An Update

It’s finally time to post an update here. I’ve been keeping my head down the last few months in order to focus on work (lots of trainings lately) and on my PhD – and on keeping my marriage together in the process. In the meantime, I quit caffeine, and started studying non-violent communication (which is something of a misnomer for most people… it could also be called compassionate communication, and sometimes is). As a result of these changes and many others, including limiting time spent blogging and reading RSS feeds, I’ve been able to slow down my daily schedules a bit and do some thinking. A few important things have become very clear and I’ve been able to take some steps toward some big changes.

As many of you who know me personally already know, the biggest change is that I am leaving the Orange County Department of Education on June 30th. I may continue to do some work for the OCDE (in fact I hope to), but I will be taking a few months off to work on my PhD. Then I hope to start teaching online in the fall for teacher crendentialing and educational technology masters programs. (I’ve already started applying!) The plan is to supplement this with face-to-face training and consulting. It made me nervous, of course, to work this out with my boss and announce that I was leaving. Walking away from a steady pay check isn’t easy, but it sure feels right, and a surprising number of doors have already begun opening for me. I’m now very excited and encouraged about the months ahead.

I’m working on incorporating, probably under the name Educational Technology and Life (or ETL), and will be offering my services as an educational technology consultant, with a focus on the topics I’m passionate about, particularly the read/write web, video games in education, open source software, educational technology planning, and the big one – organizational change, including IT audits, network overhauls, and professional development. In addition, I’ll be training educators on using a wide variety of Windows, Mac, Linux, and web-based software for teaching and learning.

Though I am once again leaving behind an amazing team, I’m particularly excited about the people I am planning to work with, and that I’ll be able to work with in the future… including many of the people I’ve worked with in the past, even my current team at the OCDE… and perhaps including other readers of this blog. Best of all, I’ll be working with my wife on this venture; as a site tech coordinator and professional developer with experience teaching 3rd grade and kindergarden, she’s our expert on educational technology in the elementary grades. (I was originally a high school English teacher and site tech coordinator before moving on to the district and county levels, so I’ve got the secondary grades covered.)

I suspect you’ll see a much more official announcements of the services I’ll offer here soon, particularly if I move forward with the Educational Technology and Life brand and the edtechlife.com URL.

As for my blogging, I hope to continue posting original material here, and expect that the volume of posting will go up again in July, right after the NECC conference, which I’ll be attending and at which I’ll be presenting. I also need to sort out what to do with over a hundred posts I have queued up in draft form that I would either have FURLed if I hadn’t incorporated my FURL content into my blog, or would have blogged if I didn’t feel compelled to actually provide a decent annotation for any link that appears in my blog. I suppose you’ll know when I figure that out.

And when it comes to RSS, I’ve been reading only about once a week… I have about 700 items or so at that point. Once some time has passed, it actually makes it easier to skim through and dismiss items that are not significantly important. I’m still finding it difficult to cull my collection of feeds, though. However, I have updated my bloglines account. You can access my current reading list (of over 400 feeds) here. My subgroups didn’t carry over well, but this should be a good resource for finding feeds relevant to this blog.

Also, I hope to share my next paper here soon. I sent 119 pages on video games as social constructivist learning environments to my current assessor at the university this evening. Once I’ve received final approval, probably sometime in the next few weeks, I’ll post it here, complete with annotated bibliography and all.

Finally, if any of you have any feedback on any of this, particularly any questions or advice concerning my upcoming business ventures, I’d be thrilled to hear it. I’m not only looking for leads, but for people to work with as well, so if you are interested, please leave a comment or email me at my new mark@edtechlife.com address. :)

Once again, thanks for reading.

8 Responses to “An Update”

  1. David McDivitt Says:

    Mark

    This is exciting news. I am thrilled that someone like you (and your wife) will be out there teaching teachers how to integrate real technology into the classroom. Let me know if I can ever be of assistance.

    Dave McDivitt

  2. Doug Belshaw Says:

    Good luck Mark! I have to say I’m a bit envious – what you’re about to embark upon is exactly what I’d like to end up doing… :-)

  3. Stacy Kline Says:

    I wish I had read this post before I visited you yesterday at OCDE when you so kindly helped me prepare for my “Blogging for Teachers” class…

    You (and, I’m sure, your wife) are just what those of us in classroom environments/school tech resource positions need to push us forward, to innovate our teaching, and to never be afraid when trying new technologies.

    I have been using blogs in my classroom, and installing and using free software this past year because of your encouragement and coaching. Passing on these skills to fellow teachers extends the range of your influence.

    Thank you again for your “compassionate communication!”

  4. Newman Says:

    Congrats Mark! Good luck and thanks for all you do.

  5. Aaron Ball Says:

    This is great news Mark! Thanks for the post I think that you answered many of the questions I was going to ask about your vision of Ed tech.

    Thanks,
    Aaron

  6. Joe McGann Says:

    Good luck, Mark.

  7. Bill MacKenty Says:

    ah!

    Best of luck Mark! I’m sure you’ll do quite well. I’m very curious to read your work on games as social constructivist learning.

    Stay in touch!

  8. Mark Says:

    Wow! Thank you all for your support. It really helps in making this transition. As I’m writing this, tomorrow is my last day in the county office… and my new business cards showed up yesterday. Next week I’m off to NECC to start something new. There’s lots of changes coming to this website soon, too, so I hope you’ll all keep reading.

    Thanks again!

    -Mark