EdTech Thought Leaders To Follow In 2017

If one thing remains the same in educational technology, it’s change. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of visionaries and mavericks to follow for thoughtful insights into trends and advances in the EdTech world.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark

CEO & Partner: Getting Smart

Tom Vander Ark is an EdTech writer, speaker and influencer. He is CEO of learning design firm Getting Smart and previously served as the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Vander Ark has published thousands of articles and white papers, authored books such as Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World and Smart Parents: Parenting for Powerful Learning.

Below is Tom Vander Ark addressing innovations in education at TedX Manhattan Beach.


Vander Ark’s passion for personalized digital learning inspires us to stay on the forefront of benefiting students through a variety of opportunities for learning.

Follow Tom Vander Ark on Twitter.

Audrey Watters

Audrey Watters

Troublemaker: Hack Education

Audrey Watters is a self-described education writer, independent scholar, serial dropout, rabble-rouser and ed-tech’s Cassandra.

Watters’ essays can be found in countless outlets and her published works include The Monsters of Education Technology, The Revenge of the Monsters of Education TechnologyThe Curse of the Monsters of Education Technology, and Claim Your Domain.

Our team looks forward to getting insightful email and social media updates from Watters’ Hack Education. Her approach to analyzing and observing EdTech trends is thought-provoking and often laced with our kind of humor.

Follow Audrey Watters on Twitter.

Steve Midgley

Steve Midgley

CTO Technology Consulting: Learning Tapestry

Steve Midgley offers CTO technology consulting and development through Learning Tapestry.

Previously, Midgley consulted with the Federal Government to develop approaches including the Learning Registry and Race to the Top.


Steve has worked extensively within leading for-profit companies and within non-profit and bureaucratic organizations. He doesn’t mind stirring the pot when it’s necessary, but always as a means to move the technology and conversation forward.

Follow Steve Midgley on Twitter.

Richard Culatta

Richard Culatta

Educational Innovator

In 2012, Richard Culatta was appointed by President Obama as the Director of the Office of Educational Technology for the U.S. Department of Education.

Culatta currently serves as Chief Innovation Officer for the State of Rhode Island. He has also served as an education policy advisor to U.S. Senator Patty Murray.

Below is Richard Culatta addressing personalized learning at TedX Beacon Street.


Culatta’s commitment to improving access to education and closing the achievement gap inspires us. He is driven by a personal passion for helping students succeed, and his willingness to try new things helps countless teachers and students.

Follow Richard Culatta on Twitter.

Susan Van Gundy

Susan Van Gundy

CEO & Founder: Eduvate

Susan Van Gundy is the former Director of Technology for the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (the PARCC Assessment Consortium), was Director of Education and Strategic Partnerships for the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) and Deputy Director of the NSDL Resource Center.

Susan serves on numerous educational technology and science education advisory boards and speaks frequently at conferences and workshops.

We originally partnered with Van Gundy to share NSDL resources to California teachers through Digital Chalkboard. This collaboration lead to the beginnings of the Learning Registry, a nation-wide resource repository of open educational resources. We look forward to working with Van Gundy in the future!

Find Susan Van Gundy on LinkedIn.

Douglas Levin

Douglas Levin

Founder & President: EdTech Strategies

Doug Levin is a trusted adviser to federal and state policymakers and education leaders. He was instrumental in developing and implementing the nation’s first education technology plan and strategy in 1996 under President Clinton, as well as its subsequent updates in 2000 and again in 2004 under President George W. Bush.

Previously, Levin held positions with the American Institutes for Research, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, and the National Association of State Boards of Education.

We recently ran into Doug at the Open Ed Tools Symposium and it reminded us how much we value his honest approach to EdTech development and will always look forward to sharing ideas with him.

Follow Doug Levin on Twitter.

The leadership team at Navigation North also shares current happenings and insights into education and technology on Twitter: @joehobson@bausland

Follow @NavNorth on Twitter for industry updates and news!

Did we miss someone you value following? Let us know in the comments below.

By | 2022-03-14T11:24:24+00:00 January 30th, 2017|