Winner of the Corporate Chief Technology Officer award to be announced at a gala in late August
DALLAS, July 16, 2019 — Istation's Chief Technology Officer Bill Lowrey has been named a finalist in this year's Tech Titans awards in recognition of his decades-long quest to combine innovative, classroom-deployable technologies with research-based educational principles.
Tech Titans announced Lowrey's selection online in a special section of the Dallas Business Journal.
The Tech Titans' Corporate Chief Technology Officer award annually "recognizes the Corporate Technology or Science Officer of a North Texas-based technology or non-technology company for exceptional technical leadership" that has fostered the development of valuable, game-changing commercial technology.
Lowrey's nomination cited his push for fundamental change within Istation's technology department, by way of embarking on structured projects that have shown immediate returns on investment, as a primary reason why he is deserving of this honor.
"Technology is key to making sure today's students receive the most innovative education so that they are prepared to compete in the world," said Istation Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard Collins. "This recognition of Bill as a disciple and a key driver of technological transformations that ultimately make a difference in the classroom is much deserved. We're grateful to Tech Titans for recognizing and appreciating him as we do."
In his tenure with Istation, Lowrey and his team have guided Istation's fundamental engineering effort to change the backend infrastructure that supports and enables all of Istation's products as part of a cloud transformation effort driven by a shift toward an Agile process. This new framework, known for its characteristic iterative steps called sprints, has helped Istation move more swiftly through each phase of product development. The cloud transformation at Istation led by Lowrey is reducing costs for development across the board, allowing far more rapid change to be achieved with minimal risk.
Lowrey and his team have also created Istation's new Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) assessment program that incorporates advanced speech recognition and digital recording technology to record elementary students' reading and measure how accurately and fluently students can read grade-level text aloud.
One of the most time-consuming and important elements of a teacher's responsibilities is measuring oral reading fluency – a student's ability to read connected text quickly, accurately and with expression – because teachers must assess students one at a time and create alternate plans to occupy the rest of the class. The data collection stage of Istation's new ORF assessment allows students in first through third grades to record a reading passage by logging in to the program and using a microphone headset. Teachers can then score and document the recordings on their own schedule.
By creating programs such as ORF, Lowrey has exponentially increased Istation's ability to adapt to the needs of the classroom of the future.
Lowrey helped found Istation in 1998 with his strong background in software development. Since then, Lowrey has worked tirelessly to bring automated testing models to predominantly manual testing environments, reaching roughly 5 million students throughout the United States and several countries.
"We're in the process of managing what I call a 'supertanker pivot' in doing the cloud transformation – moving everything the company does to the cloud," Lowrey said. "You start by managing the risks by working with small, bite-size chunks and completing them back to back until they're all done in a short period of time. When it's done well, the general public rarely hears about successful behind-the-scenes efforts like these, which is why I'm especially thankful for Tech Titans selecting me as a finalist for this award among the other deserving nominees."
The Tech Titans Awards Gala will be held Friday, August 23, 2019, with a host of other individuals currently transforming the high-tech industry.
Founded in 1998 and based in Dallas, Texas, Istation (Imagination Station) has become one of the nation’s leading providers of richly animated, game-like, educational technology. Istation was named one of 2019’s “EdTech 1000: Companies Transforming Education” by EdTech Digest, and has received numerous national educational technology awards. The Istation program puts more instructional time in the classroom through small-group and collaborative instruction. Istation’s innovative reading, math and Spanish programs immerse students in an engaging and interactive environment and inspire them to learn. Additionally, administrators and educators can use Istation to easily track the progress of their students, schools and classrooms. Istation now serves more than 4 million students throughout the United States and in several other countries. The company celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018.