Four Reasons We Come to Work Every Day

A few members of the Lea(R)n team

We’re biased. I’ll admit it. Our CEO tells us that we should operate with a “bias toward responsible action” in every decision we make, with team and customer interest at the heart of everything we do. In fact, it’s a core value that every new employee is introduced to even before day one – during the interview process.

In essence, this commitment to responsible action translates to a cohesive team built on integrity and trust. Every member of our collaborative team functions with support from the others, but ultimately has all of our trust to make decisions, take action and move forward in the best interest of our network of educators based on the best information available. That level of organization-wide trust is rare and can only exist in an environment filled with rock star team members who strike that delicate balance between autonomy and collaboration. Here are a few of the awesome team members who help advance learning, and provide educators with tools to personalize learning at scale and increase equitable access for all students — and make working at Lea(R)n a joy. 

This post is part two in a series of profiles on our awesome team members. Read part one here.

Dr. Amanda Cadran, Director of Implementation and Customer Success

Dr. Amanda Cadran

 Intro song: Chameleon, Herbie Hancock

Q: What is your favorite thing about working at Lea(R)n?

A: In my opinion, there is no substitute for motivation. Motivation and the desire to do more and be more is what makes innovation possible. The Lea(R)n team is driven by a common desire — to empower educators and administrators to improve outcomes with timely, practical insights. Accomplishing this means that we come together from different backgrounds and with different experiences to work through questions about the best ways to help our customers and in turn, all of their students, succeed. The trust placed in each of us to do our best work collectively and individually is something I am grateful for every day. Likewise, we are encouraged to use our own perspective when thinking about the success of the work we do for our customers and we can bring that to meaningful conversations that allow room for everyone. The same translates to our customers, who come to us with their own unique experiences with edtech implementation and management. Hearing their stories and sharing in their path toward success is something that motivates me and makes me excited to start each day.

Q: What is the coolest thing customers can do with LearnPlatform?

A: Before I started working at Lea(R)n, I was hacking my way through edtech management at the same school where I had started as a middle school teacher 11 years prior. I knew there had to be a better way to find, buy, and measure the edtech tools we were using, but I didn’t know what it could be. For that reason, I connect on a personal level to LearnPlatform and what it allows our customers to do.

I think that the coolest thing customers can do with LearnPlatform is connect on a holistic level with teacher feedback and product usage data. I equally love and am inspired by our research-based grading rubric and our IMPACT 2.0 module because they are both designed to promote lightbulb moments that are otherwise very challenging to find.

The grading rubric allows educators to transcend generalized anecdotes and share experiences with specific edtech products using a grading rubric with an A-F scale. Educators can also use the rubric in conversations with their peers to have richer, more meaningful discussions about the edtech products they are using. IMPACT 2.0 takes customers to a place of much deeper understanding of how specific edtech products are being used and allows them to find the bright spots of edtech implementation in their organization. Using IMPACT 2.0, customers can decide which products, metrics, time frames, and covariates matter most to them - all within a statistically valid and intellectually honest platform. When thinking of both our grading rubric and IMPACT 2.0, it is the elevation of capacity to understand that most excites me and that I love to share with our customers.
 

Q: What is your first or favorite piece of education technology?

A: When I think about my favorite piece of education technology, it has to be something that truly enhances instruction and learning. Also, the tools I tend to gravitate toward emerge, at least initially, from social processes: Working groups, collaborative teams, etc.

For that reason, my favorite piece of education technology is not necessarily one specific product, but any product intended to connect learners together in authentic ways, remove barriers to participation, and encourage equity of idea-sharing. When I started designing and teaching online courses, video-based conferencing platforms let me bring together students from all corners of the world while I worked from my home in North Carolina. Those platforms provided me with the opportunity to think about my role as an educator and what is possible with appropriate and effective technology. As a subset of the edtech marketplace, video and screencasting software has come a long way since I taught my first online writing course over ten years ago. But at their core, with the right infrastructure (and connection to pedagogy!), there are no limits to how an educator or student can use these tools and what kind of connections can be made with them.

Job Profile: Amanda is the Director of Implementation and Customer Success for Lea(R)n. She uses her ten years of classroom teaching, curriculum development and technology facilitator experience to help clients define and achieve success. Her most important goal is to meet customers where they are, and bring a personalized focus to their interactions.

