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11 Steps to Becoming an EdTech Visionary

After more than ten years of ranting in this space, I think I’ve finally figured out how to attract readers. Or build traffic, which I gather is more important than actual people who read.

Anyway, don’t tell anyone but the secret seems to be making lists.

The 10 best iPad apps. The five essential web applications. Seven technologies that will make you smarter and better looking.

So, to start down my path to Internet fame and fortune, and celebrate the annual ISTE conference, here are the 11 steps you need to follow to be considered a visionary in instructional technology. Why, 11? According to the great philosopher Nigel Tufnel, it’s one louder than ten.

  1. Gain a huge following on Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/[insert other social media platform here]. After all, a visionary needs followers. You’ll probably never get Justin Bieber-type numbers but something in five figures will certainly demonstrate the importance of your ideas.

  2. On a regular basis, declare something to be the next innovation that will transform the classroom. It really doesn’t matter what, just use lots of hyperbolic statements to emphasize its importance.

  3. Better yet, make lists like this one of transformative, revolutionary, disruptive stuff.

  4. And link back to your lists whenever possible (blog posts, tweets, comments on other sites, etc) to demonstrate how important they were in the first place.

  5. Never be brief. Visionaries have a lot to say and are not shy about saying it.

  6. Assemble a deck of PowerPoint slides with plenty of great quotes, funny pictures and inspirational videos. Or inspirational quotes, great pictures, and funny videos. The content is irrelevant. Edtech visionaries are entertaining keynoters.

  7. Include lots of infographics in your posts. You don’t have to create them and it doesn’t even matter if they make sense. Infographics are hot, and hot always solidifies your visionary credentials.

  8. When not using infographics, use lots of statistics from studies that support your ideas. And ignore any research that deviates from them. It’s probably wrong anyway.

  9. Never ask questions (except rhetorical ones). EdTech visionaries are always right. They don’t ask questions, they answer them.

  10. Mix some nice sounding business concepts into your pronouncements. We all know that education is just another business and could benefit greatly from some entrepreneurial, venture, disruptive cheese moving, with some blueberries thrown in for good measure.

  11. Better yet, get an MBA (or start a business). Let’s face, no one is going to take you seriously as an edtech visionary (or in any area of the education vision industry) if you’ve actually taught kids. However, being a kid might help.


  1. Mike Thayer

    Tim –
    I’d humbly suggest adding #12: Be an educator first for a few years, then leave the classroom to become a visionary.

  2. Doug Johnson

    Hi Tim,
    Noticed this about lists myself:
    However as an aspiring visionary, I appreciate your tips. I gotta get going on number 7, however. Look forward to seeing you at ISTE.

  3. Richard Warren

    Great list. I think we can add a few things.

    #13. Dont try and do it from the bottom of the South Pacific. Very small starting point re market opportunities and the distance to real markets is way big.
    #14 Become a guru on “doing it the hard way”. People love stories of failure – It makes them feel so much happier!

    Great note!

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