My name is Michael Haudenschild. If you've made it this far, you probably already know me. (Or you're really desperate for something to do.)
I started my career in educational technology -- computers and the Internet in K-12 schools and universities. In the past few years I have taken my background in psychology, teaching, and technology and moved into "continuous improvement," which is a fancy business-y phrase for "helping people do stuff better, and do better stuff, at work." Most of my work is improving processes (how stuff gets done, by whom, how fast) and facilitating change in organizations (making sure fancy new things actually get used). I'm also involved in large technology and system migration projects, writing and verifying project requirements, leading working groups, and advising colleagues on management challenges.
This site is a place for me to share thoughts on leadership, learning, technology, science... and other fascinating and useful stuff I encounter on a daily basis. My work is both infinitely complex and shockingly simple, always getting started and never quite finished... so I am reading and learning constantly and wanted a venue to share what I learn with others with similar interests. Carrying it all around in my brain isn't possible; if I'm going to bother to write it down, I might as well see if it's useful to someone else.
I've known since I was six that I wanted to be a teacher. Lots of kids probably think the same thing, because kids are insanely impressionable and look up to the adults in their lives. But I was really hooked and constantly interested in the work my teachers were doing, the behind-the-scenes stuff: planning, thinking about how people think, executing a lesson, and assessing the results. I had a lot of respect for how my best teachers could get into my head -- they not only knew what students were thinking, but how they arrived at their conclusions and, as a result, how best to help.
At about the same time, my dad (then a manager at NCR) brought home our first computer, a DM-V ("Decsion Mate Five"). Green phosphor on a black screen. The computer BEEPED every time you pressed a key. The only photo I could find shows the thing with the "optional" hard drive.
In and around the endless afternoons of text-based games like Star Trek, CatChum, and Ladder (bonus points to anyone who remembers these) I taught myself the operating systems and programmed in Basic. When my parents weren't home, I took the computer apart -- and, I'm proud to say, I rarely had any parts left over when it went back together.
My school was really progressive for the time, and I had "computer class" at least once a week starting in early elementary school. The teacher -- who would end up being a mentor and a friend for life -- recognized my interest and threw more challenging work at me. He was probably the first teacher I had who fundamentally differentiated the work in his classroom, before it was called "differentiation." It was the only place I was really challenged academically through high school, although I had incredibly talented and supportive teachers.
Even though I've always enjoyed tinkering and the technical aspects of technology, I decided pretty early on that programming (and, therefore, a computer science degree) was not for me. I found the required math and science fascinating, but not enjoyable. I have tremendous respect for the people with that level of knowledge and who do that work, but I'm more interested in problems that are fundamentally human, versus fundamentally technological.
By the time I entered Denison I was convinced I wanted to be a music teacher (another great educator in my life) but, much like with computers, I discovered that the details of the mechanics of music were less fascinating than the performance experience. And, like CS professors, music professors demand that you get the mechanics.
During college, I was fortunate enough to serve as a technology consultant and acting technology coordinator for the Granville schools, where Denison is located. By the time I graduated I was working nearly full-time at the schools, doing everything from running the network to teacher training to mentoring students to technical planning for new construction. I never thought it would be a long-term thing, but I had the skills and saw it as a great chance to get employment experience in a school.
It ended up being exactly what I wanted to do: help people improve their lives and work. I've worked in a variety of positions at a range of organizations, but this early experience was defining and was a tremendous jump start to what's been a fulfilling personal and professional mission.
The original content on this site, i.e. the stuff I write, is available for your use under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike license, which means you are free to use the stuff as long as you give credit and share with others in the same way I'm sharing with you: for free, giving credit where credit is due.
There are some places where I've used stuff from others. In every possible instance I have made efforts to cite and/or link to the original sources, whether images or text from a story on another site. If I've missed something, please don't hesitate to contact me and I'll fix it right away.
The listing images on many blog posts come from Adobe's royalty-free Fotolia.