Meet Thomas Boe! Sr. Manager of Instructional Design located at our Minnesota office.
Tell us about yourself!
I grew up in Omaha, Nebraska and I am the fourth child of six. My father was an artist, who thought I’d take up the family trade. I went with my other love, though, science and ultimately teaching. I earned a Physics degree and teaching credentials from Carleton College here in Minnesota, and then returned to Omaha to teach high school chemistry and physics. Three years in an inner city school and four years in a suburban school were very different places.
After almost seven years as a teacher, I started looking for someplace other than Omaha and some other line of work. I wanted something that offered more change, growth, and a challenge. I found that opportunity in the early 80’s in Minnesota with the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium. Since that time, I’ve worked for 7 different educational technology organizations in Minnesota and California, in professional development, curriculum development, and product management. After 30 years in this business, I’m still excited to come to work every day (personal goal achieved).
How did you hear about Edmentum?
I started here as a product manager in October 2006. The former company I was working for had been acquired and was closing shop, so I was “seeking other opportunities”. Still loving K-12 educational technology, I visited the Plato (now Edmentum) website often and a product management position eventually opened up. I joined the Product Management team and after a few years, I switched over to the Curriculum group in 2010. Curriculum has always been my first love in this business, either as a product manager or as a developer, so I feel right at home here.
What are you and your department responsible for?
The five instructional designers on this team are each responsible for defining the instructional approach for their course projects and overseeing their development. They keep up-to-date on instructional innovations, technology, and market requirements. The team then designs courses that best meet student needs (within budget and schedule). Instructional Design employees lead course development teams that consist of Edmentum subject matter experts, media team members, and editors. They also work closely with our writing and technical development partners at Praxis in India.
I do some Instructional Design work myself but my main objective is to make sure the team does their job well, make sure they’re enjoying their work, and help keep them challenged and growing.
What interests you about the field that you are in?
I have been in this field for thirty years and worked at seven ed-tech companies. Sounds like I’m in a rut, but I love this field. I mainly want three things in a career: the opportunity to be creative, a feeling that the work is intrinsically worthwhile, and workmates who really want to work together and do the job. The wonder is that this field brings together creative and talented people who really want to make a difference in the world. Working with people like that on challenging projects every day is a rare joy.
What is the most enjoyable aspect of your job?
I enjoy the work we do here at Edmentum and I love the people I work with. What else could I ask for?
What activities are you interested in outside of work?
I like to head out to the western edge of town on a cold January weekend. If the roads are plowed and the temperature is above 15 degrees you might see me on my bike, wearing ski goggles and a balaclava. As a kid, my favorite thing to do was go exploring on foot or on a bike. Biking, hiking, and variations like snowshoeing are still the activities that charge me up! I enjoy being with people, but I regularly need the mix of physical activity, solitude, and the outdoors to regenerate.
What are your professional goals?
Over the next few years, I hope to work with a talented team of folks to create engaging and valuable learning experiences. I’d also like to help my teammates enjoy that experience and grow professionally. The best thing about that twin goal is that I don’t need to change jobs to make them happen!