This Speed of Creativity podcast features an extended interview with 3rd and 4th grade teacher Shelly Fryer, who shares about her students’ classroom passion projects, learning in “Maker Studio,” and learning about digital citizenship via the class chat feature of the iPad app News-O-Matic. Shelly has been teaching for over twenty years, and this was her third year to teach at Positive Tomorrows School in Oklahoma City. Positive Tomorrows is a special K-5 school which exclusively serves homeless children and their families. Shelly class has had “1:1 iPads” for the past 2.5 years, and she continues to find multiple ways to integrate iPad use meaningfully into her curriculum through engaging student activities. As Shelly explains in the interview, PT truly is “the school she loves” for so many reasons. The curricular autonomy which she enjoys as a teacher empowers her to differentiate her curriculum to the learning needs and interests of her students, and bring a variety of STEM and Maker Education (MakerEd) learning activities to students as well. Shelly explains in the interview why this year’s classroom “passion projects” were likely the best student projects she’s ever facilitated as a classroom teacher. From learning to sew a dress, to how to code on an iPad, to learning how to dance, to learning how to play the guitar, her students each selected a topic of interest and then explored that topic for several weeks. Each student shared a culminating presentation with other members of the class, after becoming the local “expert” on their topic of inquiry. In the second part of the interview, Shelly shares how the “Create, Make and Learn” MakerED Institute in Burlington, Vermont, in the summer of 2013 was pivotal in her journey as a Maker and elementary teacher integrating STEM activities into classroom learning. Shelly tells the story of how her students enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to create, make, collaborate and share in her Maker Studio in the closing weeks of the school year. She also describes how she worked to build a kind, respectful, and collaborative classroom culture in which students could safely thrive as learners and problem solvers. Last of all in the interview, Shelly shares how she and her students used the “class chat” feature of the iPad app to have important conversations about digital citizenship, internet safety, and digital ethics. If you listen to this podcast, please share feedback with Shelly by reaching out to her on Twitter (@sfryer). Visit her classroom website at and her professional blog on Check out the podcast shownotes for links to resources and tools Shelly mentioned in the interview, including her presentation for Global Maker Day on May 17, 2016, “iPads in Maker Studio.”


  1. Follow Shelly Fryer on Twitter: @sfryer
  2. Shelly Fryer’s Classroom website:
  3. Workshop and Conference Presentation Resources from Shelly Fryer
  4. SeeSaw: The Learning Journal App for iPad (free)
  5. Shadow Puppet EDU iOS app (free)
  6. Skindex for Minecraft
  7. Positive Tomorrows School in Oklahoma City (@ptokc)
  8. Shelly’s presentation “iPads in Maker Studio” for Global Maker Day 2016 (video)
  9. Global Maker Day (#GlobalMakerDay@GlobalMaker)
  10. iPadPalooza: June 22-24, 2016 in Austin, Texas
  11. Create, Make and Learn Summer Institute (Burlington, Vermont)
  12. Lucie deLaBruere – founder of Create, Make & Learn (@techsavvygirl)
  13. Generator Makerspace in Burlington, Vermont
  14. Makey Makey
  15. Little Bits
  16. Maker Studio in Room 108
  17. “We all can learn a great deal from a great kindergarten teacher” (shout out to Maria Knee (@mariaK), March 2010)
  18. The Maker Movement Isn’t Just About Making and Electronics: EdSurge Talks to MIT’s Mitch Resnick (EdSurge, 23 May 2016)
  19. Learning about Digital Citizenship with Carl Hooker (March 31, 2016)
  20. News-O-Matic (@News_O_Matic)
  21. Shelly’s Classroom Photos on Flickr
  22. Shelly Fryer’s Classroom YouTube Channel
  23. Shelly Fryer’s professional blog
  24. Room 108 Radio Show (classroom podcast created with the Opinion App – @opinionpod)
  25. Shelly Fryer on Facebook
  26. “Why My Students Love School” (blog post by Shelly Fryer from 12/22/2015)

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flickr photo shared by shellyfryer under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

flickr photo shared by shellyfryer under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

flickr photo shared by shellyfryer under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

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