Do you remember the original Edublogger? I do. No, not the scads of people with edu-blogs today. I mean the first person who had that title? Nobody knew if the person was a he or a she, if they were from Higher Ed or K-12 or if the person was a teacher, administrator, or what. But (as far as I know) that single blogger spawned an entire army of academic bloggers. Even though most are now ghosts, a few made it through and more come into the mix every year, so we have any number of options to follow.
So, as the last part of this series, I thought I would share the answer to a question I am asked regularly. “Who do you follow?”
It’s actually a healthy question, but let me see if I can help guide you to some (potentially) new bloggers, Twitterers (is that a word?), LinkedIn experts, and/or people who share academic insights that I find valuable. Oh, and apologies up front. I primarily read articles, blogs, and tweets. Sorry - I’m not on Instagram or Facebook, etc. So this is what I have to offer. Enjoy.
To start, let me acknowledge the plethora of formally published bloggers and posters there are out there. Most every academic publication has gotten into the blogging game, also leveraging Twitter and other social media sites to push their channels. I hope that you are following Edutopia, Eduventures, and Educause. I also find a great deal of solid content from @WCET_Info, @TytonPartners, and @SREBEducation. While I was sorry to see Wired Innovations go away (as I was a contributing blogger), in my opinion Wired is still worthy of following and has a Higher Education section specifically. The Atlantic Education also does a nice job with deep insights and there are the staples of Higher Ed like the Chronicle.
But beyond that are some individuals that are absolutely worth knowing and following. Whether following their blog or the Twitter feeds, what these people write and talk about is really good stuff. (With as much transparency as I can muster, I’ll also make it clear if or when any of these follows is a personal friend.)
Geoff Leigh - I wanted to start the mix with someone I would guess you don’t know. That’s not a knock on Geoff, who is a friend, but only an understanding that he works for a small ed tech, without a ton of exposure. But he is absolutely worthy of a follow. The link here is the Foliotek blog, which Geoff writes most of. But you can also follow Geoff on Twitter and more. When Bill and Melinda Gates, Mark Zuckerberg or even Warren Buffet decide to entrust $100M to a group of dynamic educators / transformative leaders, and if I am heading that group, Geoff is one of the first three people I will call. And we would transform education. Seriously. Follow this guy.
Jackie Gerstein - I stumbled upon User Generated Education’s blogger during my doctorate and I have followed her ever since. I love Jackie’s insights, especially as both an instructional designer and teacher. Her approach is (appropriately) eclectic, with interests in gaming, constructivism, and a dabbling of neuroscience and learning research.
Rob Letcher - Another on my short listed, speed dial would be Rob Letcher. What happens when you take an entrepreneurial, whip-smart, creative, innovative, tech-savvy, hilariously funny, K-20 educator and instructional designer and give him a social platform? He creates a regular newsletter of 21st Century Ed News!
Dan Meyer - Here is one of those ‘professional jealousy’ guys to follow. Why would I be jealous of Dan Meyer? Because he took significantly less time to figure out what it took me decades to uncover. Punk. :) But Dan is worth following because he articulately and cleverly identifies a much better order-of-operations for teaching. (Pun intended as he is a math and science teacher.) He is the impetus for many a talk I have given regarding “Do First” learning. He explains an approach that EVERY genuine master-teacher should leverage. In research terms it’s called ‘Generative Learning’ but in practice, it’s a motivational, engagement technique to get any student involved in any subject.
Derek Muller - I only found Derek recently (2013) and have been impressed from the outset. Dr. Derek Muller created Veritasium, a YouTube channel about science. The site has over 5 million subscribers and half a billion views and honored Derek with the Streamy award for Science or Education in 2017. How did he do all of this so young? You might check out his thesis: “Designing Effective Media for Physics Education.”
George Siemens - OK, this is likely someone you are already following, but I had to add him. Whereas I have taken the less ‘standard’ approach to transforming higher ed, having worked in the private (parallel) sector, formal education, start-ups, and more, George has done it all from within the belly of the beast. The creator of the first MOOC, George is a thought leader’s thought leader who has had traditional, formal education roles throughout his illustrious career. He should be on your list of regular reads.
Phil Hill and Michael Feldstein - I have likely followed these two guys longer than anyone else on my list. The chief consultants at Mindwires, it’s hard to turn around without seeing their perspective or opinion being asked by some educational big wig. They have been tenaciously focused on accountability, transformation, trend-spotting, and impacting higher education throughout their careers and are absolutely worthy of your time. I would love to work with these guys some day as their reputation is incredible and their work is top notch.
Dr. Emma Zone - I had the fortunate opportunity to really get to know Emma well during our tenure on the CWiC Framework Advisory Board. To call her a rock star is not enough. From her pioneering days at Colorado Technical University to her current work @facultyguild helping teachers teach SO much better, she is a great follow. Always posting uplifting and intriguing stuff about her current work, she is definitely worth a follow.
Dr. Jill Buban - Another cool career arc I have followed for the past few years is Jill Buban. From her work with OLC to her current role as CAO of Unizin, Jill is super connected and really has her finger on the pulse of higher ed. I would consider Jill a fantastic curator of information for anyone interested in higher education, which is good in this day and age of filter bubbles, no?
Dr. Bryan Alexander - Categorizing Bryan is hard (and likely unnecessary). He is an author, an academic, a futurist, a speaker, a blogger, a social media specialist, and so much more. He has worked on or with the Horizon Report, runs the Future Trends Forum, keeps a blog at BryanAlexander.org, and speaks around the globe. He may also already be on your list of follows, but if not, he should be.
That should be plenty of new follows for the summer. Even if you only pick a few, you will likely start to see new ideas, trends, sources, and resources. I hope you enjoy reading these people as much as I do.
To anyone I forgot, mea culpa. You know how lists go. I’ll catch you on the next one. But to everyone on this list, let me say thank you. You have inspired me to think different, expand what I believe education and teaching/learning to be, and made me a better presenter.
Good luck and good learning.