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Deedee Wills - Mrs. Wills Kindergarten

Podcasts for Kids – Teach Children in a Way They Want to Learn With Special Guest Jerry Kolber

In today’s episode of the Classroom Collaborative Podcast, Deedee and Adam sit down with the creative genius that is Jerry Kolber!
Jerry is the co-founder and CEO of edutainment company Atomic Entertainment Group. He is also an Emmy-nominated co-creator and showrunner of Nat Geo’s biggest hit series Brain Games and Netflix’s Brainchild with Pharrell Williams.
Beginning his career within the production auditing department of New York Undercover, Jerry dove in headfirst when it came to working in the entertainment field with networks as varied as Disney, Bravo, HBO, National Geographic, Animal Planet, and MTV. Overall, Jerry has written, produced, supervised, and run over 400 episodes of various premium television and streaming content pieces.
Today, Jerry is focused on education – specifically changing the game to create a system that helps children learn without stamping them all out of the same mold along the way.
He is the voice behind Who Smarted? a podcast that’s aimed at children aged 6 to 10. Each episode teaches kids something new through humor, stories, and even interactive games. Within just one year, they’ve hit 3 million downloads for the show.
You can find Jerry:
Find ways to help hook for kindergarten, first and second-grade students with the content found on Who Smarted? podcast and it is free!

Teach Children in a Way They Want to Learn With Special Guest Jerry Kolber

Adam Peterson 00:05

Adam: All right everyone, welcome back to the Classroom Collaborative Podcast. I am Adam, here again with Deedee. How are you, Deedee?


Deedee Wills 00:18

I am really good. How are you?


Adam Peterson 00:19

I’m great. And today we have a stellar episode for you all. We have a guest today. I don’t know how we landed this guest, to be honest with you, but we have Jerry Kolber, Kolber and I say that right. Okay, from “Atomic Entertainment Group”, is that the correct term for that as well? And Deedee and I could read your bio, but you can tell it better than we because it’s a pretty extensive, amazing bio. But first of all, thank you for being here to share with Educators.


Deedee Wills 00:49

Very excited.


Adam Peterson 00:49

Your passion and what you’re into, but tell us your past and your history. Who is Jerry?


Jerry Kolber 00:54

Jerry: Yeah, who’s Jerry. That’s a long story. I’ll give you the short version.


Adam Peterson 00:59

We’ll get you a couch to lay down on and start that story.


Jerry Kolber 01:02

[Unintelligible 1:02] and Miami Beach 1971. I started working in television, right out of right out of college. I went to NYU. I studied theater. I realized, after about a year or two of doing theater that I loved it but I was not able to pay my rent doing New York theatre. And I got introduced to some companies that were doing television. So I worked my way up through the television industry, and I became a show runner, after I worked as the producer on the very first season of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”, back in the early 2000s. And that just kind of pushed me a little bit more on the map. And then I became a show runner doing all kinds of reality shows for A&E and other channels, but I always had… Ever since I was a little kid, I was just a huge fan of science and technology, and was always making model rockets, and doing chemistry stuff, and then science stuff. At some point in my TV career, I was like, you know, I wonder if there’s a way to marry what I love doing with science and the fun that I have with it and learning about it and reading about it with what I know how to do with making great pop culture entertainment. And a friend of mine, Roseanne lopopolo, who I’d done a pilot for Animal Planet. I was working in National Geographic, and she said, “You know, there’s an opening here to work in the New York office”. Because the woman, Kim Woodard, who was running that office is going out on maternity leave. And I was like, “Yeah, like, they’re going to hire the guy who made “Queer Eye” and “Confessions of a Matchmaker” to work in Nat Geo”. And she’s, “No, no, they’re actually looking for someone who has a little bit more of a pop culture sensibility, but also love science”. And so I went through what I referred to as, like the gauntlet of interviews with everyone, and it was smart to do this, they had me meet everybody on the New York team, it was an amazing tight team of people that they want to make sure I fit in. There I had to meet everybody in National Geographic in DC. And I was in the middle of producing a show at the time, and it was like, I would literally like take the train to DC for interviews, come back to set, and I ended up getting the job. And it was an amazing team of people and an incredible opportunity. And while I was there, I got to co-create a project called “Brain Games”, and Brain Games was… National Geographic’s was interested in making a science show about the brain that was different than everything that had been done before. They just saw that there was an opportunity to kind of rethink how they did shows, and myself and a few other folks there came up with this idea of making a show that would actually not just be a show presenting to your brain, but what actually asked your brain to engage with the show, without needing a iPad or iPhone or anything. We just came up with ways to literally have you lean forward and play games with the show, I think, the “Adam’s Family”. Watchers, you can probably describe it better than me.


