LIVE @ ISTE 2024: Exclusive Coverage

Why the Creative Process is Key to Every Student’s Success


Exclusive Interview with Terry Thoren, CEO of Wonder Media, 2024’s CODIE Innovation Showcase winner for Best Solution for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging.

Among the edtech outfits honored as part of the 2024 CODiE Awards last week is an organization that doesn’t lead with tech specs, speeds, feeds, or even literacy scores. “Our intention as a company and our mission is to prevent trauma for students,” says Terry Thoren, CEO Wonder Media, whose Storymaker software won Best Solution for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging in the SIIA Innovation Showcase, which recognizes innovators and startups with revenue of less than 1M in revenue.

In this enlightening conversation, Terry explains that Story Maker is a project-based learning program where students work in teams to create animated stories, fostering diversity and collaboration. The tool emphasizes intentionality, connectivity, and other elements to promote happiness and mental health among students. He highlights the importance of creation over consumption in education and addresses the challenges posed by technology use among students. He also points to several examples of real-world implementation of Story Maker at district and classroom levels and its potential to engage students across various subjects, including history and language learning. Have a listen:

More about Wonder Media and their solutions: 

StoryMaker winning video

Terry Thoren acceptance speech 

More about the CODIEs:

Innovation Showcase
The SIIA Innovation Showcase, which is sponsored by the Cambium Learning Group, is called the Stepping Stone to the CODiE Awards. The showcase is a dynamic platform uniting entrepreneurs with industry leaders, experts, and visionaries. SIIA values the importance of Innovation Showcase, a time-honored tradition of providing a clear path to the premier education industry awards – The CODiEs. We celebrate innovators/startups >1M/year who have made a positive impact, demonstrated achievement, conducted groundbreaking research, and shown exemplary leadership within the specialized education industry.

The 2024 CODiE Awards honored 40 Education Technology products in 35 categories with an additional eight companies receiving recognition in the Education Technology Leadership categories. “The winners of the 2024 Education Technology CODiE Awards represent the pinnacle of creativity and excellence in providing products and services that connect diverse learners with educational resources and instructors,” said SIIA President Chris Mohr. “We are thrilled to honor this year’s recipients – the elite in their field – who offer solutions to crucial challenges in education today, ranging from accessibility and fairness to customized and adaptive learning experiences. Congratulations to all of this year’s winners.”

Recognized as the industry’s sole peer-reviewed awards program, the SIIA CODiE Awards enlist educators and administrators to serve as judges in the initial round of evaluations for all nominees. Their meticulous scoring determines the finalists for the SIIA CODiE Awards, accounting for 80 percent of the overall assessment. Subsequently, SIIA members cast their votes on the finalist products, with scores from both rounds meticulously tallied to determine the ultimate winners.

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