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4Four Big Ideas for the Future

Big Ideas Newsletter big idea, every few weeks

About the newsletter 

Brief is beautiful. Receive just one big idea, in very few words, every few weeks. Quality not quantity. Succinct, salient vitamins for the mind. Because you are busy, time is precious and the future is just getting started.

Reviewer comments

Ian Jukes


"4Four Big Ideas for the Future is a remarkable book written by an even more remarkable man with a powerful message about navigating the future with depth and promise. Jason Ohler was profoundly affected by a life-threatening illness that consumed his daily existence, leaving him gasping with every breath for enough oxygen to stay alive. Faced with his imminent demise, Jason spent his remaining time re-examining his life’s work as a thought leader and digital pioneer, challenging himself to reconsider his interpretations and assumptions about the current and future state of education. In today’s high octane digital landscape, where young and old alike constantly struggle to come to terms with the seismic cultural shifts that engulf us, Jason’s thoughtful, provocative, and compelling analysis of the effects of modern digital culture on the present and future of education brings entirely fresh perspectives to the field. 4Four Big Ideas for the Future is a thoroughly entertaining, even intoxicating read, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for anyone deeply concerned about the future of education."


IAN JUKES is author of 17 books about educational innovation; he is an international consultant and keynote speaker who has worked with clients in more than 80 countries and made more than 10,000 presentations. He has been a university professor, classroom teacher, and a school, district and provincial administrator.

Karen Cator

"Dr. Jason Ohler, an inimitable soul, once again informs, inspires, and entertains while connecting us with big ideas in accessible and practical ways. Technology has transformed and powered learning opportunity and Jason reminds us to be mindful of what is amplified and reduced while embracing possibility.


Jason is a keen observer of life and people and generously shares wisdom gained across 35 years of engaging with students, teachers, musicians, artists, scientists – humans. This book is a pleasurable, inspiring journey through our very daily learning lives with smart phone in hand and self driving car approaching. 4Four Big Ideas for the Future is for EVERYONE living, learning and striving to accommodate myriad technological advancements and thrive as learner, parent, teacher and citizen."


KAREN CATOR is CEO of Digital Promise. Prior to that she was Director of the Office of Education Technology for the US Department of Education, serving as chief policy advisor for the US Secretary of Education, and Director of Education Leadership and Advocacy at Apple Inc., providing strategic leadership for the education division.

Shelly Palmer


"4Four Big Ideas for the Future is a thoroughly enjoyable read about the future of technology, learning, and living a digital lifestyle, that is packed with stories, insight and direction. Dr. Ohler draws on his 35 years in the field of digital education innovation to show how the past can illuminate the future, explaining complex concepts about living in a technological world in every day, accessible language. I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for practical and conceptual guidance for navigating the future."


SHELLY PALMER is well known as Fox 5 New York’s on-air tech expert his many Emmy-nominations, and as a regular technology commentator for CNBC, MSNBC, CNN, and Fox Business News. He is a patented inventor, popular speaker at technology and media conferences, past president of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and creator of the Advanced Media Emmy Awards. His newsletter has 600,000 subscribers.


Dr. Alec Couros


"Jason Ohler’s new book takes us on an exciting tour of our rapidly changing world, a world where we are all students struggling to keep up with the new realities and complexities ushered in by emerging technologies. Written in an engaging style, Ohler’s work is replete with eye-opening insights into the new, blended lives we now live, straddling the boundary of the physical and online worlds. Filled with personal narratives about his relevant experiences in education, 4Four Big Ideas for the Future contains many tips and ideas for teachers while also painting a fascinating portrait of modern culture that is relevant to us all."


ALEC COUROS is a Professor of educational technology and media at the Faculty of Education, University of Regina, Canada. He has given hundreds of workshops and presentations, nationally and internationally, on topics such as openness in education, networked learning, social media in education, digital citizenship, and critical media literacy.

Dr. Tara Brabazon

Jason Ohler is a scholar of transformation.  He is a teacher of inspiration.  He is a leader in learning.  4Four Big Ideas for the Future helps us understand “digital age learning” via mobility, interconnection and a proliferation of information.  However Ohler also shows us how to create digital citizenship with ethics, respect and integrity.  This is a remarkable book, written by a scholar whose stories and research transform our practice. 