Adam Peterson 04:01

The leaning forward portion, I remember looking at the screen and going, “Wait a minute, what just happened? Like, how did that do that?” It’s one of those games, you have to think like you don’t just sit kick back and watch that show it makes you think.


Jerry Kolber 04:16

Yeah, no. Brain Games, at least the early seasons were definitely a real engaging experience. And so that was, kind of, for me the proof that you could make a show that was incredibly popular and educational and fun. It became, I don’t know if it’s changed since but at the time, it was the top rated show ever at the channel. We actually got an Emmy nomination for it, which was… Actually the Emmy nomination, it’s funny because I don’t pay attention to that stuff, like I’m not great at paying attention, all those kinds of things. And we walked into a meeting, and the National Geographic folks are like congratulations and applauding and I’m like, “Thank you what did I do?” And they’re like, “You got it, you got an Emmy nomination”. We’re like, “What is going on?” So that was wild. And then Brain Games really let myself and my producing partner, Adam Davis… It just gave us the opportunity that we’re still working with to really make great educational entertainment. And we’ve done it for other television networks, we’ve done it for streaming networks, and we are right now making the product that is actually, I think, the most exciting thing we’ve ever done. It’s one of the reasons I’m like, I want to talk to other people who are working in education, and talking to educators, is we realize  as great as all of our projects are, and  as impactful as “Brainchild” was on Netflix and bring as Nat Geo. There’s a barrier to universal access, right? Because they require a subscription, they require a screen that you need to sit down watch. And we’re like, “All right, how do we do what we what we do, but make it really widely available?” And we realized that, podcasting was the answer that podcast is an audio format that anybody can listen to anytime, you don’t need a subscription, you just need any device, anything that you can listen on. So we created this series for kids called “Who Smarted?” that we launched, like a year and a half ago. And you can take a moment and simmer with the pun of the name.


Adam Peterson 06:34

I laugh every time I read it. And when I first saw it, I was like it’s awesome.


Jerry Kolber 06:38

Sometimes we get, it’s awesome. Sometimes we get blank stares from adults. Sometimes we get giggles. Every kid, everybody who’s in our target audience, all the 6 to 10 year olds, they get it immediately.


Deedee Wills 06:48

They get it immediately.


Jerry Kolber 06:49

Oh, “Who Smarted?” So, yes, we launched this podcast, and we because we looked around and said, there’s a few podcasts for kids, but there’s not a lot. In fact, still when we tell people we’re doing a podcast for kids or like, there’s podcasts for kids. We’re like, yeah, there’s a few… But we set out to make something really definitive and really impactful and accessible and exciting, and our goal with “Who Smarted?” was to be a great resource for kids, who are already curious and interested in science, but almost more importantly, to provide entry points into subjects that kids might be struggling with. That kids who might think I would never understand I’m not into gravity, or I’m not into physics, I don’t care about… It’s like, no, you will once you understand how cool it is and how fun. And so all of our episodes are just super funny, super fun, they’re all scripted, there’s characters, we personify everything from planets to the human body. And it’s just awesome. And so…




Deedee Wills 07:48

It looks amazing. And your audience, the six to 10 is gold. I mean, that’s just such a great entry. Because they are curious about some things. But these are subjects that they may not come across. And so it’s just a great way to kind of scratch that, like that little mosquito bite of curiosity, right?


