INTRODUCTION (narrative)

According to Dictionary.com, curriculum vitae is a Latin term meaning ” the course of one’s life or career;” it is also defined as “a summary of your academic and work history.”  I tend to think of my CV as more of a life history than a summary; it is a living, breathing professional narrative.  Additionally, I think of the CV as an extensive datasheet.  And, if data is defined as “observations of states of the world” (Davenport & Prusiak, 1997. p. 9), or “objective facts, presented without any judgment or context” (Empson in Thorn, 2001, p. 4), then data become information only when endowed with relevance and purpose.  Common processes through which data become information include summarization and analysis.  When data are summarized, for example, something considerably more worthwhile than raw data is yielded.

Thus, to provide you with something more worthwhile than the raw data contained in my CV, I felt a need to summarize the data contained therein; to endow the data with relevance.  To that end, I submitted my CV to a free online service called Wordle.  According to their website, “Wordle is a toy for generating ‘word clouds’ from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text..”  Thus, Figure One below is a word cloud that summarizes my CV.  The larger the word, the more frequently it (or some version of it) appears in the text (in this case, my CV).  In other words, Figure One is a visual summary of my academic and work history; it is a word picture of who I am at this point in my academic career.

Figure One. Word cloud of my CV as of August 20, 2012

Clearly, as the figure depicts, much of my history has been spent publishing and presenting at conferences about my research and evaluation efforts focused on educational technology and school leadership.  In that sense, the text cloud is a fair representation of me and my work.  In fact, I count myself as one of only a few professors of educational leadership at research-intensive universities with a focused research and publication agenda at the intersection of leadership and technology. McLeod & Richardson (2011) provide some evidence of this state of affairs by demonstrating how appallingly little attention is paid to issues of leadership and educational technology in the 25 most widely cited journals in education.  

Thus, my reasonably unique academic focus and expertise live at the intersections of education, leadership, technology and policy. Furthermore, I do not just research and write about educational technology, and I do not consider myself a blind advocate of technology in education. I like to think that my main focus these days is on helping sitting and aspiring school leaders explore the affordances (and constraints) of technology for all aspects of education and schooling. And, as a teacher and scholar, I am always exploring the affordances of technology for my own work. In fact, I think you will see this idea of the affordances of technology as the central theme throughout my professional narrative.

 

NEXT: “On Teaching…” (narrative) →

September 7th, 2010 by Jon Becker