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Audrey Watters

Writer

Full Disclosure...


I am always suspicious when I hear people invoke “objectivity” – whether they’re scientists or journalists or teachers. I am deeply implicated – me, Audrey – in all I write, in all I think. I try my best to be transparent about that. So here’s some things that situate my knowledge (and for you, dear reader, to situate me in turn):

Education


I went to public school in Wyoming through 11th grade when I was sent to a private boarding school in Oxford, England. (My dad’s from Wyoming; my mum’s from England.) I did not graduate from a US high school. (The State of Wyoming would not grant me my diploma as I didn’t have enough PE credits.) I have an International Baccalaureate instead. The IB was the best education I received in my entire educational career: from kindergarten through graduate school. I recognize the privilege of private school.

I dropped out of college when I was 19. I had a baby when I was 21. I went back to school eventually (mostly taking undergraduate classes via “distance education”) and stayed there for multiple degrees. I was widowed when I was 34. I dropped out of a PhD program a year later.

I taught university for almost 10 years, teaching a variety of classes in a number of departments: composition, Folklore, Women’s Studies, English, Film, Comparative Literature. During that time, I was a member of the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation, the labor union representing the University of Oregon graduate students and a local of the American Federation of Teachers. I am no longer a member of either union, as I’m no longer a grad student.

I wrote my Masters Thesis in Folklore on political pranks. It included a chapter on political pie-throwing, and at one time I was known as the scholarly expert on this act. (I have an autographed copy of Noël Godin’s book, and no, I will never take or receive Bill Gates’ money.)

I worked for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) for (not quite) two years before resigning to become a freelance writer. I have no financial interest in the organization and am not a member.

I have a 25-year-old son who’s opted not to finish college. I don’t believe that everyone should have to go to college; I think that times are incredibly tough for those who don’t. (That’s not a new thing; that’s sorta always been the point, right?)

Economics


I have freelanced for various publications, including The Baffler, The Atlantic, Educating Modern Learners, KQED’s MindShift, Inside Higher Ed, and The School Library Journal.

Mostly I write for my own ed-tech blog Hack Education. I refuse to run ads or take sponsorship dollars. Instead, the site is funded by readers’ donations.

Although I’ve also done some research to pay my bills, I tend to do quite a bit of speaking, and that is my main source of income. I don’t do consulting. So don’t ask.

I was a recipient of the Spencer Education Journalism Fellowship for the 2017–2018 academic year. I was a recipient of a Shuttleworth Foundation Flash Grant in 2014.

I currently have a book contract with MIT Press for Teaching Machines.

When my dad died a few years ago, I inherited enough money to pay off my student loans (about $20,000). I also inherited a stake in some empty commercial lots in Casper, Wyoming that I should probably sell before it’s time to pay property taxes on that crap again. I do not currently have any other investments.

My husband Kin Lane is also a technology professional, and we’ve started a business (and a podcast) together called Contrafabulists. As the name perhaps suggests, we are interested in giving the stories told by the tech industry some well-deserved critical scrutiny. Kin works for F5 in Seattle.

When people ask where Kin and I live, for a long time I would say “out of a suitcase.” Currently our suitcases are lying on the floor of an AirBnB in Seattle as we are in the middle moving to the Emerald City. Most of our stuff, and indeed, the address on our driver’s licenses says we reside in Hermosa Beach, California.

Updated January 2019