EdTech Talk: Take It or Break It!

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EdTech Talk: Take It or Break It!

February 2, 2023 @ 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Join the Iowa EdTech Collaborative for an Iowa EdTech Talk: Take It or Break It! on Thursday, February 2nd from 3:30-4:30pm at MERGE or online via Zoom [https://bit.ly/3GvRDXn]. Mark Butland, Ed.D., Director of the Iowa EdTech Collaborative, will lead a discussion with two innovative #EdTech companies, our student intern, and an economic development leader about the Iowa EdTech Collaborative’s new initiative, Take It or Break It!


Take It or Break It! allows new and upcoming educational technologies to be tested by their target consumer, students, in the Iowa EdTech Collaborative’s Classroom of the Future. The first round featured VictoryXR, an internationally-known #EdTech company that brings a more immersive way for students to learn through virtual and augmented reality. Not too long after, round 2 featured VIVED Learning, a leading developer of dissectible interactive 3D models for anatomy, K12 science, and chemistry. With online education rapidly growing, more #EdTech companies may need students to test out their products and provide feedback. Learn about the program and how you can get your products into a future Take It or Break It! session.


Our panel includes:

Ava Graf, Student Intern at Iowa EdTech Collaborative

Danny Coyle, Lead Software Engineer at VictoryXR

Tom Nicknish, President at Vived Learning

Tom Banta, Interim President at Iowa City Area Development Group

And is moderated by Mark Butland, Ed.D., Director of the Iowa EdTech Collaborative


Please join us online via Zoom [https://bit.ly/3GvRDXn] or in-person at MERGE Iowa City [136 S. Dubuque St. Iowa City] for our watch party + post-event happy hour 4:30–5:30pm. Come enjoy light hors d’oeuvres, drinks, connect with other professionals in the EdTech industry and meet our panelists. Please RSVP. We look forward to seeing you!


About Ava Graf:

Entrepreneurship is a passion for Ava Graf. She is a senior at Iowa City West High School, and will be graduating in May 2023. While at West, Ava was instrumental in starting a tutoring program to help students be academically successful. In addition, she was crowned a state champ in extemporaneous speech for Business Professionals of America at West. Currently involved at the Iowa EdTech Collaborative as a Student Intern. Ava is looking forward to her future as an Iowa Hawkeye and securing a degree at the University of Iowa Tippie School of Business. She loves nurturing, invitation, and creativity associated with a growth mindset.


About Danny Coyle:

Graduating from Ohio State University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science, Danny entered the VR space during the infancy of commercial-level VR. As such, he has witnessed all of the ups and downs of the industry from both the perspective of a VR enthusiast as well as a VR software developer.


Having been part of the VR industry since its inception, Danny is doing all he can to push the boundaries of what is possible with VR and XR technologies, unafraid to shake things up for the sake of a unique and immersive experience.


About Tom Nicknish:

Tom has been with Vived Learning, an Iowa-based edtech company that has impacted more than 2 million students worldwide and students in 7 of the top 10 districts in the United States, for 10 years. As President of Vived Learning, he is working to expand the company’s educational content library, improve the ease of use of its products, and establish new partnerships in the United States and beyond.


Before joining Vived Learning, Tom held successful sales, service, and marketing roles in various sectors, including medical devices, technology startups, Dimension X (acquired by Microsoft in 1997), Ingenio.com (acquired by AT&T in 2005), Microsoft, ADP, and Stryker. He holds a B.A. in Computer Graphics from Dominican University (IL). Tom currently resides in Iowa City, IA with his two kids, three cats and a dog.


About Tom Banta:

Tom graduated a Hawkeye with a degree in Economics before embarking on a diverse and winding path of business and relationship development opportunities. From Automated Vehicles and Education Technology to Natural and Organic Foods, Tom takes his work seriously, but rarely himself.


He found his way to ICAD via a sorted and checkered career history with roles at Allsteel, Tippie College of Business, and community place-making with the Blue Zones Project. Along the way he has lived in Silicon Valley and Austin, TX, but proudly calls Iowa City his home. Tom started at ICAD as Vice President and Director of Strategic Growth and recently transitioned into his new role as Interim President.


About Mark Butland:

Dr. Butland is a successful researcher, author, professor, and serves as the Director of the Iowa EdTech Collaborative where he promotes the education technology sector’s growth and success in Iowa. Previously, Mark served as campus dean for Kirkwood Community College, Iowa City, and has held faculty and administrative positions at 2- and 4-year colleges and universities. Mark has worked extensively with the Higher Education Research and Development Institute (HERDI), most recently serving on the advisory board for HERDI-South and serves on the Advisory Council for the EdSAFE AI Alliance.


Mark earned his Ed.D. in Community College Leadership from the Roueche Graduate Center at National American University. His academic research has focused on instructional communication, competency-based education, and regional accreditation policy work, and he has authored several communication studies textbooks. Mark relishes vigorous hikes, moderate yoga, and light food adventuring, and is easily spellbound by storytellers, comedians, infomercials, and post-apocalyptic dystopian zombie movies.


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