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The Expert Effect: Learning from Experts, Near and Far

Updated: Jan 15, 2022

Welcome to the second installment of The Expert Effect book launch blog series. In our first post last week, we wrote about an overview of what The Expert Effectmeans and the backstory of how this book came to be. As a summary, The Expert Effect is a three-part system to break down the walls of your classroom and connect your students to the world. The three parts of this system are:

  1. Students learn from experts, both near and far

  2. Students become the experts through Project Based Learning

  3. Students teach as experts to authentic audiences around the world

In this post, we will zoom in on just the first part of our system: students learning from experts, both near and far.


One of the biggest goals of education is to give students exposure to a wide variety of subjects, ideas, cultures, careers, passions, and projects. Some students relate to one area more than another, but over the course of a year, we believe all students should have some exposure to or an experience in an area that feeds their personal passions.

When we take the learning beyond just us, the regular classroom teachers, delivering the content, we make it real for students. So how do we do this? We connect our students with real-life experts to help create powerful learning experiences and relevance for their studies.


When it came to teaching about the economy of our state, we realized that as teachers (not businessmen or entrepreneurs), we were not the best people to teach about starting a successful business and making loads of money. Instead of reading from an outdated textbook on the entrepreneurship cycle, we took our shot and launched a Shark Tank-style entrepreneurship project for our students! We invited real-life entrepreneurs to talk to our classes. Our biggest score was getting the founders of our favorite edtech startup, FlipGrid, to video chat with our class. Who better to learn from than real experts who had successfully launched their own tech company?

We also got local entrepreneurs for our community and the president of our local chamber of commerce to come into our school for a luncheon to talk to students and share their biggest lessons learned in business throughout their careers. These experts were able to give our students feedback on the products they had created and make suggestions for how they might actually be able to take their ideas into the future. More interesting than learning from us and reading out of a textbook? Not even a question!


We don’t want out message to be taken the wrong way…you don’t have to invite the top, world renowned, #1 “expert” or guru of a field into your classroom to create a powerful learning opportunity for your students. Getting an expert is simply getting someone who knows more than you about a specific topic you are teaching. An expert is someone who works in the field you are teaching about and is able and willing to talk to the best “product” in the world—your kids!

If you know us at all, you know we love acronyms so we couldn’t resist turning our book title into an acronym. So what makes a qualified ExPERT to teach your students? See below!


Teachers still (and always will) play an essential role in the classroom and in the learning experiences of their students. Our jobs will never be farmed out to a robot (the COVID-19 Pandemic has made this clearer than ever). Our jobs, however, are evolving. Whether our students end up forging a career as drone air traffic controllers, app developers, entrepreneurs, or employees of a company, there are certain skills that only we can teach that will give our learners the best opportunity for success in life, regardless of the path they choose…So what might innovative education look like over the next decade? To us, innovation happens through the cultivation of new relationships with real experts out in the world from whom our students can learn. Who better to share insights and experiences about real-world applications of their learning than the people who have dedicated their life to the field?

McKinney, G. & Rondot, R. (2021) The Expert Effect. EduMatch Publishing.

As teachers, our role has changed from the storehouse of knowledge to the facilitator of learning. #ExpertEffectEDU Tweet


Now it’s time to give you a taste of what the students themselves think of learning in this way since they are the ones we are asking to learn through it. It is these stories, of our own students, that we want to share with the world through our book.

“I know firsthand the effort that is necessary to master new things. I’ve learned that if I’m dedicated, if I’m motivated, if I’m passionate about learning, then I can do it.” –Eric, Class of 2026
“I have learned that when I’m working to make something better than anything I’ve ever made, I (or we) have to be committed to seeing our vision come to life. We have the chance to change the world.” –Ekaansh, Class of 2026


Below is a small snapshot of what people are saying about the book:

“This book is full of big ideas with detailed ways to achieve them. Zach and Grayson share how to design authentic learning, connect with professionals, take learning outside of the classroom, empower students, and develop the mindset in students that they are capable of dynamic and expert-level work.” –Trevor Muir, Educator at Grand Valley State University and Author of The Collaborative Classroom
“In this book, Grayson and Zach lay the groundwork regarding ‘schooling vs. learning’ and generously share their experiences as classroom teachers using project-based learning as part of their delivery system. The book is steeped with concrete examples and tools that will validate, extend, and challenge us as educators to continue to strive to reach all students.” –Larry Thomas, Educational Consultant


We hope that anyone reading this book will walk away inspired and with practical strategies to empower learners to think innovatively in any classroom or school. QR codes and other resources we include are curated using Google Docs, so they will always be up-to-date. We are proud to have partnered with EduMatch Books to publish this book. They offer fantastic bulk discounts, making it perfect for district-, grade level team, or school-wide book studies. Contact them directly: or click for more information:

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