She Snoops for Scoops: The Personal Side of the EdNET Community

She Snoops for Scoops: The Personal Side of the EdNET Community

Whew - the Snoop returned from Philadelphia tired but very pleased by all of the great happenings at ISTE. What a busy but productive week! Kudos to Don Knezek, CEO, and all of his team for putting on a most successful conference. There's no way I could capture all of the happenings or include everyone I saw or met, but I will definitely share some of the scoops from the week....

I had so much fun seeing and spending time with lots of long time colleagues and friends, and I enjoyed meeting so many interesting new companies and people. Among them....

Betsy Whalen, VP, Social Media and Marketing for Edmodo, which offers free social media tools that help teachers engage students and allow them to reach their potential. Betsy was formerly Director, Discovery Education Canada at Discovery Communications, Inc., and is a former 3rd grade teacher in the DC Public Schools. I enjoyed meeting her, and Edmodo is very cool!

Gene Storz, CEO and Co-founder, and Lynette McVay, Director Marketing, Communications and Funding, at e2020, a very impressive—from content to delivery to implementation—virtual school solution.

Kevin Custer, Arc Capital Development, and Bill Goforth, newly hired as VP of Sales at Lesson Planet, introduced me to Jim Hurley, Lesson Planet's CEO and Founder. I look forward to getting to know him better at EdNET in September.

Allison Arunski, Marketing Manager for Cerebellum - Standard Deviants Accelerate, the company's new approach to an online learning environment. They have taken their award-winning methodology to teaching core curriculum subjects for middle and high school students and brought it to the Web—video, audio and written content. Their website claims their products are sometimes described as a cross between Sesame Street and Saturday Night Live. They are definitely fun, and so was Allison. They seem to be one creative team!

Chris Harrick, VP of Marketing for iParadigms, has only been with the company since December of last year, but he has some great ideas for the firm. Chris previously served as Vice President of Marketing at SugarCRM, where as an early employee he helped grow the company from a start-up to a leader in the CRM market. During his time there, he oversaw marketing communications, public relations, demand generation, product marketing, events and the company's commercial web sites. He also helped the company expand internationally to both Europe and Asia. Prior to SugarCRM, Chris held a variety of product marketing roles at Siebel Systems. He began his career at Mainspring, an Internet consultancy that was acquired by IBM. As an aside, I told him he looks so much like one of our industry visionaries, Tom Vander Ark, CEO, Open Education Solutions—I think he could be Tom's son or younger brother. They have got to meet!

Bert Bower, Founder and CEO of TCI—what a nice and "very passionate about education" person he is! He has experienced the classroom from every perspective. He began his career as a classroom aide, then taught social studies for eight years and then earned a PhD in Curriculum and Teacher Education from Stanford University. For the past 20 years he has been crafting innovative K-12 social studies programs by collaborating with teachers and trying out new ideas in the classroom. His goal is to defeat the "silent violence" of stand-and-deliver teaching that leaves youth passive and bored by creating programs that teach students to ponder and participate. He had me actively participating in a demo, and I did ok for a Language Arts major!

Snehal Patel, Founder and CEO of Sokikom, a massively multiplayer online math game for students in grades 1 through 6. He too is passionate about what he is doing. I remarked on his smile and how thrilled he seemed to be with reactions from students who use Sokikom. He really is passionate about improving the way students learn math both in and out of the classroom. Prior to Sokikom, he started and sold a successful math tutoring franchise for K-12 students. He opened the first Mathnasium-an international franchise of K-12 math tutoring centers-in Arizona. He grew his franchise location to the #1 performing business in the entire worldwide chain of over 200 centers. He is a certified math tutor and teacher, having tutored over 500 students 1-on-1. His experience tutoring students in math dates back through high school and college. Prior to Mathnasium, Snehal was the youngest senior software engineer in his department at Motorola.

Laurie Keating, Educational Technology Consultant at KeatingConsulting. Laurie was formerly VP of Technology Planning and Organizational Development at CELT Corporation.

Michael Johnson, Full Potential Associates, while certainly not a new friend, spent some time telling me a lot about an amazing nonprofit he has been helping, Youth Communication. This organization helps marginalized youth develop their full potential through reading and writing, so that they can succeed in school and at work and contribute to their communities. They publish true stories by teens that are developed in a rigorous writing program. These stories motivate teens to read and write, encourage good values and show teens how to make positive changes in their lives. For teachers and other staff, their materials and training provide tools to understand and engage hard-to-reach teens while helping them improve their academic, social and emotional skills. Michael has been very moved by the mission and work of Youth Communication, and I was very impressed by what I heard and reviewed on their website.  Many of you likely became aware of this organization at Content in Context, which I had to miss this year. They won the Distinguished Achievement Award and all four high school categories for which it competed in the 2011 contest sponsored by AEP. I was happy to learn about their important work.

BTW, Michael was looking great, and I told him consulting is looking good on him. It's been about three years now, and he is very busy. He is also expecting his first grandchild in December. Say hello to Michael at

The DOLS (Dirty Old Ladies of Software) got together for dinner Monday evening for a dinner boat ride on The Benjamin Franklin and had their usual great time networking and catching up with one another.

On Monday night, I attended the MindShare Learning reception at The Union League of Philadelphia. What a lovely event! MindShare Learning co-hosted the reception in partnership with The Canadian Consulate in celebration of Canadian educational technology innovation and Canadian/American partnering. Robert Martellacci, President of MindShare Learning, addressed the attendees, as did a representative from ISTE, SMART Technologies and Global Scholar, sponsors of the event. I am so impressed with all Robert and his organization accomplish, and this reception was another class act! You can check in with Robert at

I know I have missed names of other new friends, and I loved, loved, loved seeing so very many of you I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with over a longer period of time!

In other news this week....

Smith System has expanded its sales force with the addition of Dave Smith as regional sales manager. With more than 30 years experience in furniture sales and manufacturing, Dave builds relationships with district decision makers, strategizes with Smith System dealers and works with the architect and design community in this new position to deliver customized school furniture solutions to districts in California and Nevada. As a regional sales manager, Dave approaches his responsibilities from the end user's perspective, digging deep into the problems and needs of school districts to understand how they approach teaching, and educating on how the right school furniture can maximize learning success. Dave then works with Smith System's dealer network to recommend customized school furniture solutions to meet the individual needs of each district. Prior to joining the Smith System team, Dave was the director of furniture sales and marketing at T.H.E. Office City where he built and maintained a formal furniture program, established valuable partnerships with manufacturers and trained sales representatives. Congratulations to Dave on his new position!

The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) has announced its Board of Directors and Officers for the 2011-2012 year:
Jeff Mao (ME), Chair
Cathy Poplin (AZ), Vice Chair
Bruce Umpstead (MI), Treasurer
Melinda Stanley (KS), Secretary
Larry Cocco (NJ)
Rick Gaisford (UT)
Cathy Higgins (NH)
Karen Kahan (TX)
David Walddon (Emeritus)

Newly elected board member Larry Cocco joins the SETDA board after several years as an active committee member and contributor. Cathy Poplin and Karen Kahan were re-elected to their second terms on the SETDA Board. Congratulations to all of these education leaders for their roles and thanks for the important work they do!

Have a terrific weekend, everyone, and for those of us in the United States celebrating Independence Day this weekend, let's be reminded as we gather with families and friends to give thanks for the freedom and independence our wonderfully diverse people enjoy and cherish in this country. Find your own way in thoughts or prayers or other tangible ways to also think of and thank the men and women serving in other parts of the world—and their families who also deeply sacrifice—on behalf of all of us. Till next week, friends....Vicki, the Snoop