15 Years of Free Technology for Teachers – Some Thoughts

Fifteen years ago today I was supervising detention when I wrote the first post on this blog. I did not have any idea what was to come over the next fifteen years let alone that I’d still be writing about educational technology in 2022. So on this occasion, if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to take a few minutes to reflect on the last fifteen years. 

People and Places
I’ve met some wonderful people and made great friends as a result of writing my blog. I’ve been invited to speak at events on six of seven continents over the last fifteen years. If anyone is hosting a conference in Antarctica, I’ll be happy to speak at it. I’ve been to events in 49 of 50 states. New Mexico is the only one I’m missing. And I’ve spoken at events in every Canadian province that borders the U.S. (one of my old dogs got to tag along for a few of those 2012). But none of that would have happened without the support of all of the folks who have followed my blog and invited me into their schools and conferences over the years. Thank you!

Years ago many of you reached out to me when one of my dogs passed away. Some even sent me condolences via good old fashioned USPS. Likewise, many of you reached out and sent congratulatory notes when my daughters were born. In both cases it was nice to know that people cared and knew there was a real person behind the blog.

Sadly, some of the people that I met through this blog (and social media) over the years are no longer with us. Sylvia and Allen immediately come to mind and I hope they knew that their work mattered.

Social Media

Over the years I’ve seen social media go from this odd place where only the really techy/geeky people were hanging out to the really odd place that it’s in today. I’m glad that I didn’t abandon blogging to chase social media likes and views.

Only a few of the people who regularly blogged when I started are still doing it on a consistent basis. Larry Ferlazzo, Vicki Davis, Kevin Hodgson, Stephen Downes, and Alan Levine seem to be the only ones I followed then who are still at it on a regular basis today. Keep it up!

Could’ve, Should’ve
Eight years ago I had a chance to sell this blog for a sum that would have given me a lot of financial flexibility (especially considering that I was single and debt-free). I passed because I wasn’t sure what the heck I would have done with myself without blogging. In hindsight, I probably should have taken the offer. Oh well, live and learn.


In 1997 my freshmen comp professor wrote on one of my papers, “you throw punctuation around like it’s confetti.” I’m sure I still do that because some nice readers have corrected me over the years. My favorite was the person who used purple comic sans font in all caps to correct my mistakes.

More good than bad

I’ve gotten some nasty emails over the years (yes, from teachers) and some of them really sting. Overall, the good ones far outweigh the bad ones. And I hope that I’ve done more good than bad over the last fifteen years as well.

Battling plagiarism has been a source of frustration for almost all of the last fifteen years. I try to spin it as a teaching opportunity even though it really grinds my gears.

Some of the pitches I’ve gotten for sponsored guest posts over the years have been quite entertaining. No, I don’t think your “high quality” article about crocheting is relevant to my audience. 

Another 15 years?

To be completely transparent, there have been some times over the last couple of years that I’ve seriously considered walking away from it because of become a bit cynical about some aspects of the educational technology industry. But I keep coming back because at the end of the day, I still enjoy writing and trying to help other teachers. So will I still be doing this in 15 years? Probably not, but I would have said the same thing 15 years ago.

The ten most popular posts of the last fifteen years!

1. Google Forms Can Now Automatically Grade Quizzes Without an Add-on

2. How to Create Your Own Online Board Game

3. Click to Spin – A Fun and Free Random Name Picker

4. Use Whiteboards in Google Meet Without Screensharing

5. Five Google Classroom Improvements Announced During ISTE

6. 5 Handy Chrome Extensions for Teachers

7. The Periodic Table in Pictures and Words

8. Two Ways to Visually Show Classroom Noise

9. Six Tools for Creating Classroom Quiz Games – A Comparison Chart

10. 250 Google Tools Tutorials for Teachers


Thank You Readers for 14 Amazing Years!