Amanda earned her BA and MA from Lehigh University, and her PhD from NC State with a focus on instructional technology. She has worked as a research fellow and consultant with the International Association of K-12 Online Learning, and has experience deploying school-wide technology initiatives and professional development programs.

Favorite Getaway: Iceland

Favorite Holiday: New Year's Eve

Favorite School Subject: Language Arts

Favorite Quote: “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher

NCAA Champion Pick: NC State

 

Archana Dharmavaram, Product Manager

Archana Dharmavaram

Intro song: Learning to Fly, Pink Floyd

Q: What is your favorite thing about working at Lea(R)n?

A: As the product manager for LearnPlatform, I am always looking for new ways to solve challenges for our users. This means that there is something new to do and create every day. At Lea(R)n, I get to push myself beyond my comfort zone and do a little bit better each day. Last but not least, I get to work with a great team!

Q: What is the coolest thing customers can do with LearnPlatform?

A: I think the coolest thing that LearnPlatform can do is to help users save time and reduce the hassles that are present in edtech management. With LearnPlatform, the focus has always been on creating a product that can help administrators and educators with better edtech management; whether it is discovering new tools, managing the edtech process in their organization or to making data-driven decisions, LearnPlatform is that one-stop solution that can truly empower administrators, educators and product companies to achieve these goals effectively.

Q: What is your first or favorite piece of education technology?

A: I wish that I had been able to access to products like Coursera and Code Academy back in the day. Those tools offer the opportunity to learn subjects that normally would have been hard to access unless you were enrolled in a university!

Job Profile: Archana is the Product Manager for LearnPlatform. She uses 11 years of product, business and technology experience to drive product success at Lear(R)n. Archana acts as the customer’s voice within the team, collaborating with engineering, design, data, marketing and customer success teams to identify product gaps and launch products that customers love. She aims to make Lea(R)n the most useful product for edtech users.

Archana earned her MBA in marketing from ESADE Business School, Spain and B.Tech in computer science & engineering from Visvesvariah Technological University, India.

Favorite Getaway: Home

Favorite Holiday: Diwali

Favorite School Subject: Mathematics

Favorite Quote: "Be the change that you wish to see in the world" -Mahatma Gandhi

NCAA Champion Pick: UNC

 

Katherine Webb, Vice President of Marketing

Katherine Webb

Intro song: Kickstart My Heart, Motley Crue

Q: What is your favorite thing about working at Lea(R)n?

A: The team. And that the team walks the talk. We are a mission-driven B Corp - and in an active way. The mission isn’t some abstract concept that some part of the team tossed in the handbook and everyone cared about during the four meetings it took to agree on which words to use (the usual experience), it’s the founding principle upon which Karl and the team created the company - and one we touch on and work toward daily. Our commitment to expanding equitable access to technology that works for teachers and students is how we prioritize huge goals, competing projects, daily tasks and selecting members for of our A+ team. We have integrity, personal professional work ethics that are astounding and a really good time (because all work and no play…. that movie did not end well).

Q: What is the coolest thing customers can do with LearnPlatform?

A: There are a lot of very cool things about LearnPlatform, but I think the most compelling is that customers can define, configure and leverage it in the ways that best meet their evolving needs. Because LearnPlatform is an end-to-end solution to organize, streamline and manage all facets of education technology, it’s a simple way for users at any stage to get their arms around what’s being used in their classrooms; get processes around how they engage teachers and find, buy and measure tools; and chart a path toward understanding what’s actually driving learning so data-led instructional, operational and financial decisions can be made.

The flexibility of being able to essentially plug into the appropriate current location and map to a destination (or just see your surroundings and how long it might take to get to your destination - as well as where you need to stop along the way) is incredible. It’s a game changer, like having a location indicator and Google Maps on your phone. You can make informed decisions about where to start, stop and go, what deserves a detour and what can be skipped, based on data from many sources. Meeting learning organization leaders where they are - wherever that is - and helping them advance based on their needs and objectives - is the coolest thing about LearnPlatform.  

Q: What is your first or favorite piece of education technology?

A: This is where I have to talk about signing up to use the one Apple II safely guarded in the media center for my slice of time leading the class on the Oregon Trail… That was when those of us brought up on Texas Instruments (Speak and Spell) got our first glimpse of learning that didn’t involve pencils, but as I can still hear the robot voice, I have to shift away.

