Our Space

A Look Behind, a Step Ahead

This is my last issue as editorial director of T.H.E. Journal. As of November I will be working with the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), directing strategic initiatives and communications. This will enable me to work on state and federal policy and hopefully effect positive change in technology and education. Before I sign off, in the spirit of this issue’s special feature (“2020 Vision,” p. 35), which takes a look at the digital revolution’s past and future impact on education, permit me editor’s prerogative to do the same.

T.H.E. Journal was established in 1972, not a robust time for technology, but Ed Warnshuis, the magazine’s founder (and father of its current publisher, Wendy LaDuke), saw the possibilities for technology in education, even if the extent of it was mainframes and slide projectors. I started reading T.H.E. in 1981 as a classroom teacher with five Apple IIe’s. I was looking for creative activities to do with those computers beyond making crossword puzzles, programming in BASIC, and exploring the Oregon Trail. As a district technology coordinator I read T.H.E. articles on technology planning, approaches to training, and integrating technology into the classroom. Then, when I became a state technology coordinator and assistant commissioner with responsibility for curriculum, assessment, textbooks, and technology, the magazine provided me with best practices to pass on to districts in my state and helped keep me in tune with what was happening across the country.

My thanks to you readers as well. Your input and insights only improved my own.

I was delighted to arrive at T.H.E. in June of 1996, partially because of the value it had provided me in my various jobs. I have tried to continue what was vital to me as a reader—the latest industry news, articles illustrating best practices, and useful information to technology coordinators, CIOs, administrators, and tech-using educators.

In my quarter-century working with technology in education, I have marveled at the creativity and devotion of individual teachers and administrators, and am fascinated by the growth in technology’s sophistication and its presence in education. Yet I have become more and more frustrated that these islands of excellence we write about have not scaled to be the norm. The effective use of technology to improve education has grown critical; without it, we cannot implement the full-scale changes in our schools that are needed to fully equip our students for life and work in the 21st century. We are close to that goal, but each of us needs to tell our positive stories to policymakers and the world at large to ensure the importance of technology in education is understood by all.

My deepest respect and thanks to the terrific T.H.E. editorial staff—Jeff Weinstock, Olivia LaBarre, and Dave Nagel—as well as to the art staff; the organizers of the FETC (Florida Educational Technology Conference) live and virtual events; all the folks working on the web side; and our fearless leader, Wendy LaDuke. They have all been my partners and my teachers. My thanks to you readers as well. Your input and insights only improved my own. I hope to see you at FETC and online in the future.

This article originally appeared in the November 2010 issue of THE Journal.

About the Author

Geoffrey H. Fletcher is the deputy executive director of the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA).