Patrick Lowenthal: Instructional Technologist
    
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For the times they are a-changin'. --Bob Dylan

It is hard to believe that I have been living in Denver for over six years now. It seems like it was just yesterday when I moved across country to go to graduate school. I was pursuing a Masters in Religious Studies at the time. There was no question in my mind that I would spend the rest of my life studying religion. [1] However, what I failed to realize is that there are no constants. I never expected to find myself a few years later pursuing a masters in Information and Learning Technologies (ILT). But life sometimes takes you in a different direction than you had ever planned.

I am grateful for the University of Colorado for putting up with me during this time of transition. This institution, both in Boulder and Denver, has helped give meaning and direction to my life. In many ways, I am where I am today in a large part because of the University of Colorado. I began the ILT program on a whim--simply in an effort to possibly get a degree in training and development--however two years later I am walking away with not only a degree but a career; and not simply a career in training and development, but rather I have developed the skills needed to pursue a career as an instructional designer, trainer, training manager, web developer, distance learning specialist, or performance support professional.

But skills are only one side of the story. My academic and professional experience has helped me develop a theoretical foundation and framework to guide my work. The following are just a few tenets that come to mind when I think about education, instruction, and training.

  • I believe first and foremost that education should be relevant in some way, shape, or form to the learner.
  • I believe we learn better by doing and by collaborating with others.
  • I believe each and everyone of us must be life long learners. In this day and age, it is impossible to be an expert on everything and much of what we learn we forget or becomes outdated.
  • I believe we must learn concepts as opposed to facts.
  • I believe in critical thinking, creativity, and yes--"thinking outside of the box."
  • I believe that everything is not meant to be on the web.
  • I believe technology is simply a tool that can aid instruction and learning.
  • I believe in public education, the humanities, and the arts.

The bottom line is, I am passionate about education, innovation, and technology. And I believe that everything begins from within. Something happened to me years ago—I started believing that there wasn’t anything I could not do if I set my mind to it. I do not know what triggered this mind set but from out of nowhere it was there. If I was passionate about anything, I could actualize it; not because I was somehow more talented or gifted than the next person but simply because my passion would drive me to work harder than the next person and to never give up

I tried a few years back to make a career in the restaurant business. I began working with a startup company that lured me in with the possibility of making 6 figures before I was thirty. Financial and familial reasons kept me in the business for a few years but eventually the lack of passion I felt for my job began to eat away at me. I realized that it didn’t matter so much where or what I was doing, but that I needed to be passionate about it.

I believe passion alone, though, isn't enough. Therefore, I am continuing my education at the University of Colorado in their doctoral program in Education Leadership and Innovation because there is still so much to learn. As I move forward, I hope to study the intersection of education and technology both at the K-12 and post secondary levels--specifically, I am interested in how distance learning fits into all of this.

I cannot predict where I will be six years from now; because if history has taught me anything, it has taught me that "the times they are a-changin'"--but I am confident that whatever I will be doing it will be related to education, innovation, technology and the University of Colorado.

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Last Updated: July 18, 2003