I think at the heart of successful living lies organization. If you’re organized, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish. G Suite offers students and teachers an on-demand desk, backpack, planner, notebook - everything floating in the big, beautiful cloud. The ability to access everything, cross-reference, collaborate and document is such an incredible asset. Organizing thoughts, tasks, resources and projects sets educators and learners up for achievement, and helps them develop a cognitive skill that they will continue building for life. G Suite and all of the pieces therein have changed the way we think about classroom management, information sharing, problem-solving and documentation, and offer users the flexibility they need to work the way they want so, Oregon Trail and several arcade games aside (because there’s a lot you can learn from Ms. Pac Man, Out Run and Pole Position), it’s Google for the win.

Job Profile: As VP of marketing, Katherine champions Lea(R)n’s brand, and works to elevate the achievements of educators using the platform to gain actionable insights into the effectiveness of their learning technologies. She is responsible for messaging consistency, and helping leaders from classroom to boardroom communicate the value of data-driven, relevant evaluation of the technologies being used.

Her past marketing communications roles have served the professional development, technology and education sectors and she thrives on building high-performing, empowered creative teams. Katherine also helped build and manage a full-service marketing and PR agency that worked exclusively with software, gaming and professional services clients around the world.

Favorite Getaway: Manchebo Beach, Aruba

Favorite Holiday: Halloween

Favorite School Subject: Psychology

Favorite Quote:  "Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it." - Ferris Bueller

NCAA Champion Pick: Duke

 

Dr. Daniel Stanhope, Senior Research Officer

Dr. Daniel Stanhope

Intro song: Regulate, Warren G. feat Nate Dogg

Q: What is your favorite thing about working at Lea(R)n?

A: I have several favorite things about working at Lea(R)n: the people, the product, and the impact. It’s great working with a diverse team of individuals who all want to support each other and contribute to the realization of a worthy mission. The product supports our efforts to do so, and it has been both exciting and rewarding to see it continue to develop and improve. Finally, as a research-practitioner who cares deeply about bridging the gap between research and science so that both sides inform each other, it’s been amazing to see our research-backed company continue to make a real-world impact. And furthermore, I can hardly imagine an impact more rewarding than helping to improve education for teachers and students.

Q: What is the coolest thing customers can do with LearnPlatform?

A: Customers can self-sufficiently run rapid evaluations to collect data and evidence that they can use to inform their decisions. In the past, education organizations had to rely on external evaluators to run traditional evaluations, and oftentimes these evaluations failed to serve the purpose of providing schools and districts with practical and timely information. Now, using LearnPlatform, not only do education organizations have the capacity to run evaluations on their own, but they do so in a way that provides evidence that is practical, actionable, relevant, and timely.

Q: What is your first or favorite piece of education technology?

A: It all started with Teddy Ruxpin! In more recent years, I’ve enjoyed consuming digital content through various apps, and I’ve benefited from taking courses from online providers such as Coursera -- these products help feed my desire for lifelong learning. However, I’m not sure whether these count, but I’d have to say my favorite edtech product would be a statistical software such as Stata, R, or Mplus. These products enable me to turn complex sets of data into meaningful insights that inform important decisions for education organizations.

Job Profile: Daniel is the senior research officer at Lea(R)n, where he works with a team of researchers, data scientists, and statisticians, and provides expertise on research design, scientific methodology, program evaluation, learning and performance measurement, and psychometrics. Daniel received his PhD in industrial and organizational psychology from North Carolina State University.

Daniel has worked as an applied scientist, research methodologist, statistical consultant, and psychometrician with various private, public, and not-for-profit organizations. He has published research in numerous outlets, including the Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Research on Technology in Education, Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, and Journal of Personnel Psychology. Daniel has also delivered dozens of presentations at conferences across the world, serves as a reviewer for multiple academic journals, and sits on the Editorial Review Board of the Journal of Online Learning Research.  

Favorite Getaway: Somewhere along the Mediterranean

Favorite Holiday: New Year's Day

Favorite School Subject: Psychology

Favorite Quote: "To measure is to know. If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it." -Lord Kelvin

NCAA Champion Pick: Kansas

Our team is growing! Interested in joining this A+ team? View our open positions.

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