Recognizing educators, organizations, and programs that inspire and open doors for learners of all ages

Education is the passport to progress. And education technology―the computer hardware, software, and educational theory and practice utilized to facilitate learning and spark imagination―has flourished in Indiana for many years. The nominees chosen by the independent Mira Awards judges this year exude a high level of attentiveness and care concerning tech education and talent. 

The Tech Education Award recognizes educators, organizations, and programs that inspire and open doors for learners of all ages in ways that supply the tech talent pipeline and create economic opportunity for Hoosiers. These leaders respond to the needs of students, with special attention to opportunities for underrepresented groups, and have an undeniably positive impact on student achievement and the future workforce.

In 2020, there were large-scale changes to how tech education was presented to students of all ages and backgrounds. These 2021 Tech Education nominees go above and beyond to meet the demand of rising technology needs, working hard every day to address the challenges that come with primarily digital platforms and formats.  

We’re endlessly impressed with how these tech education leaders shined in 2020. Even with all the disruptions that have taken place over the past year, the Mira Awards nominees were able to:

  • Gain access to Federal funding to help make tech electives more available to under-funded communities and schools
  • Create programs to assist schools in tracking student progress in a virtual world
  • Focus on addressing the hard issues of underrepresentation in tech
  • Develop a plan to expand tech opportunities to women and communities of color
  • Ensure students can find a tech career without incurring large amounts of debt
  • Design online project simulations, including surgeries, digitized historical sites, and virtual and augmented reality technologies to name a few!

Last year, Nextech was recognized as the 2020 Tech Education Award winner. This local non-profit was chosen by the Mira Awards judges for its dedication and mission to delivering knowledge to the K-12 space regarding Computer Science. Since winning, they have partnered with to ensure students experience Computer Science growth and teachers can achieve more in their personal teaching practices.  

This year’s nominees include:

  • Linda D. Calvin, VP, School of IT, Ivy Tech Community College, Fishers, Ind. ― Linda Calvin is passionate about tech and dedicated to the notion that tech can change the narrative of poverty and inequity in our communities. Bringing equity to education and tech is her north star.
  • Digital Leader Academy, South Bend, Ind. Digital Leader Academy is a female-founded company focused on empowering high school students from underprivileged areas through education on emerging technologies.
  • CIO Matt Etchison, CDO Brad Watts, and the Ivy Tech Community College ITS Team, Indianapolis, Ind.― The constituent relationship management (CRM) platform centralizes student data and is configured specifically to improve and automate Ivy Tech’s processes, as well as providing easily generated reports and dashboards.
  • Drew Goodin, Lead Instructor, Purdue Polytechnic High School, Indianapolis, Ind. ― Drew Goodin, lead teacher at Purdue Polytechnic HS, has been instrumental in designing a truly different high school experience for Indianapolis students.
  • WGU Indiana, Indianapolis, Ind.― WGU Indiana is an online, competency-based university established to expand access to higher education with degree programs in business, education, IT, and health professions.
  • Zebulun M. Wood, Lecturer, IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI, Westfield, Ind. ― Zeb connects college students to hundreds of local start-ups and internationally recognized partners, delivering emerging tech and media projects totaling thousands of hours of service.

The 2021 Mira Award winners will be announced live during a special broadcast of the 22nd annual gala on Thursday, April 22, with presenting sponsor Salesforce.