TTI Mission: Change the World – One Kid at a Time!

Every once in a while, you come across something that just makes you stop and think… As I watched this video, I knew without a doubt that what we are doing here at Table Top Inventing is more than just selling a few 3D printers and some electronic parts. It’s more than just the cool factor or the thrill of presenting at conferences. It’s about inspiring a generation of kids to be like THIS kid – tinkerers, explorers, innovators, deep thinkers. It’s about giving them Continue reading →

Good SAT scores are the key to success, right? Not Really!

If you are concerned about how to prepare your teenager for the harsh realities of life after high school, you are not alone.  There’s test prep.  Keeping up the grades.  Extracurricular activities.  And somewhere, a social life.   Yet studies have shown that SAT scores aren’t a good predictor of future success.  Grades are also an iffy predictor for success, according to Google’s hiring team.  These assertions are disconcerting for parents like me who love to see those “A’s” on the report card.  How can Continue reading →

Think teens only know how to work an iPhone? Watch This!

These are candid videos of teens caught doing amazing things during Engineering Camp.  Listen to these students describing what they have been doing.  Lots of experimentation.  Lots of learning.     These guys built the world’s coolest “Hello World” program:   They modified the program even further, and this is what they had to show the audience during their project exhibitions.   Major 3D design and 3D printing innovation for the interplanetary ship docking challenge:   Amazing electronic wizardry.  These guys were creating wireless communication between Continue reading →

8 Startling Truths about Teens

One night not too long ago your dear, sweet child went to sleep in their safe little bed.  But during the night the Teenager Fairy flew in the window and sprinkled pixie dust around the room.  In the morning your radiant ray of sunshine had been replaced by a moody teenager! I remember that transition quite clearly for each of my older children.  One day they are helpful and kind, and the next they are temperamental and stubborn. Or are adolescents really as insufferable as we paint them? Continue reading →

092 – Multidisciplinary Projects with Zack Dowell

Multidisciplinary Projects with Zack Dowell [In This Episode][Guest Bio][Additional Notes][Text Transcript] In This Episode Can a fish be trained like a dog? Can a school project be both art and science as well as entertainment and curiosity? How do we bring engagement back to the classroom? Today’s podcast will grab you by the ears and entertain them all the way through. Welcome to the Table Top Inventing Online Radio Show. Every week we interview successful individuals from across the career spectrum and share their stories. Continue reading →

088 – Designing Success with Tracy Hazzard

Designing Success with Tracy Hazzard [In This Episode][Guest Bio][Additional Notes][Text Transcript] In This Episode How does a young lady pursuing a career in biogenetics find herself a successful artist? How can a small company file a lawsuit against a huge company without getting crushed? How do you fall in love with 3D printing after avowing never to use it? The stories behind these curious juxtapositions are waiting for you in today’s podcast. Welcome to the Table Top Inventing podcast. I am Steve Kurti, aka “the Continue reading →

087 – Games and Politics with Jay Obernolte

Games and Politics with Jay Obernolte [In This Episode][Guest Bio][Additional Notes][Text Transcript] In This Episode What is it like to write a video game from code in a printed book? Can techie kids learn to have good people skills? How does a computer game programmer become a politician? You’ll have to listen to today’s episode to learn the answers to these fascinating questions. Hi, this is Steve, “The Mad Scientist” Kurti, and today’s guest on the Table Top Inventing podcast is a first for us. Continue reading →

Just a Minute, My Brain is on Fire!

A few weeks ago we finished our first Inventor Camp of the year.  The first Inventor Camp of the year is always a little intense.   I’m guilty of raising the level of the challenge yet again.  Last year, we asked the students to do more complex wiring than we had in the past (see below for a description of the past few challenges).   This year I stretched the students yet a little further.   During camp, a couple of students and I were Continue reading →

The Evils of Kits and Step-by-step Instructions?

I like things to be ideal.  In fact, my most dreaded fear in the universe is a set missing one item.   Ok, I admit it.   I’m a little OCD.   But some things in life suffer from too much attention.  Take for instance, Elmyra Duff, from the old Warner Bros. cartoons who loves her animals to the point of escaping in terror.   Her yard is littered with abandoned dog houses, bird cages, and food bowls of animals who escaped because–with the best Continue reading →

086 – Understanding Engineers with Joanie Connell

Understanding Engineers with Joanie Connell [In This Episode][Guest Bio][Additional Notes][Text Transcript] In This Episode How much does work-life balance matter to today’s professionals? Why do people communicate differently on email vs phone vs face-to-face? What are the effects of helicopter parenting on the kids we are trying to protect? Today’s podcast will reveal the answers to these crucial questions. Welcome to the Table Top Inventing Online Radio Show.  Every week we interview successful individuals from across the career spectrum and share their stories.  The best Continue reading →

085 – Young Makers with Peggy Healy Stearns

Young Makers with Peggy Healy Stearns [In This Episode][Guest Bio][Additional Notes][Text Transcript] In This Episode Can you learn to write software without programming experience? How is educational software unique? How important is technical confidence for young learners? Join us for a look at technology through the lens of educational software. Welcome to the Table Top Inventing Online Radio Show.  Every week we interview successful individuals from across the career spectrum and share their stories.  Hearing the stories of others who have been down a tricky Continue reading →

Follow Your Passion? Think Again!

I don’t like being told what to do…   But have you ever tried something just because you were told to try it?   Yeah, my mom told me just to try my asparagus.  It looked about as appetizing as a sliver of raw alligator.  Something inside told me this was not going to be good, but I knew that slimy green stalk of mushiness stood between me and playing outside.   So I took the plunge.  My mom was right that it didn’t kill Continue reading →

Do we want Hoop Jumpers or Risk Takers?

Nothing compares to the first time you take the wheel of a car and feel the power and responsibility.   I was about 8.  My dad and I were driving in his blue Ford F-150 pickup truck.  He pulled over to the side of the road and slowed to a stop.   Then he said those words that changed my life.   “Do you want to drive?”   Half-believing I was dreaming, I climbed up onto my dad’s lap while he eased the truck back Continue reading →

084 – Succeeding at Education with Ted Dintersmith

Succeeding at Education with Ted Dintersmith [In This Episode][Guest Bio][Additional Notes][Text Transcript] In This Episode Why would an entrepreneur and noted venture capitalist zoom in on education? How serious are the educational challenges we face in the US? Is there a simple path forward to creating a better education for every student? My guest today is Ted Dintersmith, noted venture capitalist, author, and executive producer of the Sundance-acclaimed education documentary, “Most Likely to Succeed.”  Ted believes that with the best of intentions, we’re ruining the Continue reading →

083 – The Longterm View with Peter Skillen

The Longterm View with Peter Skillen [In This Episode][Guest Bio][Additional Notes][Text Transcript] In This Episode Do kids really secretly enjoy hard problems? What happens when we let children control their own learning? What can US educators learn from Canadian educators? Join us for some perspectives from the other side of our northern border. Welcome to the Table Top Inventing podcast. I’m going to begin today with an excerpt from Marvin Minsky’s book, The Society of Mind. “Why are processes so hard to classify? In earlier Continue reading →

The Truth about Avoiding Regret

Regret has a powerful pull.   They say one of the strongest feelings experienced as we get older is the regret of not trying something when we were younger.  What stops us from giving those opportunities a try?   Fear of failure.   That’s the most common culprit.  We’re afraid that we’ll look foolish when it fails, as if failure is some sort of trap from which we can’t recover.   That’s crazy.   One of my favorite quotes is from Sir Ken Robinson:   “If Continue reading →