Exciting new possibility & an invitation

by | Thursday, February 11, 2010

A few days ago we announced a new hybrid Ph.D. program in educational technology. It will be offered substantially online with some critical on-campus face to face factored in. You can find more details of the program by going to the website, or by reading the news release or a news story. But here I want to speak to something else—I want to speak about my personal excitement at being a part of this new program and why I think it is important. These ideas are difficult to fit into a press release or program website, but I think they are extremely important, maybe more so, than what gets into official documents. So here goes…

Over the past few years the work that Matt Koehler and I done together (and I am speaking of the TPACK framework) has received some positive attention. Our article(s) has been read and cited, graduate students have completed dissertations using it as an analytic lens, and there have been lots of research articles and conference presentations around this topic. This is all very good and I would be lying if I didn’t enjoy this (and the added benefit of being invited to offer keynote presentations at conferences).

That said, the most gratifying part for me, personally, has been learning about how the framework has been taken to heart by practitioners. An email from a teacher, or a blog entry by a tech coordinator, someone catching me in the hallway at at conference, all in one way or the other, indicating that the framework has helped them conceptualize what they do in a new way. How cool is that.

One frustration however has been that I don’t get a chance to work as closely with teachers as I would like, for extended periods of time. This new program explicitly aimed at practitioners hopefully will change that. Moreover it seeks to bring together people who care strongly about education and learning and those who understand that newer technologies are fundamentally changing everything. We are looking for people who see the problems we face today and are interested in finding research driven solutions.

We are looking for the adventurous ones, the risk-takers, the ones who want to make a difference. And we want to bring them together, using the powerful tools we now have, to create, explore and share, to engage in dialogue and dissent, to critique research and to conduct research, to experiment with new technologies, new pedagogies and new content.

This is doubly important today, because, we know that we are living in exponential times. Clearly the status quo will not do. Most of what we know (and teach) is becoming dangerously irrelevant. We need new ideas, new research, new tools, new institutional structures, and new pedagogies that fit this new “conceptual world” we are living in.

A year or so ago I created a mashup of a commercial that was sort of going viral (videos at end of this posting). I had a lot of fun doing that. What was disturbing, to me, about the original commercial was that technology was seen as just another way of transmitting information from professor to student. At the end of the day it was just a lecture, albeit delivered on an iPod. One of the points I was trying to make through this mashup was that new technologies provide us with new ways of engaging with content, new ways of teaching and new ways of learning. I have always believed that creativity and design are essential qualities for a teacher. This is even more important when we think about these new digital tools and what they can do for us as educators and more importantly for learners. I think with this new hybrid Ph.D. program we have an opportunity to explore some of these ideas. I am excited by that possibility and am really looking forward to working with a cohort of similarly inspired educators.

I must add that I have a selfish motivation for this. I am excited by this not because I know the answers and want to transfer them to the people in the cohort. Not at all. I am excited because I see this as a way for me to learn and grow. And to do this with some cool, inspired educators, what could be better than that.

So if you want to be part of this exciting experiment (or know someone else who may want to be part of it) let me know. Drop me an email, visit the website (http://edtechphd.com/).

This is going to be fun.


Here is the original commercial that I had mentioned above:
[youtube width=”425″ height=”355″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e50YBu14j3U[/youtube]

And my response:
[youtube width=”425″ height=”355″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uozG9td6AE[/youtube]

I had posted this as a guest blog post on Nashworld. You can see my original post here.

A few randomly selected blog posts…

Making it in academia! Hmmm…?

Making it in academia! Hmmm…?

The question of impact of one's work is something that all researchers and scholars care about, particularly in applied fields like education. The question, however, is how is impact to be measured? Over the past few weeks I have had a few instances where my work has...

On merging with our technologies (Unpacking McLuhan 4/3)

On merging with our technologies (Unpacking McLuhan 4/3)

This is the fourth of what was supposed to be a three post-series about how media influence our thinking. The first post, uses the invention of writing and print to unpack the meaning of McLuhan’s statement, “The medium is the message.” The second post, focuses on a...

Tipping point for online learning: The interview

Tipping point for online learning: The interview

I had written a blog post towards the beginning of the pandemic (Tipping point for online learning, OR the postman always rings twice). In this piece, I built on something Neil Postman had written back in 1998 to try and better understand the current context....

Bringing sensory richness to bleak scientific texts

A while ago I had written about how we use language to capture intangible ideas - and the risks associated with not paying attention to these intangibles. I had said (though you can read the complete post A different language): For instance wine connoisseurs have...

Creativity in the lives of accomplished teachers

How do exemplary teachers incorporate creativity in their teaching? In this dissertation study, Danah Henriksen  interviewed National Teacher of the Year award winners (and finalists), to better understand their beliefs, interests, and practices involving creative...

AI in teaching & learning: A critical response (by AI)

AI in teaching & learning: A critical response (by AI)

AI in education can aid But bias and fairness must be weighed Educators and students must co-design To make assessments more fine And ensure learning growth is not delayed The above is a limerick created by AILYZE (www.ailyze.com) to summarize the recently released...

Diwali 09 Photos

The Lansing temple recently organized a special Diwali program. My daughter Shreya participated in a dance and I, as always, took photographs of the event. Click here or the image below to see all 161 of the photographs I took. Enjoy. You can also read a poem written...

Nature v.s. nurture, what are we missing

Jordy Whitmer over at the Birmingham School district forwarded me this link to this really cool video by George Kembel on Awakening Creativity. There is a lot in the video to ponder and discuss but I want to focus on something he said about music learning that really...

Of raindrops and dying flowers

Of raindrops and dying flowers

The rainfall in June –the poems I’ve pasted to wallspeel off, but leave traces.~ Basho All photos taken with my iPhone8©punyamishra


  1. Jenni

    Punya – Is the degree called technology and psychology, and if so, how heavy on the “technology” portion? I am all about the right brained, “psychology” piece 🙂 I teach for an online institution, have 2 masters degrees, but have hit the glass ceiling and need a PhD (from a regionally accredited U) to move up in the university. My husband is in military, so we move all of the time, thus limiting my opportunities for an in residence program. The article online about your new program said this was the second PhD at MSU to be offered with the hybrid format – what is the other degree, out of curiosity?

    Are you still looking for people to start in your June class?

    Thank you! Jenni

  2. Punya Mishra

    Thanks Kevin, for that, somewhat qualified” vote of support 🙂

    It is an exciting opportunity…
    ~ punya

  3. Kevin M. Johnston

    Finally, a program that advertises support for taking risks and makes a sensible claim about what’s possible with learning technology. This program seems feasible, adventurous, relvant, exciting, and forward-thinking. It can’t possibly work…(With all seriousness…) Bravo!

  4. Terri

    Great thoughts Punya. Also, as I sit here at home responding to your post on my Droid, I am excited about the possibilities that this new program will bring to the COE and the daring practitioners that seek to carve a new path.



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