Let's Go Adruino! How to get started.

If you're interested in bringing coding or making or both into your classroom, you should definitely get started with Arduino.

With a very small investment, you can get started. Here's an Amazon shopping list with the components I've used to build my Arduino on the Road kit.

With just a little bit of training, my students have used Arduino to make art projects, museum exhibits, and robots coding in C++.  MaterialsArduino Uno board (or fake Arduino Uno board)BreadboardJumper wiresLEDs220 Ohm resistorsComputer (Mac, Windows, Linux preferred). If you have a chromebook, we can still get you started.  Get your computer ready MacOS, Windows, LinuxRegister with ArduinoDownload the arduino Web Editor Plugin Launch the Arduino Web EditorBring up the code: Examples > Basics > Blink
Chromebooks Get the Codebender AppGo to edu.codebender.ccDo the things Codebender tells you to doThe free EDU version allows you to write up to 30 lines of code. For $10 / month you can expand this.…

It's time. Turn on 2-step Verification in your Google Account

If your Google account happens to be one of the billion Internet passwords The New York Times just reported to have been amassed by a Russian gang, then your docs, your mail, and your puppy photos are in the hands of a ... well ... Russian gang. Unless you have 2-Step Verification turned on.

We have no idea if any of these passwords are actually Google accounts, but really it makes no difference. The password system for proving that you are you is completely broken. Almost all passwords are weak even when websites say they're strong. If your password doesn't look like this ...
8.;=>#qH->8'6Mv  ... it's weak.

If it does look like that, then it's only secure as long as the Russian gang or any other hacker hasn't stolen it.

So far, the best way to protect your accounts is to use 2-Step Verification.

With 2-Step, access to your account requires not only something you know (password), but also something you have (your phone). After you have it turned on, each …

Maddie's #20Time Talk: If you're a rebel with a cause, shop at thrift stores

Maddie spent her #20Time spreading awareness about how buying clothing from thrift stores is smart, green, and rebellious. Watch this amazing young woman pitch her case in her #20Time Talk.

The new book, The #20Time Project is coming out in October. Sign up for your copy here.

20Time Kickstarter Book Project is Live

This morning I launched the 20Time Kickstarter project. Please help back this project here.

Back the book: The 20 Time Project

Later this month I plan to launch a Kickstarter campaign for a book I will finish this summer. The working title is The 20 Time Project: How educators and parents can follow Google's formula for supercharged innovation.
Before I actually launch the campaign, I'm looking for pre-backers so when I do go live, the Kickstarter page isn't sad and lonely. For a $15 pledge, you will get a copy of the book (signed or unsigned depending on whether you want my ink on it). For more, you will get more.

Here are my commitments:
May 1 launch Kickstarter CampaignJune 1 close Kickstarter Campaign with at least $3,000 raisedJuly 1 draft finishedSeptember 1 send book to publisher (I plan to distribute the book on my own, through the Kindle store, and through Amazon)October 1 ship books and rewards to backers  Some of you can expect to hear from me directly, so beware. If you're willing to be a pre-backer, please let me know in the comments, through email (, or any o…

The 20% Project Elevator Pitch

One of the elements of my mid-year exam this month is going to be the 20% Project Elevator Pitch. The term comes from the notion that an innovator with a great idea might find herself in an elevator with a powerful investor. She has a very short period of time to convince this investor to buy into her idea. She needs to deliver an elevator pitch.

For this assignment, I am asking my students to prepare a pitch about their 20% Project in 30 seconds. Throughout the exam, I will pull students outside and ask them to deliver their pitch to me. I’m following the model established by a cheesy video I found on YouTube explaining an elevator pitch.

Sean Wise is a business journalist for The Globe and Mail in Toronto and the host of Canada's version of Shark Tank. According to Wise, good elevator pitches have two parts: the pain statement and value proposition. First the individual lays out a problem that needs to be solved. Then she establishes how her idea is going to solve it.

Wise also …

Cure the Missing Black Bar Blues with Chrome Startup Settings

Now that the Google black bar is gone (or going away), many of us are upset because it now takes two clicks to go from Gmail to Google Calendar, when it used to take only one.
There are Chrome extensions that allow users to modify the app launcher, but they're still not as fast as using the old black bar.

My solution is to use the "Startup on" settings in Chrome. First I open up all the tabs I want to access quickly every day. Then I click the settings hamburger in Chrome > Settings. In the "On startup" menu, I select, "Open a specific set of pages" > "Set pages" > "Use current pages." Then I pin those tabs so they're permanent and out of the way. This works great for me. No more crying. Here's a video.