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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Providing Meaningful Experiences with Technology: An Interview with Eduporium CEO, Rick Fredkin [and a Giveaway!]

I was so pleased to review and share the Eduporium website with you last week. This week we are featuring an interview with Eduporium CEO, Rick Fredkin. We are impressed with his passion and vision for educating kids and being sure that students have access to meaningful experiences with technology.

Check out the end of this post for another great giveaway- a Tech Will Save Us DIY Speaker Kit and a $50 store credit to Eduporium. Giveaway runs from December 8th - Midnight (EST) December 14th, 2016. You'll also find an exclusive Eduporium coupon code at the bottom of the post.

An Interview with Eduporium CEO, Rick Fredkin

Is there a particular event, or experience in your life that inspired you to start Eduporium?
Having access to computers and technology was what gave me a career, so I truly believe giving young people access to resources where they can gain experience is fantastic.

Eduporium is a great resource for schools and those interested in educational technology. What is the most important or fulfilling element of running this business?
What’s important is that we get to provide innovative technology to teachers and students. We get to help students and the people who educate them. It’s a win/win/win: we are able to be in business and do good at the same time.

What do you think is the biggest stumbling block for introducing technology and STEM into schools? How does Eduporium work to alleviate some of these challenges?
I would say there are two main challenges. First is awareness, and second is the buy-in from educators. Students want to use technology, so for them this is all pretty easy. But the people who educate them have to know what exists out on the marketplace, what can be used in their classrooms, and they have to have the buy-in: they have to be shown that it’s something that’s attainable for them, and something they can use to teach what they’ve been teaching already.

We have many readers who are teachers, homeschoolers and informal educators. In fact, I was homeschooled for several years myself. I understand that you have an interesting educational background that includes Montessori, homeschooling and what I think most people would call “unschooling,” or practical life experience, these days. How did these experiences impact your interest in ed-tech?
I do have an interesting educational background. I attended Montessori schools for preschool up to kindergarten, and then attended a number of schools, both public and private, up to 8th grade. In which case, maybe I did homeschooling or “unschooling.” At the beginning of 9th grade, at the age of 12 or 13, I started professionally as a computer programmer at a full-time job, and continued working in that capacity in the computer industry ever since. That’s about 20-something years now. These experiences impacted my interest in edtech because it was my ability and access to technology in my younger years which led me to have my first summer job in the industry, and from there I learned. I want all other young people to have the same opportunities.

I think that Eduporium’s “Tech Lending Library” is a brilliant idea. What inspired this? How have schools and teachers responded to this service?
You mean “who,” and that would be one of my partners, Dr. Irina Tuuli. She is constantly talking to educators and thinking about what is best for them. Of course, a lot of the technology we’re working with is brand new, so the Tech Lending library is crucial: we need teachers, educators, and schools to understand how this new tech can be brought into the education market. So, let’s lend it to them! Doing that will make it that much easier for them to get their heads around bringing it into their schools.

There are a lot of great project ideas and instructions on Eduporium. Do you consider yourself a maker? If so, what is your favorite project?
I do consider myself a maker, yes. We don’t just have these products in the office: I have them all over my house. I use them with my kids. I make things, I break things, sometimes things don’t work, sometimes they do. My wife can sometimes get upset with me because various things around the house are in sort of “maker status,” like how we watch our TV, or the phones in our house. If I break them, they don’t work unless I fix them, which can sometimes take a while. So, yes, I’m a maker. I love to make things, I love to learn about new things, and all of the products that we sell we use – as adults!
I wouldn’t say I have a singular favorite project, per se. My type of favorite project is the kind that really shows the capability of all this technology. Say you have something like a Raspberry Pi: there are a multitude of interesting projects that you can do with it. But when you pair it with other technology, the number of things you can do with it multiplies exponentially. There’s an endless amount of possibilities.

If you had to make a prediction, what is going to be the biggest game-changer in educational technology in 2017? Is it a particular product, or method of teaching, etc.?
I’ve always been a fan of Project-Based Learning, so I think it’s great that it’s really coming to the fore and that people are paying attention to it and bringing it into schools. I mean, STEM education is great, but here at Eduporium we believe that it needs to be more than that. It’s not just technology for the purpose of teaching technology: it’s using the technology as a teaching tool and learning the same things that were going to be taught anyway, but to also have more relevant and engaging types of lessons that are more attuned to our modern world.

Thanks, Rick for allowing me and my readers to know you and Eduporium a bit better!

The Eduporium shop provides a space to purchase kits, maker tools, robotics, products to learn coding and even computers and tablets. In fact, Eduporium has offered Share it! Science readers an exclusive discount code. Use the code SHAREITSCIENCE now through May 31st, 2017 to receive 10% off of your ed tech order!

Interested in learning more about Eduporium? Check out their site, read their blog, follow them on social media, or visit their YouTube page!

Ed Tech Giveaway!

Enter to win a Tech Will Save Us DIY Speaker Kit plus a special $50 shop credit at! This kit is a super fun way to teach kids about sound, amplification, and learn basic electronic and soldering skills while building their own speaker. This giveaway runs from December 8th, 2016 until midnight (EST) December 14th, 2016. You must be a resident of the United States to enter. Enter by following the directions in the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be announced on this page and across our social media platforms.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
All images and giveaway items provided by

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Eduporium: A Great Resource for Educational Technology

I'm excited to be reviewing Eduporium, an online platform that helps connect kids, schools, homeschool and makerspaces to educational technology. Not only am I sharing all of Eduporium's services and resources with you, but Eduporium has also been very generous in providing a fun DIY Electro Dough kit, and a $50 shop credit for us to give away to a reader. Additionally, Eduporium is offering Share it! Science readers an exclusive discount code. You'll find details about each at the end of this post.

