Education Opinion

Farewell and Thank You to EdTech Researcher

By Beth Holland — October 31, 2018 3 min read
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On July 15, 2015, I published my first article here at EdTech Researcher. Justin Reich invited me to join him as a co-author right as I started my doctoral studies. We realized that this blog would not only provide me with an opportunity to wrestle with complex concepts, but also an opportunity to bring more academic literature into public discourse. So it is with a sense of sadness - and also a sense of closure - that my 90th article is also going to be my last. EdWeek has decided that today is our final day.

Over the past few years, we have viewed this platform as an opportunity to make scholarly research more consumable, relatable, and applicable. Over the years, the focus of our writing has shifted as tools and trends came and went, colleagues asked us to respond to various studies or articles, and our thinking has changed given our experiences. Throughout, we have endeavored to critically and curiously examine each topic so that we might spark new conversations situated in research.

Initially, Design Thinking, Project Based Learning, the concept of innovation, and an emerging comprehension of learning science dominated my articles. Through this blog, I tried to reconcile new understandings about pedagogy with instructional trends in educational technology as well as a new appreciation of the historical, sociological, and economic factors that have shaped the evolution of education as a system.

Over time, a shift occurred as a result of my doctoral work. Though I continued to explore many of these concepts as they became more prominent within broader education circles, I also started to spend more time discussing research methodology as I grappled with the reliability and validity of empirical studies. In many ways, this new knowledge gave me the language to better interpret - and often challenge - studies in the field.

And yet, over the past several months, another shift has occurred as I completed my dissertation. Instead of continuing to focus on instructional strategies and classroom practice, I began to examine the education policy affecting it. After a lot of reading and writing, I have grown to realize that deeply understanding the system of education requires examining not only what happens in schools but also in the broader social, economic, and policy environments that impact teachers and students. As I have written in a few posts recently, we need to consider the history of education and how we got to where we are today; the perspectives offered when examining education through multiple lenses; the role of digital equity; and even our agreed upon purpose of education.

Writing this last post is both cathartic and a call-to-action. In reviewing old posts, I can see how EdTech Researcher has allowed me to develop into a sort of a navigator between the worlds of research and practice. There is a tendency in education to look for a single solution or an easy-to-implement strategy when reading blog posts. Most times, as a writer, I feel pressured to deliver concrete “take-aways” for teachers and leaders. However, through EdTech Researcher, articles often conclude with more questions than answers, opening the door for new lines of inquiry and encouraging diverse ways of thinking about how to bring academic work into the reality of classrooms and schools.

As Justin wrote in his farewell post, in an era when research and technology develop rapidly, we take this responsibility of serving as translators and purveyors of research extremely seriously. Decisions based on our writing could potentially impact the future of students’ educations, and we recognize the significance of that reality. Therefore, I want to thank Justin for inviting me into this space and allowing me to join him in this work. Additionally, I would like to thank EdWeek for supporting our writing for all of these years. Finally, I would like to thank all of you who have come on this journey, engaged in conversations, and pushed our thinking as we grappled with research, practice, and the future of education policy.

Though we will no longer publish to this site, we do plan to continue writing, thinking, and questioning. We hope that you will find us on new platforms, and in new venues, in the future.

The opinions expressed in EdTech Researcher are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.