Instructional Technology Expert and Former State Administrator Joins ISKME Team

Bringing expertise in education, information technology, and project management, Dan Gwaltney joined ISKME in August 2013 as OER Services Manager. For much of his career, Dan has striven for improvement in educational practice and design through the increased use of engaging, effective, and efficient technologies in the K-12 space. This is a perfect match with ISKME’s established focus on continuous improvement of Open Educational Resources (OER).

“When I was a teacher, I realized that the right tools and systems were not yet available to me,” says Gwaltney, who is based in North Carolina. That’s what got the seasoned curriculum developer motivated to return to graduate school for a master’s degree in education after a stint building high-tech solutions for schools and government. Earlier, he earned a bachelor’s in political science and classics at the University of Arizona.

Later, while teaching at a charter school in Arizona, Dan was astonished that instructors had no curriculum, and started lessons from scratch each year. As a result, Dan designed a curriculum for English and proceeded to share it with his colleagues, having seen firsthand how “inconsistency in instruction and content can negatively impact an entire school.” He continued his focus on curriculum standardization for public schools when he moved to North Carolina, joining the state’s Department of Public Instruction to implement large-scale systems to access resources, including the state’s recent shift to Common Core-aligned curriculum.

At a convening of state education leaders in Chicago, Dan met Amee Godwin, ISKME’s Director of Strategic Initiatives, who introduced him to ISKME’s OER Commons platform and the organization’s efforts around resource metadata standardization. As a result of that encounter, Dan was intrigued to attend ISKME’s Big Ideas Fest 2012, where he met the rest of the ISKME team and participated in collaborative design and prototyping. At the same time, Dan was the lead voice from North Carolina in the Reform Support Network effort with twelve other states to realize the potential of Common Core through collaboration and sharing of metadata standards, an effort in which ISKME also participated.

The bigger idea to which Dan now applies his expertise, as a member of ISKME’s Open Knowledge Networks team, is to give states a common place to access, evaluate, and improve their Common Core-aligned content using OER.

The purpose of a single open resource base, says Dan, is that “not every state has to reinvent its own wheel. Each state can build on the best practices of the others.”

At ISKME, Dan will continue to promote sharing of high-quality learning resources, such as those in OER Commons. One of his first tasks is to put together an informative webinar for those state decision makers charged with implementing Common Core who need to know more about the benefits of using OER for continuous improvement.

Dan will be encouraging educators and policy makers throughout the nation to seek out ISKME as a thought partner and to better understand the vision of a shared implementation for curriculum improvement using OER and the Common Core.

October 23, 2013