The Artists of Alva: Brian Tighe

Be True to Yourself


Brian Tighe believes in the familiar phrase, “When one door closes another door opens.” His experiences in life, both good and bad, drive him to be a better artist and a better person. Though his greatest passion is art, Brian’s ultimate goal is to bring a positive light into the world.

Like most budding artists, Brian started out doodling in his notebook during class. Unfortunately school was not a riveting experience for him. Not only was there a lack of art classes growing up, but also most of his general courses simply didn’t grab his attention.

“I really didn’t think school was my thing to begin with,” Brian said. “But I enjoyed it more towards the end when my degree got more specific.”

He grew up watching a lot of Disney animated movies and was intrigued by their productions. When Brian watched Finding Nemo for the first time in 2003, he was blown away by the incredible quality of the film and the 3D animations. He decided that was the direction he wanted to go in for his career—making animated art. Continue reading


Behind the Scenes at AlvaEDU

Last week, we posted a video about President and CEO Tim Loudermilk and some of the great aspects of working at AlvaEDU. This week we have a fun behind the scenes video, where we take a look at what it takes to develop and produce a piece at our Damage Studios.

Creating videos is part of our services at AlvaEDU. Whether you need a full course, or just an engaging video for your classroom, AlvaEDU can produce what you need for your eLearning to be at its best. Contact us today to discuss how we can meet your unique needs. We’d love to join you in creating innovating education for your classroom. Click here to see a list of our services. 

Keeping The Balance That’s Right: Work Hard, Play Harder

There is a special smile that comes over Tim Loudermilk’s face when he looks at a tablet, or really any new gadget that he can get his hands on. You’ll see a Mac and a PC in his office at any given time, and an iPad by his side wherever he goes. Technology is his first love, but it wasn’t always that way. There was one other love in Tim’s life before his passion for technology began.

Tim Loudermilk was born in the small town of Norwood, Ohio, just outside of Cincinnati. His father worked in the auto manufacturing industry, like most people in the town since it was a prominent manufacturing location. Most kids who got out of high school either went to college or worked on Camaros. But Tim did neither; he just played ice hockey.

“I think I viewed education like most kids do–as an opportunity to play sports,” he said. “I was a big ice hockey player.” After high school, Tim took a year off and worked for the Boston Bruins as their equipment manager. The job gave him unlimited amounts of time on the ice. From there, he joined the hockey team at Ohio State University.

“I was a left wing at Ohio State University and just had an absolute blast playing hockey,” Tim said. “I enjoyed hockey, but finally realized that I was going to either play hockey or graduate. And since I didn’t really have a shot at the pros, I focused on my academics.”

At the time, Ohio State had one of the largest grants from NASA, providing enormous computer facilities and programs to its students. Tim took advantage of that and spent less time on the ice and more time in the computer lab.

After graduating college, Procter and Gamble recruited Tim to work in its management systems program. Out of the thirty-two selected, Tim was one of two who had a degree in computer science. Continue reading

The Biggest Trends in Education Technology Today

In this interview, President and CEO Tim Loudermilk discusses with AlvaEDU’s Editor, Michelle de Carion, the current trends in education technology and forecasts the future of online learning.

Tim LoudermilkWhat do you anticipate will be the biggest trend in education technology this year?

I think full immersion of tablets is really what’s happened. And it’s not something that’s been led by academia; it’s been led by students. If you think about 10 years ago, no one walked in with their own computer, or maybe they would have a heavy computer they would use. But whether or not we want to put education on tablets, every student is walking into class carrying one. So I think the popularity of the Nexus tablets from Google and the iPad is an enormous factor in education. But I don’t mean just using them as a browser. Sure, everybody can use them as a browser. That’s great. You can use your phone as a browser. We could do that 10 years ago.  But today, their walking in and really embedding content on the iPad and using it like no other device. I think five or six years ago, everyone thought that Internet growth was the most powerful thing that was ever going to happen. Well, I don’t think you find today’s youth sitting in front of a computer. You find them with their tablet or with their smartphone out. In the world, I think this is going to have the biggest impact. So getting ready for that and taking advantage of it is really the next “big thing” in my opinion; and it’s happening right now. Continue reading

