Nate Gordon

Nate Gordon
Bullis School
Potomac, MD, USA

Technology teacher, who takes his students to the journey of exploration

Nate Gordon is the Lower School Technology Coordinator at Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland, US, where he teaches a Design Class to grades K-5. He is on a mission to implement technology and design thinking in his classes to show students how it can improve their everyday lessons.

Nate first got into teaching because he wanted to teach young kids how to read. He spent a lot of time teaching third grade students. Nate then became very interested in technology and decided it was time for something new.

About ten years ago he stopped teaching the third grade and became a technology and computer teacher, helping other teachers integrate technology into the classroom. Now that Bullis has finished completion on the new Boarman Discovery Center, he has a space where he can collaborate with other teachers in engineering, making, and robotics. In the past 10 years, his role has changed significantly:

“Ten years ago, there was no computer science for young kids. The technology advanced to a level that has allowed us to do that. We can now focus on open exploring and creativity when kids are so young that they can’t even read yet!”

Nate is interested in teaching students how to improve their thinking, building and planning skills, as well as understanding the importance of trial and error.

For Nate, the most rewarding aspect of being a teacher is when he sees that a student gets excited about something that they’ve created and about the process of learning

“I had a fourth grader tell me that ‘I love my mistakes’ because he learned so much from his failings today. It’s all about learning the creative exploration process, not only to learn how to repeat a skill, but to learn how to build something. Whether it is a unique way of solving a problem in math, to writing a story, creating a movie or learning how to program a robot.“

Nate thinks that in order for kids to enjoy coding and be successful at it, teachers need to give them a chance to cater the projects to their interests and skill-level.

“A lot of it is setting different expectations for different kids. If they achieve something, they are usually happy about it, even if it is something minimal. It’s about finding an achievable goal for everyone. I try to start with our basic objectives based on a minimal standard - I know all of them can achieve it and then I can give them more and go beyond that.“

Nate believes that STEAM subjects are very vital to teach, as engineering, coding and other similar subjects allow the children to understand the process of exploration. This process teaches students how to achieve results later in life. Having those skills means that in the future, when they’re facing an unfamiliar situation, they know how to deal with it.

Nate sees a lot of potential for SAM Labs in the classroom. One of the things that caught his attention was the fact that all the blocks are wireless and versatile.

"I think that what makes SAM Labs great is how the products can be used across so many subjects to engage the students in different ways. Ease of use is really important too since it simplifies complex concepts into more easily digestible activities."

Nate has big plans with the STEAM Kit for the future:

“My hope is to finish the year with a Rube Goldberg project that uses various aspects of the SAM blocks. For example, it could end up that designing an alarm leads into a whole "home security" system.“

For Nate, SAM Labs is a solution for teaching computer science across a variety of subjects:

“With the STEAM Kit, I know that I’m properly conveying lessons to my students – who will rely on this knowledge as they move forward in their education and career paths. SAM Labs’ commitment to teachers and students gives me confidence that our curriculum will catch up to the where it should be as it relates to computer science.”

Nate has come a long way since his early years of teaching young students how to read. He is now assisting other teachers with how to integrate technology in their daily lessons and teaching his students how to embrace their journey of trial and error. He is focused and passionate about learning and is no doubt, a great example for all the teachers around the world.