Meet a Tech Savvy Teacher: Kiki Prottsman

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Long time readers of the NCCE Tech Savvy Teacher blog will recognize this Tech Savvy Teacher: Kiki Prottsman as she created all of the wonderful examples of How to keep kids coding:

Thinking Myself 

Code Maven


Magic Pen



Dance Mat Typing

Kiki will be at NCCE 2016 this year presenting both sessions and workshops for all of you that are interested in coding and bringing elements of Computer Science into your classroom. Links to the sessions and workshops are at the bottom of this post. Without further ado….Here’s Kiki!

Kiki-ProttsmanName: Kiki Prottsman

Location: Eugene, OR

Current job(s): Education Program Manager for

Current computer: MacBook Pro Retina

Current mobile device(s): LG G4

One word that best describes how you teach or work: Playful


Show us a screenshot of your mobile device’s home screen!


What apps/software/tools can you not live without?

Google Keep is one of my favorite (lesser known) apps.  I use it to keep track of everything from what I need to do each day to what I need to buy at the store, or even ideas for KIKIvsIT videos!  In general, if Google makes it (and it’s free) it’s a safe bet that I’ve found a way to utilize it in my daily life.

Share with us a time when you failed in your teaching or learning pursuits. How did you persevere?

I’ve had so many!  As an educational perfectionist, I take note of my failures every single year, with every student that doesn’t recognize their most full potential.  That’s why I’m continuously revising my teaching style, my lessons, and my expectations.  

Since the majority of my work is done in K-5, I consider my most important job the imparting of self-efficacy and growth mindset.  If students truly believe that they can learn whatever they want as long as they persevere, it adds hope to the years that follow.  If students lose hope, they lose progress.

The most notable series of failures for me happens when the world is watching.  Whether in the curriculum or my online videos, if students aren’t enjoying the process of learning, I feel as if I’ve failed.  This is a constant reminder to stay in touch with the people who are interacting with my lessons so that each addition is better than the last!

Other than your phone and computer, what gadget can you not live without?

I LOVE my Instant Pot!  My sister had one, then my mom got one, and now that I have one, I almost never put it away.  I literally drop the food in and let the computer decide how long it should cook depending on the type of food it is. Isn’t technology amazing??

What is your best time-saving trick?

I let my emails go once in awhile!  I have a certain category of emails that I won’t ignore (like parents), but I set myself a timeline for things that “must not be *that* important”.  So, for example, if I set my limit to two weeks, then any email that has gone unanswered for two weeks or longer gets marked as read and I let myself off the hook until they contact me again.

If you had $1,000 to spend on classroom tools and wanted to make the greatest impact on student learning, how would you spend it?

Pizza parties!  Seriously, though, I think that the biggest impact comes from the love of learning.  This love happens when students are engaged and interested.  Events that are perceived as “out of the ordinary” leave an impression.  If you surprise the students with a 2pm ice cream party where you talk about concepts in terms of toppings, then let students EAT them, it will mean a whole lot more than completing another worksheet.

What is your favorite avenue to connect with social media?

I use Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube…but I feel like if I were a more traditional classroom teacher, I would probably value Pinterest and Instagram much more.

When you are not living the glamorous work life, what do you like to do in your spare time for fun?

I exercise when I can, spend time with my kids (we love to go to movies), and paint…when I think I’ll have time to finish!

What app or web service, not currently in existence, do you wish someone would develop?

Top secret!  When is done with me, I’m going to develop it!

As a tech-savvy teacher, what everyday thing do you feel you excel with/at versus other teachers/administrators/mentors?

I teach computer science as an art.  In fact, I teach almost everything as art.  It gives a whole different spin to a topic when you acknowledge that everyone perceives it differently and that it means different things to each person.  

In art class, students know that they need to learn techniques to create pieces that accurately portray what they need, see, or feel.  The same should be true for other subjects.  Students should truly believe that they are learning concepts so that they can apply them to the projects that inspire them everyday.

What are you currently reading?

I’m finishing Bluebeard by Vonnegut, then I’m going to switch over to The Nurture Effect, by Anthony Biglan.  I’m very interested in both non-fiction and wild satire.

Did you get a chance to check out our in-depth interview with Kiki about the Hour of Code and the Future from last year?

As promised here are the sessions and workshops to learn with Kiki at this year’s NCCE 2016! Have you registered yet?

SESSION:Coding – Why we all should be teaching Computer Science!

Thursday, February 25 | 2:00 PM – 2:50 PM | Room: Chelan 4

Afraid that your principal will require you to justify your desire to bring CS to your classroom? Learn about the practical life skills that computer science enhances, and hear how early exposure to CS gives students a better shot at going farther with the technology that will dominate their adult lives.
SESSION: Equity Think Tank – A Vision for Today’s Classroom 

Friday, February 26 | 1:00 PM – 1:50 PM | Room: Chelan 4

Come participate in this immersive experience, designed to help you better understand the importance of an equitable classroom. We will look at both sides of some extremely controversial issues, while putting ourselves into the shoes of an ever-changing group of students. Come with an open mind and leave with resources to help improve the quality of education in your district.
WORKSHOP: Coding K-5 Should we be teaching Computer Science in elementary school?

THUR, February 25 | 10:15 AM – 12:15 PM | Room: 400

This hands-on workshop covers basic techniques for teaching entry-level computer science in grades K-5.  Using free tools, participants will walk away with a plan for integrating computer science into various existing classes.
WORKSHOP: Coding 6-8 Add Coding/Computer Science to Your Middle School Classes

FRI, February 26 | 10:15 AM – 12:15 PM | Room: 400

Come explore middle school computer science in this hands-on workshop.  Within two hours, you will learn about free and exciting tools to bring computer science to existing classes, or to introduce entirely new technology courses to  your school.  This workshop will be a show & tell tailored to the audience, so bring your devices…and your questions!