Ten years ago today, I wrote my first blog post on e-Literate. At the time, my only real ambitions were to learn about blogging and use the fact that I was writing in public to force myself to think more clearly about what I believed about educational technologies. I never could have imagined that, not only would I still be writing a decade later, but that it would be come such a large and important part of my professional and personal life. I have met many wonderful people and had unbelievable opportunities as a result of this blog.
At the beginning of my career as an educator, I was a middle school and high school teacher. I am the son of teachers, brother of teachers, husband of a teacher, and father-in-law of a teacher. I still consider myself to be a teacher. I particularly loved teaching 8th grade and plan to go back to it someday. Occasionally I wonder if I’m doing the right thing by doing what I do now instead of going back to the classroom immediately. But then I run into people like Jon and Chris Boggiano at someplace like the GSV conference. These two brothers enlisted in the army after 9/11, went to West Point, and served in active combat duty in places like Iraq, Kosovo, and Afghanistan. After they got out of the Army, they turned down lucrative careers in corporate America to create a startup training veterans and other folks in green jobs. They were recognized by the White House for their success. They then sold their startup, enrolled in graduate school in Stanford together, used their proceeds to become educational technology angel investors, and are busy planning their next startup. Here’s a video of them in action, presenting their thoughts on childhood and educational philosophy at a Stanford event:
One more thing: Jon and Chris are my former seventh and eighth grade students.
Their choices make me feel better about mine. If they think that developing technology in the service of education is a good way to try to change the world, then I am going to do everything I can to help them and people like them. I don’t always trust my judgment about what’s the best thing to do for our future, but I trust theirs.
They are also a reminder that we often don’t know the consequences of the actions we take. I was absolutely stunned to see their names on the attendee list for the ed tech conference, but I also felt incredibly proud. Jon and Chris deserve 100% credit for who they have become and what they have accomplished, but I feel privileged to have played a small part in their grand adventure.
And in that spirit, I want to ask you all if you might consider giving e-Literate a birthday present. When Phil and I write our blog posts, we are in our respective homes. Maybe we talk to each other a little bit about what we’re writing, but it’s mostly a solitary experience. We get sporadic feedback, often long after we have written our pieces. We get some idea of what people are thinking by the comments and the web traffic, but we don’t know if what we’re doing really matters. So if something we’ve written here has made a difference, if there was a decision you made differently or some post that influenced your thinking, we’d be grateful if you would let us know in comments or in email. It would mean a great deal to us to know that we’ve had even a small impact.
Thanks for sticking with us, and I hope that you will still find us worth reading ten years from now.