a call to story-telling

A Note from the Author:

I'm a geek.  Part Luddite geek, part techno-geek, but a geek nonetheless.  I grew up with comic books (Or graphic novels.  I suppose there is nothing all that comical about saving the world, aside from the tights.)  I am surprised, then, by how few stories I hear in the realm of educational technology.

Don't get me wrong.  We need lists of new gadgets.  We need theoretical debates.  We need loud calls for transforming the system.  We need TED Talks and conferences and workshops and all of that.  But I know very few people who go out and try educational technology after reading lists or debates.  

We need honest stories, human narratives that delve deeper than the latest gadget.  We need humor and satire and the sometimes insane hurdle teachers face every time they attempt to use new technology.  We need conversations that reflect not simply the ideal "what if" but the reality of what it's like on the inside.  I'm not saying those stories aren't out there.  It's just that the true stories are often so honest, so painful and so bizarre that they are difficult to tell.

I began this blog as an attempt to think through my own story.  I chose the nineteenth century, because it removes me from the constant need for the cutting edge.  That, and I'm wired for metaphor.  I chose fiction, because I have a freedom to tell the truth by not telling the truth.

I almost gave up several times, because there isn't a solid story arc.  But then again, my own journey hasn't fit well within a story arc.  It's been much closer to a postmodern narrative where the twists are found in the subtleties of life.

I'd love to see more story-telling in educational technology.  Not necessarily PR stuff, either.  I'd love to see honest stories about the human side of educational technology.  I am not naturally a story-teller, but I have found that stories, even corny nineteenth-century, semi-satirical ones provoke discussion in a way that prose cannot. This blog is much more popular than I ever thought it would be.  I have a hunch it has to do with the narrative format more than anything else.  


  1. I couldn't agree with you more, John. After all, the job of pencil integration specialist is nothing if it isn't about people. Relating to teachers who are cautious of the way students wield pencils (even if they rarely use them to write), relating to administrators who think pencils are someone else's problem, and talking about how to lead a group of people who aren't sure what they want, but really like shiny pencils!!! This is a wonderful blog John. Kudos and please keep writing.

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Patrick. I admit that this blog is a bit quirky, but it's been a blast to write.

  3. "This blog is much more popular than I ever thought it would be. I have a hunch it has to do with the narrative format more than anything else. "

    Correct. And this post doesn't follow that format.

  4. You're right that this post doesn't follow the format. I almost didn't post it for that reason. Still, I think it's worth writing about.

  5. Anonymous4:30:00 PM

    What i enjoy is the effort that everyone puts in to this, not only you (thank you) with your views from the 19th century, but also the comments. It causes me to stop and think when I veil the comments in the correct time domain. I enjoy everybody's efforts from your lead.

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  7. I totally agree... I am going to try to put real stories on my blog this next year. I find such a disconnect between the blogs I read and the people I meet and work with! http://malahinitx.blogspot.com

  8. Technology in the classroom:
    Too often, those who want it don’t have it and those who have it, don’t use it. I am in an educational media class right now, learning about technology and how I can incorporate it in my classroom in the future. I worry what my first year of teaching will be like. The students who will walk through my door deserve a great education. I don’t want my inexperience to be their loss. I truly believe I can provide them with a more substantive, quality education via technology. I don’t want to waste my first year of teaching and their school year flopping assignments. I too, would love to see honest stories about the human side of educational technology. I want to learn from real stories about utilizing technology in the classroom—it doesn’t have to be pretty, it has to be pertinent.

    Jillian LeRouge, Elementary Education Major
    The University of South Alabama
    Dr. Strage’s Class, EDM 310