Friday, August 31, 2012

Video Game Dota 2’s The International Competition in Seattle. Shh! Northwest Company A Crowded Coop Fills the Shelves with Coveted Product

Hee haw.  Dota 2 Donkey Courier.  Pre-order now for November.
This week Pacific Northwest-based game maker Valve Software is holding a major gaming competition at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall. Under the Chihuly glass of the hall’s foyer the marketer and creator of consumer products, A Crowded Coop, is rolling out a huge line of Dota 2 product in the competition’s Secret Shop. A Crowded Coop is an official global licensee of Valve Software.

Noble Press’s Damian Estrada immediately reported on it in his article “The International! Take my money! The Dota 2 swag we deserve!” Estrada wrote, “At this year’s Dota 2 International, Valve has decided to release some very impressive items. Coming out ahead of schedule via the Dota 2 sub Reddit, I bring to you “The swag you’ll probably want to buy”.”

A Crowded Coop created Dota 2 scarves, leather wristbands, bags, necklaces, cell phone charms, wallets, key chains and more. “We even had the opportunity to outfit The International Competition teams who came to Seattle from around the word with custom backpacks with their team logos,” says Mary Olson, A Crowded Coop co-founder.

“We had a lot of fun testing the inflatable Dota 2 axe we produced too,” says Coop’s co-founder Brandy Tanner. “Valve’s imagination and incredible in-game artwork allows us to flex our creative muscles when it comes to product, which is a great way to make a living.”

A Crowded Coop’s product design satisfies consumers globally in the categories of toys/pop-culture, pet products, baby products and more. Since 1998 principals Mary Olson and Brandy Tanner have been responsible for over 28 million custom products hitting retail shelves all over the world. In 2010 Olson and Tanner formed A Crowded Coop which serves clients such as Valve Software with its Portal 2 game. More info is at

Valve is the creator of best-selling game franchises (such as Counter-Strike, Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, Portal, and Team Fortress) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

"Affording the Classroom of the Future": an Article in THE Journal with Excellent Insights from Juan Diego Academy at Holy Rosary School Tacoma's Principal Dr. Uhl

Report on Education.  Do take a moment to read this article on how schools are changing and improving the learning experience by utilizing technology... plus learn how they can finance the upgrades needed. 

Dr. Timothy Uhl, the principal of Juan Diego Academy at one of our state's oldest schools, Holy Rosary in Tacoma, WA, did a terrific job in this interview with THE Journal Magazine.  He talks about grouping students in pods instead of rows, and how to attract grants to fund basic tech needs. At a school that will be starting a two way immersion program for incoming Kindergarteners this Fall (all subjects taught in both Spanish and English) this is clearly a school to watch.

The article reads in part: "As the nation's K-12 schools consider the equipment and space requirements of tomorrow's classrooms, many of these institutions are also looking at how to pay for the new learning spaces.

Uhl said he's enthused by the thought of running a 21st century school with learning spaces that are loaded with instructional technologies and designed in a way that engages students and promotes collaboration. Turning that thought into reality could be challenging for Holy Rosary School, which is working with a 120-year-old facility and limited financial resources.

"We don't have wealthy parents or financial support from the community," said Uhl. "A lot of our students don't pay full tuition rates, so we're pretty strapped financially when it comes to purchasing new IT or upgrading existing equipment."

Holy Rosary School is one of many nationwide that has had to get creative on its path to the 21st Century classroom. In many rooms, for example, whiteboards were installed over existing chalkboards. And upon rolling out a 1:1 laptop program for 7th and 8th grade students this year, teachers quickly realized that existing desks no longer worked in the learning environment.

"We're finding that the desks are impractical for laptop use and looking for other options," said Uhl. To afford new desks and IT equipment like smart boards--which are currently being installed in some of the school's classrooms--Uhl said the institution often turns to foundations for help. "This is a 120-year-old school with a lot of history behind it," he said. "We're essentially a 'valuable charity' that foundations want to support."

Thank you to Bridget McCrea of THE Journal for writing about Juan Diego Academy at Holy Rosary School of Tacoma.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Blurb in Seattle Prep's "Building Our Future" Campaign Newsletter

Aw shucks. It's enought to make a girl blush.

But truly, Seattle Prep has played a huge role in my life. From career to family, Prep's been a significant part.  This campaign will help more students get financial assistance plus make improvements to the campus that are critical.  I'm excited to be a part of it.