Director of Education at Gates Ventures
Bob Regan is the Director of Education at Gates Ventures. Based in Seattle, Bob divides his time between building products, advising other education efforts and thinking about the future of education. His efforts include leading the Big History Project and the World History Project. Each combines a set of free, online materials for teaching history with a vibrant community of teachers using these courses used in more than 3,500 schools across the US and Australia.
Bob began his career in the classroom as a teacher of math, French and technology in Chicago and New York City schools. Bob earned a Master’s in Elementary Education from Columbia University Teachers College where he focused his research on performance assessment. From the first days in the classroom, he expressed a deep passion for improving teaching and learning through the use of technology in schools. Bob went on to study education policy and technology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before focusing on software development full time in 2000.
At Macromedia, he oversaw product development for the Education and Government markets. He was instrumental in leading Macromedia’s Accessibility efforts, pioneering techniques in accessible rich media and helping shape accessibility standards for people with disabilities around the globe. He was also heavily involved in building and shaping elearning standards and advancing the concept of the Rich Internet Application. In 2005, Bob joined Adobe with the acquisition of Macromedia where he became the Director of Worldwide Primary and Secondary Education in 2007.
As Director of Worldwide Primary and Secondary Education at Adobe Systems, Bob lead the marketing, product development and business strategy for schools. This included a period of time where Adobe developed a massive partnership with the state of New South Wales, Australia around a ubiquitous deployment of creative tools for students and teachers. With Bob’s leadership, Adobe saw sustained growth of the education business through an exceedingly challenging economic climate.
Bob went on to join Pearson Education in 2011 as Director of Product Development. While at Pearson, Bob lead development of a new, tablet-based product focused on Common Core standards and founded a product innovation studio focused on teacher publishing and project-based learning.
Bob lives in San Francisco, CA with his amazing wife and two incredible daughters who inspire him each and every day.
Technology won’t save education, teachers will
The pandemic has put new and powerful stresses on schools, teachers and students alike. It’s forced us into new modes of learning that are limiting and incomplete. It’s forced us to make daily tradeoffs in regard to coverage and differentiation as we teach at a distance (or socially distanced). Too often, technology is seen as the solution to teaching in our troubled times. This concerns me.
Good teaching is messy. The challenges are ill-defined, multi-dimensional, and overlapping. Good teachers have built a repertoire of skills over the years to manage these problems and create environments that support learning. They can spot opportunities with specific kids and make connections that fuel real learning. All things being equal, teaching is best done by teachers, not tech. But the pandemic presents all teachers, young and experienced alike, with a new kind of classroom.
Research in professional development highlights two key elements among teachers: reflection and collaboration. Here, technology can play an incredibly important role in terms of online community. For new teachers, online community provides a means of hearing from the veterans. For the veterans, working with others is a powerful way to see their own classroom in a new light.
This session will walk through the problem of professional development and where online professional development can be of help. I will talk through our experience with the OER Project and some of the specific strategies we’ve employed in terms of content, moderation and measurement.