Michael Simkins, Ed.D.
Consulting Director, TICAL
From 1996 to 2001, Michael directed the Challenge 2000 Multimedia Project, one of the original Technology Innovation Challenge Grants funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The project worked with teachers from selected districts throughout Silicon Valley to develop and implement best practices in project-based learning and the use of multimedia tools in the classroom.
Michael began his career as a kindergarten teacher in Lake Tahoe and went on to teach elementary school for 15 years there and in Agoura, California. Before taking his current job, he was an elementary school principal for 9 years. He worked in the San Luis Obispo area chairing the committee that wrote his district's first technology Master plan. His school was the first in the district to install a telephone in every classroom and a local area network. His school was also the first to have its own Internet connection and Web site.
Paralleling his work at school, Michael pursued graduate degrees from UCLA. He earned a Master of Education degree in 1975 and his doctorate in Curriculum and the Study of Schooling in 1986. Michael first got hooked on technology when he was writing his dissertation. He used an Apple II+ and says he never would have finished without it.
Michael participated in ACSA's Telemation Project and trained administrators in San Luis Obispo County in how to use the Internet in their work. He is a frequent contributor to magazines such as Technology and Learning and ACSA's Leadership. He is on the advisory team for SchoolTech Expo in New York and Chicago. He is co-author of Increasing Student Learning Through Multimedia Projects (ASCD 2002).
His areas of interest include educational applications of technology, curriculum integration, and professional development.
When asked about his greatest success in technology, he cited the evidence from the Challenge 2000 Multimedia Project that technology clearly can add value to education. As a result of its success, the Multimedia Project was recognized in 2000 as one of only two "exemplary" educational technology programs by a special U.S. Department of Education expert panel.
To keep abreast of the latest technology and the world in general, Michael listens to NPR, reads Technology Review and Wired, and skims a host of electronic newsletters. When he's not tapping on his computer, he loves to cook, read mysteries, and ski. He has presented at many conferences nationwide, and contributes often to a variety of publications.
Michael has been a part of TICAL since its launch. He was part of the original TICAL Leadership Cadre. In 2001 he joined TICAL full-time as Creative Director. Later he served as Director and Co-Director. In June 2008, he decided it was time to start enjoying the benefits of 37 years employment in California's public schools and "retired."
He is not goofing off, however. Michael continues to work with TICAL as Consulting Director and, in this capacity, edits TBLOGICAL, and produces other content for TICAL's web portal. Michael consults for various organizations including Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Silicon Valley Education Foundation, and the Association of California School Administrators. On the volunteer front, he serves on the board of directors of the San Luis Obispo Little Theatre as well as CASCD and the UCLA Alumni Central Coast Network.
Michael lives in the San Luis Obispo area with his wife, Maryellen, and Pepper, a dear would-be labradoodle.