It’s no surprise that Dr. Rod Berger cites “Change is inevitable; growth is optional” as his favorite quote. Berger has devoted his professional career to helping educators not only cope with change, but to turn that change into positive outcomes for teachers and students. At RANDA Solutions, an Inc. 500 company that provides administrators and teachers with a variety of education intelligence on students, teachers and communities, Berger is charged with building bridges in the education world. And his work as founder and host of Core of Education, a site dedicated to providing a platform for open, honest discussion and debate on the education challenges and triumphs going on everyday in our society, keeps him at the forefront of education innovation.
Today, Dr. Berger shares his insights on creating meaningful change in education, and on the importance of building relationships for professional development.
Can you describe how your professional achievements have advanced innovation in education?
I have worked hard to utilize my background in psychology and school administration to ensure that the practitioner (teacher/administrator) has a voice in technology development and implementation. Additionally, my work as host of the Core of Education brings a lot of pride to my day as I relish the opportunity to share others’ achievements in education with the masses and connect them to other trailblazers.
What has changed as a result of your efforts?
I would like to think, on the technology side, that our products and solutions are more suited to those on the front lines of education. My strategic relationship efforts with my podcast have brought together leaders and ideas for projects that otherwise might not have happened.
How can others facing similar challenges implement what you’ve learned through your work? Whenever I give a talk to those in both education and business, I stress the importance of relationships and of connecting others. This continues to serve me well in partnerships and my own professional development. The long and short of it: get out there…connect with others…learn from others.
How have you applied technology in innovative ways to support your work?
Given that I work for an education technology firm I work intimately in this space. I am a part of efforts to digitize teacher evaluation processes and aid in formative assessments with mobile devices, to name a few initiatives.
What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome to ensure students are receiving a quality education?
I cannot speak from the “front lines,” I do think we are struggling in the US to fully grasp what our ideal teacher is. We are in the midst of evaluating teachers from all angles and measuring them against student gains. I would like to see a more concerted effort to explore teacher training programs and those who will be the next generation of educators.
What is your country doing well currently to support education?
We are finally asking questions…tough questions. This may be a result of our poor standings globally… that is for others to debate.
What conditions must change in your country to better support education?
Where do I start? We need to break it down to build it up. That is the simplest way to put it. Employing techniques from the past century will keep us at the bottom. Teacher training, measuring and defining intelligence, workplace needs and student needs all should be explored to better develop a system for the present and future.
What is the best opportunity for innovation in education?
Partnerships, plain and simple. Monopolies that “force” agendas stifle innovation. And, as always, we could do without so much bureaucracy.
What advice would you give a new teacher (or to anyone wanting to make a difference in education)? As I stated before, education is about relating to others and learning from one another. Those interested in education should be curious by nature. I would encourage “newbies” to ask a lot of questions. Finally, I would encourage folks to be creative with their role in education. I know former teachers who are still in education — just from other angles — and still making a difference.
What educational “trend” do you think is helping students?
Integration of technology into curriculum delivery. We want students to be engaged and technology can bring us all closer and serve creativity in ways never before imagined.
If you could give one educational tool to every child in the world, what would it be? Why?
A parent(s) and a teacher that is invested in them — not as students, but as the next generation.
About Dr. Rod Berger
Dr. Rod Berger is the Vice President of Education for RANDA Solutions. Berger generates strategic relationships and brand development through multiple channels including: host of international education podcast, conference papers, presentations and social media initiatives. Strategic partnership development initiated via market research and co-branded efforts in the US and international markets. He also serves as adjunct faculty and SME for Argosy University Online and has authored a new Psychology of Gender course for the university. For the past five years, he has taught Leadership Development for Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management as a guest lecturer. Dr. Berger is a published author, national speaker and former national radio show host and serves on the board of advisors for Early Life Child & Psychological Services, Inc. in Utah.
- Birthplace: Dayton, Ohio
- Current residence: Nashville, Tennessee
- Education: PsyD Clinical Psychology
- Website I check every day: EdSurge
- Person who inspires me most: My seven-month-old son
- Favorite childhood memory: Rooting for my Detroit Pistons
- Next travel destination (work or pleasure): London for work — Interviewing Ministers of Education at the Education World Forum
- When was the last time you laughed? Why? Every time I am with my wife and son… babies tend to make us all chuckle.
- Favorite book: A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink
- Favorite music: Country, considering I live in “Nashvegas”
- Your favorite quote or motto: Change is inevitable…growth is optional.