Jim Lynn

Jim Lynn

Jim has been involved with education for over twenty years. He is currently the Executive Director of High School Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Jim is the principal investigator and a lead developer for the Intensified Algebra I Project, a National Science Foundation funded project that has developed a comprehensive Algebra I curriculum for students who enter high school under-prepared in mathematics and are placed into a double-period Algebra I class.

Previously, Lynn had been involved in mathematics education in Chicago Public Schools (CPS). He has served as a mathematics department chairperson and teacher at three different CPS high schools. Jim served as the CPS lead administrator for high school mathematics. He has had significant involvement with mentoring and professional development activities in mathematics, including successfully mentoring cohorts of CPS candidates for National Board Certification and serving as a co-director of the Chicago Secondary Mathematics Improvement Project, based out of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Jim believes deeply in The Purple Pen: “I am pleased to serve on the Advisory Board because I believe strongly in the ideology that informs The Purple Pen, and the way in which that ideology is brought to life in a way that can positively shape teaching and learning. As an educator for over two decades, I have witnessed and experienced first-hand some positive developments in education, along with some that concern me a great deal. The dehumanization of education, from the perspective of both students and teachers, is troubling, and much of educational technology has contributed to and deepened this problem, most particularly in terms of the misguided notion that technology can replace teachers.

“The word ‘educator’ comes from the word ‘educe,’ as in a person who draws out from students their latent potential. An educator is one who inspires, affirms, and challenges students to realize their potential. An effective educator is one who understands well that her/his students have passions and interests and who leverages those to create deep and dynamic learning experiences for students. The Purple Pen is the only educational technology I have encountered that understands this and, further, that builds these guiding principles into the DNA of its learning management system. The Purple Pen allows teachers to thoughtfully create and guide rich learning experiences for students—ones that, importantly, build upon students’ interests and that can be tailored to both students’ strengths and skills that are in need of improvement. The Purple Pen empowers students to have an active role in the learning process.

“The Purple Pen respects and harnesses the talents and creativity of students and teachers, undoubtedly because many of its key personnel were accomplished educators themselves who “walked the walk” of providing for students a thoughtful, humanistic education. And therein lies the defining, disruptive feature of The Purple Pen — that which sets it apart from other education technologies: although it sounds oxymoronic, the power of The Purple Pen rests in its vast potential to help teams of educators provide for students a more humanistic approach to learning.

“The Purple Pen understands well that education, in the words of William Butler Yeats, is not about the filling of buckets, but about the lighting of fires.”