Welcome to Inspire, a blog from FIRST.

After years of inspiring young people, as well as the adults who work with them, we decided it was time to share some of the things that inspire us.

Learn more about Inspire.

When it comes to in-school technology, leave brand loyalty at the door

May 11, 2016 by Urvi Shah, Director of Educational Technology and Innovation, Independent Girls School, Maryland


Prepare students for the real-world by implementing a device agnostic technology program. Most 1:1 device programs at schools marry themselves to the idea of buying all their devices as one brand.

Teacher to teacher: 5 Ways to Encourage Classroom Creativity

May 05, 2016

This season, 13 million hours of service were completed by FIRST Volunteers – many of whom are educators who act as Coaches, Mentors and more. So not surprisingly, at FIRST, we consider every week teacher’s week. But in honor of National Teacher’s Week, we offer some advice from one of our favorite educators, Krissy Venosdale.

Said no student ever.

Apr 19, 2016 by Mark Greenlaw, VP, FIRST


This past week, I gave a keynote speech at STEMCON, a conference for STEM educators in Cleveland, Ohio. My talk was titled “The Innovators of Tomorrow: Developing our next generation of innovators equipped to solve the world’s most pressing problems”.

Building a Culture of Inquiry from the Ground Up

Apr 05, 2016 By Urvi Shah, Director of Educational Technology and Innovation, Independent Girls School, Maryland

How do we encourage innovation and innovative thinking in the classroom? Warren Berger’s book, A More Beautiful Question, explains that innovation is defining a problem and borrowing ideas/inspiration from what’s already been done in order to create new combinations of thoughts and ideas to address that problem.

The Best Device in the Classroom

Mar 29, 2016 by Krissy Venosdale, Innovation Coordinator, The Kinkaid School

Our world is filled with technology and our students are growing up with access to information on a 24 hour a day, seven day a week basis. They can find an app to identify a leaf, listen to a podcast, or even watch a live video of history happening. They can text, take selfies, and find sports scores in split seconds.

One Principal’s view: Education at its best

Mar 22, 2016 By Bjorn Paige, Principal, San Dieguito High School Academy

Attending a robotics competition is like stepping into another world. Last weekend, I had the opportunity to watch San Dieguito High School Academy’s Robotics team, “Team Paradox,” participate in the FIRST® Robotics Competition Tournament at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. It was astounding.

STEM, Jurassic Park, and an artistic genius

Mar 10, 2016 by Drew McConnell, Manager of Digital Learning, FIRST

It is often thought that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) subjects are the backbone of innovation — I disagree. Now before you click the 'x' to close this tab and move on to something else, hear me out:

Podcast junkies, kidney transplants, and two innovative educators

Mar 02, 2016 by Mark Greenlaw, VP, FIRST

I’m a huge fan of podcasts – in fact my official FIRST bio mentions me as a “podcast junkie”. It’s actually to FIRST in which I owe my love of Podcasts. When I started this job 2 years ago, I began listening to Podcasts to maximize the value of my drive time on my 60 mile commute.

You are now entering an Innovation Zone!

Feb 23, 2016

This week, we discovered an amazing educator named Krissy Venosdale who is the Innovation Coordinator at The Kinkaid School in Houston, Texas.

Confidence, adaptability, and self-directed learning

Feb 16, 2016 by Drew McConnell, Manager of Digital Learning, FIRST

Prior to working at FIRST, I spent some time working as a technology trainer and instructional designer. A company hired me to create a course on iOS programming (iPhone/iPad). After spending several months developing this course, Apple did what Apple does: it released something new. Typically a new release from Apple includes an upgraded phone or laptop with new hardware and software features, but this time it released a brand new programming language for iOS, called Swift.