Biographies

  • Deb's Bio -- Fall 2013

    As a Canadian who was raised in four countries and has traveled to over forty countries, I consider myself a global citizen. Having taught in public and private secondary schools in the United States for the past 24 years, I would love to return to my roots and teach internationally. Coming of age in Cairo shaped my formal education in International Affairs and World History, but more importantly shaped the kind of teacher that I have become. In both the public and the private middle and high schools I have been part of, I have encouraged my students to live the history, geography, or international issue we are studying, through travel when that is possible, but more often through creative engagement, role play and other activities which develop historical empathy. Walking into my classroom, you might see Galileo on Trial, a current event Image of the Day, Facebook pages for Candide, a Scramble for Africa simulation, Arab Uprisings essays, or multi-media History Day project presentations. My students would argue that I work them hard but we have fun!

    One of the joys of teaching is hearing back from alumni who are working all over the world in non-profits, teaching, business, and government due in part to the global perspective they developed. This week I happened to hear from three former students: a young woman at Boston College who was named the first UN Youth Ambassador this past year, a young man who is now working in DC for a think tank and just published an article in the Atlantic on Iran-American relations, and a young woman who is teaching world history at a charter school in NYC. In different ways, they are all living that worldview that their high schools opened up to them. I want to continue to be part of a school community that does that.

    I love teaching, especially the joy that comes from working with a wide range of students using interactive pedagogy which integrates economics and geography into a global curriculum. Having helped train teachers for the past fifteen years on the AP World history curriculum, having read AP exams for 11 years as a question leader and reader, and having taught it since it launched in 2002, I feel comfortable with the curriculum. I am not wedded however to the AP experience and would love to teach the IB curriculum as well if that is what is offered. My son is currently at an IB school and I love the depth that comes with that approach as well. I love taking on new courses—most of my teaching career has involved experimenting with new ideas and designing new electives so I am used to having multiple new preps. The Big History course is one such course which has been a joy to work on since it transcends disciplinary boundaries and builds science and history skills along the way.

    As important as teaching is to me, it is even more important for me to feel a part of the larger school community—-one where I am involved in extra-curricular activities such as Model UN, international trips, and debate, as well as one which involves my family. The opportunity to teach overseas is a dream that my husband and I have talked about for two decades now. Over the past few years, I have taken my two teenage children on trips to China and Malaysia to give them a taste of what it would be like to live abroad. They loved it! We all feel that the time is now perfect for our family to explore these options.

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  • Eric's Bio -- Fall 2013

    Passionate about experiential learning, design theory and education in the digital age, I have spent nearly 30 years challenging and coaching both students and adults to apply critical thinking, design, and communications skills to solve complex problems. Whether working with: Students in a classroom, a television studio or deep in the rain forests of Belize… whether working with: large groups of disparate learners online; Heads of schools in an Internet café in Cambodia; Student leaders in documenting service experiences and coaching interview techniques; or Television producers on the floor of the U.N., I love helping learners utilize technology, media, and data to communicate and collaborate effectively.

    That is why it has been such a joy to create new programs at Concordia that benefit both students and teachers as they explore the potential of innovative technologies. Through cutting edge courses and the creation of a design lab, students now have the opportunity to experiment with a variety of applications as they provide services for the school community, special assemblies, and sporting events. Additionally, students are regularly in the lab working on a variety of assignments such as National History Day documentaries, Big Data research, and Independent study projects on the Visualization of Stellar models. All of this has happened in conjunction with the creation of Student Media Services. Having grown this program from nothing three years ago, it provides me great pleasure to see a constantly changing group of students in the lab every day, collaborating around technology, asking questions of their peer mentors, and of me, as they gain 21st-century competencies.

    I feel certain that as educational strategies and systems evolve, it is those who are able to adopt and integrate the tools, technologies and language of the digital age who will most successfully engage, inspire and challenge their learners. Students need to know how to communicate, collaborate, research, visualize data, and manage information in a digital world and it is my good fortune to be able to share both the educational and technical experience necessary to help schools (and students) achieve these objectives.

    When I founded my company (Pangaea Multimedia Communications) in 1987, it was with the intent of using media and technology to improve education and communications. As a consultant, I helped to design and pilot new educational and training systems for organizations such as Motorola, Sun Microsystems, NEC Technologies and the US Navy’s schools. I helped Cable in the Classroom to put their first website on-line and Oxfam America to eliminate the bottleneck in their communications by designing and building cutting edge solutions for content management and publishing, in addition to producing hundreds of hours of educational materials for Harvard Business School, TERC (mathematics), Houghton Mifflin, Bedford and a wide range of other clients… not to mention the computer networks, school labs, distance learning systems and on-line collaboration tools which I designed, built and managed. Now, working in schools, I have the tremendous opportunity to coach students on maximizing business opportunities, on using technology as a means to a better world; and on how to capitalize on the next tech app. What fun!

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