PM Award Winner Joins Code Breaker Inc.

PM Award Winner Joins Fastest Growing Indie Publisher and Consulting Company

Daphne McMenemy is joining the ranks of Brian Aspinall in his efforts to continue to bring Code Breaker Inc. to the global stage.

An educator for the past eighteen years, she lives her mission statement, “It is our responsibility as educators to give our youngest learners experiences and opportunities to step outside their comfort zone and take those risks that allow them to discover their passion.” Daphne was recently awarded the Canadian Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence for her work with coding and robotics and STEM integration. She is a sought after speaker in the areas of technology integration for our youngest learners and leadership through innovation.

Daphne is also a best selling author of children’s book series, Gracie, and co-author of Disrupt the Status Quo which recounts first hand experiences and stories of failure and success, addressing four critical topics important in today’s educational environment: toxicity, failure, perspective, and voice. 

She joins Code Breaker Inc. as full time Managing Director and takes the international stage sharing her message of leadership and technology integration through innovation across North America and beyond.

Official Press Release

One More Thing

Code Breaker Guest Blog
by Beth Smith

“I don’t have time for one more thing.”

I remember thinking and saying those exact words when technology integration was brought up in our district years ago. So I played the game. I borrowed the district BeeBots, did fun activities in Seesaw, used various apps at the suggestion of others, let kids play games on the iPad, but none of that was TRUE integration. All the technology I “used” just provided stand alone events and did not represent true learning. Fun? Yes. Meaningful? No. Then COVID hit and thrusted me into integration. 

Over the past three years, Seesaw has become part of our daily routine, so much so that we (my teaching partner and I) were asked to present at the Iowa Technology & Education Connection (ITEC) Conference this past November. While attending the conference, I sat in on many different sessions listening to speaker after speaker talking about coding and how to use it in the classroom and once again I found myself saying “I don’t have time for one more thing!” Then a group of teachers from Northeast Iowa said, “Think about those ‘down’ times in your school year, for example before break or end of the trimester.” I left them and went to see Daphne McMenemy and listened to her story about Gracie. I immediately went to and looked for resources – the end of trimester 1 was coming up after all and I would have some “down” time. A week later I was teaching my first three coding lessons that I found on that required no technology at that point. I was unsure of how my kindergarten students would take to this new learning and how much support they would need, as I was learning along with them! They took to it like ducks to water. I was blown away. My kids who typically sit quietly and passive were more actively engaged than I have ever seen before. The kids who have been targeted for intervention outshined some of their peers and my kids supported by our talented and gifted (TAG) teachers found frustration and had to learn about flexible thinking. To “see” their brains thinking and become active participants in their learning reignited my passion for teaching. 

I am once again overly excited to come to work and see what my students will learn today through the lens of coding.  So where are we now after those three no-tech lessons? We have 6 blank BeeBot coding mats, 2 letter mats, 2 math mats, 10 BeeBots (checked out from the district) and 1 TuffBot. We are not just learning to code, we are coding to learn. We are using code to learn about shapes, sight words, letter sounds, letter names, and cooperative games. Learning to code and coding to learn has enhanced our learning, AND this is only 1 month in….I cannot wait to see where we are in another month, at the end of the year, and where I will be next year as an educator!


Beth Smith is a kindergarten teacher for the Lewis Central Community School District in Council Bluffs, Iowa. She is in her seventeenth year as an employee with Lewis Central and her thirtieth year attending, as it is also her alma mater. Beth holds a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and reading endorsement from Iowa State University and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Doane University. She was the recipient of the H.H. “Red” and Ruth H. Nelson Excellence in Teaching Award in 2012. Beth is always looking for ways to maximize her instruction in ways that best engages the learners in her class.

Computational Thinking: The Next C

“Even the classic acts of solving puzzles or sorting and stacking blocks systematically builds CT skills and agency in solving problems with independence.” 

Code Breaker Guest Blog
by Jed Stefanowicz

Computational thinking (CT) is a critical classroom competency. Competency refers to the ability to apply skills, knowledge, or understanding to perform a task or accomplish a goal. As the tasks and goals of our students’ (and our own) daily lives continue to become more complex, developing computational thinking skills will be essential to applying those skills, knowledge, and understandings. Competency is demonstrated when contextual comprehension is transferred from understanding to action. 

In its simplest form, CT is a problem-solving process. Complex tasks are broken down, patterns are constructed, algorithms may be applied, and innovation is encouraged. Often computer science is integrated into the problem-solving process. To equip our students for their future, computational thinking is as essential as collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity (the traditional 4 Cs). If you ask me, computational thinking is the next C. 

Computational thinking is often strongly linked to computing, but makerspace creations or STEM challenges like paper clip chains or index card towers also require the analytical and creative design thinking and engineering mojo that CT represents to me. CT does not land fully under the traditional view of computer science, programming, or even devices at all. There’s a reason coding clubs and platforms balance their courses with awesome “unplugged” activities, in which (for example), students pace out a room to “code” their movement to make a physical connection with computational thinking—analog style!

Computational thinking is a critical classroom competency, and all students deserve a basic fluency in coding as a new literacy to connect with their world.

When students program and code their own robots, games, dances, or stories, educators see a tangible application of ideas, critical thinking, and self-expression. They practice authentic and immediate understanding of cause and effect, resiliency, and iterative practice in order to complete their projects, not our assignments. Watching students create with CT provides an immediate glimpse into their understanding, creativity, and computational thinking as they simultaneously program and problem-solve. Accessibility is always key, and even our youngest learners can code through block and visually-based platforms.

Where digital learning can broadly encompass pedagogy and practice, computational thinking attempts to label cognitive processes and thinking skills. With or without tech, we can begin to build CT awareness and connections to even our youngest students’ lives by identifying patterns and routines, as well as applying problem-solving strategies to complete tasks. Educators can create and identify algorithms across content areas to problem-solve, sequence thinking, and simply create. 

It’s  impactful to have explicit conversations with students (even early elementary students) about the distinction and relationship between computational thinking and coding. Creating classroom activities that clearly exercise both skills provides the opportunity to pause and identify each. 

Even the classic acts of solving puzzles or sorting and stacking blocks systematically builds CT skills and agency in solving problems with independence. Classic board games that require sequence, strategy, logical reasoning, or algorithmic thinking add context for students’ understanding of computational thinking beyond coding tasks. Exploring and identifying how parts of a system, game, program, or product relate, connect, and combine builds foundational concepts for later computational thinking construction. 

Where does computational thinking fit into the general education classroom? Tech coaches and specialists are often asked, “How/where does this fit into the curriculum?” My reply? It is the curriculum. Whether or not a district has articulated or adopted learning standards such as the ISTE Computational Thinking Competencies, CT is a scaffolded process of learning that is a whole lot more than something extra, tech-time, or the one-off robot visit. It’s the bridge that connects students’ understanding of the tool they are using now to how they will use tools going forward. 

It’s something different, and it’s for everyone.

As a Digital Learning Coach in Walpole, Massachusetts, Jed Stefanowicz provides job-embedded professional development and instructional coaching for academic technology. Through conferences, workshops, and coaching, Jed aims to engage and build staff/student digital learning capacity, keeping the focus on practice over product. As a 25 year elementary educator, speaker, blogger, and former Massachusetts Teach Plus Policy Fellow, Jed shares his passion for effective tech integration to transform teaching and learning, creating engaging and equitable digital learning environments and experiences that activate, innovate, and motivate digital learning. He is the author of Take AIM at Digital Learning: Activate, Innovate, Motivate, and Impact to Influence.