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Welcome to EdTechResearcher!

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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.

Justin with Kids in Singapore

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 classrooms. 

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:

1) 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
6) 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 conversation. 

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!



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