DR. TARA BRABAZON is Professor of Education and Head of the School of Teacher Education at Charles Sturt University. She has also served as Professor of Creative Media and Head of Photography and Creative Media at the University of Bolton, Professor of Communication at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and Professor of Media ad the University of Brighton.


Dr. Kecia Ray

"In 4Four Big Ideas for the Future, Jason Ohler paints a wonderful picture of the future of education. Jason utilizes his amazing experiences and incredible genius to create a vision of the future that is easy to understand and adopt. His book is full of beautiful stories and inclusive of solutions that can be easily implemented. Following the direction of this book will ensure active and engaging learning environments for students of all ages."


KECIA RAY, Ed. D. is Executive Director of the Center for Digital Education, past-chair of the International Society for Technology in Education Board of Directors, and holds position at Johns Hopkins University in the Graduate School of Education.

Dr. Scott McLeod

I love the narrative arc of this book. Jason begins by outlining eight key transformations that will reshape learning and society, including personal stories and educator anecdotes that illustrate these shifts in practice. In the second section, he discusses the citizenship issues that accompany these transformations, all the while emphasizing student and teacher empowerment instead of organizational and parental fear. In the third section, he identifies five 'trends that bend' - technological shifts that are going to stretch us even further as individuals and societies. Finally, he concludes with a rousing call to action for all of us to be active participants - to take charge of these amazing learning technologies  - rather than passive victims of our new digital landscapes. This is a remarkable book by an esteemed educational technology scholar who was near death. Read it and breathe new life into your own classrooms.


SCOTT MCLEOD, J.D., Ph.D. is Director of Learning, Teaching, & Innovation at Prairie Lakes AEA. He is also a Founding Director of CASTLE, the Center for the Advanced Study of Technology and Leadership.

Marty Park

As one of my favorite thinkers in this space, Dr. Jason Ohler knocks it out of the park again as he leads readers on an excursion with his Four Big Ideas for the Future.  Dr. Ohler has a gift of boiling down the ocean, making the conversations real and the understanding powerful.  All four of his big ideas are paramount to the work in today's schools and his big idea number two will prove to be a blueprint for new parents and preservice teachers.  As a father, teacher, and digital leader, I highly recommend Four Big Ideas for the Future as a must read for 2016.  This book is going on my small bookshelf, the one that houses my "go to books" - so I can get to them quickly.  By setting some real goals, and highlighting practical ways to take advantage of the best that our innovative selves have to offer, Dr. Ohler demands that we all try twice as hard as we normally would to engage and own these ideas.  After feeling his passion and wisdom through this book, I'm all in!


Marty Park is Chief Digital Officer at the Kentucky Department of Education, Adjunct Professor, and Co-Designer of the Digital Driver's License for the Digital Citizenship Project.

Steve Peha

"Jason Ohler not only offers insightful perspectives about the future, he gives us a new vocabulary to talk about it. New ideas need to be made tangible in order to be understood. Ohler gets this. He knows his ideas are best described with new language that enhances their reification and gives his readers something solid to hold onto as he takes us on a provocative intellectual journey."


STEVE PEHA is Founder of Teaching That Makes Sense. Prior to that he served as Product Owner on the Gates Foundation's Shared Learning Infrastructure, President of the Music Technology Associates and Director of Product Development

at the Midisoft Corporation.

Marie Clarke-Arturi

"Although 4Four Big Ideas for the Future was written by an educator for educators, you certainly do not have to be one to enjoy it. Dr. Ohler makes the complexities of our current educational and technological disruption both awe-inspiring and understandable. 4Four Big Ideas for the Future offers excellent insights about where we are headed and still manages to bring it back to the basics. Most importantly, Dr. Ohler explains why humankind has a need for creativity and storytelling - and always will - and how we can tell our own stories to shape the world the way we want. His word mashups deserve their own dictionary and make the read even more enjoyable. I’ll be giving this book to the resistors amongst us.


MARIE CLARKE-ARTURI is Founder and CEO of & She is also Executive Director of  the Daniella Maria Arturi Foundation, and recipient of the National Association of Professional Women's Woman of the Year award.

