A Revolutionary Platform
for Teaching and Learning
in the Digital World
ModernTeacher • One
Strategy and Leadership
Professional Learning
Lesson Engine

A Revolutionary Platform for Teaching and Learning in the Digital World

The platform and application meaningfully combine the most effective strategic planning methodology for district-wide digital convergence, with engaging professional development for teachers and school leaders, with an instructional design and delivery application to personalize the learning experience for students. This 1-2-3 combination was built to support school districts transition their K-12 classrooms out of an industrialized model of education to a modern learning environment that is personalized, blended, accessible 24/7, relevant, and engaging.

Modern Teacher One

Strategy and Leadership

The Modern Teacher Digital Convergence Framework is a research-based methodology for transitioning school districts away from a 20th century model of education and into modern learning environments built for the digital age. Our framework serves as guideposts during a 3-5 year journey that includes six overarching strands:

  1. Leadership
  2. Instructional Models
  3. Blended Curriculum Writing
  4. Digital Ecosystems
  5. Professional Learning
  6. Performance Dashboard

Strategy and Leadership

Digital Convergence Framework

Digital Convergence Framework

By leveraging the Modern Teacher Digital Convergence Framework you will:

  • Develop a shared vision for digital convergence
  • Create short-term and long-range digital convergence plans
  • Refine your instructional model with the integration of digital content and anywhere, anytime learning
  • Architect the implementation processes for writing digital curriculum
  • Design professional learning plans for all levels of the school system
  • Focus on creating student-centered learning environments
  • Delve deep into the pedagogical practices of personalized and blended instructional methods and models
  • Foster student engagement and critical thinking skills
  • Build a mastery-based learning system
  • Architect a digital ecosystem with your current hardware and software
  • Integrate the Modern Teacher ONE platform into any LMS

Professional Learning

Teacher as Architect® is a collection of professional development properties, educational tools and integrated resources created to support 21st century instructional design and delivery, as well as to maximize teaching effectiveness in the digital world.

Gain access to hundreds of digital assets that support the transition from the traditional classroom to modern learning environments. Resources include: PD presentations, best practice videos, Facilitator’s Guides, Participant’s Guides, materials, planning templates, model blended unit plans, model blended lesson plans, publications, and more.

Professional Learning

Professional Learning

Professional Learning

Teacher as Architect Professional Learning:

  • Defines highly-effective 21st century teaching
  • Connects the isolated parts of instructional design and delivery into a coherent whole
  • Supports teachers writing a blended curriculum to the specs of the Conceptual Age
  • Provides a lens for how we think about 21st century learning and flipped teaching
  • Supports the implementation of digital learning systems into classroom practice
  • Creates structures for organizing, managing, storing and collaborating with digital content
  • Offers practical, useful tools for teachers to design and deliver highly-effective instruction
  • Identifies methods for increasing and measuring student interest and success

Lesson Engine

Introducing Lesson Engine, an instructional platform for meaningfully enhancing teaching and learning. With our library of 3,500 fully customizable, standards-aligned lessons, teachers can create personalized learning experiences and engage students through a blend of interpersonal, interactive, and animated media. Guided by the teacher, students drive the learning process and attain mastery through assessment and immediate feedback.

Lesson Engine

Lesson Engine

Lesson Engine

Create & Engage
Customize one of our 3,500 standards-aligned lessons or build your own in a few simple steps, complete with current, relevant multimedia, and collaborative discussions.

Lesson Engine

Guide & Connect
Gain visibility into what students are working on, communicate privately with individuals or groups to provide feedback and answer questions, and lead them through lessons – even control their devices when necessary.

Lesson Engine

Intervene & Personalize
Utilize real-time data from formative assessments to monitor progress and create rapid feedback loops that promote student mastery. This information drives instruction, allowing teachers to tailor lessons easily and discreetly based on each student’s unique needs.

Classroom Cloud
More than enough bandwidth for every student.