Adam Peterson 08:09

I love that you mentioned that the accessibility too. And it’s one of those things that when I first saw, he goes to kids podcast, I’ll be honest, I was like, children’s podcasts, this is kind of cool. I started looking into things. And my son is 11, got his first phone, because he’s into travel sports, now for his birthday this year. We got him a phone and we were in the car the other day, and he goes, “Daddy, can you turn on this podcast?” I was like, “What are you listening to buddy?” We are from Chicago. We’re White Sox fans. And there’s a podcast, the two announcers host called “Socks Degrees”. And it’s just they interview the players. And I was like, this is pretty cool, buddy. So now we’re having conversations about the players and their history and where they’re at in the league. But yesterday, I was out in the backyard working on some things and I come in the house, and I could tell he was in his shower, and he has like the… my daughter and son have like a speaker in there. They listen to music and whatnot. And I could hear someone talking. I was like, “What were you listening to in the shower buddy?” He was like, “I was listening to Socks Degrees, they were interviewing one of the guys”. I’m like, this is so cool that. I mean, because it’s about the game of baseball, but yeah, such a cool idea.


Jerry Kolber 09:13

Well, and the great thing about a show like that is it gets your son realizing like, okay, there’s the game, but then there’s stuff behind the game. That’s kind of the thing we’re always talking about. It’s like there’s this thing you see in front of you, but then just like go slightly next, and there’s like this whole world of information and thought behind it. That’s just fascinating. And the fact that you can listen in the car, in the backyard, in the shower. It’s just accessibility. It’s huge.


Adam Peterson 09:34

Yeah, so let’s back up to… So you mentioned “Brain Games”, “Queer Eye”. I saw “inked” on your bio.


Jerry Kolber 09:42

I’m not tattooed at all.


Adam Peterson 09:45

I was interested, because I’ve got a few. But mentioned your show partner, Adam. I’m an Adam, and I also saw another Adam on your bio. You did some work with Adam Savage from “MythBusters”?



Jerry Kolber 09:56

Yes, he was great. We actually did a project for “General Electric”, a couple of years ago. We were going all over the world Adam Savage from Mythbusters. And then also Alie Ward, who’s the host of “Ologies”, which is a fantastic science podcast for families, if you want a good recommendation. And we’re just going to teach people about all these technology and healthcare and technology in the Aerospace industry. And just basically anything that GE touched, they’re like, go make educational stuff about.  So traveled around with Adam for a few months. And, you know, as a fan, I was like, wow. He was just awesome. He was such a great guy to work with, and just such a pro, and actually just like a really, really good person, too. So, yeah, we had fun doing that.


Adam Peterson 10:43

That’s kind of how I felt when I first met Deedee Wills. I was like, “Oh, Deedee Wills. I get to hang out with Deedee Wills?” 


Deedee Wills 10:46

No, no. But I mean, you’ve worked with some incredible people. And you’ve had some, like, really successful projects that you’ve had, but it looks like you were kind of coming into the field of education, right. So that’s kind of where you are now. Although Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, a lot of people learned a lot of stuff that was very important in there about grooming and fashion. But now you’re spending your energy your time in the education space.


