100 Years of EdTech

I was more than a little envious of all the great folks enjoying the OER24 conference on the ground in Cork last week. It looked like an absolutely smashing event, and as I blogged last year, it’s definitely my favorite non-Reclaim event—how about that qualifier! Meredith Huffman and Maren Deepwell were doing Reclaim proud on the ground, and it seems like Alan Levine got Gasta-ed, a 5-minute baptism by fire. By all accounts both keynotes were brilliant, and I got a pretty good sense of things following along on Mastodon (this bava got federated).

But possibly the single biggest element of this year’s event was the celebration of Martin Weller’s 30 years in edtech. He’s written the books; he has blogged the posts; alongside Maren he was instrumental making the OER conference what it is today; and he’s been steering GOGN for over a decade alongside all the other penguins.

GOGN Penguins saving pedagogy during the Pandemic

In many ways this event marks the closing of a chapter in Martin’s role in edtech as he retires from the Open University, steps down as lead of the GOGN research group, discontinues his lucrative and wildly popular 25/30 years of Edtech franchise, and even let’s his blog….nope, he is not allowed to stop blogging. Martin has been a huge inspiration and influence on many folks over the last 30 years, and I come in around the 20 year mark of his journey when we both started blogging in order to link pop culture to edtech in sometimes a fairly shoe-horned manner—he has since become the king of the edtech metaphor.

Martin Weller’s Metaphors of Ed Tech

Martin’s post “Follow the Biscuits” bemoaning his less than ceremonious institutional send-off struck me as all too familiar, and his noting how damaging that is to an already fragile higher ed morale hits the nail on the head. In fact, so much of his blogging has done just that over the last twenty years, and his work has helped me understand the limits and possibilities of our field with a playful, human, and always intelligent take on the challenges we face.

When Brian Lamb and I were driving up the West coast of the United States last year, he noted just how unique a space Martin has been able to carve out in our field through his blog, books, and various other endeavors. It’s not too often you get so many volunteers lining up to read and comment on chapters of your latest book (see the 25 Years of EdTech franchise referenced above). I joke about Martin’s work, but that’s only because I am jealous of how well he has been able to both see and communicate the unique struggles facing the field of open education—he’s a believer, but he is also very practical about what that means to the wider world which makes him an amazing translator and ambassador.

Martin Weller’s The Battle for Open —documenting the MOOC years and more

I’m not sure what the next 75 years of edtech will bring, but I think that part of it will be driven by the open, playful spirit of Weller’s stand-out work. Maybe he’ll just write pulp horror novels from here on out (which is probably necessary after the work he has put in), but I do know that his commitment over the last 30 years has resulted in one of the few voices that was able to so succinctly articulate a moment. The fact that the OER24 conference ended with a standing ovation for his contributions was probably the thing I missed most; I really wanted to stand up alongside a group of fellow travelers and clap for everything he has given us over the years. Thanks Martin, you’re the metaphor maker that keeps on giving!

This entry was posted in Instructional Technology, OER23, OER24, open education, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to 100 Years of EdTech

  1. That is a lot of love! Thank you for all the kind words. You were missed at OER. I can think of no finer send off for this stage of my career than a bava post. Now, tell me again about my eyes…

  2. Pingback: Explore the voices and resources from OER24  : #ALTC Blog

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