State-of-the-Art Networking
Easily upgrade your school’s existing infrastructure to the latest network technologies, ensuring sufficient and secure Wi-Fi throughout your school or district and allowing each student to enjoy a multimedia-rich connected experience.

Local Back-Up
Eliminate down time and technical difficulties. Classroom Cloud™ provides a local back-up of lesson materials and assessments, so learning is never delayed.

Classroom Cloud


360 Degree Integration

We deliver professional learning with a comprehensive lens – a 360 integration that recognizes the strengths and needs of each stakeholder and their roles in a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Our services target every level of your school system to ensure maximum results. By leveraging the content and assets inside the Modern Teacher ONE platform, our faculty provides blended service options for you and model instructional delivery for teachers using a blended and personalized approach.

Strategic Planning Days

  • District Leaders
  • Curriculum Writers

Professional Learning Days

  • Principals & Assistant Principals
  • Lead Teachers & Instructional Coaches
  • Teachers
Professional Learning

Custom Build Your Application

Choose from customized learning experiences that are built to your specific requirements. We’ve developed a network of coherent, results-oriented offerings that are both meaningful and impactful for today’s modern learning environment.

Onsite Days

Onsite Days
We understand the challenges educators face inside their classrooms and increasingly more outside their classrooms. We draw on that expertise to facilitate navigation along the digital convergence journey.

Virtual Courses and Playlists

Virtual Courses and Playlists
A revolutionary virtual experience designed for maximum user engagement across multiple devices. Designed specifically for the adult learner, content is organized in short segments for easy processing, and addresses the most pressing challenges they face today.

Blended Sessions

Blended Sessions
Combine our on-site professional learning with any of our virtual courses for a unique blended experience. We carefully and strategically align the professional learning content to fit participant needs. Then, we craft customized plans that maximize scarce teacher and administrator time.


Schedule a webinar facilitated by Modern Teacher faculty, customized to the specific needs of a district. Webinars are recorded and archived for playback of professional learning content.

Our Vision

To maximize teaching effectiveness
in the digital world

Our Mission

To empower 10,000 schools and
a half a million teachers by 2020

Our Impact:
5,210 Classrooms
560 Schools
20 States

Our Profile

We stand at the intersection of instructional design and technology.

Modern Teacher® is an educational technology and professional development company committed to building a bold, ambitious solution to fundamentally redesign the end-user experience in the classroom. We support school districts that desire to transform our current model of education with a reimagined instructional core that binds today’s teachers, 21st century students, and digital content options into a personalized learning solution for each and every student.

Our core competencies support district transformation through:

  • Strategic planning and leadership support
  • Professional learning that focuses on instructional design and delivery in modern classrooms
  • An instructional design and delivery application that engages students around how they learn best
Our Profile

Our Journey

Our Journey
scroll timeline

Patricia Barrett

Patricia Barrett, Editor-in-Chief of Modern Teacher Press, has a family heritage rich in education, including her father and two children. She was born and raised in the Midwest and attended schools in Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois. An educator for over 35 years, Patti has a bachelor’s degree in English Education, a master’s degree in special education and a certification in educational administration. Her school experiences are in public and private schools; elementary, middle and high schools; general education and special education; teaching and administrating. She likes to say that in the world of education, she’s done it all!

Patti’s most recent years in education were as an elementary school principal. In this capacity she was able to work closely with teachers on many of the instructional issues faced by professionals today. As an administrator in the second largest school district in Illinois, she served on many committees that helped bring initiatives and innovative practices to classrooms. She was also deeply involved with the teacher mentor program that worked with new teachers. Patti brings these many years and wide variety of experiences to the work that she is now doing with Modern Teacher.

Max Bernstein

Max Bernstein serves as both Product Fulfillment Manager and Cultural Ambassador. Hailing from Philadelphia (Go Eagles), Max evolved from a real estate guru to an Ed Tech enthusiast. His desire to learn and grow has presented an opportunity to help digital convergence in the classroom. Max earned a BA from Ithaca College and Minor in Coaching Basketball. His passion lies not only around the basket, but also in creating opportunities for students to grow and utilize 21st Century learning in any classroom.