Jerry Kolber 11:21

Yeah. Yeah. And it’s funny, because in a way, it’s like… Not in a way, we are essentially writing an educational startup now, like, “Who Smarted?” it is a startup. And it’s funny to be, you know, after years and years of making shows that like… you know, when you think about how we make television show? We go, we sell a TV show to like one client and to sell to Netflix, or Discovery or National Geographic. And they’re all having amazing partners at all of those networks, but you’re really just dealing with them. And then they distribute the show and market it and all that. And so we don’t really have a relationship with that side of it, or with the audience. With “Who Smarted?” because it’s a podcast, because we’re the creators, we have a team, our team is the writers, we have marketers we have, you know, we distributed, and we have this very direct relationship with the audience. So we hear from them on email, on Facebook, we hear like on the reviews on… It, it’s like this wild, like, it’s just very different and awesome. Like, we love it. So we’re, it’s also great, because the positive feedback is great. But it’s also great when we hear suggestions, or, “Hey, try this, or could you do an episode on this? Or can you help us with this?” And so it’s really, it just feels more like a community to be honest. And it just feels like a community, to be honest. And it just feels, you know, look pretty. As you guys know, because you’re much deeper in the world of education, then I am. Even before the pandemic, we had a few issues to deal with, especially with science and math education, especially with girls and minorities. And the pandemic made that stuff worse, but I don’t think it made it a whole lot worse. I mean, we were already seeing the latest research from the Department of Education. One-third of elementary students are proficient in science. One-third. I mean, that’s a problem. That was 2019. So when you realize like, it’s often the same communities that struggle with accessibility for things that cost a lot of money or require certain kinds of access, are the same ones who are struggling the most with these topics. It kind of becomes a no brainer for us to say like, well, let’s make something that, yes, we know that the kids who love science are coming along for the ride, but let’s make it easier for the kids who don’t know that they love science to learn that they do love science, or learn that they do love history by making it fun and accessible. And accessible, like, literally making it easy to listen to, but also easy to get to on your phone or laptop.


Deedee Wills 13:58

Right. Yeah. You know, I agree that pandemic kind of exacerbated some issues that we have. But it also really put the spotlight on things that were there that maybe we hadn’t been paying attention to. And so how amazing that you have this highly engaging platform that is available to everyone. I love that.


Adam Peterson 14:24

Yeah, that’s pretty awesome. You know, and one of the things too, that Deedee and I, we preach on this all the time, and I loved seeing it in your bio. The whole ‘one size doesn’t fit all’ educational approach, right. And I think yet another thing the pandemic showed us, right, like education had to do a 180 and figure out okay, how do we reach all these different kids in these different environments through this pandemic? So when I saw that, I mean, yes, your bio is amazing, but as an educator who thrives on ‘one size isn’t for everybody’ kind of thing, and we got to reach kids as kids and who they are. That really stuck out to me. So can you kind of go into… I mean, did something happened with you as a student? When you were younger, was there a teacher you remember? What was it?


Deedee Wills 15:05

You’re trauma. Can we talk about…


Adam Peterson 15:05

Adam: Can we talk about talking about your trauma? What was it with you that made you [Unintelligible 15:10]. I know a lot of people will say like, the reason I feel this way about education is because I had a teacher who blank. So what was it with you? Like, what made you take this route that…


Jerry Kolber 15:25

It’s a good question. Yes. So I… like you look at my resume, like alright… this guy created like some huge science shows. National Geographic’s number one science show. I also did so badly in math and science in high school that I had to go to summer school to graduate. Okay. So you know people are like oh! How is that the same human being? Like how did you have to go to summer school to graduate but you also make the science shows here. It’s very simple. I, although I had to go to summer school to graduate in math and science, outside of school, I was like doing science stuff like all my life like going to the Museum of Science, building model rockets. Like I was always reading books, I was reading literally… I was reading books about physics and math in high school. But the way it was taught, it is noticed [phonetic 16:12] my teachers were good teachers, other students were fine, but me and there’s other students in my classes that just couldn’t engage with the way it was taught. And that wasn’t anyone’s fault. It’s just how the system is set up like you can’t… it’s to ask a teacher who has 30 kids in their class to customize education for all 30 of those kids is impossible.  It’s hard enough for a teacher just to show up and do their, you know, just teach the class. But that doesn’t change the fact that there are kids like, like me, who are super interested in these topics, who just can’t engage with the way that it was taught, it was too dry, it was too un-relatable is too un-fun or was to textual versus, you know, physical or, you know, and there’s just… there’s so many different ways that people are good at learning that stuck with me. And when I got really good at making television at some point, I was like, you know, it’s like I said to you guys, like there’s a… like a light bulb moment. I’m like, can I marry what I knew about like the fact that I was so into science and math, but so bad at it in class? Is there a way to make it fun to learn it? Can I create opportunities that make it easy and fun to learn for other people? And that’s where it came from. And you know it’s funny because I suspect if you put me in a high school science classroom right now, I would have the same problem. I don’t think it’s taught. From what I understand, it’s not taught all that differently. And so that’s yes, that’s really okay. For now, I will say, I had some teachers in high school like my 11th grade English teacher, Mr. Warren, sat us down on the first day of class, and he’s like, “Okay, I don’t know if any of you heard of the Beatles for the White Album but we’re going to study that for the next four weeks. And we’re going to go through every song in this album and think of it in terms of poetry and song structure and rhythm and narrative structure and metaphors. And that was an amazing experience for me! Yes, that was like, that’s how my brain like now I’m like relating what I’m learning to something that I love.


