Hello world!


Photo by Juan de Dios Santander Vela via Flickr

As a former programmer, I love the “Hello world!” – that rite of passage whenever a new programming language is picked up for the first time and the coder tradition implores you to write, compile, and run that few lines of code to get your first taste of the language’s conventions and its runtime environment. While I did it many times myself in languages – C/C++, Java, JavaScript, among others – this is the first time I’ve administered a WordPress blog and kept the default post, editing only its content. So here it stands.

My bit of nerd reminiscing does have a purpose, though. As the About page specifies, this blog is intended to be a narrative-oriented knowledge base for educational technology at Eastern Mennonite University. This bent toward narrative in the formation of this blog is largely due to my own predilections as a life-long lover of stories. With a graduate education just recently completed, I’ve been drawn to the philosophy of ordinary language that’s found in Wittgenstein, which is attuned to the linguistic, story-shaped quality to human life. And as a life-long Christian with a theological education being a major part of my graduate studies, it’s a particular story to which I commit my life, participating in distinct ways amidst this messy world.

So my hope for this blog in the weeks and months ahead is to start a conversation at EMU about the use of educational technology. I want to act as a kind of journalist, visting faculty and administration and listening to stories about how technology has been used for teaching. But aside from the obvious choice of success stories, I’m also drawn to “bullfrog stories,” those times when things don’t go as planned. Those moments of failure can be just as instructive, or more so, than the “rainbow stories” when everything’s great and everyone’s happy and amazed and the institution’s bottom line is strengthened.

Also stated on the About page is a note about audience: While this blog is primarily oriented toward the the EMU community, this is a public blog. The hope here is to offer the fruits of our learning to the wider world of educational technology used in higher education. This move reflects the value placed on offering hospitality, which is an important practice in the Anabaptist tradition. (It also resonates with the “social good” spirit of the open source movement.) Comments and questions are welcome from all, though the reader/commenter external to EMU might have to endure some “insider language” from time to time.

So with all that out of the way: Hello world!