Ann M. Chavez

Dr. Ann M. Chavez is currently serving as a founding partner and Chief Academic Officer of Modern Teacher. A native Southern Californian, Ann has 24 years of experience across all levels of public school service. As a teacher and principal, she worked in school districts across Southern California. As a district leader, she most recently served in Chicago Public Schools as the Deputy of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment for a regional area on Chicago’s Southside. Ann believes that we find the path to results by providing focused support for teachers and empowering principals as instructional leaders. She uses a practical hands-on approach and brings her daily experience as both teacher and principal as she mentors and coaches today’s educational leaders. Ann focuses on the individual needs of districts and school sites to build the leadership capacity within and empowers them to make strategic decisions that directly affect student-learning outcomes.

Ann earned a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from California State University of Long Beach, a Masters of Education in School Administration from Azusa Pacific University, and a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership in Urban Schools K–12 from the University of Southern California.

Jenna Chin

Jenna Chin has over 15 years of experience as an executive assistant, with expertise in providing executive-level administrative support, customer service, office and project management, and event/meeting coordination. She currently serves as Executive Assistant to Charles Fred, the CEO of Modern Teacher.

Jenna resides in Denver, Colorado with her 2 sons and family dog. She enjoys golf and cycling. She is also a Notary Public for the State of Colorado.

Sarah Folzenlogen

Sarah Folzenlogen, Modern Teacher faculty, is originally from the East Coast. Sarah has established her roots in Ohio where she has 15 years of experience in both public and private education as a science educator, administrator, curriculum designer and instructional coach. Sarah began her career working in medical research. Therefore, she brings a unique perspective to the world of education and college and career readiness. She has focused her work on supporting educators and leaders to create engaging, authentic and challenging learning experiences for all students. Sarah credits her administrative experience, in a school pioneering one-to-one technology, as a pivotal point in shaping her passion for working to innovate education in the 21st century.

Sarah earned her B.S. from the University of Dayton and her M.S. from the University of Cincinnati. As a local and national education consultant, Sarah is engaged in writing and delivering professional development, along with supporting schools in curriculum design and instructional coaching. Sarah brings extensive experience in backward design, assessment literacy and blended learning to her work at Modern Teacher.

Denise C. Foy

As Chief Operating Officer at Modern Teacher, Denise brings over 25 years of start-up operations experience to our organization.  Prior to joining Modern Teacher, Denise served in senior leadership roles in the Healthcare Software Industry, Wholesale and Retail Gourmet Food Industry and the Recruitment Software Industry.  In her various roles, Denise has extensive experience in overall operations, finance, sales and marketing as well as strategic planning.

Denise has a long history of community involvement.  For over 15 years, Denise served in various community leadership roles including a Capital Campaign Committee raising over $30m to fund the building of the Center on Halsted Community Center.  Denise is an avid and long time supporter of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as well as a founding member of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center.  Currently, Denise serves as Vice Chair to the Chicago Community Trust LGBT Community Fund.

Born and raised in Detroit, MI, Denise attended Wayne State University and earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Education and Master’s Degree in Instructional Design and Computer Technology.  Denise has been a resident of Chicago for over 25 years and enjoys golf, art, and music and is an avid Lake Michigan boater.

Charles Fred

Charles Fred is a best-selling author, entrepreneur, investor, and public speaker. He has devoted more than three decades of his life discovering new ways for professionals to acquire skills necessary to compete in today’s knowledge-thirsty economy. Considered a pioneer in the e-learning industry, Charles has led a number of successful companies that provide learning technologies and services. His best-selling book, <em><strong>Breakaway</strong></em>, is credited with transforming learning strategies for high-growth organizations and is consistently used for instructional design curricula at major universities.

Today, as the CEO of Modern Teacher, Charles is taking his expertise and experience and devoting his time to help teachers reinvent the classroom. Charles is also the founder of Magnusson-Skor, a research firm dedicated to helping business owners make the transition to chief executives.