Deedee Wills 18:10

Yes. We always talked about the hook, you know, there’s got to be-


Adam Peterson 18:15

Yes. Instead that whole idea, that mindset too that I might [phonetic 18:21] wrote a book called “Teach, Play, Learn”. And it’s all that same mindset. And I quote in there over and over again, I say, use the phrase, “It’s not about what you’re teaching, but how you teach it that makes all the difference.” And what you just said is exactly that. And I think one of the things with your podcast and I know when looking through your stuff, we realized you’re so good about making that connection, you and your team, not just with kids but with parents as well. And we, you know, Deedee and I will preach on this one [phonetic 18:45] that parents are, you know, they’re the first teacher, they are the first teacher, first teacher, first teacher. So, what are you and your team doing? Or what do you advice do you have, I guess for educators who are maybe struggling with that too because I know we hear from educators a lot of time saying, you know, it’s not… it’s not the kids, it’s the parents, right? Like, how can we bridge that gap?


Jerry Kolber 19:04

Well, honestly, I think it’s a very… that’s a very deep and tough question. I mean, there’s so many-


Adam Peterson 19:10

How much time do you have? [laughter]


Jerry Kolber 19:15

-You know just like… just like kids, you know there’s a million parenting styles, just like there’s styles that kids learn. But, you know, I think I think parents get frustrated when they get frustrated with their kids when the kids aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing with school. Oh look! It’s Adam Davis.


Adam Peterson 19:31

I love how he paused like oh! What am I walking into? [laughter]


Jerry Kolber 19:34

I’m doing a podcast interview with Adam. [crosstalk]


Adam Peterson 19:40

How’s it going?


Speaker 4 19:41

Good. How are you?


Deedee Wills 19:42

We’re good. We’re good. Good to see you.


Jerry Kolber 19:47

The other half of the brain games mine right there.


Adam Peterson 19:50

Yes. Awesome.


Deedee Wills 19:52

All the brains.


Jerry Kolber 19:52

All of you have the full brain in the room now.  Sorry, I hope you guys can edit…


Adam Peterson 19:59

Hey, our show’s well. [crosstalk]


Jerry Kolber 20:01

Yes, so I think… I think where parents get really frustrated is when the kids aren’t doing the work the kids are… the kid is frustrated and is struggling. And it’s just like… you just want to be like do what you’re supposed to do that never worked with me. Like my mom was always upset because I was just not doing my homework correctly, and I was distracted. And if you can make it as an educator, if you can figure out like… like you just said, Deedee, like a hook, to get the kid excited about learning so now that they’re less frustrated when they’re doing the homework or doing their assignments. Then parents are going to be less frustrated. And I… when I say like it’s a complicated like that’s a tough thing to do. Because it requires a lot more work and thinking on the part of the educator and educators just at work already [unintelligible 20:56]. And then you know most educators have families that they’re [unintelligible 21:00] you know, so it’s like… it’s sort of a… it’s like… you have to have the serendipity of having that realization like you guys did and then figuring out the time to do it. If you can get the kids excited, and they’re less frustrated then I think you’re going to find parents are less frustrated as well. Because if your kid’s doing the work and engaging, then you’re not going to have to [unintelligible 21:22] as much as a parent. So, well…


Deedee Wills 21:24

You know, I’d love to… you know, I love the idea of using like your podcast as kind of that introduction to a subject so a teacher could listen in and get an idea of how to add that hook without having to spend, you know, hours and hours of prepping. There could be you know let’s listen to this boys and girls before we get started. And that might be enough to kind of whet the appetite.


