Contraptioneers: Our Educational Advisors

Are you a fantastic educator who sees a ton of ways to use Contraption Maker in a classroom, after school program, or other educational project?   If so, we want you to be on our Educational Advisory Board as a Contraptioneer!  These talented educators help us continually improve Contraption Maker as a learning tool.

Want to be a Contraptioneer on the Educational Advisory Board?  Email to get involved!

Harmony School of Excellence Texas (2)

Students play Contraption Maker at the Harmony School of Excellence in Texas.


What We’re Looking For

The Spotkin team has been making video games since the 1980s, so we know how to make fun and engaging software.  What we don’t have is decades of experience teaching children.  That’s where you come in!  We’re looking for educators who can help us out with a subset of the following:

  • Give us in-depth feedback on how to improve Contraption Maker
  • Share lesson plans and curriculum ideas to use Contraption Maker
  • Guide and recruit new educators as they begin their journey with Contraption Maker
  • Moderate our educational forum
  • Represent Spotkin at community events, meetups and conferences


What’s In It For You

We’re here to support Contraptioneers as much as they help us.  Some perks of being on our Educational Advisory Board:

  • Inside information on Contraption Maker development plans
  • Private forum access, available only to other Contraptioneers and Spotkin employees
  • Ability to post guest blogs on the Contraption Maker website
  • Invitations to online video discussions with Spotkin employees
  • Professional recognition as a Spotkin Educational Advisory Board member
  • Project resources: if you have an idea that needs extra funding, we will consider your proposal

Think you’re a good Contraptioneer candidate?  Email

Who’s Already On Board

Meet our current Educational Advisory Board members:

Janet Anderson has been teaching for over 22 years with the last 14 years as a middle school Technology/Engineering teacher in a Computer Lab in Framingham, MA. Janet teaches over 700 6th, 7th and 8th grade students in her school each year. She also provides workshops for teachers throughout the system. Along with providing lessons that aim toward improving her students’ overall keyboarding skills, her main focus is to get kids excited about how things work, what goes into making them work, the Engineering Design Process, and the evolution of the technology behind all kinds of things from bicycles to coding. She loves finding programs that provide a fun, hands-on and active learning platform that help enhance this focus with her classes. Along with creating and running the student school newspaper/magazine – “The Walsh Wildcat E-Zine,”  Janet also shares what she’s learning and interested in with other teachers on her Facebook Page – Tech Teaching Tips, as well as her MCAS Review blog, and her Tech Teaching Tips blog.
shane-asselstineShane Asselstine is the curriculum and technology coordinator at Momilani Elementary School in Pearl City, Hawaii. When he first started at Momilani in 2004, Shane taught in the 4th grade, where he maximized the fifteen available computers in his lessons. Part of his responsibilities now include maintaining, planning, and integrating the over 500 computers in the 1:1 program. Besides teaching staff to utilize computers to increase productivity, Shane teaches 240 students each week from third to sixth grade, with a focus on technology, computer science, and CCSS through game-based learning. An advocate of game based learning, he has used several programs including Code Studio Courses, to expose students to a wide range of concepts. Prior to becoming a teacher, Shane worked in private industry as a network engineer in Michigan, working with Cisco and Novell systems. Experiences before and after becoming a teacher, combined with his love for teaching provide an excellent foundation for helping to encourage others to incorporate coding and Code Studio into the classroom.  Follow him on Twitter, watch his YouTube videos, or view his webpage.
Justin Eames
Justin Eames has spent the last ten years teaching under-served youth in Baltimore. As the Director of Technology for the SEED School of Maryland, he is responsible for providing instruction, tech support, and cutting edge experiences for 400 public school students who board on campus. In his classes, he teaches just about everything from graphic design, robotics, music production, game development, 3D printing, drone operation, and even virtual reality. He does, however, have a passion for game based learning and is always searching for new ways to leverage those engaging experiences to help students learn.  Follow him on Twitter, watch his YouTube videos, or view his webpage.
Dr. Susan Jinks is an instructional technology specialist at Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School (MEH) in Falls Church City, VA. This is the first year of implementing a 1:1 laptop program for every middle school student at MEH. After successfully co-writing a grant, Jinks helped to establish a Makerspace in the school library. Her doctoral work focused on the factors that lead to the perception of learning within a graduate online course. She recently became a Google Educator and Google Education Trainer. Follow her on Twitter.
Jennifer Lindbo has been teaching in Washington state for 29 years. She started as an 8th grade Language Arts teacher, but moved to Computer Education.
Dawn Prescott holds a Nebraska K-12 Information Technology endorsement and has taught 6-8 technology for the past 15 years. She is currently a doctoral student working toward an Ed. D. in Teacher Leadership. An active member of both ISTE and the Nebraska Educational Technology Association, Mrs. Prescott is also closely involved with efforts to incorporate both STEM and Computer Science into the middle school curriculum.
Kris Schwengel
Kris Schwengel has taught publicly and privately; nationally and internationally; elementary and high school; in good moods and bad moods; and as a young man and now a middle-aged man.  He currently teaches 4th Grade in Honolulu.  His passions run towards student engagement, technology, and good old fashioned fun.  He’s constantly searching for ways to make learning more “sticky.”  In other words, he hopes to present projects and lessons that stick in a kid’s memory longer than traditional styles of instruction.  Kris remembers using the original “Incredible Machine” two decades ago to engage students and currently uses “Contraption Maker” to ignite Language Arts and problem-solving skills.  Check out his YouTube channel and TEDx talk on project-based learning.
Tammy Smith
Tammy Smith has been teaching in the Battle Ground Public Schools in Vancouver, Washington since 1990. She began her career in seventh grade teaching math and English. In 2006, she put her Master’s Degree in Educational Technology to work and moved into the computer lab. Today she has students in grades 5-8 who learn about MS Office, photo editing, web design, app building, 3D design and now Contraption Maker. She is excited to be a part of the Contraption Evolution!

Who Else is Using Contraption Maker?

Contraption Maker is being used in hundreds of classrooms and educational programs across the world. Click on the map below to see all the schools, after school programs, and other educational agencies that are already using Contraption Maker:

Schools that use Contraption Maker 07072015