References from connected educators…


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John Fritzky
Twitter: @JohnFritzky
Position: 5th Grade Teacher
City/State: Andover, New Jersey

I met Michael while discussing standards based grading on Twitter, and I could immediately tell he was passionate about education. Michael is willing to share his expertise with others, he created a Google Hangout and invited myself and others to learn about how he has used gamification in his classroom. He accepted my invitation, and shared his connected educator story and how Twitter has changed him as a professional. Teachers in my school are now creating Twitter accounts after Michael was able to share his story. Michael, has a persistent desire to improve his craft, and has created a powerful Personal Learning Network (PLN), to continue his desire to improve. Michael will be an amazing resource for an entire staff as he is globally connected to the best practices in education.


Jonathan Palles 
Twitter: @JonathanPalles
Position: 3rd Grade Teacher
City/State: Wood Dale, IL

I met Mr. Matera at EdCamp Chicago. He organized a group to discuss gamification. His seminar was easily my favorite of the day. He facilitated a discussion, provided suggestions, answered questions, and provided evidence of the success of gamification in his classroom. Mr. Matera was very approachable and we had a continued discussion after his seminar. Mr. Matera also demonstrated knowledge of technology integration and shared some helpful web-based tools and websites for use in the classroom. Since meeting Mr. Matera at EdCamp, I have begun to follow his Twitter feed, where Mr. Matera has continued to share helpful, enlightening articles.


Ed Casey
City/State: Naperville, Il

I recently met Michael at Edcamp Chicago. Michael led a fantastic session on gamification in the classroom. Michael was a dynamic speaker whose passion for student learning, as well as history, was clearly evident. Michael understands that if students are to learn anything in our classrooms they must be engaged. He has capitalized on students’ love of games to increase engagement. He started small and it has grown so that his year is structured around game based learning. Through the use of these methods he has witnessed record growth and more importantly record interest in learning more about world history. Students are pushing beyond the few paragraph summaries of events in our textbooks and bringing to the classroom a wealth of new primary and secondary sources. Michael is well versed in the research in regards to game based learning and was able to recommend numerous resources for teachers new to the concept and that are looking to bring game based learning to their own classrooms. His website contains great great resources and videos that are very useful for teachers and he is constantly passing along great resources for teachers via Twitter. I look forward to seeing what new directions and techniques Michael will bring to his classroom in the future.


Tom Whitford
City/State: Livingston, Wi

I had the chance to first meet Michael at #edcampMadWi when I attended his session on gamification in the classroom.  He painted such a clear picture of how to use this method of instruction in the classroom setting, as well as describing his students response to it, that I knew it was something I wanted to bring to my school.  I am planning to have Michael present to my staff next Fall on this concept and see if we can spark greater student interest and engagement.  Since that time, I have connected with Mr. Matera on Twitter and have had several discussions on various educational topics.  I find him to be a thoughtful and reflective practitioner, that has helped stretched my thinking and shared some wonderful resources.


Chris Kesler
Position: 6th grade science – WISD
 Houston, TX

I met Michael through the #tlap (Teach Like a Pirate) Twitter chat.  His passion for teaching shines through with every thoughtful post that he makes.  Through the development of his gamified classroom, Michael is paving the way for what a student-centered classroom should look like.  Michael is also one of the brains behind the podcast which I enjoy listening to on my morning commutes.  He clearly has a belief that as teachers we should be sharing ideas with each other whenever possible.  It’s a crucial piece that is often missing within the educational community.  I look forward to continue to learn from Michael in the future.


Candace Marcotte
Technology Facilitator
Glenview, IL

I had the privilege to dialog with Mr. Matera about gamification at #edcampchicago.  During his discussion about his classroom and experiences, it was evident that he was an inspired educator.  Passionate, insightful, innovative, and reflective all seem to be attributes of his character.  Mr. Matera is not only well-versed in readings and research in our professional craft, but he is all hands in and is mixing it up!


Glenn Wiebe
Social Studies Consultant
Hutchinson, KS

For the last ten years or so, I’ve been interested in how social studies teachers can use video games and simulations as part of their instruction. During that time, I’ve had the chance to meet a lot of people who get it, who understand the power of games, who are working to make it happen at a practical level. Mike is one of those people.

Not only is Mike working to incorporate what he knows about games into instruction, he’s incredibly willing to share his ideas and strategies through a variety of ways – conference presentations, Twitter, and other forms of social media.

Put simply? He gets it. He’s one of us. So use his stuff, have him present. It’ll make you happy!


Twitter: @askteacherzcom
Position: History Teacher 8th
City/State: Grosse Pointe, MI

Over the last year I have come to know Michael Matera through twitter as part of my PLN (Professional Learning Network). Together we have discussed and collaborated on teaching methodology and pedagogy. It has been an honor and joy to have him as part of my professional learning and growth. It is my recommendation that all educators utilize twitter as a manner of developing a PLN and gaining access to Mr. Matera’s knowledge of the teaching profession as I have done. Only through collaboration can teachers continue to grow and learn as professionals to maintain engaged student learning.


Todd Bloch
7th Grade Science Teacher/Dept Chair
Warren, MI

I met Michael Matera in a Middle School chat on Twitter. Right away, I noticed a passion for teaching in Michael’s comments. Over numerous chat session with Michael, I have found him to be an innovated teacher. His expertise is in student engagement through games and project based lessons. Over the past year of chatting with Michael, he has shared insightful classroom hacks that help students learn in the classroom. He has help change the way I think about teaching in my classroom. Michael is an invaluable resource for Minecraft in the classroom. The ideas he presents are fresh and new, designed to make learning fun. I hope to continue learning from Michael for years to come.