Jerry Kolber 21:51

Yes, and we actually have heard from a lot of educators that they are using who’s smarter in the class like literally playing the episode in the classroom, not as the you know, here I’m going to teach you everything about this topic. But like let’s get you excited. And like here’s how it relates to your daily life. So, you know, we are, it’s on… it’s on our roadmap to become easier to use in classrooms because we need to, you know, get more on the educator’s radar, we probably need to create some stem curriculum and you know, study sheets and exit tickets and all the stuff that makes it really easy. That’s on our roadmap. But even now, a lot of educators have been using the show, just as an introduction. And we’ve heard from homeschool families all the time that they’re using it the same way. So…


Deedee Wills 22:39

I love it.


Adam Peterson 22:40

What a cool thing for kids to hear that kind of stuff and then think… Well, I could do that too.  I was just visiting the school last month. I was in Chillicothe, Ohio. And I got to two of these different elementary schools. I was there speaking as an author. And this one school I walked into, they had a full-blown like podcast studio set up. And it’s a [unintelligible 22:58] building, and they had better equipment than I have. And it was awesome. Like I want to come record here like their [unintelligible 23:03] said [unintelligible 23:05]. It was amazing. And I like that how cool for those kids that they you know, the ones that are interested in that and thinking… well, I could take what’s being done there but put my own twist on it, you know. So I think that’s something really cool you guys have going on. Yes, there’s a lot of information being spread but there’s also a lot of inspiration being spread with it, too.


Jerry Kolber 23:21

Thanks. Yes, we actually… Adam just did a seminar with a K through five… K through 12 [phonetic 23:29]. How old were those kids you did that podcast seminar with? The kids you did the podcast with last week? It’s like a third grade fourth grade, middle school. Yes. So he just did a whole seminar with them on how to make podcast. And we’ve heard from kids who have actually started their own podcasts because they were inspired by who smarted and that’s cool you’ve given them some shout outs and stuff. But that’s… that is, you know, whether it’s podcasting or whatever method like kids getting to tell their stories also, and teaching them how to tell their stories is a huge way to get them like just to deal with anxiety, honestly. Yes. So..


Deedee Wills 24:14

You know, I had a… I think I told my Adam…[crosstalk] he’s not my Adam but he’s our Adam. But I had told him I had a principal say to me once when I was going through my teacher training thing, and he said, you know, nothing takes care of… The question that was asked to the principal was how do you handle behavior issues? Right. And I know that a lot of teachers right now are experiencing some of those post pandemic behaviors that are challenging, but he had said, you know, nothing takes care of behavior like student engagement. And so if we are really struggling to manage our classrooms, sometimes looking for additional ways to engage students will ultimately save us heartache, and you know, make us more effective. So I love that idea of using your podcast to do that for students and teachers.


Jerry Kolber 25:12

Yes, thanks. Yes, we, I mean, we started “Who Smarted?” because we just… we saw there was an issue during the pandemic. We weren’t able to shoot any television shows. And we’re like if we’re just sitting around and have the resources and the knowledge and can make something that gets kids off the screens and gives parents a little break, let’s do it. And so that’s how “Who Smarted?” was born. And I think we… we unintentionally but now intentionally tapped into a need for really engaging fun educational content that just gets kids excited. And so then we’ve just like, we’ve just really leaned in and really… really just focus the company on this just because it’s… it’s the most impactful and exciting project we’ve done to be honest.