The Eduporium vision resonates with me in that they strive to provide experiences for children that will help them build skills, hone their imagination and creativity, and allow them to become real world problem-solvers. Another fabulous goal of Eduporium is to make ed tech accessible to schools and other organizations through education, program support, profit-sharing programs and educational discounts.

This video sums up Eduporium's mission nicely:

Eduporium offers a bright and engaging web page for students, parents, teachers and school administrators. Exploring their offerings you'll find cool tech, projects, a map of skills, activities and resources. For teachers and school administrators there is the Tech Lending Library, workshops, teacher collaboration sites, options for making ed tech affordable, and more.

The "cool tech" section is a great resource for learning more about a specific type of technology, i.e. Arduino or circuit stickers, and gives you an introduction about the tech, how to get started with it, the ways it can be used in education and some project ideas. In some cases, there are links to state education standards that might be met by using the technology or completing a project.

I was impressed with the project and activity sections. In "Projects" you'll find tons of fun project ideas that include a full supply list and helpful thoughts on how to put the project to use in a classroom. Projects include things like a DIY digital camera and DIY portable boombox. The "Activity" section has plenty of activity ideas that use technology available on Eduporium. These also include a full parts list so it is easy to get started and classroom resources.

I think some of the most useful sections as far as developing our student's real-world skills are the "Map of Skills" and "Resources" sections of the site. Both are works in progress, but there is a lot of potential and I look forward to see where each will go. "Map of Skills" features interviews with real-world professionals highlighting the skills needed for that career, how technology plays a role and other useful life-shaping information. "Resource"s includes "Wise Up Wednesday" workshops meant to teach about different technology that Eduporium has to offer schools and makerspaces.

The offerings for teachers and schools are unique. I'm excited to share these resources with colleagues in the field because I think they truly will help bring technology to their classrooms or makerspaces.

The "Tech Lending Library" is a cool program where teachers can borrow items for a small rental fee, that can then be used towards purchase if they choose to do so. This is a fabulous idea, since you never really know if something will work in your particular teaching setting until you've tried it out. Since obtaining an entire classroom set of ed tech products can be very pricey, this takes out the guesswork and allows schools to pilot a product and see if it makes sense for them to purchase.

By far one of the most important services Eduporium provides is tech affordability. One of Eduporium's goals is to make technology accessible for all students. There are several ways they are working to make this possible: profit-sharing, academic discounts, grants and young inventor discounts.

Schools can become a part of the profit sharing program. This allows schools to collect a portion of the profits generated from purchases made on Eduporium by their community members (families, faculty, etc).

Academic discounts are available for those who qualify. A brief questionnaire makes it easy to find out whether or not you can take advantage of educational pricing, sometimes up to 85% off in order to make technology accessible to all classrooms. These discounts were put into place by some of the major technology companies, but few people know about them, so the funds go unused. This is your chance to take advantage of these programs for your classroom!

Eduporium awards an educational technology grant of $250 each month to fund proposed projects. You can submit a proposal for a project on the website.

Discounts are also available for "young inventors". Kids can write to Eduporium about how they want to change the world, and they just might get the help they need to do so.

To help implement technology into schools, Eduporium teaches workshops and provides opportunities for teacher collaboration.

Currently, Eduporium is offering three different types of workshop opportunities. The workshops serve groups of students and their teachers, just teachers, or workshops that highlight how to use different products. These give people a chance to see this technology in practice, similar to the benefits of the Tech Lending Library it allows exploration before committing to purchasing a product before knowing how to incorporate it into learning or whether it will work in a particular setting.

Any school or school district can sign up for their own space on Eduporium's site. These teacher collaboration sites empower teachers within a school or district to work together and share ideas by providing a space to share lesson plans, or ask questions. There is the potential for teachers to post "wish-lists" for upcoming materials that will be required and share them with their students or the communities' users. Schools and districts can set up their own stores where products they are choosing to use can be purchased.

On Eduporium's forums teachers and the community can post questions, collaborate ideas and more. As an educator, I find this to be an invaluable resource. None of us are teaching in a bubble, so it is awesome to have a space for collaboration!

To take some of the guesswork out of building a school STEAM program or get kids started making, Eduporium offers kits and bundles. Different types of tech are bundled together to create all the supplies needed to explore a certain area, such as circuits, or robotics. The bundles teach skills that build upon each other and are chosen for age and skill appropriateness.

The Eduporium shop provides a space to purchase kits, maker tools, robotics, products to learn coding and even computers and tablets. In fact, Eduporium has offered Share it! Science readers an exclusive discount code. Use the code SHAREITSCIENCE now through May 31st, 2017 to receive 10% off of your ed tech order!

Interested in learning more about Eduporium? Check out their site, read their blog, follow them on social media, or visit their YouTube page!

Stay tuned as next week we will feature an interview with Eduporium CEO Rick Fredkin, and another great giveaway!

Ed Tech Giveaway!

Enter to win a DIY Electro Dough Kit plus a special $50 shop credit at! This kit is a super fun way to teach kids about circuits while building and creating their own dough models and figures that light up or make sounds. This giveaway runs from December 1st, 2016 until midnight (EST) December 7th, 2016. You must be a resident of the United States to enter. Enter by following the directions in the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be announced below and across our social media platforms.

Check out this video to see how it works!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Although this review was sponsored, all opinions are my own. All images and giveaway items provided by