Kyle Kitchen has been teaching for almost 20 years with the District School Board of Niagara and has been one of the IT4 Learning consultants who specializes in infusing technology and pedagogy into classrooms, for the last 9 years. He is a Makey Makey Ambassador and trainer, Google Certified educator, STEAM teacher, a Maker and Breaker and the creator of Kinders Who Code. He loves working directly with K-8 students and teachers to create curiosity for learning and is often seen speaking at many conferences about his adventures in design thinking, inquiry and making.
Kyle got his job 9 years ago, and it was first called SWAT: Software, Workshops, and Technology Training Team. While the name changed (for obvious reasons), the work that he does really fulfills him. Kyle loves to learn and see how kids learn. “I was one of those kids who never learned from paper…I’ve really come into the maker regime by asking what if…”
Kyle just did an Ignite Talk relating Design Thinking to 80’s cartoons. He also spoke about his trip with Lee Martin to an Indigenous community called North Spirit Lake. He loves physical coding and adding them to recycled materials, which works well is a remote fly-in community. Found materials are much easier to come by than a store. Kyle gave a shout-out to the principal, Adrian Lawrence, whom he referred to as a community leader because he does so much problem-solving for his school and the people in the community. The last time Kyle and Lee went up, there was a crisis state-of-emergency, so they ended up doing more work with teachers. They did get to work with some students on 360 photospheres. To get his mind off stressful things, he’ll pop on Google and feel a sense of pride when he sees photospheres from North Spirit Lake because he knows that he helped to give students a voice and showed them a technology that enabled them to share their sense of space with the world.
Kyle was a touch nervous about sharing his P3
. While he loves music, he shared that he is the guy who never really remembers the lyrics. “I’m really into music because I like the choruses and the beats.” He also likes to tap his fingers and hum. While he referred to himself as “the crazy uncle in the attic,” saying he was a bit stressed when preparing for the show, Kyle said that , in the end, it felt good to share his songs.
Kyle’s nostalgic song was one that he lost more of his hair on. There are three phases of how he got to this song. The first phase was thinking of the music that his mom would play when she baked. His description of her baking made it sound delectable. The next phase got him thinking back to bush parties and the Tragically Hip. For those unfamiliar with term, when a group of teenagers would party in the woods or out in a field, often around a campfire, they would refer to it as a bush party. Finally, Kyle landed on a song that could have been his identity song. He focused on the nostalgia of being a parent and living in an 1823 farmhouse way in the country. The impromptu dance parties with his son and daughter are some of his favourite memories, and this laid back campfire song was not just a great tune but also reflected his personal life and his teaching. The line from the song, “There’s no stopping curiosity,” takes him back to that kitchen and his family having fun together. It also makes him think about growing up in Vineland, exploring the forest or playing in the orchards, learning to make things from his handy father. Here is Jack Johnson’s song from the Curious George movie soundtrack, Upside Down:
Kyle’s identity song reflects the travel that he and his wife, Melanie (“an amazing educational technology person, too”), their children and their dog have done in the trailer that they purchased a few years ago. They have spent their summers travelling to places like Meat Cove, Nova Scotia, down to the canyons and last year’s 6 week trip across Canada, out to Banff and down through Yellowstone. “It was really the first time in a while that I completely unplugged… we really all reconnected.” They kayaked in the Grand Tetons every day, underneath mountains, bringing him back to the old days when life was about experiencing everything. When introducing this song, Kyle recalled one of the four concerts he’d seen in the last 10 years, which included this band. He was considering one of their songs and then reconsidered for a song with a larger view. He spoke about the reality of having to navigate stormy weather, really and metaphorically, and the knowledge that the tides will always change. Here is Mumford and Sons, with Feel the Tide:
Kyle’s pump-up song may surprise his friends because it’s not by DJ Cool or any other 90’s rap star. Kyle recalled how many different times he has pulled this song out to psyche himself up and get him going: in the wrestling ring, before performing in the high school musical, driving around in his car. Kyle encouraged listeners to go on YouTube and watch the music video. “This is an epic music video that gets you even more pumped up…It’s pretty awesome.” Blog readers can just scroll down and press play. Here is Lenny Kravitz, Are You Gonna Go My Way?:
If you want to get in touch with Kyle Kitchen, you can find him on Twitter
. You can also follow one of the links below to see more of his work. His coding for early learners website is KindersWhoCode.org
. Here is a video for Cardboard Imagineering Week.
Some more of Kyle’s work:
Makey Makey Band
Makey Makey Interactive Sensory Station