Adam Peterson 25:59

Yes. It’s amazing too. Like there’s some… when you talk about that the pandemic, putting a damper on your other projects to start this some of the podcasts I listened to I keep hearing that same thing from some like big star celebrities that started a podcast during the pandemic because they had nothing else to do. They were like we can’t travel, we can’t go see work on this set, we can’t do this. You know. So one of my favorite ones right now is, it’s called “Wild Ride with Stevo”, from Jackass series. And he started a podcast in his van like he has this modded out camper van. And he did that because he’s like can’t go anywhere else so I’m going to start interviewing celebrities. Like that’s awesome.


Speaker 5 26:34

Mr. P is an eight year old boy just so you know. [Crosstalk] [Laughter] He looks like a man, but he’s an eight year old.


Jerry Kolber26:42

I’m like a nine year old. So we’re similar. Almost the same age..


Speaker 5 26:45

You’re much more mature.


Adam Peterson 26:49

So what’s next on the horizon? I mean, obviously, “Who Smarted?” is hot and running. But any projects that you can share? Sprinkle a little future…


Jerry Kolber 26:55

Sure, sure. Sure. I mean, the next project really is growing out of “Who Smarted?” And so we get tons of requests from parents and educators all the time saying can you guys make longer form in, you know, episodes that really go deeper into topics, whether it’s something with the ocean or the human brain or Greek mythology. So we’ve actually done that we’ve created these video immersive adventures that are each an hour long. They’re… we’re calling them “Smarty Camps”. So we just did one on space called Space Camp, of course. And it’s 3 hour long, you know, vid full on produced, you know, actors, special effects, but like with the same DNA as “Who Smarted?” so it’s funny, it’s fun, interactive, there’s games and activities for the kids. And we’re actually about to launch sea camp because it’s the summer so we should be doing one on the oceans. And we’re going to take kids in the first episode, they meet all kinds of marine life. In the second episode, they actually go out and learn how the ocean was formed. And then in the third hour long episode, they go to the Mariana Trench, and like really explore the deepest part of the ocean. That’s… that’s the next that’s the next big project we’re focused on. It’s basically like the… It’s like Saturday morning cartoons but like live action like it’s that vibe of like fun plus you’re just learning like crazy cool stuff.


Adam Peterson 28:22

That’s awesome. So this is a lot younger than your age market with that but Deedee and I both have some friends as an awesome company that I need to connect with you because you need to chat with our friend Cynthia, she owns a company called a live studio “Zoo”. They are a augmented reality technology company to teach letter, sounds, reading, writing, math, science. [Unintelligible 28:46] 26 animals that come to life on the computer screen and in classrooms and we actually just did a webinar with them last night, Deedee and I did.


Deedee Wills 28:52

Because you know, Jerry you need to really start [unintelligible 28:58] [crosstalk] [laughter]


Adam Peterson 28:59

When you’re talking about the immersive experiences for kids, you would love her stuff. It’s pretty amazing. And she created that company for the same reason you were talking about, she had two little boys that she adopted. Who she couldn’t get engaged in reading so she wrote this software and this technology to get her boys interested in learning.


Jerry Kolber 29:20

Yes, everybody just knows how to write software. [Cross talk] [Laughter]


Adam Peterson 29:25

She will say she had an amazing team behind her but no, I love that immersive experience idea. So those camps is that where can people find those? How is that set up?


Jerry Kolber 29:44

That’s accessed just the same places, you go to and like, you know, join space camp or join sea camp and yes. And the nice thing about them is, you know, that’s actually… so we don’t do a lot of advertising on the show because we’re just very careful about advertising, with the kids listening. And despite everyone telling us a million times, we should charge a subscription for the show, we just won’t do that. We were sort of like spiritually against charging for access to the podcast. So these camps actually are… have proven to be the best way for us to generate revenue to support everything we’re doing. So it’s… and it’s nice because it’s also… it’s just an extension of what we’re doing. And it’s more education for the kids. So those are yes… those are all at


Adam Peterson 30:30

Well, how cool for parents. Well, we… I know we talked about parents and bridging that gap between education but I know there’s parents who are working all summer and might not get that opportunity to take their child on a trip. But they could say like, “Hey, while you’re home today, or you know, is living with grandma or grandpa or babysitter, whoever, and take this little vacation and what a cool…. I mean it’s such an awesome conversation starter, you know, sitting around the dinner table and saying today I went to the Mariana Trench, you know… [Crosstalk]


Deedee Wills 31:03

Oh my gosh! I can’t wait. I can’t wait to see those. That’s going to be exciting. So those are… they’re already out now or they’re coming out?


