My name is Dan Mourlam and I am the Project Manager and Technology Specialist for the Teacher Quality Partnership at the University of Northern Iowa. Here you will my thoughts on education, and likely my processing of things that don’t make sense to me right away. I believe learning is a social process through our voice, so for me, it’s important to communicate my ideas for my own edification. Topics will vary, but will stay mostly related to creating curricular experiences through the effective design of educational technologies, which as a by product, also includes professional development and adult learning.
Why I blog…
I started blogging about eight years ago. My goal at the time was to let the staff and faculty in my school know more about technology resources that were available to them at the school. I largely focused on the tools that were already at their disposal. I also focused on establishing a relationship with my co-workers to let them know I was knowledgeable and could help them solve a problem or learn something new. At the time I was 22 and fresh out of Iowa State with a teaching degree. So largely, I started to share what I knew with others. I had a unique knowledge at the time in my district and they seemed to go over relatively well with the faculty and staff.
Over the next few years I began changing how I blog to become more of an advocate for technology and education. I began my M.Ed. program at Iowa State (via online distance ed) and over the course of that program I began to see the need to have a voice on the side of responsible technology integration. This has been something that I feel hasn’t been represented, or at least not to the same extent that other areas of curriculum and instruction have been in the past.
In the last six months, however, I channelled my effort to a slightly different purpose. This time instead of focusing on helping just other people, I decided to focus on my own learning and use my blog as the platform for me to reflect on education, technology and my practice. This seemed to be the missing element in my blog, because updating my blog wasn’t an enjoyable activity for me. It felt like work! I decided I needed to take my blog and make it something where I could continually learn. A place where I could talk about things I don’t necessarily have a firm opinion or knowledge-base. In the time since, I’ve continued to grown and am now starting to focus more on the learning experiences of educators and how to make it better.
My Blog History…
My blog actually started as Tech Tips of the Week and wasn’t really a blog, but rather an email newsletter I would email out weekly to the staff and faculty at my first job in Cherokee, IA, in 2006. Let’s just say it was blogish. After a few months I realized there was no good way to archive my messages so I moved to a blog created using iWeb and posting the blog on the school’s Web server. As I moved through the next school year, I used the school’s Web server to host my blog, but it was a little slow to update and I couldn’t really do it from home, so I next looked to online options. However, I didn’t really see anything that I wanted and my tech tip of the week went by the wayside for most of the next school year. Then something big happened in the district. We switched to Google Apps and I had a great tool to use to update my blog, Google Sites. At this point my blog turned into more of a Web page rather than a blog since no one could really comment. This worked well for a while but I felt like I was missing part of the conversation so I switched yet again. This time I switched to a blogging platform that has served all my purposes quite well, WordPress. In the years since finding a more permanent home, I’ve focused on a variety of issues from using tech in the classroom, to reflecting on my experiences in the classroom, to advocating for new ways of teaching and learning, both with children and adults.
If you are interested learning more about me professionally, please visit my vitae.