Cool things I teach.

I'm an educator and a director of education technology. My job is focused on working with students and teachers to use technology as efficiently as possible in the pursuit of learning outcomes. Because of that, there's lots of opportunities to mix my own passions with what I do daily. This is where I write about the lessons I've learned along the way.

Automating Shameless Plugs

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Thursday, October 21, 2021
One of the motivations that first hooks people into dev is the ability to automate workflows. The further down the rabbit hole you go, the more and more opportunity you see for making things more efficient. While this blog is a record of problem solving strategies, it's also an opportunity for shameless self-promotion...so why not make it as easy as possible to automate that part?

QR Carpool

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Wednesday, October 20, 2021
QR codes have surged in popularity since the start of the pandemic. As such, they've even made their way into our carpool system at work; gone are the days of shouting over radios...now, there's an 'app' for that.

Using React's Context API

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Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Have you ever seen a 'no context' account on Twitter or Instagram? Unfortunately, this post probably isn't as exciting as one of those, but there may be a few (unintentional) laughs involved. I just learned about React's context api and, man, is it great.

What's that code again?

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Wednesday, October 20, 2021
A 7+ hour drive from Cedar Rapids, IA back to Birmingham gave me plenty of time to build out a game for my students. I'm also close to launching a complete curriculum coupled with features for teachers looking to save some time and energy. This is as close as to 'building in public' that I've been comfortable with to date.

Stripe Webhooks and Next.js

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Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Webhooks are nothing new, but I'm just realizing their potential when paired with API routes in Next.js. For a SaaS I'm currently building, I needed a way of programmatically generating licenses for users after purchase. With Stripe webhooks, it was a snap.

Modular Apps with the JAMstack

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Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Developing web apps using the JAMstack is pure nirvana. The modular nature and growing range of services (many that are open source) makes for blistering development speeds. In this post I discuss the creative opportunities the JAMstack brings to building new services.

Secret Santa's Secret Helper

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Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Last year my wife facilitated a 'Secret Santa' exchange. She needed a fair and anonymous way of pairing people and I saw a fun opportunity to solve a problem.

The Tutoring Bar is Open

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Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Over the summer, a group of my colleagues and I read a book by Daine Tavenner called Prepared. In it, this revolutionary educator describes a strategy called the 'tutoring bar' and how teachers at her schools use it on a daily basis. In an effort to teach more effectively during hybrid learning - and for my own satisfaction and desire for greater student achievement - I gave it a try.

Lessons Learned: Building with LaTeX and Using Hooks

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Wednesday, October 20, 2021
That's a weird sounding title. In reality, this post is all about lessons learned via an abandoned project. In it, I talk a little bit about self-expression and using the useEffect hook for the first time.

Heroku's Rotating Credentials

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Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Recently I created a client site that utilizes NextAuth.js for authentication. I needed the user data to persist in a database, but the connection configuration can be a pain with Heroku's rotating credentials. Read this post to see how I solved it.

Work the problem: Hybrid Teaching

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Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Hybrid teaching is a great case-study in understanding the difference between fact and perception. Is it easy? Arguably, no. However, there are some efficient ways to reframe the way we think about it in order to make our lives, and the lives of our students, easier.

Lessons Learned from The Martian

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Tuesday, October 19, 2021
The Martian should be celebrated as one of the greatest, nerdiest, most kick-ass pieces of literature ever written. For any teacher that likes to utilize a problem-based approach in class, look no further than Mark Watney's attempts to stay alive on the red planet.