Here is some additional biographical information I was asked to provide in our class discussion forum.
Name: Mark Douglas Wagner
Information about your education/work experience: I work as an Educational Technology Coordinator for the Orange County Department of Education. I previously held this position at the Newport-Mesa Unified School District and at Estancia High School. I am also working towards a PhD in Educational Technology at Walden University.
Comfort level using technology:I am very comfortable using technology and I love learning new things. I have a good deal of experience using and configuring software, hardware, and LAN infrastructure… with some unique experience integrating Mac OS X and Windows XP with Active Directory (and Open Directory). I have spent some time learning Linux and a variety of Open Source software. I am comfortable with the command line and I do hack code from time to time, but unfortunately I cannot call myself a programer.
Experience with managing technology (if any): I was a high school tech coordinator for three years, and I probably learned more during this time than I have at any other in my life… about teaching, technology, leadership, organizational culture, and change. My IT partner and I completely overhauled the infrastructure and educational technology program at the site. This launched me into my role as a Project Coordinator (running an EETT grant which put 1000 handhelds into the hands of middle school students) at the district level, and then, briefly, the Educational Technology Coordinator for secondary schools (nine sites) before becoming a Coordinator of Educational Technology at the Orange County Department of Education, where I coordinate technology professional development for educators.
Research Interests: Broadly, using (primarily open-ended) technology to facilitate constructivist teaching and learning (context-embedded, inquiry-driven, socially negotiated learning). I spent some time this past year investigating the use of Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games to achieve this end. Lately, I have become enamored with the powers of the read/write web (blogs etc) to facilitate this kind of learning for students. I remain passionate about technical issues in their relationship to education; I am very interested in cross-platform interoperability and universal access to data. In this sense, open source software and 1:1 initiatives have my attention as well.
Hobbies: Well, I wrote and recorded music somewhat prolifically until August 2003, when I started Walden. I still try to get my hands on the guitar often and sing whenever I can… and I just recently set-up my ProTools rig for the first time since moving in August of ’04. I play hockey once or twice a week. Ironically, I love traditional pen, paper, dice, and imagination role playing games… computers just aren’t there yet. ;) I don’t have much time to play, though. I read science fiction when I can find something good. Oh, my wife and I watch the Gilmore Girls and Smallville religiously. :)
Also add information about your strategy for studying for this class: I set aside three hours a day for Walden most days… week nights and weekend mornings. I don’t bother planning anything for Friday night anymore, and something usually comes up on another night of the week, so I often wind up pulling longer hours on the weekends. Every Monday I lay out the tasks for the week and assign them to a day… and work my way through the list, adjusting as necessary.