Nathan Hammond on Being a Third-Culture Kid, Creativity and the Ultimate Hall Pass
It’s All German To Me
Nathan Hammond had never imagined that being a mediocre student as a kid would lead him to a life of educating others. American-born, Nathan grew up in Austria as a missionary kid and was immediately immersed in a rich and diverse culture throughout his schooling there. In our show, Nathan credits being a “third-culture kid” for his adaptability and creativity; two characteristics that have helped shape his successful career in the Edtech arena.
Try, Try Again
Going to college back in the states seemed like a no-brainer to Nathan, and getting a German language teaching certification with his degree seemed like a practical choice. He was offered a teaching position straight out of college in Syracuse, NY. That position didn’t work out the way he thought it would (listen to the full episode for details) and he ended up in York, PA in another teaching position where the culture was very technology focused. He found himself problem-solving using any tech he could get his hands on; eliminating textbooks, grading vocabulary online, and actively engaging students with synchronous and asynchronous, interactive lessons.
He loved how tech assisted language teachers so much in the classroom, he began to teach other teachers how to use it effectively. Nathan’s passion was growing, and his audience along with it. His love of the integration of technology with language learning was developed into a graduate course. He told us that that was the beginning of his first business, Eduspire.
That wasn’t the last of Nathan’s adaptability or creativity. After developing several programs for school districts Nathan had a new idea to develop; one that would improve efficiency, and school culture and prioritize school safety.
You Get A Pass
Nathan was taken by how many students went unaccounted for when they left the classroom for bathroom breaks with only a handwritten, antiquated hall pass to accompany them. With issues of school safety on the rise perpetuating the need for safety drills, he wondered if there was a better way to account for students’ whereabouts.
E-Hall pass is an electronic system on which students create a hall request on their own device. Someone on staff with access to the system checks for optimal timing and then approves the request. In the event of an emergency, all staff has access to the names of the students who were out of the classroom.
Nathan Hammond went from teaching German to developing software that is shaping how educational systems approach issues of safety. For more on how he did it and what he’s up to now, tune in to the full episode.