and want to host a trivia night, or you are willing to organize a Mystery Science Theater © like event featuring a robot-themed B-flick. We are open to any great ideas you may have, and we'd like volunteers who will take the initiative to get these events off the ground. We are also looking for volunteers who could assist with the planning and coordination of an annual event; likely tasks will include securing donations, planning committee meetings, and volunteering at the event.

Teacher Training and Support volunteers are the go-to people for teachers running our programs. The position would begin with teacher trainings and/or refreshers at the beginning of the school year for your assigned teacher/school, and volunteers would lead a few trainings throughout the school year. Depending on the school, you might also be working with parent volunteers who assist teachers with our programs. After the initial trainings, volunteers would shift into supporting roles, available to answer questions and troubleshoot for teachers throughout the year. Occasionally, we have teacher trainings that do not require regular follow-ups, and we may have positions for one-time teacher trainings. If you would like to be part of an ?on call volunteer corps that conducts occasional teacher trainings, you may submit an application and we will contact you on an as-needed basis.

Special thanks to:

Britt Hansing for your tireless efforts in the design and production of this newsletter
Eddie Yip for his creative talent
Joey McFarland for her dedication and social savvy
Tammy Kaiser Tammy Kaiser and Splash Events for coordinating the Microsoft Store event
Katie Wallace for her creative and technical expertise on our website re-design

Board of Directors

Rebecca Deutsch
Daniel Apone
Joe Basirico
Eric Hilton, Ph.D.
Adriel Tam
Beth Boatright, Ph.D.
Chris Rogers, Ph.D.
Eric Oemig
more about the board...

Executive Director

Myles H. Kahn

Director of Educational Programming

Katherine Apone

Technically Leaning is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

Meet Technically Learning's New Board Members

Chris Rogers, Ph.D.

Chris is currently the Director of the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO) and Professor of Engineering at Tufts University with a significant amount of work dedicated to pre-college education - particularly in the area of K-12 science, math and engineering education in an attempt to bring engineering into the younger grades to excite kids about science and math.

Chris earned his Bachelor, Masters and Doctorate degrees from Stanford University, where he worked with John Eaton on his thesis looking at particle motion in a boundary layer flow. From Stanford, he went to Tufts as a faculty member, where he has been for the last million years, with a few exceptions. His first sabbatical was spent at Harvard and a local kindergarten looking at methods of teaching engineering. He spent half a year in New Zealand on a Fulbright Scholarship looking at 3D reconstruction of burning couches (flame fronts to estimate heat fluxes). In 2002-3 he was at Princeton as the Kenan Professor of Distinguished Teaching where he played with underwater robots, wind tunnels, and LEGO bricks. In 2006-7, he spent the year at ETH in Zurich playing with very very small robots and measuring the lift force on a fruit fly. He received the 2003 NSF Director's Distinguished Teaching Scholar Award for excellence in both teaching and research. Chris is involved in several different research areas: particle-laden flows (a continuation of his thesis), telerobotics and controls, slurry flows in chemical-mechanical planarization, the engineering of musical instruments, measuring flame shapes of couch fires, measuring fruit-fly locomotion, and in engineering education (K - College). His work has been funded by numerous government organizations and corporations, including the NSF, NASA, Intel, Boeing, Cabot, Steinway, Selmer, National Instruments, Raytheon, Fulbright, and the LEGO Corporation. His work in particle-laden flows led to the opportunity to fly aboard the NASA 0g experimental aircraft. He has flown over 700 parabolas without getting sick.

Chris also has a strong commitment to teaching, and at Tufts has started a number of new directions, including learning robotics with LEGO bricks and learning manufacturing by building musical instruments. He was awarded the Carnegie Professor of the Year in Massachusetts in 1998 and is currently the director of the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach. His teaching work extends to the elementary school, where he talks with over 1000 teachers around the world every year on ways of bringing engineering into the younger grades. He has worked with LEGO to develop ROBOLAB, a robotic approach to learning science and math. ROBOLAB has already gone into over 50,000 schools worldwide and has been translated into 15 languages.He has been invited to speak on engineering education in Singapore, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the UK, and in the US. He works in various classrooms once a week, although he has been banned from recess for making too much noise.

Beth Boatright, Ph.D.

Beth holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from University of Washington's College of Education. She most recently worked as a postdoctoral research associate for the Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy at U.W., examining the quality and effects of professional learning opportunities aimed directly at the improvement of teaching and learning. In addition to her recent book, Teachers' Professional Learning in the Context of High School Reform (2008, Stuttgart: Verlag Press), she has published recent articles on this and other professional development topics in the School Administrator (2009), The Journal of Staff Development(2009), and the American Educational Research Journal (January, 2010). After completing her undergraduate degree at Wellesley College, Beth served in the Peace Corps in Mauritania, West Africa, and then began her teaching career as a middle school teacher in Columbus, Ohio. Currently, Beth is a Research Associate for the BERC Group, Inc., where her work focuses on the impact of professional development on school and classroom practices.

Eric Oemig

Eric is a software engineer and a former State Senator. Before joining the Senate, he designed software at Microsoft and several high-tech startups including his own mechatronics startup. In high school, Eric built a voice-recognition computer board that he discovered in a library book. It was Eric's early exposure to technology in public school that helped shape his career in high-tech. And, working with his primitive (and faulty) voice controller board helped prepare Eric for his work in the Senate. While serving in the Senate, serving as Vice Chair of the Education K-12 Committee Eric helped expand public school technology and science programs throughout Washington state. In 2007, Oemig introduced and passed an innovative education performance bill to track student/teacher/school performance data.

Eric holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to the TL Board, Eric serves on the Executive Advisory Board of FIRST Robotics.