Sam Gliksman

"Heartfelt, inspiring and beautifully written. Jason challenges traditional models of top-down education, instead urging educators to find their students’ passions and “open doors for them”. He seeks to cultivate creative learning environments that blend together physical and digital experiences. I especially identified with his emphasis on new, media based literacies and the importance of storytelling in education.

The book blends the potential presented by emerging technologies with an unwavering long term vision and commitment to student learning. Jason’s clear insights and anecdotes provide readers with an engaging journey through the potential of modern education. I'd highly recommend you take the trip."


SAM GLIKSMAN is the author of The iPad in Education for Dummies (Wiley Press). He also founded and manages the very popular iPads in Education Ning community website - - that has a membership of many thousands of educators worldwide.

Adam Bellow

"In 4Four Big Ideas for the Future, Jason Ohler perfectly captures the essence of what technology infused learning truly is and provides actionable insights as to how to help make meaningful change for the future. The book is relevant, easy to read, full of wonderfully told anecdotes, as well as poignant solutions and ideas that educators and all school leaders can start adopting immediately."


ADAM BELLOW is founder of eduClipper, founder and CEO of eduTecher, and has held positions at the College Board as both  Senior Director  of Educational Technology and Student Strategies for Advanced Placement Programs and Director of Educational Technology .

George Couros


"Jason Ohler’ excels at demystifying very complicated ideas in technology and education, and through his powerful and humorous way of telling stories, makes them very "user-friendly", useful, and inspiring.  His actionable ideas will not only challenge your thinking, but will help you move forward in your own learning journey. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate his use of storytelling to drive his points home. It makes for an easy and powerful read."


GEORGE COUROS is author of The Innovator's Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity; The Principal of Change. He is Division Principal for Parkland School Division and an Innovative Teaching, Learning, and Leadership consultant.

Bill Bass

"From the moment I picked up 4Four Big Ideas for the Future I was hooked not only by the ideas that were presented, but by the stories that have shaped Dr. Jason Ohler’s thinking about education. This is a must read for educators and school leaders who seek clarity on what it means to be a digital age educator and learner. Through his insights and reflections on his own educational journeys, Ohler brings forth societal trends and helps to decipher what they mean for education as a whole. Throughout the book, readers will find practical and meaningful tips and advice that will serve them well in their classrooms as well as their daily lives and provide a basis for thinking about the world of education differently. Inspiring and thought provoking, this book belongs on every school leader’s “read” list."


BILL BASS is Innovation Coordinator for Instructional Technology, Information, and Library at MediaParkway School District. He is also recipient of the ETA Award 2012, and member of the ISTE board of directors.

Susan Bearden

"Four Big Ideas for the Future" is an inspiring and thought provoking read about the current and emerging societal impacts of technology and its implications for education. Covering a variety of topics that range from media literacy and digital citizenship to technology trends and storytelling, Jason Ohler's analysis is insightful, humorous, and an easy read. I highly recommend this book for educators and anyone interested in the transformative impact that technology has on our daily lives."

SUSAN M. BEARDEN is the author of Digital Citizenship: A Community Based Approach. She is a Bammy Award winner, the co-moderator of the popular #Edtechchat Twitter chat and was named as one of the Center for Digital Education's 2015 "Top 30 K12 Technologists, Transformers, and Trailblazers." She is Director of Information Technology Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy.

Damian Ryan


"Jason Ohler is back like Star Wars! Crammed with ideas and inspiration, Ohler's new book, 4Four Big Ideas for the Future, is as entertaining as it is provocative - challenging the fabric of time, space and the classroom while peppering us with light sabre like wit throughout. All Ohler fans will recognise his unique style of combining insight with rant and mischief, and appreciate his wisdom, that comes from decades of thought and practice in the worlds of emerging technology, education, and social change. This book puts him firmly in the class of the great McLuhan. (or Yoda?). Read it, love it, learn from it."


DAMIAN RYAN is author of  Understanding Digital Marketing, now in its third edition. He is also

Founder of the Global Academy of Digital Marketing.


Kathleen Gradel

"Jason has long spoken of real things…the power of digital story authoring, the complexities of digital citizenship, “must-haves” in reinvented education, art as the "fourth R,” trends that we need to tune into.


