Dean began his career as a middle school teacher where he continually offered his students the opportunities to learn from their environment, experiences, and real world applications of content. He created problem based lessons where his students constructed bird houses, launching machines, Rube Goldberg experiments, and even a mousetrap car competition. He also teamed with other nearby teachers and implemented an Outdoor Education program where fifth through eighth grade students spent five days in Montana’s great outdoors, learning from professionals and experts in their working environments. He was always on the cutting edge of technology as an educator, finding ways to fund classroom technology. He implemented a 1:1 program in his classroom, (before it was called 1:1), using Palm handheld devices. It is here that Dean was recognized for his ability to integrate technology effectively into classroom environments.

Dean currently works as a professional speaker, technology integration specialist, and an educational coach and advisor for districts across the country. He is a Google Certified Teacher, a Google Authorized Education Trainer, and Google Geo Certified Teacher, a member of Google Geo for Higher Education, and currently sits on the Google Geo Advisory Board. will be presenting at NCCE’s Tech-Savvy Teacher Google Summit this year as well as 1 workshop and 2 sessions at NCCE 2017 this year! Session information is listed at the bottom of this post.

Name: Dean Phillips
Location: Western Montana, usually behind a windshield traveling the winding roads of Montana. Sometimes on a plane.
Current job(s): Co-Founder of Beyond the Chalk, Innovation Specialist, Director of Professional Development for Montana Small Schools Alliance, Bus-Driver, Dad, Husband, Rancher…not necessarily in that order.
Current computer: MacBook Pro, Acer Chromebook R-11
Current mobile device(s): Nexus 6P, iPad Pro, Casio WSD-F10

One word that best describes how you teach or work:

Inspired (by other great educators)

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

I’m a purist.

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

All things Google, especially Google Keep with Calendar integration, and for those long drives…

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

Google Home. I use it for everything from turning on lights to checking weather to event reminders.

What browser do you use regularly?

Chrome sweet Chrome

What is your best time-saving trick?

I get a lot of mileage out of IFTTT. From posting to multiple social media networks at once to controlling smart devices, there is so much that this app can do to help you save time and automate your life. Lots of new recipes on a regular basis. It keeps getting better and better.

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?

Long before Mrs. Frisby and the Magic School Bus, I used to load students on a bus and go for the day…down to the local stream to learn about water quality and insects, to the local park to do service projects, or even geocaching with gps units for fun… I would take that money and rent a bus and go for as long as our budget allowed learning from a variety of locations and people…place based education is very powerful!

What is your favorite avenue to connect with social media?

Twitter or Instagram. I like the quick info from Twitter, but enjoy the emotion that Instagram offers. @DeanPhillipsMT on both.

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

I spend most of my spare time following my two children to their events. I also enjoy most things outside, such as fishing, hunting, and mountain biking as well.

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

I am intrigued by smart sport devices. I think a golf ball that gave the user feedback and kept track of your score for you, syncing to your phone…with gps…no more lost balls!

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

Connecting with people. Relationships matter.

What is the best teaching advice you have received?

You can’t fail if you don’t try, and since FAIL is the first attempt in learning… I think you can connect the dots!

What are you currently reading?

Hacking your Education by Dale J. Stephens, Ninja Innovation by Gary Shapiro

Any parting thoughts you would like to share with our readers?

The best app is a great teacher!

Dean is one of our Northwest App All Stars that will be joining Jason and myself at NCCE’s Tech-Savvy Teacher Google Summit:

NCCE’s One-Day Google Summit

Wednesday, March 22, 2017—9 am-4 pm

Bristlebot Olympics For Makerspaces

Session: Wednesday March 23, 2:00-3:50 | Workshop–BYOD Room: D132


Are you looking to create a makerspace at your school and generate some excitement around the launch? Come join us as we engage you in the NCCE Bristlebot Olympics. Participants will have an opportunity to apply design thinking to the creation of a “Bristlebot” that will have to compete in three different challenges. This will be a fast-paced workshop with plenty of fun for all.

Bringing Coding To Life For Primary Grade Students With Robotics

Thursday, March 23 | 10:00 AM – 11:50 AM | Room: F152


The Horizon Report of 2016 identifies coding as a short-term trend in K-12 education. Teachers around the world are teaching coding as a literacy for primary grade students.  Coding and robots provide an authentic environment for students to test their coding expertise. This practice can lead students to a deeper understanding of computational thinking, an opportunity to be creative and collaborative, and provides a safe place for them to “fail forward”. Come test your coding/robotics expertise in a safe fun environment and walk away with several ideas you can use in your own classroom.

Engaging Middle/High School Students In Robotics

Thursday, March 23 | 3:00 PM – 4:50 PM | Room: F152

Robots provide an avenue to engage middle and high school students in fun learning experiences while applying 21st century skills. Given the growing need for coding related jobs in the STEM industry, we need to prepare our students to enter this workforce. Coding and robots offer students an authentic environment to “play” and learn about this fast growing industry. This workshop will provide hands-on practice with robots and coding. Participants will be immersed in a series of challenges, all the while learning how to integrate coding into their own classrooms. Come join the fun.


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