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The Story - Long Version

It all started back at the dawn of the age of the internet, 2003. I was working as a second grade teacher in Fairfax County, Virginia, when I came across an HTML for beginners book. I had never even thought of building a website prior to this point - I had no experience in computer science and would never have considered myself up for the task of something I assumed would take a lot of expertise. Something, however, drew my interest. I’m not sure if it was the beginning of a vision, or, mere curiosity, but I began experimenting on an old green-backed iMac I had, and the time-honored American Online disk, found ubiquitously at super markets and in mailboxes across the nation. I found great satisfaction in duplicating the examples of the book, and even more, when I could modify them slightly to produce new effects.

I quickly learned that experimenting with HTML was rather easy, and gained great satisfaction on being able to change font colors and page backgrounds. Once I learned to upload and place images, I realized a website would be a helpful tool in the classroom. I could use it to post assignments, plans, and to display images of what the kids were doing. I read some articles and learned how to register a domain name. After much self-debate, I chose MrNussbaum.com over MrNutTree.com, which is the German translation of Nussbaum. I chose Yahoo Geocities as my first host, and set off on a journey I could have never anticipated. I got fairly proficient at formatting pages and building tables, and soon developed the idea to code the games I had invented in the classroom. Coding games, I learned, was much more difficult than simply building page structures out of simple tags, and I was forced to buy a JavaScript for beginners book. I proceeded to learn the basics of web programming, which was incredibly useful, yet sadly inadequate to code the games I wanted. Luckily, I stumbled upon a freelance coder named Paul Burney who was willing to code the crazy learning games I had invented in the classroom into digital reality. Thus, Cash Out, Tackle Math Ball, GeoAmerica, Defeat the Math Monster and several others were born. Kids loved the games and soon, different classrooms were using the games. All the while, I was learning the very basics of web essentials at the time such as Flash and was building simple interactive modules for various history and geography topics. I also learned about the awesome world of javascript libraries and put a visitor counter on my site. I noticed people were now using the site beyond the walls of my classroom, school, and even state. By 2004, the site was attracting hundreds of visitors per day. At this time, I was fully engaged in both teaching and developing the site. I now had a very clear vision to develop as many quality resources as I possibly could in all subjects. I endeavored to use my summer to convert the small office in my townhouse to a resource-development factory! I quickly realized that teaching full-time, fulfilling the vision I was quickly developing for MrNussbaum.com, and continuing to pursue the Ed.D in educational policy, three years in the making, was untenable. Halfway through my dissertation, I weighed my options, considered my passions, and made the obvious choice: Goodbye Ed.D. To this day I remain one-half of a dissertation away from my Ed.D.

That summer, I was able to get popular educational link indexes such as Internet4Classrooms.com and Yahooligans.com to link to various activities and games that were now on my site, making them available to learners throughout the world. This is where things really began to take off as hundreds of visitors per day quickly turned to thousands of visitors per day. With the increased traffic and visibility, I was able to attract my first advertising network ValueClickMedia, and MrNussbaum.com became a business. With actual revenue to drive development, and positive feedback from throughout the world in my inbox each morning, I was more motivated than ever to create. I was able to hire additional developers and artists who produced increasingly complex games, while myself concentrating on the static content development such as the interactive and printable reading comprehension and math activities. From this point, the site really took off and ten thousand visitors per day became twenty thousand, thirty thousand and so on. Since visitors are the life-blood of any website, the additional user base provided me with the resources to put everything into developing the best educational games, resources, and applications available on the internet. Today, the site boasts over 17,000 free activities and 25,000 total activities and serves countless millions of people every year.

There is much more to the story, but I'll add just a few more facts for now: Today, millions of teachers, parents, and learners actively use the site each month. I am very much a real person and still teach full-time and run MrNussbaum.com, MrN365.com, and other sites. The business has grown exponentially to include not only advertising revenue, but licensing and subscription as well. That said, the mission of MrNussbaum.com was ALWAYS to provide engaging educational resources for kids FREE of charge, and forever. I am proud that we have been able to serve the educational community in this manner and plan on continuing as long as time allows.