In any situation, the perception of the true nature of the problem is the fastest way to a solution. All too often, educators try to apply old solutions to a student perspective that now has nearly 100% nothing to do with what we understood to be “school” as students.

Here’s an example of misperception in action, how many triangles do you see?


The answer is that there are no “true triangles” in the image because none of the lines actually touch. But we “see” triangles. Perception can be powerful and misleading.

I love reading books like Thriving On Chaos, Exploiting Chaos, and Freakonomics because they help illustrate false perceptions that we cling to in business and everyday life. I especially enjoy relating these misperceptions to my work in education.

In Freakonomics, the authors interviewed Kobayashi to gain understanding about how he shattered the Nathan’s Hot Dog eating record that had stood at about the same level for decades (since 1916). At about 144 pounds in weight, the diminutive Kobayashi defied common logic by taking the long-standing art of eating to a whole new level –  he moved the bar from the low 20s to nearly 50 hot dogs in 10 minutes.

How did Kobayashi do this? He perceived the situation differently. Instead of just trying to eat the hot dogs more quickly – he separated the hot dog from the bun. He ate the hot dog by itself and DUNKED the bun in his drinking water, making it so soft that he could almost slurp the bun down. The smallest guy in the contest blew away all the bigger guys for several years.

This is the part where I really got interested in the story: for several years, the other hot dog eaters failed to adopt Kobayashi’s strategy. I want to emphasize this: They tried the old way for several years while still losing. Finally, Joey Chestnut adopted Kobayashi’s method, and increased the record by almost 20 hot dogs, capping at 66 in 10 minutes. Kobayashi can’t compete with the larger contestants now, even using the technique he invented.

What’s the lesson here for education?

Maybe we don’t have to get through the textbook faster. Maybe we don’t need to have kids do more worksheets. Maybe Longer lectures and more notes aren’t the answer. Maybe extended school days or Saturday school isn’t the answer. Educators have been trying to do these “more of” scenarios for decades. And the result? Scores are basically flat over the last few decades.

All over the world, educators are struggling to integrate technology into their lessons – mostly because tech is commonly seen as something extra.

What if we had better pedagogies? What if we had pedagogies and methods that used edtech in a way that wasn’t an add-on? That’s the essence of the CUE Craft strategies – doing more with less and getting 20-25% growth PER DAY on lessons that also require no grading by teachers. Seamlessly integrating tech in a way that develops student creativity and critical thinking – not just doing endless “bubble tests” online – we call that “robo-teaching.”

These better methods are available right now. And they are free. Head over to and see our free CUE Craft toolkits.

Jon Corippo is the Chief Learning Officer at CUE and co-author of EduProtocols, instructional lesson frames that are designed to engage students in learning through critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity. He served a decade at the K-8 level, opened a 1-1, PBL, Google-based high school, and served in two county offices, including as an Assistant Superintendent and IT Director. Jon has been recognized as a County Teacher of the Year, a 20 to Watch Educator by the NSBA, and was a finalist in the EdTech Digest Awards. Jon also holds the Apple Distinguished Educator, Google Certified Innovator, and Microsoft Innovative Educator badges. His work with CUE includes creating the CUE Rock Star concept of Professional Development, with a focus on hands-on learning and getting teachers connected via social media. Cue Rock Star Camps now include Admin, TOSA, Teacher and Specialized Editions for core areas. Jon has led the development of the very successful CUE Launch program, and the well-received CUE BOLD Symposium. Under Jon’s leadership, CUE professional learning has trained over 30,000 educators in only two years.

About Mercedes Maskalik