Stephanie Hollar

Stephanie Hollar, Modern Teacher Faculty, is a proud resident of the Buckeye State. Stephanie locally and nationally services schools and other educational organizations in professional development, instructional coaching and educational consulting. In addition to her work with Modern Teacher, Stephanie consults with various organizations specializing in curriculum and unit design, school design, assessment literacy, and blended learning in the 21st Century classroom.

Stephanie earned her B.S. from Bowling Green State University and her M.ED. from Penn State University. She ranks co-founding a blended learning school in the year 2000, before blended learning was really a “thing”, as one of her most valued learning experiences and professional accomplishments. Stephanie credits her past experience as curriculum leader, director of education, classroom teacher and even as a student, as foundational pieces that have grounded her in her educational belief that students make the most academic and social gains with access to the right environment, tools, and support from effective educators and that with the right environment, tools and support from effective leaders teachers have the opportunity for success.

Chris Hurd

Chris Hurd is the Quality Assurance Manager at Modern Teacher with 4+ years experience. A Kansas City native turned Chicagoan, Chris comes from a background in healthcare education tech and e-commerce web development. His experience, knowledge, and passionate work ethic bring great energy to the team. In his spare time he enjoys cycling, photography and spending time with friends and family.

Laura Janusek

Laura Janusek has been involved with a variety educational organizations, having taught in both Special Education and English departments across a range of public, private, and charter schools as well as nontraditional learning environments. As a member of the founding team at digedu, The Digital Education Company, Laura managed over 40 award-winning educators and editors in the development of a 3500-lesson Library of digital curriculum. She also oversaw client communication and relationships in 1:1 schools and classrooms across the nation.

As Senior Product Manager at Modern Teacher, Laura currently oversees the development of the Lesson Engine (formerly digedu’s Learning Engine) — a cloud-based platform that allows teachers to individualize instruction, promote mastery, and unlock the potential of every student. She collaborates with the Sales and Support teams to align product development with the needs of today’s 21st century educators, and she also communicate directly with the administrators and teachers using the Lesson Engine to ensure their voices drive the platform’s ongoing evolution.

Alex King

Alex King is a Software Developer specializing in system and user interface design. His job includes developing new platform features, ensuring existing ones continue working great, and keeping his cat from walking all over his keyboard.

Jeremy Logan

Jeremy Logan is a Senior Software Engineer with prior experience in the agriculture, finance, and education industries. When he is not coaxing computers to do his bidding, Jeremy will most likely be found in his workshop building (or breaking) something.

Jeff Ottens

Jeff Ottens brings experience in a broad range of functions from strategy and operations to finance and business development. Jeff Ottens began his career at Huron Consulting Group, and has worked with United Airlines, Delta, and U.S. Foods.  Most recently, Jeff grew a flood and fire restoration company until its acquisition in 2012.

Michael Pellegrino

Michael Pellegrino is a Business Administration major at DePaul University and graduates in 2016.  Over the past 2 years, Michael has served as the Modern Teacher Operations Intern.  Using his energy and youth, Michael has gained a variety of skills.  From managing our inventory to completing valuable marketplace research, Michael is building on his experience in the workplace. While in high school Michael’s hard work led him to earning a spot officiating the Illinois State Ice Hockey Playoff games.   Michael is looking forward to helping shape digital convergence in the classroom.

Andy Pridgeon

Andy Pridgeon is currently serving as the Business Development Director for Modern Teacher. Originally from the Grand Rapids area of West Michigan, Andy earned his B.S., as well as his M.A. in educational administration and administration of secondary schools from Central Michigan University.  Andy has been a middle school professional educator for the past 21 years and has worked closely with professional teachers aligning customized professional development. Andy takes great pride in leading a one-to-one initiative within his middle school and providing high engagement instructional techniques for the professional staff. Andy also believes in developing the leadership capacity of teachers and empowering them to be primary decision makers regarding the objectives, goals and trajectory of a school building and district.  Andy started his career as a seventh and eighth grade science teacher and has served as a middle school athletic director, assistant principal and most recently as a lead principal for the past 15 years. Andy continues to reside in Michigan with his wife (Angie) and their two daughters.

