With a longstanding career in higher education and technology, we learn why Michael is so passionate about edtech and the potential impact it can have on student success. As co-founder of the EduSoCal Conference, which brings leaders together to discuss information technology in higher education, Michael continuously looks for new ways to merge his passions and support academic transformation.
Michael is well versed in the education and technology fields. Currently serving as the the Vice President for Technology and Communication at CSU Channel Islands, he is responsible for both campus information and academic technology, as well as, communication and marketing. He also understands the challenges teachers and students face inside the classroom as a faculty member himself, and he hopes the development of edtech tools will prioritize the needs of a diverse student population.
With a passion for developing technology to support student success, Michael has written and spoken widely on the impact of technology on teaching and learning and the management of information technology, among other topics. He has also advised and served on the board for several startup companies and enjoys bridging higher education opportunities with entrepreneurs who want to make a difference.
Michael is no novice to social media and was recently named one of “The 100 Most Social CIOs on Twitter” by Huffington Post in 2014. He credits Twitter with helping him stay current; follow him @amichaelberman.
LEARN MORE ABOUT MICHAEL’S WORK AND CRITICAL LEARNING MOMENTS:
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT? WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?
I enjoy working with interesting, talented, caring people and helping to create the conditions where they can achieve things they never thought were possible.
WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ROLE AND ORGANIZATION AND HOW DOES IT RELATE TO THE WORK WE DO AT MICHELSON RUNWAY?
My job as the chief technology officer at a state university is to lead the team that develops a technology environment to support student success. Edtech tools can be an important part of that environment.
WHAT DID YOU DO PREVIOUSLY THAT HAS PREPARED YOU FOR YOUR CURRENT LEADERSHIP ROLE?
Probably my most important experiences came as a faculty member, working everyday with students and also coming to understand from the inside how teachers become who they are.
HOW DO YOU STAY UP TO DATE WITH CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS IN YOUR FIELD?
Right now for me, the single best resource is Twitter. It’s a rare day I don’t learn something and meet someone new on Twitter.
IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO START YOUR CAREER OVER AGAIN, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?
I would have trusted my own instincts and skills more. I had interesting and innovative ideas that I could have pursued but I was good at convincing myself they were too risky and not practical. I would also have spent more time developing my creative side.
WHAT PROMPTED YOUR INTEREST IN SERVING AS A MENTOR TO EDTECH ENTREPRENEURS AND WHAT SPECIFICALLY EXCITES YOU ABOUT THIS INITIATIVE?
I love working with creative people of all kinds, but I am sometimes frustrated by how poorly edtech entrepreneurs understand the opportunities and the challenges of higher ed. I’m thrilled to be able to participate in the process early so that I can help steer their efforts in a productive direction and try to prevent them from hitting the “reality wall” after expending a lot of time and effort on something that isn’t really needed or practical.
PLEASE SHARE A QUOTE THAT HAS GUIDED YOUR PERSONAL/PROFESSIONAL PATH.
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
DESCRIBE ONE FAILURE THAT YOU HAVE TURNED INTO A GROWTH OPPORTUNITY.
I was laid off from a job that I loved. It helped me be more vulnerable and human, and to realize there’s always another path if you keep walking with your head up.
WHAT’S YOUR MORNING RITUAL?
I like to wake up a little slowly, make a quick check on my phone to see that the world’s still there & check the day’s schedule and weather. I incorporate 15 minutes of mindfulness meditation, take a shower, eat breakfast, and walk 12 minutes to work. (somewhere in there I try to remember to put on clothes).
IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT THE CURRENT EDTECH ENVIRONMENT WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I would like to see edtech development start first and foremost with a deep understanding of students, rather than technology, market opportunities, or scale. Of course you can’t succeed without the right technology and business model, but if you don’t start with the student you can do more harm than good. And a corollary – edtech entrepreneurs and developers cannot only consider their own experience as students – there are many different student backgrounds and needs – so many edtech tools look like they were created in the image of the entrepreneur, who is rarely the kind of student who could really benefit from academic transformation.