loves-minecraftYesterday I attended a wedding and enjoyed sitting with relatives. What was striking about the event wasn’t so much the beautiful ceremony, but the 4-year old who talked my ear off FOR OVER TWO HOURS about one thing: MINECRAFT!  IT WAS AWESOME!! (see little Levi’s picture at left)

Every little youngster in our family is hooked on the “digital lego” game, so it wasn’t entirely a surprise to me when Microsoft bought Minecraft’s parent company, Sweden-based Mojan, for $2.5 Billion last year.

However, I was blown away when I saw that Microsoft had reprogrammed it from the “ground up” around their new augmented reality system: Hololens.

I’ve been fortunate (pre-purchase by Facebook for $2B;  Read: Why Facebook Bought Oculus Rift) to test beta versions of the impressive Oculus Rift (see our first virtual reality experience here) but, Hololens looks SUPER AMAZING.
[See my other video on Hololens– I’m still trying to get my hands on one…developer kits don’t come out until 2016…stay tuned!]

Watch the video above to see how impressive the immersive world’s of Minecraft are now in virtual reality with Hololens.

And then consider the concluding paragraph from Business Insider on WHY Microsoft bought Minecraft:

There’s one other reason for Microsoft to buy Minecraft that not many people are talking about. It is growing in popularity in the education space. Teachers are using it with their students and there is a dedicated group to focusing on education.

As that grows, it gives Microsoft access to a young demographic

Business Insider: Here’s Why Microsoft is Paying $2.5 Billion For Minecraft

Today is Back to the Future Day!

I had a lot of fun making the above video. It’s an in-depth look at the predictions made for October 21, 2015 as depicted in the 1989 movie “Back to the Future 2“– You will be surprised at how many came true!

These are the predictions that Back to the Future 2 got right in the movie and shows the technological advances on “Back to the Future Day” –
October 21, 2015, the day Marty McFly & Doc Brown travel in their DeLorean time machine–with the flex capacitor, to their future….which is
TODAY: October 21 2015 “Back to the Future Day”!

Have fun and enjoy looking at the evolution of technology advances over the 26 year span.

INCLUDES historical perspectives on the movie’s predictions:
– BioFuel
– Flying cars
– Weather prediction
– Self-tying tennis shoes
– 3D Holograms
– Wireless video games
– Flying Hoverboards
– Handheld devices
– The Chicago Cubs winning the World Series ..I know cRaZy idea! 😉
– Biometric Door locks
– Drones walking dogs
– Multi-display on 1 TV
– Personal Devices
– Video Conferencing

Special thank you to:

Pacific Northwest Delorean Club (President Jeff Linstad)  & Mr. Mark Vanyo who was kind enough to share his collectible DeLorean with me for the video shoot.

Kamiak Junior High’s Julia Ryan (ASB President) who performed the movie scene research.

If you’d like my research notes for the source material used in the video, drop me an email: Kevin(at]

Site Overhaul Going On Now


My site is currently undergoing substantial re-construction.

It feels a lot like fixing a plane while it’s in the air and it’s taking longer than I want BUT, it will be a more powerful resource for friends and colleagues when I’m finished as I have some exciting new upgrades coming that I’m excited about!

Internet of Things (IoT) is the inter-connectedness of all things through the Internet.

What Is the Internet of Things

The drivers of the technology and movement are the technology companies who will power the IoT: IBM, Intel & Cisco amongst others.

IBM Think Academy put out this great video HOW IT WORKS: Internet of Things


Higher Order Thinking Skills

I find it’s common for students (of all ages) to say ‘they know something’.

I’m fond of challenging them with three questions.

First, “How do you know what you know?”
This question is designed to help them to reflect and evaluate what exactly they know and where they got their information.

The typical student response is usually one of two answers:  (1) “I did X” (where X is: the assignments, the units, the chapter, etc.  or, (2)  “I got an A on the test!” = school tasks.
Neither of these is a sufficient evaluation of learning, for me.

In my opinion, the ultimate goal for school and teaching is to foster an educated populace. But what does that mean?
Nearly every school district in the country touts “Critical Thinking” in their Mission Statement and a cornerstone of the often used and misguided “21st Century Skills.”

I strongly agree that critical thinking is important. But simply, critical thinking cannot occur in the absence of HIGHER ORDER THINKING SKILLS.  Memorizing a bunch of facts (Knowledge) is not going to develop critical thinking.

Memorizing a bunch of facts (Knowledge) is not going to develop critical thinking students.

I believe in fostering in students the tools to articulate what they’ve learned and know to be important. Confidence is dramatically increased when students can share what they learned vs what they did.  Importantly, creating students who are confident, and hence willing to argue because they have a personal toolbox– or repository of reasonings and justifications

“So What?”

My second favorite questions to ask students is “So What?”

Students should be confident in their learnings and willing to argue because they have a personal toolbox– or repository of reasonings, evaluations, experiences, and justifications.  If you’re a “critical thinker” and not willing to step-up and challenge others intellectually, what good is it?

Their confidence should be buoyed by an open mind, or as Aristotle is quoted as saying: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

The critical thinking muscle is strengthened when it wrestles with new, different, and competing data, information, and ideas.  Gathering new and different information and either modifying one’s own views or strengthening existing ideas, is part of growing and the continuous learning process we should want in anybody.

“Show Me”

I am most fond of students creating demonstrations of their understandings.  Using Web 2.0 tools, students can integrate images, graphics, photographs, videos, sights, and sounds that allow them the freedom & flexibility to express their learnings in ways that are meaningful to them. These public displays can be shared and built upon and I find that

These public displays can be shared easily with links,  integrate collaboration, modified, and used as in learning portfolios over time.


Bloom’s Taxonomy of Cognition

Bloom’s Taxonomy is a framework that helps teachers categorize educational objectives and increase the rigor of their questions to deepen understanding. The key is to move students from lower levels of factual recall to levels of higher thinking and understanding. graphic that helps guide teaching and learning for higher-order thinking.

The goal is to work from the foundation (lower levels) to the top of the pyramid

The following image includes the original taxonomy of cognition (1956) next to its revised version (2001).

This original taxonomy by psychologist Benjamin Bloom is 60 years old. The taxonomy on the right is the recent adaptation and redefined work of Bloom in 2000-01, by Lorin Anderson and David Krathwohl. The revision included people with expertise in the areas of cognitive psychology, curriculum and instruction, and educational testing, measurement, and assessment.

The revision included people with expertise in the areas of cognitive psychology, curriculum and instruction, and educational testing, measurement, and assessment.

The “NEW Bloom’s Taxonomy” also took into consideration many of Bloom’s own concerns and criticisms of his original taxonomy.(1)

IMAGE COMPARISON: Changes in Blooms Taxonomy 1956 to 2001

More details on HOW to use Bloom’s Taxonomy can be found here–> with BLOOM’s VERBS (pdf), VERBS & ASSESSMENT TYPES, and the following image (click for larger image):

Best Bloom's Taxonomy Chart from

In conclusion, develop higher thinking skills and help move students from “this is what I did” to be able to explain what they learned and why it’s important.


Sources: (1)
Images:  &

Takeaways from the 2015 Stanford Graduate School of Business Entrepreneur Symposium

Technical and…enlightening presentation on the future of Internet of Things

Trae Vassallo is an independent investor, board member, and advisor. She is also a strategic advisor to Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, where she was a general partner. She serves on the Board of Directors of Enlighted.

Click on any of her links above and you’ll understand her endeavors are committed to the making the future she explains a reality.