An EdTechie In 2069

3 reasons why I hope to never stop working at the intersection of learning and technology.

February 5, 2014

My retirement plan has me working until 2069. In that year I will turn 100, and maybe then I’ll take up golf.

Why won't this edtechie ever retire?

First, have you seen the cost of higher ed lately? We have two offspring set to hit the postsecondary industrial complex in 2015 and 2017. Enough said.

But I have other reasons beyond tuition costs to want to stay working at the intersection of learning and technology. Here are a 3:

1. You:  

Yes you. Us. Our higher ed tech learning community. You are equal parts optimistic and jaded. Excited about the potential for technology to transform learning and skeptical about any grand claims. Working to disrupt the status quo in the context of institutions that we wish to preserve and see prosper.  

Is there any group of professionals on the planet that came to our avocation from a more diverse set of past employment and educational experiences. The path through learning technology, and into learning technology, is seldom linear.  

We are generalists in a sea of sub-specialists. People who view technology as a lever, but learning as the real goal.

I look forward to hanging out with you for the next 2 score and 14 years. I look forward to seeing new blood come into our field. Newly indoctrinated members to the edtech mafia who will hopefully articulate (loudly, forcefully) everything that we are currently botching.    

2.  The Gig Is Endlessly Interesting:

Those of us who work in educational technology are hyper-aware of the challenges faced by our individual institutions and across the postsecondary ecosystem, and we are determined to help create a more sustainable, equitable and accessible future.

Combine all these together - the potential to improve learning with technology and the imperative to improve access while stabilizing costs - and you have the recipe for one interesting job.  

I think that it is the combination of our social mission, with the potential for change at the pace that technology moves, that makes the our edtech world so fascinating.  

We work on learning technology in the context of an industry facing serious and significant challenges. We love what higher ed is, but know that it cannot remain static.  

3.  I Don’t Know How To Do Anything Else:

The 3rd reason that I hope to go to my last ELI Annual Meeting in 2069 is that I’m not sure what other meetings I could attend. (Besides all the other great edtech meetings).  

The longer I do educational technology the less I know how to do anything else.  

Living at the place where higher ed and technology meet is so all consuming (because it is so interesting), that other world’s seem to fall away.   

The world of higher ed is so complicated that it takes all my brain space to even begin to figure it out.

There is a serious point here in that I don’t really see the potential to make the leap out of academia.   

Higher ed is the language that I speak. The culture that I’m comfortable.

What about you? Could you ever see making the jump out of higher ed?   

Over the next 56 years I’m betting that I’ll have many different jobs. That I’ll do many different things.  

But I’d also wager that all of these gigs will somehow connect with higher education.

When do you plan to retire?


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