Author Archives: Jeff Dunn


What if US currency featured science instead of people?

There is a lot of news this week surrounding the usage of Harriet Tubman on the new $20 bill in the United States. But did you ever wonder what US currency might look like if it featured scientific achievements instead of people?
Well, it might actually look a little like this rendering I recently discovered on imgur.
As you can see below, the individual bills are artistically designed to showcase things like astronauts, agriculture, buildings, environmental science, and more. There aren’t a ton of explanations on each bill but there is enough information to spark an interest.
I am of course not saying that US presidents and other noteworthy figures shouldn’t be on currency, just that it might be interesting and a fun new way to educate others about scientific achievements. That being said, I imagine this might be fraught with controversy for numerous reasons. Similar to the controversy around pretty much all other large-scale decisions, this one is likely never going to happen.
But it’s nice to dream. After all, that’s how most of these scientific achievements got started in the first place!

What would YOU put on your currency if you had the choice?

Share your thoughts with @DailyGenius and we may just make a rendering for you!

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The incredible story of SpaceX rockets in under 5 minutes

The story of SpaceX is filled with huge risks and even bigger rewards. The space exploration company is destined to potentially become one of the most innovative companies ever. In fact, they’re already rocketing up to the top of that list as you read this. Yes, I included the term ‘rocketing’ intentionally. See what I did there?
So how did SpaceX get to where it is today? It has taken more than 5,000 hard-working people, big ideas, and plenty of money. But the important part here is not to focus on the financials, risk, reward, etc.
The important thing to focus on right now is inspiring the next generation of space exploration. That will take an emphasis on the importance of STEM and STEAM in schools around the world, a strong ecosystem of aerospace organizations, and a little healthy (but friendly) competition. Whether you want to build a spaceship, a rocket, an asteroid-mining vessel, or a space tourism company, there are a lot of ways to start building the future right now.

spacex crs-8 launch rocket

Taken by Jeff Dunn at NASA KSC – SpaceX CRS-8 launch

To help inspire you, I wanted to share a great new video that was just released a few hours ago. It details the story of SpaceX by focusing on the rockets. It doesn’t touch on Elon Musk, funding, government contracts, risk, reward, or anything like that. It’s a purely scientific look at the past, present, and future of SpaceX rockets.
Use this video to inspire students, friends, and colleagues to start learning about future technologies today. From astronautics to rocket propulsion to telemetry, it’s time to start mastering the basics of the next big economy: space exploration.

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Space travel for all: live from the SpaceX CRS-8 launch

Remember that time you wanted to be an astronaut? Many students of many ages want to be one and we’re getting closer and closer to making that dream a reality. That’s because private companies like California-based SpaceX are developing all-new ways to make space travel a more reasonable undertaking than ever before.
What’s that mean? That discussing space travel in the classroom is something you should be focusing on right now. The folks at Daily Genius (hey, that’s me!) will be at the upcoming launch of the SpaceX CRS-8 mission happening Friday, April 8th. We will be on the ground at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
What’s our mission while visiting NASA, you ask? Simply put, it’s to find new and exciting to help you better understand space travel.
From crafting helpful videos to interviewing the brilliant people who make the magic happen, we’ll be crafting some (hopefully) insightful and useful resources for everyone. There’s a special focus on building resources for teaching about space travel in the classroom, of course.
So here’s what you should expect: regular posts and videos highlighting the CRS-8 mission as well as learning resources you may not have ever thought about before. It’s an exciting time for space exploration, STEM education, NASA, SpaceX, and  everyone else on the planet. That’s because we haven’t seen a huge step forward like this since the Space Shuttle.

How To Follow Daily Genius at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

It’s easy to keep up with what we’re seeing, doing, and learning during our time this week at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Just follow @DailyGenius on Twitter, like the Daily Genius page on Facebook, or sign up for email alerts to see our behind the scenes footage of what’s happening prior to the launch

2 Important Features of the SpaceX CRS-8 Mission

First, the most exciting part. SpaceX will once again attempt to land the first stage of the rocket on an autonomous drone ship in the ocean. This is highly complicated but there’s a better chance of success with this mission because there will be a little more fuel (LOX / RP-1) to use for the landing this time around. The last launch required a heavier payload so the fuel was used up far quicker.

