Episode #75: Start with the Why: Purpose-Based Learning with Tara Linney

By Barbara Bray

Join Barbara Bray in conversations with awesome educators, leaders, and influencers as they talk about their passion and purpose for planting seeds for change. Each podcast has a link to a related blog post with more information and resources.

Tara Linney is a Google Certified Innovator, Mentor, and Trainer, currently working as an EdTech Coach in Paris, France. Tara has a passion for advocacy and equity which is what led her to write the book “Code Equity: Keying Girls into Coding.”

I was so fortunate to have met Tara at ISTE in 2018 in person. At that time, she was president of the Global Collaboration PLN where I participated in the scavenger hunt. Tara knows how to make life exciting and fun. Enjoy the post and podcast!
Your background
I grew up as a Coast Guard brat, living in various towns around the U.S. By far, my most favorite place to live as a child was Spring Valley, California. In college, I carried on with the nomadic lifestyle that being a Coast Guard brat brought. Beginning my college experience in North Carolina as an Elementary Education major, before transferring to Florida to switch majors altogether, leading to a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. My background is very diverse, to say the least. I’ve lived in three countries in my life, with the current being France.
EduMatch Special Edition with Tara Linney
Start with the why! Get to know #EduSnap17 Contributing Author @TaraLinney, as she talks about her chapter on Purpose-Based Learning. Check out her work in Volume 1, Chapter 2 in #EduMatch Snapshot in Education. Find out more at https://buff.ly/2D3bjka
What it was like for you as a student
In elementary school, I was a member of the Peace Patrol and was typically the student chosen to show the new students around. From a very young age, I’ve been a very altruistic person, giving resources and time to nonprofits and causes that were in line with my beliefs, like Keep America Beautiful, the American Cancer Society, and feeding the homeless.
As a student, I was very diligent and thorough. I was ranked as “gifted” from a young age and quickly discovered how to learn, unlearn and relearn. Whenever there was a topic or content area that was of interest to me, I would apply it to my personal life activities. The long division became something that I would do on long car rides, setting up my own math problems with a host of random numbers. Poetry is another area that I really took to as a student. I’ve had poems published in anthologies, and was actually scolded by a teacher once in school for writing a poem that was “too mature”….she accused me of not being the author….the matter was settled once she read my other poems.
One thing that has been ingrained in me as a learner, is how to be an advocate. Throughout my life, I’ve watched as my mother advocated for my autistic brother’s academic journey, trying to make it as normal and mainstream as possible. Seeing this example throughout my whole life has, in essence, taught me how to advocate for marginalized students, to ensure that they have everything they need in order to be successful. This passion for advocacy and equity is what led me to write the book “Code Equity: Keying Girls into Coding”.
Your journey as a teacher
Following a career in the nonprofit and marketing worlds, I decided to jump into education. My first teaching role was as a K-8 prep teacher in Philadelphia, PA. As I jumped into my first year of teaching, I was also beginning my Master’s degree and teacher certification program at Drexel University. It was a bumpy launch, to say the least.
Episode 9: Tara Linney Part 1 podcast with Brian Costello

After getting laid off in Philadelphia, I took a job as a Technology Teacher in Matthews, NC. During that time, I was getting deeper into my Master’s program, and as my educational beliefs started developing, I realized that they weren’t in line with the opportunity that I had in North Carolina – so,