25 Years of Ed Tech – The Series

An all-star cast of international educators and ed tech experts has come together to create a serialized reading of Martin Weller’s 25 Years of Ed Tech. The podcast of the same name, coordinated by BCcampus’ Clint Lalonde, will air weekly beginning Monday, November 2. A bonus series, called Between the Chapters and hosted by Laura Pasquini, will release a new episode each Thursday.

Post by BCcampus’ editorial team

For the next half year or so, anyone interested in educational technology will have a new podcast to enjoy on a weekly basis, with a supplemental podcast — a quasi-virtual-book club — to explore each chapter of Martin Weller’s openly published eBook, 25 Years of Ed Tech. The podcasts aren’t just for people in ed tech: there are many parallels between the rise of the internet and the development of ed tech, so if you enjoy technology and you’ve been around for a while, you’ll get something out of it.

Martin Weller, director of the Open Education Research Hub and the Global OER Graduate Network, is a familiar voice to those in the educational technology space, with a blog that reaches back to early 2006 and a Twitter following of over 11,000 fans of ed tech and open (see Martin Weller’s Twitter). His book was released in February, when the world was still widely unaware of what the coming months would do to everything, especially — but not exclusively — to online education.

To share the story of 25 Years of Ed Tech, Clint Lalonde, project manager at BCcampus, coordinated a host of talented ed tech professionals from around the world, with each narrating a portion of the book. On the project’s format, he said, “We went with 25 people to narrate the 25 chapters, giving us a diversity of voices and a wealth of understanding around these topics.”

25 Years of Ed Tech: The Podcast

“Within the field of educational technology,” explained Clint, “there’s a feeling that we don’t remember our own history. We see this pattern repeated where things that are new and innovative, or presented as new or innovative, are actually not that new, nor innovative. In many cases, there’s been a deep, rich history of research and work that has taken place earlier, but we either forget about it or discount its value.

“A great example was when massive online open courses (MOOCs) hit in 2012. They became huge, virtually overnight. All of a sudden, the world discovered this new form of learning — online learning — but people had been doing this for many years before. There was this great rush to this shiny new thing, but people weren’t learning the lessons of the past, and they were making the same mistakes that had already been solved. And we just saw this again this spring, as everyone converted to online for COVID-19. In the pivot, there was this new thing called online learning, with people reinventing the wheel while ignoring over thirty years of available research and experience. I think it’s essential that we pay attention to our history, and Martin’s book presents it in a nice and accessible way.”

In a post sharing his excitement about the audible interpretation of his book, Martin wrote: “It’s been very exciting and humbling to see so many people I admire donate their time to this project. It’s interesting to hear other people speak the chapters as this sometimes puts a different slant on them to the one I had in mind, which gives it a new life. I always wanted the book to be a starting point — like those 100 best film lists, it’s not intended to be definitive but rather a means of having discussion. The audiobook combined with the podcasts does exactly that.” To read the rest of Martin’s post, see Audiobook version of 25 Years on The Ed Techie blog.

Clint has set up the podcast to ensure it’s available as far and wide as possible.

“We’re using a backend called Transistor to syndicate with all of the major podcast platforms, like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Overcast, and more,” says Clint. “Whatever podcast tool you use, you’ll be able to find our podcast as it is released. And if you’re old school and know how to set up your RSS feed, you can get the notification right from the website. We also have a Twitter account, @YearsEd, so you can follow it there, too.”

Between the Chapters

Laura Pasquini, learning experience designer and community developer at Amazon, is an accomplished podcaster, and in early discussions with Clint about the audiobook, she suggested that they create a bonus series to explore and dissect what was shared in the previous chapter episodes.

“The bonus episodes,” shared Laura, “from this podcast will hopefully enlighten people as to where these chapters came from and what Martin was thinking about. Some of the people who narrated a chapter are also in the companion podcast, giving their perspective on the content they discussed, from wikis to the web to blogs and more. I’m really excited for people to hear more about it.”

“We are still in the process of recording the sessions,” continued Laura. “This will run until May of next year, so there’s an opportunity to bring in more voices in the coming months. I have some folx on my wish list and a calendar tool that gives flexibility for people around the world. Everyone is really busy right now, so I’m grateful for everyone who has made the time to commit to being part of the chapter discussion.”

Between the Chapters is a reflection of what we hoped would happen with the book,” said Laura. “Our goal is for it to become a springboard for folx to come back and have a conversation with us, leave us a comment, tweet back at us, or include us in their own talkback podcast. We’ll welcome those ideas and discussions, and we’re grateful that Martin has made it possible for us to share and build on his initial publication. It’s like the book is a living document that we read and can add to. The podcast is just a piece of it, and we hope the people in the community will continue to add to it, sharing their voice and learning from one another as we talk about these ideas, issues, technologies, and the places and spaces  we were in around the world: looking at the learning at that time and what it means now. Nothing has really changed, and we know that we can learn from lessons of the past in our current circumstances today.”

The Affordance of Open

Martin Weller published this book with Athabasca University Press under a Creative Commons licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0), which made it possible for Clint and company to create the podcast series. This is such a phenomenal example of what can happen when we embrace open and allow others to take our ideas and help them grow, thus delivering them to more people and across more channels while eliminating barriers to access.

“There were some great things made possible through open in this project,” shared Laura, “like the music in the podcasts via ccMixter, the fun cover art remixer from @visualthinkery, and all of the artwork that we’ve used for the podcast website and social media.”

Notable Quotes

“If it is not already true, then in 25 years it certainly will be, that all learning is technology-enhanced learning. This establishes an onus on educators, universities, and learners themselves to critically reflect on the role of that technology.”

—Martin Weller, professor of educational technology at the Open University and author of 25 Years of Ed Tech

“There’s a theme of continuity, where even though some of the technology of yesteryear didn’t achieve what we’d hoped for it, we still realized some powerful learnings from working with it, whether that was good digital literacy skills or other takeaways. It’s an evolution, and these podcasts do a great job of tracking how we’ve gotten to this point to do the work we do.”

—Clint Lalonde, project manager, Open Homework Systems, BCcampus

“As part of my editing process, I listen to the recording and check out the materials shared by the guest narrator, whether it was an article, website, resource, an idea, or a project someone finished. I add these to the show notes because some people will listen to the episode, but others might just review the notes to find the resources. It’s a fun way to give us a multimedia experience: sound, reading, and video.”

—Laura Pasquini, learning experience designer and program manager, Amazon

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