Second, the actual payload of the Dragon consists of an the inflatable Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) which is an experimental new way to bring larger habitats to space. More specifically, to the International Space Station.
It’s less weight than standard portions of the ISS that required a Space Shuttle payload bay to be delivered. Now, the BEAM could offer an exciting new way to have larger work-spaces in space while requiring far less fuel to launch.
CRS-8 will be the first CRS mission to the ISS since the ill-fated CRS-7, and stowed in Dragon’s trunk will be BEAM; a small Bigelow inflatable module to be attached to the station. The first stage, provided the barge is go to support a landing, will attempt to land downrange on the drone ship ‘Of Course I Still Love You.’

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Does thinking change your brain?

Take a little time to think. Think about thinking.
Does thinking change the shape of your brain? For example, does contemplating this question actually physically alter your grey matter?
Before you get your brain all tied up in knots, I’ll save you some time. Yes. Yes it does.
Now, onto the next round of this quiz: how are your imagination and actions connected? Are they?
To answer this question, I’ll defer to the fabulous video above by AsapSCIENCE. It’s a quick trip into your brain to uncover what happens when you try to perform certain tasks. Like writing out your signature with your dominant hand … and then writing it with the other hand. Did you know that the two actions are a lot more connected than you ever imagined? Key word there is ‘imagined’. There are also ways to improve how your mind works with natural supplements that make your brain perform better, you can buy modafinil or other types of this supplements online.
So I strongly recommend you watch this quick video and critically think about how you go about your day-to-day life. It might just feel a little bit different.

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Despite all this technology, we still need teachers in the classroom

While we’re very enthusiastic about education technology here on Daily Genius, we never forget the key to good schooling – good teaching. The fear that EdTech will make teachers redundant ought to be unfounded, but it’s good to be reminded of the importance of the figure in front of the class.
It’s a while since we came across this from Professor Gustavo Reis, 2012 in fact, but it’s still worth watching (even if you need the English subtitles).
In his TEDx talk, he discusses the importance of education and, more importantly, the need for engaged students. Below are a few takeaways from the video that I found particularly interesting.

How Students Pay Attention In Class

One of the stand out points Prof. Reis makes is based on a study that found most students are alert and attentive for the first 5 minutes of class. Then, about halfway through class, only about half are paying attention. Then, there’s a critical point: when the teacher says “finally” and signals that the end is near.
It’s during that time the student understand that either the best part (save the best for last and all that) of the class is coming or that the class is simply almost over. Either way, the students in general snap back to attention.

After 1 Minute, Half of all Video Viewers Leave

Prof. Reis ties this study into the world of online video. He discusses how, after just the first 10 seconds of a video (like the one above for example), 11% of all viewers have abandoned the video. After just one minute (regardless of how long the video is), more than HALF of all viewers are gone. And after 5 minutes, just 9% of the original viewers will remain.

2% of High School Students Want To Be Teachers

At about 10 minutes into the video, Prof. Reis details why he has realized he’s always been (and always will be) a teacher. But, he says, the problem is with the current education system. He cites a figure that just 2% of high school students say they want to be teachers when they grow up. In a retort, he says “nonsense, I think it’s much less.”

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30 facts about the year 1916

The year 2016 is upon us. We are storming into an exciting new year of technology, innovation, space exploration, medical discoveries, and some less-than-savory stuff as well. We decided to take a small break from figuring out the future to looking back at how we got here. So, we put together a list of 30 facts about the year 1916 that you may not know.

Stay connected! Like Daily Genius on Facebook for more fun visuals

A lot was going on in the year 1916. World War I for example. The PGA was created. The average price of a car was about $400 (in 1916 currency).
facts about the year 1916
1. 1916 was a leap year
2. The U.S. population was 101,961,000
3. The Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA) was created
4. Monet painted his Water Lilies series
5. A loaf of bread was about $.07
6. The cost of a stamp was $.02
7. The light switch was invented
8. Coffee was about $0.15 per pound
9. Sugar was about $0.04 per pound
10. The Boston Red Sox won the World Series
11. The average price of a U.S. house was $5,000
12. The first 40-hour work week officially began in the Endicott-Johnson factories
13. The first-ever Nathan’s July 4th Hot Dog Eating Competition was created
14. The average price of a car was $400
15. Only 6% of all Americans had graduated from high school
16. There were about 230 reported murders in the U.S.
17. The tallest building in the world was the Eiffel Tower
18. President Woodrow Wilson narrowly defeated Charles E. Hughes
19. 8% of homes had a telephone 20. The first blood transfusion was carried out
21. Temperature in Montana went from 44 °F to -56 °F, the greatest on record
22. Paris was bombed by German zeppelins for the first time.
23. The Battle of Verdun (WWI) began in France
24. The Chicago Cubs played their first game at Weeghman Park (Wrigley Field)
25. The Easter Rising occurred in Ireland
26. The Saturday Evening Post published it first cover (Norman Rockwell painting)
27. Nova Scotia and Winnipeg began implementing daylight savings time
28. Charlie Chaplin signed on with Mutual Studios to earn $10,000 a week
29. President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation creating the National Park Service
30. Albert Einstein completed his formulation of a general theory of relativity