Jerry Kolber 31:09

So Space Camp is already out. So the way we releasing the Sea camp will come out in mid-July as a live event initially. And that means that the kids can actually chat with the trustee Narrator who’s the host of “Who Smarted?” during the episodes and with the other kids. And then subsequent to that we release it as an on demand, a more affordable on demand video so people can watch whatever they want so


Speaker 5 31:35

Yes, I know what Mr. P is going to be doing this summer. [Crosstalk]


Adam Peterson 31:37

Well, I’m a space nut. I love everything about space and science.


Jerry Kolber 31:45

So get this… so like we do… for the people who do the live event, whether it’s live space camp or live sea camp, we give them a bonus Q&A session with someone who’s working in that field. For space camp, we got Ron Garan who actually is an astronaut who lived on the International Space Station.



Adam Peterson 32:02

Oh my gosh, that’s amazing!


Jerry Kolber 32:06

Yes, it was very cool. And like kids got to ask him through chat… they’ve got to literally engage and like ask him questions about living on the ISS. And they were just like, what! We’re talking to real astronauts. Yes…


Adam Peterson 32:17

Yes, that’s pretty amazing. I remember I was doing a conference in Texas, and I came out which airport I was flying out of but I was in line at the convenience like one of the airport convenience stores behind a guy that had like NASA patches on his coat and was like, Oh! you like space a lot and he goes, “Yes, kind of you could say that.” I was like yes, me too. My kindergarten teacher loved talking about space. My kids, he goes, I used to fly the shuttles. And I was like, Excuse me? I wish I remember his name, but I’m like can I get a picture with you? Like, you know, I showed my wife and she was like… she’s like… Who is that? Like, he flew the space shuttle and she’s not as excited as I am. She’s like okay, so you just walked up to some guy in the airport and took a picture with it, I was like no he flew the space shuttle. Yes, that’s awesome. You get the real astronaut talking to the kids. That’s cool.


Deedee Wills 33:00

Okay, well, now I’m a huge fan of yours. So I’m going to be stalking you around the whole podcast and website world. I’m so you know I’m just so excited that we had a moment to talk with you. So thank you so much for taking your time. And thank you for Adam number 2 who came through.


Jerry Kolber 33:21

He’s got his headphones on now.


Deedee Wills 33:22

He’s like he’s in work. [Crosstalk]


Adam Peterson 33:25

He’s more than you know that we have this opportunity. But besides, how else can people find you and your projects and follow you?


Jerry Kolber 33:32

We’re on Facebook, there’s a big community there at Facebook, just “Who Smarted?” is our page. And that’s mainly the ways we connect with people through Facebook and through


Deedee Wills 33:44

Thank you so much.


Jerry Kolber 33:48

Thank you, guys. I appreciate it.



About the Podcast

The Classroom Collaborative Podcast is a show about teaching, classroom, and education. We tackle new classroom tips and tricks in every episode.

About Your Hosts

Deedee Wills is an early childhood educator, instructional coach, and international educational consultant. She is also the author of the award-winning blog, Mrs. Wills Kindergarten.

Adam Peterson is a kindergarten teacher, nationally recognized speaker, and educational consultant. He also the creator of the popular YouTube channel,

I hope you enjoyed this episode! See you on the next one!

Deedee & Adam

Podcasts for Kids! Teach Children in a Way They Want to Learn With Special Guest Jerry Kolber

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Podcasts for Kids! Teach Children in a Way They Want to Learn With Special Guest Jerry Kolber


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