• Dr Nikki James

Hello World.

Updated: Feb 22, 2020

For those of you who are techy like me, you might find it kind of strange that I start my blog like this. So, let me explain. Five and a half years ago, I started working in an education technology start-up designing technology-enabled learning programs and technology itself. Four and a half years ago, I started my Doctor of Education. I wanted to explore how I could use learning analytics and machine learning to improve the way education technology supported the practice of teaching and learning. Mostly, I spent the last half a decade falling down a technology rabbit hole.

It has been a challenging adventure, to say the least. Not only was I working for a bootstrapped start-up. I went completely crazy and decided to get a Doctor of Education in the use of machine learning and learning analytics in experiential learning. And a side note for all my learning analytics friends who laughed when I said I was doing my Doctorate in a Faculty of Education. I can honestly say I now understand what you meant! But I made it! Well, I'm making it. Today, I am 34 days away from submitting my thesis. And, I feel like I am emerging from the technology rabbit hole. Hence, hello world.

Hello world is often the first term a computer programming student learns to display. It’s also the phrase used to introduce new technology to the world.

I’m not a new technology. But I spent the last five and a half years exploring whether it was possible to build technology that supported the way I teach and could augment it. This exploration took me on a wild adventure but ended with me believing it IS possible to build a learning technology that augments my teaching and learning.

So, here I sit 34 days away from submitting my thesis, a few months away from defending it in my viva voce. If all goes well five months from donning my cap and gown for the last time. I'm excited. But incredibly aware that this is only the end of the beginning. Not to mention, the road ahead is going to include a lot of convincing. Convincing experiential educators to give technology a try. Convincing educational researchers to accept the use of learning analytics as a research method. Convincing learning analytics researchers to give learning theory another try. And most of all, convincing education technologist to build for the future of learning and not just what sells today.

If my tumultuous doctoral journey is an indicator, this is going to be a wild ride full of lots of rejection, dis-belief and passionate debate. But it will also be an adventure full of incredible people who do believe in me, encourage me and get on board. So, I decided to share the journey with the world!

I have no idea who is reading my story. But I hope that if you do it will encourage you to not give up on your dream! To keep going even if everyone is telling you you're crazy! Because it's the CRAZY ONES, who change the world.

So, here’s to you CRAZY ONE.

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