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81 tech trends (yes, 81!) you may see next year

Figuring out the hottest tech trends is tough. You never know what might happen if one particular trend really takes off and then spawns a series of sub-trends. For example, ambient assistants like Siri and Google Now are really taking off so many companies are designing their apps to closely integrate with these new services. Perhaps those companies would have been spending their time on something else rather than adapting to ambient assistants?
In other words, the trajectory of the future is always in flux. It’s ever-changing and will making going ‘back to the future’ like Doc Brown challenging to say the least.
So how can we identify some of the key tech trends for the upcoming 2016? The folks at Webbmedia have assembled 81 (yes, 81!) different trends that you may see in the near year. They range from the aforementioned ambient assistant to bots (like in Slack) to net neutrality to now selling DIY vape juice supplies.
drones poster
Wait, what’s a drone lane, you ask?
It’s a designated flight path for drones to do things like deliver packages (Amazon) or to take some particular photographs at specific locations. Drones are quickly turning into a more mature market thanks to FAA regulations requiring registration and somewhat more adept users. Somewhat. Google ‘drones for Christmas’ and see what you get…

The Dozens Of Tech Trends We MIGHT See Next Year

In any sense, below is the embedded document of the different trends. Do any of these particularly surprise you? How many have you actually heard of? Weigh in by chatting with us @DailyGenius on Twitter or by joining us on Facebook anytime.
Download the PDF to read later (great for zooming in and getting higher-res version of text and images)
The trends are all in the below presentation. You should click the ‘fullscreen’ button for the best viewing experience.

About The Report

Via the Webbmedia Group:
The future isn’t something that just happens passively to us. Rather, we are creating it in the present tense. And so, with the right framework in hand, is possible to anticipate new technologies and their impact in order to map what’s yet to come.
At the end of each year, Webbmedia Group Digital Strategy applies our forecasting model to surface the most important emerging trends in digital media and technology for the year ahead. We’ve just published our annual Trend Report, and it features 81 notable trends and more than 100 companies and people to watch in 2016.
Mapping the future for your organization begins with identifying early signposts as you look out on the horizon. In order to chart the best way forward, you must understand emerging trends: what they are, what they aren’t, and how they operate. Our 2016 Trend Report helps ensure that your organization is better positioned to understand changes and proactively plan for what’s past the horizon. You can use it to identify near-future business disruption and competitive threats while simultaneously finding new collaborators and partners. Most importantly, it should spark new ideas and opportunities to help your organization innovate and grow.

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The 5 best free apps to start using in 2016

There are a lot of terrific web tools and mobile apps available right now. You know that. But how do you sort out which ones are actually worth downloading or even looking at? The Daily Genius editors have cobbled together a relatively refined list of the 5 best free apps that we plan to start using in the new year.

The apps are for iOS, Android, OSX, Windows, Linux, web browsers like Chrome and Firefox, and more. So be sure to check out each one and see if it might be something that saves you time, money, or a headache. Check out f.lux for avoiding an eye strain-related headache, by the way. It’s a personal favorite used on all computers in the house.


Do you suffer from digital eye strain? I mean your eyes hurt from looking at screens, not that your eyes are robotic. Even if you are a cyborg, you probably want to check out f.lux which is a simple desktop app that makes your computer’s screen hurt your eyes a lot less.


Via Business Insider

It adjusts based on the time of day in your location. It knows when the sun has risen and when it’s about to go down. You can also enable movie-watching mode and other fun options. It’s free and worth seeing if it saves your eyeballs a bit of strain.


The new Apple OS (aka El Capitan) lets you do what Windows let you do ages ago. Quickly make your windows split up and fit in all available space on your screen. Only problem is, not everyone likes the way OSX does this (I don’t, personally. It’s not very intuitive) and I know a lot of people wish it was a bit more powerful on other operating systems.

Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 11.59.57 AM

Check out Spectacle which lets you use keyboard shortcuts to quickly move all your windows up, down, left, right, and to fill up your precious screen with ease.


Slack has one of the unicorn-sized valuations right now and you may be wondering why. Seriously, it’s just a chat room, right? Well, you’re not wrong. The big difference between Slack and other similar services is the ease of use and the integration with third-party apps.

Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 2.30.09 PM

You can order an Uber while chatting in Slack, have private messages, and easily share documents, videos, images, and as much text as you like. Great for classrooms looking to have a never-ending private area to discuss homework, projects, etc.

WordPress Desktop App

I’m writing this post from the all-new WordPress desktop app. It lets you easily add and edit posts for your WordPress-powered website without having to even log into your site. You do it all from the offline-capable magical app that lives on your desktop.


Only thing you need is to enable Jetpack on your site and the rest is gravy. It feels a lot like using Medium to write, which is great. However, it’s not as robust as your website publishing experience since it doesn’t feature all the various plugins you may use. For example, I’ll have to log into the site to add in shortcodes or some SEO keywords, etc. Stuff like that. Worth trying and it’s free!


Ever come across an interesting article (say, on Daily Genius?) and wanted to quickly view the link on your desktop or on your smartphone? You can use Safari or iMessage with Apple’s ecosysystem of apps or Chrome on Android but what about things like WhatsApp messages? How do you sync all your various apps and products across all your devices? It’s tough, actually.


That’s why I’ve been tinkering around with Pushbullet lately and it’s saved me quite a few instances of emailing myself a link or image to view later. I know there are a ton of ways to share links but the Pushbullet setup lets you view notifications from an array of services as well. That’s why it’s worth checking out in the new year.

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The journey of a connected educator

Becoming a connected educator is tough. Figuring out how to properly integrate education technology, innovative learning strategies, and how to develop your personal learning network is a daunting task. I’ve met many teachers who know about technology, have a smartphone, but have absolutely no time to invest in trying out new products and solutions.

So I thought it might be fun to put together a fun, albeit basic, journey of a connected educator. It’s meant to be a solid jumping-off point for teachers of all types. Whether you’ve never set up a social media account or already integrated a 1:1 Google Chromebook solution, there’s something here for you.

The journey of a connected educator is long (but fun!)

Getting to the end of this journey is actually impossible. As you can see in the below graphic, the important part of this adventure is to remember that it’s an ongoing process. I recommend you check out this fantastic set of resources from our pals at Edutopia on Connected Educator Month. Long story short, you need to always be learning and teaching yourself so you can share your newfound knowledge with others.

How can you share your knowledge, you ask? You can do so on social media, your blog (see step #10) or by speaking to your PLN. There’s a lot to do and a lot to research so I’ll get you on your way. Enjoy the graphic!

Want to zoom in? Just click the big graphic to explore each step.

connected educator journey

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The periodic table of education technology

We had a crazy idea over the weekend here at Daily Genius. What if we organized all the top education technology tools into a simple graphic? Then we took it a step further by identifying some of the best ways to organize data into a single visual. What better way to do that than by taking a page from the Periodic Table of the Elements? So we set out to identify the top edtech tools and conferences and then figured out which categories they all fit into.

What you see below is the result of quite a bit of effort from the editors of Daily Genius as well as the community. We cover edtech on a daily basis (hence the name of the site 🙂 but wanted to do something special for the end of the year. Hope you enjoy and explore it on an ongoing basis. Just do a web search for any of the names in the table and you’ll discover that tool. There’s a decent chance you will find a new tool, conference, app, or web tool that you might want to use in the coming year.

Want to get weekly edtech tips and deals? Check this out.

We worked hard to make sure these are all our favorite conferences and products. None of them are sponsored. This is the most genuine list we could ever make. It’s featuring the products and events that are widely accepted across the education industry and is by no means exhaustive. We know there are hundreds of options but endeavored to make the most useful visual possible.

We’ll be updating this a couple times a year to ensure it’s as relevant as possible. Be sure to check back to see what’s new!

Download The Periodic Table Of Education Technology

Click here to download the PDF version of the periodic table of education technology.

The amazing Kathy Schrock made a clickable PDF version of the graphic! Check that out here.

Want to enlarge the image below? Simply click on it!

NOTE: Updated December 30, 2015 as edX was featured twice. Replaced with a fan-favorite, Udemy!

periodic table of edtech daily genius

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