Garrett W. Seaman

Garrett Seaman is currently serving as a founding partner and Vice President of Product Development for Modern Teacher. Garrett has spent 9 years as a teacher and school district administrator, studying and perfecting instructional strategies around effectively integrating technology and media. In addition to training students, teachers and administrators on how to best capitalize on the participatory-web, Garrett is versed in: website development, instructional software, educational assessments, and is an expert in understanding how the learner interacts with multiple technologies. Garrett’s ongoing mission has been to continuously re-define effective instructional technology in the modern classroom.

Garrett earned his B.A. from the University of Illinois, M.A. from Aurora University and is currently conducting research at Northern Illinois University on how the role of the instructional technologist effectively functions in urban school systems. With the completion of this research he plans to apply this knowledge to both private and public sector technology leadership.

Mike Smith

Mike is currently serving as Strategy Officer for Modern Teacher. Mike started his career in education as a social studies teacher in a public high school on Chicago’s southwest side. Over his four years in the classroom, Mike helped design a leadership development program for students and wrote a civic action curriculum that is still in use in 40 Chicago high schools today. Mike went on to the University of California-Berkeley where he earned his Master’s Degree in Public Policy. Following that, Mike moved back to Chicago and spent the next six years in the central office of the Chicago Public Schools as a researcher, data analyst, and project manager.  His work there included program evaluation, setting up and coaching district and school leaders on performance management systems, analyzing and drawing insight from large data sets, strategic planning and goal setting, and advising district leaders on policy. Mike broadened his work with school districts by founding his own education consulting firm, Kartograf Consulting, where he informed high school reform strategy for the Madison (WI) Metro School District.

Shawn K. Smith

Dr. Shawn K. Smith is currently serving as a founding partner and President of Modern Teacher. Born and raised in the Midwest, Shawn is a former elementary and middle school teacher, assistant principal, principal, director of curriculum, instruction, and assessment, and most recently Chief of Schools for the nation’s third largest school system, Chicago Public Schools. For the past 15 years Shawn has served inside four different public education school systems in California and Illinois. He has also taught as an adjunct professor for several universities.

He is the author of several articles and has made appearances on both the Discovery and Learning Channels. Shawn holds degrees from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin (bachelor’s degree, elementary education), the California State University, San Bernardino (master’s degree, middle school education), and the University of Southern California (doctorate degree, urban education policy and leadership).

Justin Vincent

Justin Vincent has held CTO and technical architect positions at start-ups and Fortune 500’s, including Idealab, Uber Media, B Sky B, the UK’s number one Satellite TV network, and Reed Elsevier. Most recently he founded, built &amp; sold Pluggio (<u>plugg.io</u>), a social media dashboard. Justin’s Open Source software ezSQL is used in over a million websites and has been incorporated into many open source products, such as WordPress.

Mike W. Walls

Dr. Michael W. Walls is currently serving as Executive Director of Strategic Partnerships. Mike has also served as Director of National Development for HOSTS Learning and Senior Vice President for Community Relations for MBNA America Bank. Prior to joining the corporate world, Mike was a teacher, principal, Assistant Superintendent, and Superintendent of Schools in Beloit, Wisconsin and Wilmington, Delaware.

Mike has been awarded the First Citizen Award in Beloit, Wisconsin; chaired the State Delaware United Way Campaign; served as Chairman of the Board of Junior Achievement Delaware; and was awarded the Alumni Achievement Award from Continental, Ohio. Mike earned a BA from Adrian College, an MA from Eastern Michigan University, and a Doctorate from Wayne State University.

Meet Our Team

MT Weekly

Modern Teacher Launches MT Weekly

v1. post 1. June 29, 2015

Dear Friends,

Welcome to our inaugural bi-weekly edition of Modern Teacher Weekly, or MT Weekly as we like to call it. MT Weekly is one of our newest media vehicles from Modern Teacher and we hope you will find it a valuable and trusted resource that you’ll turn to in the weeks, months, and years ahead.

We’re very excited about our editorial line up this year, which features relevant topics for both teachers and administrators facing the challenges of “going digital” in our K-12 classrooms. More than ever, technological innovations are reshaping American society- from how we shop to how we travel, from how we socialize to how we bank. Mobile devices are providing new pathways to access digital content, to communicate with one another, or to be entertained. In each example, technology has made our lives easier and more efficient by giving us better tools, timely and relevant information, which in turn has changed some of our most mundane behaviors.

Consider this: Prior to heading out to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to visit one of our partner districts I poured a cup of coffee, walked into my home office, and pulled out my smart phone. After a quick click on my Uber app I typed in O’Hare International Airport. Within a matter of seconds I had access to information that didn’t exist a few years ago. I knew exactly where a driver was in relation to me and exactly how long it would take to pick me up. I placed the order and tracked my driver’s progress knowing exactly what car she was driving, where she was, and even had a picture of my friendly Uber companion. Minutes later I was in the car and in route to my destination. The app provided me with additional information such as my estimated arrival time and when we arrived at my destination there was no need to exchange cash or credit- as the process is automated and connected to my credit card. In this “Internet of Everything” example- technology has radically redesigned how I travel.

When I reflect on our company’s vision to maximize teaching effectiveness in the digital world, I believe these technological innovations have the power to rapidly change how we teach and how we learn. Mobile devices are providing new learning pathways for students…the cloud is providing increased access to digital storage for schools…and as the web and social media continue to evolve, we’re challenged to think about how these colliding forces affect interaction and content within our classrooms. Today, Modern Teacher stands at that intersection- between instructional design and technology.

I began teaching in the Mojave Desert nearly 20 years ago and I am just as excited about the future of education as I was back then…though for far more than technologies influence in our classrooms. I continue to be inspired by those grass-roots game-changers from some of our brightest and most talented teachers- instructors that are inspiring a new generation of students ‘born digital’.

We at Modern Teacher will remain committed to supporting today’s teachers and leaders by listening to, and learning from, each of you. I hope MT Weekly becomes a trusted source of content for you.


Onward, forward.

Shawn K. Smith
President, Modern Teacher



About Modern Teacher

Modern Teacher partners with districts to support digital convergence. We use a three-pronged approach to empower districts:

Strategy and LeadershipProfessional LearningLesson Engine

Attending ISTE in Philadelphia? Stop by the Modern Teacher Booth #1946.


Charles Fred Interviews Sal Khan on the Future of Video

Charles Fred, Modern Teacher CEO, is interviewed by Sal Khan on the future of video in the workplace.

See the complete interview on K•ZO / kzoinnovations.com.

Shawn Smith Appears on Tasty Trade’s Bootstrapping America

Shawn Smith, Modern Teacher President, makes an appearance on Tasty Trade’s Bootstrapping America on April 10th, 2015.

Modern Teacher is a digital learning center focused on seamless technology to improve instructional effectiveness, promote personalized learning for teachers. Grounded in research, their technology has created a forward thinking model of traditional education.

See the complete episode on Tasty Trade.

Modern Teacher and digedu Merge

Chicago-Based Education Companies, Modern Teacher and digedu, Merge to Innovate Ways to Support Digital Transformation in the Classroom

New Company to Become a Force for Technology Use in K-12 Classrooms

CHICAGO – April 2, 2015 – Today Modern Teacher®, an educational professional services company pioneering digital convergence in the classroom, announced its merger with digedu Enterprises LLC, a leading provider of digital learning ecosystems, including the Lesson EngineTM and Classroom Cloud® products. Both Chicago-based companies, the union builds on each organization’s rich heritage and proven track record of innovating new ways that the education space and today’s digital world integrate.


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