Unfold Learning LLC provides learning design and educational expertise to schools, businesses, museums, and governments. Our team consists of Bea Leiderman, who has 14 years’ experience as a teacher and technologist in K–12 education, and William Rankin, who has 26 years’ experience as a teacher and technologist in higher education. We design and run workshops and seminars and provide educational presentations at small and large events around the world.
Dr William Rankin is a learning designer and professional speaker with broad experience in educational technologies and teaching. For more than 20 years, he has worked with schools, governments, and learning organizations throughout the world to design, develop, and implement innovative learning initiatives.
Prior to founding Unfold Learning LLC, Rankin served as Director of Learning on the global education team at Apple Inc. in Cupertino, California from 2013 to 2016, where he had responsibility for developing, promoting, and enhancing innovative teaching and learning in pre-K to post-20 education. While there, he helped design, implement, and assess the project that became known as the Apple Developer Academies, a program now active in South America, Europe, and Asia. Using student-led, challenge-based learning; research-supported, purpose-built learning facilities; and a holistic curricular design emphasizing both technical and human skills, these programs offer late secondary, university, and adult learners the chance to master coding and development by designing solutions for real challenges in their everyday lives.
Before Apple, Rankin worked as an academic in higher education for 24 years, concluding his time as a Professor of English and Honors College Fellow at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. As ACU’s Director of Educational Innovation, he helped design the world’s first one-to-one that gave every student an iOS device (iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad) as a platform for exploring next-wave mobile learning. With ACU’s Honors College, he consulted on and helped shape a radically new kind of in situ learning project that leveraged just-in-time, differentiated instruction and media to prepare learners working to solve issues of urban poverty and social justice in South Dallas.
As project lead for ACU’s mobility initiative, Rankin was named Campus Technology magazine’s Innovator of the Year for mobile learning in 2008. In 2009, he was named an Apple Distinguished Educator and in 2010, he began a three-year tenure on the US Board for Apple’s Distinguished Educators program. Interviews with Rankin have appeared in Wired, The Guardian, The Times of London, Businessweek, The New York Times and The Chronicle for Higher Education and at online sites including InsideHigherEd, Ars Technica, and Open Culture. Rankin has spoken at TEDxDubai and was a featured presenter at Bett 2018. He has also been featured in stories on US National Public Radio, the BBC, the CBC, Vísir (Iceland), SF Zwei (Switzerland), and NBC Nightly News. He has received numerous awards for educational leadership and teaching and has presented on educational technologies and emerging pedagogies in more than 30 countries.
Rankin holds BAs in English and French from Harding University, an MA in English Literature from the University of California, Riverside, and a PhD in English Literature with an emphasis in Medieval Literature from the University of Minnesota. His professional interests include the history of pedagogy and educational technologies; technology-enhanced learning and learning-space design; literacies and the construction of informational and cultural access; and the history and future of the book.
Bea Leiderman is a former instructional technology coach at Goochland County Public Schools, in Goochland, Virginia, where she helped middle and high school teachers use technology to design effective learning environments and opportunities.
Originally from Medellín, Colombia, Leiderman started her career in education as a middle-school Spanish teacher in Chestefield County, Virginia. Her interest in technology led to her selection as a member of Virginia’s pilot cohort of Instructional Technology Resource Teachers, and later, a move to serve in this role at Goochland County. During her time in Goochland, Leiderman participated in the design and implementation of numerous initiatives, including co-developing the G21 project-based learning initiative in 2008, spearheading a district-wide blogging initiative using WordPress in 2008, leading a system-wide transition to Google Docs (later G Suite) in 2009, and training administrators, teachers, parents, and learners for the district’s adoption of the Schoology LMS starting in 2014. Over the past four years, Leiderman has helped Goochland’s schools transition to a 1:1 instructional model in grades 3–12 using iPads and MacBooks. This effort, focused on student-centered pedagogies and deeper learning, earned the school division recognition as an Apple Distinguished Program.
Over the past two years, Leiderman has been involved in efforts to adapt Agile Scrum, a framework for effective teamwork, to be used with teachers and learners in classes. This adapted framework provides teachers with tools to scaffold work as learners develop time management, collaborative, and communication skills. In turn, teachers have an opportunity to hone their own skills as they interact with learners. The program was highlighted in ISTE’s Entrsekt magazine in June of 2016, and Leiderman has shared her expertise and ideas for using Scrum with teachers at regional, national, and international conferences through presentations and workshops.
In 2009, Leiderman was named an Apple Distinguished Educator and also became a Google Certified Teacher. In 2013, her video entry in the Follett Challenge for Empowering Innovation earned Goochland High School a $25,000 media center grant. This past year, she successfully led a team of teachers to write a $25,000 grant for redesigning and outfitting five classrooms to facilitate collaboration and multimedia creation in the subject areas of Spanish, English, and Social Studies. She has participated in planning the EdTechRVA educational technology conference for the past three years, and in June 2016, she was elected Chair of the Greater Richmond Area Educational Technology Consortium (GRAETC) for 2017–18.
Leiderman’s interests revolve around learning — and how learning happens. To this end, and following her own personal interests, she photographs and studies insects and arachnids. She has authored six books about insects and macro photography, and posts her insect photos on Flickr. You can also follow her on Twitter, where she has a channel for insect photography and information.