Hi. I’m Michael. I’m a teacher from a family of teachers.
Over the fifteen years that I’ve been writing here, I have played a lot of roles, including technologist, product designer, quasi-academic, market analyst, journalist, and watchdog. And I will still play some of those roles from time to time when I think that doing so might be useful to you. But those are just things that I do. I am a teacher from a family of teachers.
The title of this blog was intended to be self-deprecating. When I started, I felt only semi-literate about the subjects that I was writing about. I still feel that way. I like that feeling. I tells me that I have an opportunity to learn something.
In the beginning, I was focused on learning about how technology could be useful to educators. So the “e” in “e-Literate” was like the one in “email” or “ecommerce” or “e-Learning.” The lesson of the last two decades in all three of those domains is that, while some things change, a lot of others stay the same. Ecommerce is still commerce. Likewise, e-Learning is still learning. Yes, there is additional craft we can draw on that is afforded by new the tools. Nevertheless, humans still learn in basically the same ways they always have.
The “e” I’m more interested in now is educational effectiveness. In all honestly, that’s what I’ve always been interested in. But but I personally, and we has a sector, had to learn a lot about where technology can be helpful. I won’t say that we’re done with that, but we don’t need for it to be the main point of the story all the time anymore. And it shouldn’t be.
If you’ve been following my writing lately, a lot of it has been about the Empirical Educator Project (EEP). There is ed tech in these stories, yes, but there is also research on effective practices. Above all, there is culture-building for supporting educators in learning, adopting, and contributing new effective practices. We need new structures, processes, and support mechanisms. Universities have to reinvent themselves from the inside out. And also, commercial providers can and should play a vital role in speeding along this transition in a healthy direction.
I have been laying out the breadcrumbs of my thinking for a while and am getting better at telling the story more clearly and succinctly. I have a point of view and a theory of change. This is my new focus. While I will continue to write about many of the topics you are used to see me write about, you will notice more thematic coherence moving forward. The Empirical Educator Project, a sister project to e-Literate, is my opportunity to test and refine the theory of change with like-minded colleagues whom I admire. If you are not among their number yet, then I hope you will be soon. And I am now launching a commercial offshoot of that work to further support the mission. You can see some early details here. If I am successful, then the business will enable me to scale EEP to reach more people more quickly and effectively.
When Phil and I were working together, I sometimes joked that we had a blog that owned a business. Today, that is more true than ever. This is the first time in my nineteen years of writing that my day job has aligned seamlessly with my public writing. You will see that reflected here. I will be writing about my work in ways that I haven’t before.
I am traveling this week to IMS Learning Impact Leadership Institute, where I look forward to reconnecting with old friends and re-engaging with the IMS community in ways that I haven’t had the luxury of doing in some time. When I return, you will begin to see some changes here.
Frederick M Beshears says
Good luck with your new venture, Michael.
While you’re at the IMS Learning Impact Leadership Institute, please say hello to Rob Abel and Colin Smythe for me.
(FYI: I was the co-chair of the IMS tech board from 2005 to 2006 when Ed Walker was running the show. I represented UC Berkeley.)