What’s your background, and how did you get started in education?
Being part of a transient military family, I have worked with students with varied backgrounds for over twenty-five years. Most often, I took the job that nobody else wanted. Each unique group of students shaped my teaching style. In many ways, my students have taught me how to teach. I look back over the years with gratitude for every single student, especially the difficult ones. Every kid will forever be a part of me, and each one shaped me along the way.
In a word, my background in education has been about diversity. In Germany, my students had lived in the countries we were studying in Social Studies. In Belgium, my students were from different NATO nations, and most were multilingual. My North Carolina students lived in the housing projects, and my Illinois students were adults seeking their GEDs. In New Mexico, I fell in love with the Navajo culture through my Native American students and their families. Here in Texas, I’ve mostly worked with gifted and talented students from higher socioeconomic backgrounds.
What’s your favorite memory from your time as an educator?
This question tugs on my heartstrings and opens the floodgates of sweet memories. If forced to choose a favorite, it would be watching the transformation of a student named Brian. As soon as I received my homeroom class list, his previous teachers stopped by my room to tell me how hopeless he was, painting a drab picture of the year before me. Our year together was the opposite. Like every kid, Brian needed someone to find something real to love about him, to build a foundation of trust around that love, and to provide a safe learning environment. Brian grew more than any student in my class that year, and his state test scores surpassed the kids with long track-records of straight As. The transition from beginning to end was a miracle I was lucky to have witnessed.
How did you first hear about Boom Cards?
I heard about Boom Cards from other teacher friends who were passionate about helping kids. They described how much kids loved them, how kids could use them remotely, and how real learning took place.
How did Boom Learning change the way you were thinking about technology in the classroom?
My students have always been at the epicenter of technology in the school system. I have only had wonderful classroom experiences with technology, especially when connecting with other cultures globally. You might say Boom Cards and my teaching style go hand-in-hand.
Boom Learning created one more avenue into helping kids embrace a love of learning. I have a long history of loving educational technology, but Boom Learning solidified those beliefs even more, especially during the pandemic when so many students were learning from home.
When did you realize that you might be really good at designing curriculum with Boom Cards?
I think I was overly confident from day one. That is usually what happens right before I jump in way over my head, but it was not the case with Boom Cards because they are so user-friendly.
Who is your audience when you design new decks?
Most of the time, upper elementary students are my audience. We have two grandsons in primary school, so I will occasionally create a deck for their primary teachers.
Can you describe the sequence of events that led to you becoming a successful publisher?
All it took was my teacher friend mentioning how alive her students became when learning with Boom Cards. The next day, I was creating my own decks. For fun, I have begun to recreate audio versions of all the decks in my store. I think audio options are ideal for kids with IEP requirements, as well as the average learner. Audio options lay tracks in a different part of the brain for all students to store information. If I had to do it all over again, all my decks would have audio options.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get noticed as a publisher on Boom Learning?
Stop worrying about getting noticed and focus your energy on helping kids.
What was the biggest surprise you’ve had while making and selling Boom Cards?
Boom Cards do not have to be about basic memorization and other lower-level thinking skills. Higher-level decks can instruct, especially if you imagine students in a homebound setting attempting to learn the same material as a student in a classroom setting.
How has the pandemic changed the way you look at education technology?
I have always embraced educational technology, long before the pandemic began. The pandemic validated everything I always believed.
What are some opportunities you see for new publishers that are just getting started?
Find your niche, create decks with the intention to help students. If you focus on helping teachers, your decks may not be as valuable. Focus on the child.
Can you really make a living by selling Boom Cards?
Yes, you can make a living by selling Boom Cards, but keep your eye on the goal—helping kids.
Have you always considered yourself to be an entrepreneur?
Yes, in many ways the constraints of the educational system make me feel smothered. I have always gone my own direction for better or worse, learning along the way. Boom Cards have always been for the better.
Check out some of June’s recent decks in the Boom Store.