I explore a variety of topics at his blog, Virtual School Meanderings. While I maintain my own domain at http://www.michaelbarbour.com, my blog is hosted at the no cost WordPress domain. I also use Wikispaces to run my wiki.
Making a Living
How do I make a living? Well, I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Instructional Technology and Education Evaluation & Research programs at Wayne State University. While I am not specifically paid to publish (it’s just part of being a faculty member), my work on both K-12 online learning and gaming in education is published fairly regularly. Like most academics, those items that are published in non-open source journals – who maintain the copyright on those articles (although I tend to ask for permission to post the item to my personal website). I also make a habit of trying to publish in open source journals (at least as much as I am able, being an untenured, tenure-track faculty member in a tenure track position).
Beginning in the Summer 2011 semester, I have also begun an adjunct faculty position in the Department of Educational Technology at Boise State University – where I have designed and teach a course on blogging in education. Finally, like many university faculty I have established a small consulting business where I do work for a variety of K-12 online learning programs in Canada, the United States and worldwide; along with other educational organizations (see below for the list).
So, you’re a blogger, huh?
Yes, I’m a blogger. I started my Virtual School Meanderings blog in early 2005 (largely due to the influence of Nathan Lowell) and haven’t looked back too much, except for the obligatory navel-gazing that characterizes bloggers. I don’t get paid for blogging, nor do I advertise on my blog – although I do post some vendor items that show up in my inbox when I believe that they would be of interest to the general K-12 online learning community (and this typically happens around the Virtual School Symposium when my inbox tends to get more of these items). I don’t believe in advertising on my blog or making money from what I write. What I write on my blog is strictly for fun, playing with ideas, as well as exploring various issues surrounding K-12 online learning.
I used to write for other blogs, and you can see which ones here. I do not receive payment for any of the blogs I write for (or have written for).
Media ties: I have no media ties.
Stocks: I own no stocks.
Religion: I don’t think I’ve ever blogged about religion, but I was raised in the United Church of Canada – although these days I consider myself more of an agnostic.
Politics: Being a Canadian, and a left-leaning one at that, most of my views tend to be quite left of many of my American colleagues. While I was a card-carrying member and quite active in the Liberal Party of Canada during my youth and undergraduate years, I have found myself voting for almost all of the main political parties in the Canadian political sphere.
I am not a single issue voter, although single issues in the past have caused my indecision to be quickly solved. In most education issues, I tend to fall on the side of public education (e.g., I think Michael Apple makes a great deal of sense in most of his writing).
There are a lot of issues, but I’m not going to jump into those now. If you have a question, drop me an email and maybe I’ll formulate an opinion.
A Few Questions
1. For what other employers (or consulting) have you worked in the last five years?
- Schmidt & Carbol Consulting (contract)
- CAN Corporation (contract)
- CORE Education (consulting)
- National Education Policy Center (contract)
- Distance Education Association of New Zealand (contract)
- Greenways Academy (contract)
- AlphaPlus Centre (consulting)
- Educational Testing Service (seasonal AP exam grader)
- National Film Board (contract)
- JUMP Tutoring (consulting)
2. What sort of volunteer work do you do regularly, if any, and for whom? (Please include any public relations, advocacy or advisory board involvement.)
From 2010 to 2011 I served as one of the inaugural volunteer members of the Board of Directors and Vice President of the Michigan Connections Academy (MICA), although I no longer serve in that or any other capacity. I am also an active member of the following organizations:
- American Educational Research Association (primarily the Rural Education Special Interest Group)
- Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education
- International Association for K-12 Online Learning
- Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education
I am also a member of many others, see my CV for a current and historical list.
3. Do you do any work paid or unpaid in politics or government? Have you done any lobbying of governmental bodies?
Not at present, although prior to getting into education I was a professional political organizer. However, that was back in the mid-1990s (and really does seem like a lifetime ago).
4. Do you have any financial investments or financial ties that may limit your ability to cover specific topics free of conflict, and if so, what are the topics?
None that I’m aware of and, if I did, I’d be sure to point them out.
5. Although we don’t regulate the activities of spouses, partners or immediate family members of our contributors, do any of their professional or personal involvements or any of their financial investments or ties make certain topics inappropriate for you, and if so, what are the topics?
No, my wife is a nurse.
6. Have you accepted any free trips, junkets or press trips in the last two years? Have you accepted any substantial free merchandise or discounts from people we might cover?
I have accepted the following speaking engagements in the past where my expenses were covered and/or I was given a fee for speaking:
- 2012: British Columbia Ministry of Education, e-Learning Division
- 2012: monthly board meeting of Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu – The Correspondence School
- 2012: biennial meeting of the Distance Education Association of New Zealand
- 2012: annual general meeting of the Virtual Learning Network-Community
- 2011: multiple professional development sessions for Bridgewater Academy
- 2011: 2o congreso mundial de e-learning (Second World Congress on e-Learning) organized by the Universidad Nacional Abierta y a Distancia(National Distance Education University)
- 2011: Distance Education Association of New Zealand webinars
- 2011: University of Otago invited speaker session
- 2010: Martin Institute Fall Professional Development Conference
- 2010: Innovative Digital Education and Learning in New Mexico second annual eTeacher and Site Coordinator conference
- 2010: Society for the Provision of Education in Rural Australia annual conference
- 2010: “Online Learning Opportunities for Rural Schools” conference organized by Regional Educational Laboratory – Midwest
- 2009: “Supporting Rural Schools and Communities Research” conference organized by the National Research Center on Rural Education Support
- 2008: biennial meeting of the Distance Education Association of New Zealand
- 2005-2008: various professional development meetings organized by the Illinois Virtual High School
In addition, I have been sent the following books and/or media free-of-charge that I have referenced or reviewed on this blog:
- Disrupting Class – Christensen, Horn & Johnson
- Liberating Learning – Moe & Chubb
- Virtual Schooling: A Guide To Optimizing Your Child’s Education – Kanna, Gillis & Culver
- meStudying: Algebra I – Florida Virtual School iPod/iPad app
- meStudying: Reading – Florida Virtual School iPod/iPad app
- meStudying: AP English Language and Composition – Florida Virtual School iPod/iPad app
- meStudying: Art History – Florida Virtual School iPod/iPad app
- AP European History: 5 Steps to a 5 – gWhiz iPod/iPad app
- AP World History: 5 Steps to a 5 – gWhiz iPod/iPad app
- 500 AP Psychology Questions: 5 Steps to a 5 – gWhiz iPod/iPad app
- 500 AP United State History Questions: 5 Steps to a 5 – gWhiz iPod/iPad app
- Frog Dissection – Emantras app
Finally, I was provided additional pay features to the Mobl21 platform free-of-charge by Emantras for a limited period of time in 2010-11 to conduct a research study into the perceptions of virtual school students of the Mobl21 platform and mobile learning in general.
7. Has anything you’ve written later resulted in a published editor’s note or retraction for deliberate falsehood or plagiarism or become the subject of a lawsuit involving allegations of deliberate falsehood? (If yes, please include details about the publication and your role in the article or story. If a lawsuit, please describe the disposition of the case.)
No (or at least not that I have ever been aware of). If I make mistakes, I attempt to correct them on my blog.
[Note: This page is an adapted version of one completed in Full Disclosure at Around the Corner-MGuhlin.org. It has only been personalized and the text largely remains consistent with the original used by Miguel Guhlin]