At ISTE 2015, SunGard K-12 Education Executive Challenges EdTech Leaders to Rethink the Enterprise Learning Ecosystem
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July 1, 2015

At ISTE 2015, SunGard K-12 Education Executive Challenges EdTech Leaders to Rethink the Enterprise Learning Ecosystem

At ISTE 2015, Joel Hames, SunGard K-12 Education’s executive in charge of overall product direction and vision, challenged edtech leaders to rethink the enterprise learning ecosystem, a process that begins by asking “why” as a deliberate exercise when new technology is considered. For educators who are grappling with the real issues at the intersection of education and technology, this exercise creates opportunities to enhance the efficacy and honor the interconnections between all of the systems they are implementing to support student achievement.

Hames, a 17-year veteran of K-12 school districts, offered his thoughts during a presentation that encouraged his audience to rethink the “enterprise learning ecosystem,” which is the totality of systems that enable effective teaching and learning. As he reflected on his experience in technology leadership and his continuing conversations with technology leaders across the country, Hames contended that the greatest vision of K-12 education—that of supporting the educational excellence of students—is frequently not part of the conversation when administrative solutions are discussed.

“We draw an artificial line between those systems and processes that support the operational and business side of our institutions and the systems and processes that support student learning,” he said. “I’d like to challenge all of us to rethink the role of the people and systems associated with the entire organization around the core purpose of our work. When we do, we honor the interconnections between all of the systems we implement. And, the outcome will be transformational—for our students and for our schools.”

As part of this shift in thinking, Hames advocated three practical steps to emphasize the “learning” in the learning ecosystem.

  • Focus first on the user’s value. By clarifying and publishing the user’s value, all stakeholders understand how the solution is expected to benefit the user of the application. These stories uncover the true purpose of what the school intends to do.
  • Break down the barriers that exist between technology and business and instruction. Encourage leaders of each respective area to work collaboratively and to engage in conversations about the learning environment.
  • Take a student-centric view in the evaluations of our systems. Before signing on the dotted line, ask what impact a system can have on student achievement.

When schools take this approach, Hames said they “break down barriers between leaders and remove isolation so that decisions are made in the full light of day. They tell user stories that focus everyone’s attention on the values that matter in our schools. These schools then use technology to transform the educational process and make a difference for our students.”

About Joel Hames, M.Ed.
Joel Hames is vice president of product at SunGard K-12 Education and a member of the company’s Leadership Team. In this role, Hames is responsible for overall product direction and vision at SunGard K-12. After consulting with teachers and administrators at school districts across the nation, he works closely with the company’s developers, sales team, customer support representatives, and professional services team to help ensure that all SunGard K-12 applications evolve to meet the challenges school districts will face. With almost 17 years of experience managing enterprise systems as an information and instructional technology leader at various school districts, Hames brings a wealth of experience and deep understanding to his role. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of California, Irvine, and a master’s degree in educational psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

About SunGard K-12 Education
SunGard K-12 Education offers software solutions designed to help teachers, administrators, and parents support student achievement. PLUS 360 is a single integrated suite of software solutions for the management of student information, assessment and curriculum, special education, and financial and human resources. The suite—which provides district staff with anytime, anywhere access to important district information—can be deployed to work together or implemented as stand-alone systems to help meet educational goals and requirements. For more information, visit SunGard K-12 Education at

About SunGard
SunGard is one of the world’s leading financial software companies, with annual revenue of $2.8 billion. We provide solutions for financial services, the public sector, and education. Our software is delivered via Software as a Service (“SaaS”), in the cloud and on premises, surrounded by an extensive suite of service offerings. Through the depth and breadth of our solution portfolio, global capabilities, and domain expertise, we are uniquely capable of supporting virtually every type of financial organization, including the largest and most complex institutions in the world. SunGard’s approximately 13,000 employees proudly serve over 15,000 customers in more than 100 countries, bringing fresh ideas and inventive solutions to help our customers adapt and thrive. For more information, please visit

Trademark Information: SunGard, the SunGard logo, and PLUS 360 are trademarks or registered trademarks of SunGard Data Systems Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. All other trade names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

© SunGard K-12 Education 2015. All rights reserved.

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SunGard K-12 Education Media Contact:
Lori F. Hixon
Public Relations Specialist
610-849-7274 (office)
610-349-4337 (mobile)

Release Number: 2015-0025


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