The Artists of Alva: Jiemei Lin

 Art is a Lifestyle

Jiemei Lin

For Jiemei Lin, art is a way of life and an opportunity to create special connections with others. It’s not a job; it’s a lifestyle. From a very young age, Jiemei has been drawing pictures and ingesting ideas from all around her. She grew up in Hangzhou, China—one of the oldest cities in the world. Jiemei calls it an “old and weird town”, full of all kinds of interesting Asian architecture.

Since this young artist didn’t have any siblings, she spent her time reading, making drawings, and imagining odd and surreal scenes in her mind. Though she was alone most of the time, Jiemei says she wasn’t lonely. Her artistry and imagination kept her company.

Hello Ramen Girl“I have been making drawings since I was young,” Jiemei said. “Drawing has always been a very personal and important thing for my life, like a nature need. When I was young, I wrote stories with illustrations. My language teacher, cousins, and friends were my audience. They followed my updates of the story in a very serious way.”

Ironically enough, her parents discouraged her from fantastic ideas like Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and other “kid stuff”. They believed in science with all of their hearts and didn’t allow their daughter to watch TV.

In school, Jiemei was reassured of her talent in the arts. Unlike her mother who was a mathematician, Jiemei struggled in math and science but thrived in history, language, geography, and art.

“Fortunately, most of my schoolmates thought I was nerdy and creative at the same time,” Jiemei said. “I was a character with personality, not the boring one.” Continue reading

Inside AlvaEDU: A Look at Our Partnerships

We are excited to share with you the third video in the Dr. James Canton Interview Series. This week we are taking a look at our strategic partnerships with leading universities, and why top-quality content is paramount in designing an online course. We hope you enjoy watching this conversation between our CEO and Founder Tim Loudermilk, and futurist and author, Dr. James Canton. Damage Studios has four more videos left in this special series, so stick around the Lab and see what we are innovating in education.


Introducing AlvaEDU: The Innovators of Education

AlvaEDU sign in our office headquarters

Often when someone hears the name of our company, AlvaEDU, they are curious to know not only what the name means, but also where it came from. The first part of the name “alva” was actually Thomas Edison’s middle name. His father named him after a prominent citizen in Ohio, Captain Alva Bradley, whom he was close friends with. The name means “brightness”, which is incredibly fitting and foretelling because Edison invented the light bulb.

Edison was one of the greatest innovators in history. He developed many inventions that greatly influenced life around the world. He spent most of life continuously creating incredible things in his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey. But it wasn’t the amount of patents he produced that was impressive, it was the incredible quality and impact of his work.valerie@desk_4767

The second part of our name is “edu”—short for education. Together, the words designate the mission of our company–“Innovating Education”.

We are now navigating our way through the 21st century, using our newest digital tools. A brand new technological universe has been created where we can access information from anywhere at any time.

As our world adapts to these new ways of giving and receiving information, so does the world of higher education.

Universities are looking for new ways to grab their students’ attention and make them successful. AlvaEDU offers solutions and new technology to schools to enhance their education programs and make online courses fun and interactive—advanced yet easy to use.
edison_4757We are excited to be at the forefront of this new wave of technology and development. Our aim is to create and lead the way in education technology, and we want you to come with us as we accomplish this.

This blog is our lab—a place where we create, experiment, and then share our amazing inventions with you. This space is a place where we also want to start conversations about the issues of the day, bring you the latest news, and give you resources and information.

We hope that you will benefit from reading this blog and be inspired to return. Engagement is our goal, so please feel free to make comments or contact us about anything we post.

Every day when we walk into our office, we see a picture of Thomas Alva Edison. He is a reminder to us of our mission to bring a little more “brightness” into the world by making and sharing incredible innovations.

“If we did all of the things we were capable of, we would astound ourselves.” –Thomas Alva Edison