Company Bio: (excerpted from the Valiant website)
Valiant Technology started in 1985 with the launch
of the robot Turtle. Originally founded through an Anglo American
alliance between CEO Dave Catlin and the late Professor Tom Stonier,
a New Yorker working in the UK. The company aimed at combining good
education practice and design to create great educational products.
They have pursued this ideal ever since, as testified by their long
string of innovative and educational awards.
Valiant now has offices in London and Chicago, where it trades as
Valiant USA. As a matter of policy it keeps its staff levels small
and networks with a wide range of people from educators to
illustrators: from programmers to eccentrics.
Valiant USA Company Backgrounder
While Valiant USA was launched in January 2004, Valiant Technology’s
U.S. operations started in 1992. Valiant USA is a subsidiary of
Valiant Technology Ltd. of London, England.
The Company’s Founding
Valiant Technology Ltd. was founded in April 1985 by the late
professor Tom Stonier and Dave Catlin, the Managing Director. In the
early 1980’s, New York native Stonier opened and headed the School
of Science and Technology at the University of Bradford in England.
Technology and education were a natural interest.
Stonier established the educational credentials of the company and,
though he passed away in 1999, his philosophy still underpins the
whole company rationale. The combination of Stonier’s vision and
Catlin’s design flair created a set of award-winning products. The
first product was Turtle, a classic Logo-based device that looks
like a turtle and provides a tool for students to investigate a
particular field of knowledge. It is still remembered by many
American teachers. The Valiant Turtle was included in the book, Best
of British Design, published by the UK’s Design Council.
Roamer, a robot with its own on-board Logo program, was launched in
1990. It is a testimony to its educational value that Valiant still
sells the product nearly 17 years later. Roamer won the inaugural
“BETT Award” as Best Primary Product in 1998 and also received a
“Millennium Award.” Valiant is currently developing a
next-generation educational robot based on Roamer.
Valiant followed Roamer robot with the development of a hands-on
design technology product called Inventa, which also won
“Millennium” product status and the “Horner’s Award” for the “most
innovative design using plastic” – awarded by the British Plastics
In 2002, the company was awarded the prestigious “Queen’s Award for
Innovation” in recognition of its track record in creative and
useful educational product designs.
MathAmigo for Handheld Technologies
In 1998, Valiant started the research that would lead to MathAmigo.
The decision came in response to the objectives of the State
Systemic Initiatives. Catlin explains:
Our products have always been cross-curricular and very
constructivist. While we still hold those beliefs, we felt teachers
needed some practical help in preparing lessons. So we set up a
study group to look at the problem. It was during that time that I
had the inspiration to look at creating a math machine. We found
some excellent research on the use of devices like TI’s, Little
Professor, etc. This was done in the early 1980s at Southampton
University in England. The work clearly showed the idea had
potential to solve many of the problems we saw math teachers facing
in schools. Our further studies and the NCET’s research on
Integrated Learning Systems like Success Maker really showed that
portable handheld technology was essential if we are to bring the
full advantage of technology to the classroom.
After four years of research and development, Valiant created
MathAmigo, a K-8 standardsbased math software system. This included
making a specific handheld device now called Classic MathAmigo to
run the software. Much of the practical testing was done at school
sites in the United States. Then in 2003, the company became aware
of PalmOne’s efforts and launched a version for Palm OS devices,
plus the AlphaSmart Dana. Valiant again expanded the software system
in 2005 to be compatible with more operating systems and devices,
including PCs, laptops, tablets, and handhelds that use the Windows
and Windows Mobile platform.
Valiant USA, a Subsidiary of Valiant Technology Ltd.
At the start of 2004, the company reorganized its U.S. operation and
started distributing its products under its new subsidiary, Valiant
USA. Nancy Kokat still runs the day-today operations. After leaving
GoKnow, Debbie DeSousa joined the operation to manage marketing
development. As a result the company has established MathAmigo in a
large number of school districts and partnered with AlphaSmart and
Educational Resource Services for distribution. Valiant USA is
working with several American universities including Rutgers
University Center for Math and Science Education and Medgar Evers
College plus the Education Technology Think Tank to assist schools
in closing the achievement gap and improving educational outcomes
for the most disadvantaged students. These partnerships are also
helping to generate more enthusiasm for science and math, ensuring
America’s students are prepared for jobs in an increasingly digital
and global environment. Recently, Valiant earned congressional
recognition from U.S. Rep. Major Owens (D-NY) and a partnership
award from the Education Technology Think Tank for its collaborative
work to improve math teaching and learning.
--Nancy Kokat, Valiant USA, 888-366-6628, firstname.lastname@example.org
--Charlene Blohm, C. Blohm & Associates, Inc., 608-839-9800,
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