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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Joining a New Board of Directors -- SIIA

Recently I got the great news that the members of the Software Information Industry Association (http://www.siia.net/) elected me to serve a two year term on the Education Board of Directors. The news actually arrived on election day, which turned into a wonderful day all around. Press release at http://tinyurl.com/5dv53z.

Of course, I am honored to join this group and help direct the association's important work. Ken Wasch, Karen Billings, and others have helped build SIIA into an influential trade association that helps its members be heard by policy makers and creates a forum for companies to exchange education technology ideas and information.

From lessons learned from sitting on two other non-profit Boards, the experience can be fruitful and worthwhile or it can be frustrating and unproductive -- all depends on the effort invested and the willingness to speak up with thoughtful and contrary ideas that sometimes challenge the status quo. Associations and non-profit Boards are, by their nature, risk-averse and often avoid innovation. My view, however, is that these are risky times, and that our educational systems and foundations need to be questioned and need to be overhauled.

If innovators do not speak up and call for major change and real investment into new ways of learning and teaching, we will be missing a big opportunity and we will continue to get mediocre results. So, my plan as I join this new Board, is to learn as much as I can as quickly as I can, and as I see opportunities for the association to influence education policy, I will speak up loudly for education innovation and investment.

George Cigale, gcigale@tutor.com