Education Opinion

Welcome to EdTechResearcher!

By Justin Reich — April 09, 2012 3 min read
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This blog is a
space for building bridges between educators who use technology in their
practice and researchers who seek to better understand the impact of
technology on teaching and learning.

My name is Justin Reich, and in my career I’ve tried to
keep one foot in the classroom and one foot in the academy. I’m a
former world history teacher in a 1-1 laptop classroom, and I’ve just finished
my dissertation at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. I study the use of social media in K-12 settings, as project manager for the Distributed Collaborative Learning Communities Project, a Hewlett Foundation funded initiative. I’m also a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Society for Internet and Society. To work directly with teachers and school leaders, I co-founded EdTechTeacher,
a professional development firm that helps schools and districts
leverage technology to create student-centered, inquiry-based learning
environments. In that role, I have the chance to be in schools or work
with teachers just about every week. I read a lot of scholarly articles,
and I talk to a lot of teachers about what they are up to in their

I’ve been blogging for the last six months at my
personal homepage, EdTechResearcher.org, and I’m thrilled to have the
chance to move this blog to be part of Education
Week and Digital Directions. They have a great team of journalists and
editors, and it will be terrific to be writing in such good company.

The purpose of the blog is
to address the wide gap that often exists between education technology
researchers on the one hand and technology-using educators on the other.
These two groups have so much to learn from each other and to
contribute to each other, but too often they communicate in different
forums with different language. For practitioners, I hope to report on
recent studies and to try to interpret the findings to help make sense
of what we are learning about new technologies in schools. For
researchers, I hope to shed light on the state of the art in typical
classrooms, the challenges that teachers face, and the questions that
researchers can help answer.

I’ve devoted the last ten years of my life to
thinking, researching, and writing about teaching with technology. I’m
always energized by the incredible exemplars that I encounter from
teachers who use new technologies to transform teaching and learning in
their classrooms in powerful ways. I’m also often chastened by decades
of research that shows that, at scale, technology has made only modest
changes in well-established classroom practices. The conversations here
won’t really be about the technology itself--they’ll be about pedagogy,
curriculum, and relationships as seen through the lens of new media and
new platforms.

The categories that I’ve developed will give you some sense of what you can expect to follow in the months ahead:

Recent Reports: Analysis of newly published white papers and articles
in scholarly journals, translated and summarized for a wide audience

2) Ask a Researcher: Where I answer emails that I receive from educators and fellow researchers about my work or anything else
3) In the News: Examining news articles reporting on education and education technology

4) Works in Progress: Updates on research in progress from my work or colleagues
5) From the Field: Stories and questions from educators that I meet and work with
Up for Debate: Joining in conversation with fellow ed tech researchers
and practitioners on questions that are engaging people
7) Questions worth Exploring: Looking at research questions that someone should answer; a good category for new doctoral students looking for research ideas!

More categories will probably emerge as things
progress, but that’s the kind of writing that I’ve been doing over the last six months. If you want to look back on
the journey so far, please visit the archives at EdTechResearcher.org.

And if you want to join me on the road ahead, please follow me on
Twitter at @bjfr or add this to your reader. I’m looking forward to the

Coming Next: This week I’m at the Hewlett Foundation Grantee Meeting for their Open Education Resources initiative, and then off to the American Educational Research Association conference in Vancouver. Lots of great projects and research to report on!

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.