When Joann was a kid, she was all about nature documentaries. She spent Saturday mornings with Jack Hanna, PBS, and the Discovery Channel. Her most sought-after subject was, for some reason, birds. Any type of bird was her jam: songbirds, wild birds, birds of prey. She frequently checked out a bird documentary from her elementary school library that was unsurprisingly always available. While watching a program one morning, the narrator, in her lilting English accent, informed Joann that the common parakeet may be more special than she thought: they could learn to talk, just like people! Sort of. More like parrots. But worse. And males are better at it. But Joann didn’t know these limitations and so she set forth to teach her quiet, aging, female parakeet to speak like Oprah Winfrey (her favorite person at the time).
She created elaborate English lessons and sat in front of her bird’s cage every day after school, for at least an hour, teaching her the basics of phonetics and grammar. Joann even wrote and read aloud short stories starring her bird as the main character (to keep her engaged). Unfortunately, the bird never really took to the lessons. Eventually, they stopped. But afterward, every time Joann walked by her cage, that quiet bird chattered incessantly. She may not have learned to speak English, but she was definitely saying something.
Even though her first attempt at teaching was a failure, Joann learned an important lesson: If she can make a bird pay attention to her for an hour, she could do anything!
Joann leads up user research at EdLab where she's held court for nearly 13 years. A graduate of Teachers College's Counseling Psychology program, her pursuit to understand human behavior guides her approach to product development and helps her gain deeper insights when observing and interviewing users. While she currently resides in the world of user research, Joann's first foray into research was a joke. She was part of a humor research lab, where she studied the dimensions of offensive and conforming humor. And yes, she does know many, many, many terrible jokes. Just ask.
When not promoting EdLab's wide array of learning applications and services to the greater education community, Joann can be found leading design events, creating online learning experiences, and baking treats for her co-workers.