MEd Alumni

Adam Tanare

"Also, LTEC is a great degree if you want to make a difference in public education: this is where the programs get developed that really make a difference in the classroom – for the students and the teachers."


Honolulu, HI


Learning Design and Technology

Related Degrees

  • MEd, Learning Design & Technology
  • MEd, Learning Design & Technology: OTEC

How did you enter the field of Education?

I feel blessed that I was able to be under the tutelage of many amazing, inspiring teachers in the public school system. Yet, as achievement scores revealed, many students, for whatever reason, could not achieve to the level that was expected. Societal problems like overcrowding, gang and schoolyard violence and drugs affected the environment in which students learned; many just seem disinterested or even evasive to the values of education and higher achievement.

Observing this all first hand affected me leaving high school in 2005; I wanted to learn how people think and communicate. I felt that many students, including myself, were averse to learning because they would be chastised by their peers for “being smart.” Many factors, including cultural ones, pervade this teen “culture” and papers done by fellow COE academics like Rosela Balinbin give deep thought to several issues.

How did you decide to create the game?

My interest was to create a video game for our final project, rather than build simple virtual re-representations of PowerPoint slides. Our reading material throughout the semester suggests that to use the advantages of a virtual world for education, one must venture beyond the mundane; replication of a PowerPoint in SL (Second Life) would be the same as presenting one in RL (real life). It also tied back to my interest in making gaming a part of the educational process for young people.

In developing the Hawaiian mythology game for Second Life, I really wanted to pass the benefits of gaming as part of the learning process on to others. My partner Marisa and I put a lot of thought into making it a really good way to learn about Hawaiian mythology.

What brought you to Learning Design & Technology (LTEC)?

I graduated a semester early with a double major in Communications and Sociology in the Fall of 2008. It was my intent to enter graduate school the upcoming Fall. While looking through several different Arts & Sciences programs, I came across the LTEC website. Their degree requirement’s page was very informative, and I saw that I fit many of the prerequisites for application.  After further research into the degree and potential career opportunities, I felt that LTEC was the most compatible with my past experience and my future career goals.

What do you plan to do with your degree?

Initially, I planned just to work somewhere in the field of education, although I knew I did not want to work as a teacher. I felt I was more geared towards being supportive of how the classroom operated; specifically to help designing curriculum, teacher structure, class structure, etc. Now that I’m in the program, I have multiple paths open to me. I found a talent for writing code, which I didn’t know I had. Discovering talents I didn’t know I had was a great confidence builder for me, which plays a big role in broadening career options.

What would you tell someone who’s interested in applying to the Learning Design & Technology program?

First – the name might throw you off. It’s much more than technology! I would take the time to explain how broad (and specific at the same time) the program is. I’ve learned about technology, but also, how to look at an organization, recommend structure changes, what types of improvement can be implemented and how to make those implementations. Someone who wants to improve normal everyday tasks, make them more efficient, would love LTEC.

Also, LTEC is a great degree if you want to make a difference in public education: this is where the programs get developed that really make a difference in the classroom – for the students and the teachers. As a COE student, you also start to see there are legitimate disabilities that people are not diagnosed with which really cause them to struggle in school: I look back at some of my classmates and realize no one intervened, no one recognized what the student needed. In hindsight, I realized that perhaps maybe some of my peers’ difficulties in school went beyond motivation yet no one recognized it in time.

About Adam:

I was born in California, and came here when 5. I grew up learning and speaking pidgin. I also grew up gaming, which probably helped improve my performance in public school. Plus, I lived in a bad neighborhood, so I think gaming also kept me out of trouble. Being a part of teen culture, I was in that same trap with other teens at my high school. I sat in the back, made a point of not participating, just trying to act cool or disinterested.

Game scenarios can be 50 hours long and include a lot of dialogue which I know helped my reading comprehension. Gaming helped me develop a longer attention span, and the complicated game structure required research, and a willingness to persist until I could obtain the understanding I needed to play successfully. Problem solving, interpretation, and comprehension were all skills I gained from gaming that kept me from falling behind in public school because of my attitude.

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