Joe Macchia
Instructional Technology Coordinator
Naperville, IL

I recently met Michael at an #edcampchicago. He is a passionate educator who loves to share with other educators. Being excited about his own learning, as well as the learning of his students is what makes Michael such an awesome addition to my PLN! Michael embraced the idea of #eduhax at a session I was leading, and I hope Michael continues to share his “”bag-of-tricks”” and #eduhax with me. I look forward to continuing to learn and grow from our conversations.

Thanks Michael!


Karl Lindgren-Streicher
Position: History teacher
City/State: San Mateo, CA

Let me summarize Michael in two words: connected, sharer. I met Michael at #edcampMadWI when he stepped into the discussion I was facilitating about flipped classrooms. Almost immediately, I had a co-moderator of my session. And though I live in California, after meeting Michael and following him on Twitter, I ‘see’ him almost everywhere. I run into Michael several times per week in a Twitter chat about something: sometimes a state Twitter chat, other times a subject or interest-specific discussion. The best thing about these interactions? Michael is always sharing when I see him. I look forward to continuing to learn with Michael!


Josh Gauthier
Position: Middle School Business Ed
City/State: De Pere, WI

I first saw Michael present for a short time at edcampmadwi and instantly wanted to learn more from him. He was talking about gamification, an area in which I am very interested in. He has been helpful when I’ve bounced ideas off of him, and I would consider him an expert in the area given what I see on his website. His twitter presence is incredible. I must see him participate in nearly a dozen chats, and I might be short changing him. I truly believe Michael could be leading an edu-revolution in the areas of motivation, passion, and play and their interaction with student learning and achievement.


Yau-Jau Ku
 3rd grade
Barcelona, Anzoátegui, Venzuela


“I first met Michael on #tlap (Teach Like A Pirate) chat group where we shared our thoughts and vision on how to incorporate passion and enthusiasm in our teaching practices. Later on, we “”met”” via Google Hangout as part of a unique experience through a discussion panel for another teacher’s professional development on Twitter for his staff. Michael and I stayed to discuss possible opportunities of collaboration.

It’s always a pleasure to chat with Michael via Twitter. He has innovative, creative ideas and an innate passion for teaching that truly inspires his students and colleagues. I will be seeking advice from him on his expertise in gamification. Here’s to many more #tlap chats, pirate. Thanks, Michael!”


Dave Burgess
High School Teacher, PD Speaker, Author of Teach Like a PIRATE
City/State: San Diego, CA

It has been my pleasure to connect with Michael both on Twitter and in person. He is the epitome of a passionate, dedicated, and innovative educator who exemplifies the spirit of the Teach Like a PIRATE philosophy. He is deservedly well-recognized in the educational community as one of the foremost experts on gamification and it’s use in the classroom. In fact, I personally asked Michael to serve as a special guest moderator of the #tlap chat that was dedicated to the topic. He did an amazing job and continues to inspire and inform our online community with his weekly participation. His thoughts on creativity and student engagement are must-reading for all progressive educators and I am an active reader of his material and recommend his work often. Michael’s forward thinking and his willingness to share his insight with his colleagues make him a truly valued member of my Professional Learning Network.


Joy Kirr
Position: 7th Grade ELA Teacher
City/State: Arlington Heights, IL

I have heard of or seen… and then finally MET Michael Matera at the three EdCamps I’ve attended this year! He is a big presence in the world of “gamefication,” but I haven’t attended his session yet, as I’ve had my writing, reading, and genius hour priorities. However, I was able to finally spend time with Michael at EdCamp Milwaukee this month, and we were in a session together on middle school classroom management. Michael had some stellar ideas – one of which I used the very next Monday! He is insightful and knows how to communicate his creative ideas in a way all can understand. I look forward to learning from him and sharing more ideas throughout the year.


Jason Bretzmann
High School Teacher, EdTech Consultant at
City/State: Muskego, WI

Michael Matera has realized that what he does with his students makes his classroom more vibrant, more engaging, and more student-centered. And now he is clearly intent on sharing his gamification experiences with the world in order to help others get started. I’ve seen him in packed rooms at conferences giving expert advice and useful guidance in his constantly positive way. He is a true collaborator who wants to help teachers and students have amazing experiences in the classroom. I’m lucky to know Mr. Matera and honored to write this reference for him.


Rory Newcomb
 IB Biology Teacher
Mumbai, India

I recently “met” Michael during a Twitter chat. Long story short, we ended up co-presenting on the topic of gamification via a Google Hangout to a group of teachers at a Tech Fest conference in California. For the details, check out this link: It went surprisingly well considering the fact that we had only ever had one informal conversation about how we gamify our classes.
I have a list of educators that I would want to start a school with someday. My first and most important metric is “Would I want to be in his/her class?”. That may sound easy, but I have set my standards pretty high when it comes to my learning. The list is pretty short. The question really reads, “Would I lose sleep at night in anticipation of being part of the experience that this person offers on a daily basis?”. Michael has made it on that list. I look forward to continuing our collaboration in the future virtually or otherwise, as he makes me want to up my game. Literally. Thanks for just being awesome and inspirational, Michael. I will be in touch!


Greg Passmore
Position: Co-founder and CTO of

Mr. Matera is one of Celly’s most prolific members and evangelists. I have enjoyed exchanging emails, tweets, and phone calls with him discussing how to further improve our service for educators and students. His perspectives on gamification, engagement, and communication are insightful and very valuable for us. Educators like Michael are what make the EdTech community so vibrant and fun to work with.


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