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…

Ambigrams & Math: In one embeddable ebook

Over the past two years Gaurav Bhatnagar and I have written five columns for the Math education journal At Right Angles  on the topics of mathematics and visual wordplay, specifically Ambigrams. In this five articles we have explored everything from symmetry to...

Seeing mathematics everywhere…

Dame Kathleen Ollernshaw was deaf since the age of 8. Despite this she had an amazing life as a mathematician, amateur astronomer, politician (she served as mayor of Manchester as well as in the Thatcher administration) and mother. To learn more about her read this...

4 AM: A poem

4 AM: A poem

4 AMJuly 17, 2019 The stupid smoke detectorsBeep IncessantlyThere are two of themRunning this conversationWith each otherThrough the night Their batteries dyingOr dead Funnily enoughThey fall silent during The dayLull you into thinking It is okIt was just a glitch But...

Quest 2 Learn conference in Bangalore & more

Quest 2 Learn conference in Bangalore & more

I just got back from a lovely few days in Bangalore. I was there to participate in the Quest 2 Learn Annual Summit organized by the Quest Alliance. Convened at the  National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), on the campus of the Indian Institute of...

TPACK newsletter #37, June 2018

TPACK newsletter #37, June 2018

The latest version of the TPACK newsletter (TPACKNewsletterIssue37) is now available and can be  found here (pdf). All previous issues are archived here. This issue is 60 pages long!!! The amount of work being done in this area never ceases to...

TPACK & ASU in USDE policy brief

TPACK & ASU in USDE policy brief

The US department of Education recently released a policy brief, titled: Advancing Educational Technology in Teacher Preparation. As they describe it This policy brief identifies key challenges and solutions to the effective integration of technology in teacher...

New Literacies & TPACK

I recently (through the magic of Twitter) found out about an initiative New Literacies Teacher Leader Institute 2010. This institute was organized by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education, the New Literacies Research Lab at the...

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

 I feel lucky (and quite undeserving) for all that I have been given in this life. It is no surprise that Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the year. To celebrate Thanksgiving 2016 here is a new version an ambigram that I had made before.

Cellphone in classrooms: The Saline story

From the Saline Schools, right here in Michigan, comes a video about how teachers and students are using cellphone in the classroom to enhance teaching and learning. Check it out h/t Superintendent Scot Graden's Blog


  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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