His newest book is not just a bridge from his prior works, but a doorway to serious investigations of today’s changing landscape. He tells it “like it is,” and then gives us pathways to negotiating the challenges inherent in collaboration, innovation, and more. Jason’s embedded “challenges” ring true in every instance. His segues from these very real scenarios to powerful alternatives – hosted by “Edupreneurs” – give us more than food for thought. They inspire us to action. 4Four Big Ideas for the Future is the perfect piece at the perfect time. To adapt from Jason’s eloquent words, let’s put on our “Detechtive” mindsets, and bring it on!"


Dr. KATHLEEN GRADEL is a Professor in the College of Education, SUNY Fredonia, NY, where she specializes in the development and delivery online, blended, and face-to-face coursework, from first-year to Master's students. She has worked with preservice and inservice educators for 35 years, is an expert in the use of evidence-based practices, especially those strengthened with pedagogically sound technology. and is a recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Dr. Ed Madison


"Dr. Ohler offers a thought-provoking roadmap for transforming the future of education, and convincingly argues this prospect is available now. An inspiring and compelling call to action." 


ED MADISON is author of Newsworthy; he is a professor of Journalism, University of Oregon; Apple Distinguished Educator, Adobe Education Leader. A founding producer for CNN; media producer for CBS, ABC, A&E, Paramount, Disney, and Discovery.

Frank Gallagher

"Jason Ohler's 4Four Big Ideas for the Future takes us on a lively, engaging and fascinating journey through four ideas that explore what it takes to prepare ourselves and our young people for life in a world that’s part real, part digitally augmented reality and constantly changing.  If our goal is for everyone thrive in this messy but exciting future, we need to rethink some fundamental assumption of today’s education system as well as reexamine our own beliefs and practices.  This book is a blueprint for the kinds of deep and meaningful discussions needed to build the futures we want."


FRANK GALLAGHER is Vice President, Education Cable Impacts Foundation. Prior to that he served as Executive Director, Cable in the Classroom for 18 years, and was Chair, 2012-2013, of Partnership for 21st Century Skills.

Peter Gow

"Imagine taking a long drive on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon through all the dimensions and permutations of technology, and especially “educational” technology, as it is and as it might become. Now imagine that your driver has thought through all of the complexities and challenges posed by these  technologies and takes you straight to a place of common sense that makes you wonder why it ever seemed so complicated. In Four Big Ideas for the Future Jason Ohler escorts you, with great good humor, to the heart of every important question, from the future of text to digital citizenship to new technologies to the imperative of story, with no sign of triumphalist pretense or bombast nor any hints of alarm. Ohler just cuts to the chase in ways that model how we all ought to be thinking about these things in our schools and in our communities, and Jason's straight-up wisdom and bullet-proof optimism makes you extremely glad that you’ve been along for the ride."


PETER GOW is Executive Director of the Independent Curriculum Group. Prior to that he was Director of Special Programs, Academic Dean and chair of the History Department at Beaver Country Day School where he worked for 35 years.

Nicholas Provenzano

"The world of educational technology is moving at a fast pace and it can be tough for educators to keep up. Jason Ohler does a wonderful job breaking down the importance of educational technology in an accessible way for for all educators. 4Four Big IDEAS is filled with great stories and insights that share his decades of experience in education. This book is a must have for all teachers looking to dive deeper into the world of educational technology."


NICHOLAS PROVENZANO is author of Classroom in the Cloud. He is also recipient of MACUL's

OutstandingTechnology Using Teacher of the Year and ISTE's' Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award. He is author of the very popular Tweet feed @nerdyteacher.

Becky Sipos

"Jason Ohler’s new book 4Four Big Ideas for the Future stimulated my thinking in many ways. His most important advice was that we invite students to help frame the system on using technology or they will just game the system. It resonated with my thinking on effective teaching and the importance of student voice and choice, but it is not a tech policy I have encountered in any school system I worked in. Most technology policies were designed to protect the students or the school and tended to be heavy-handed in rules. But Dr. Ohler makes a good case for how much richer the curriculum could be and how much more effective the use of technology could be—and its impact on learning—if students had a role in designing the policies.


The book is very engaging, full of stories based on decades of experience, and offers deep insight and practical advice for every educator. But the book isn’t just for educators, it is for all of us. Dr. Ohler’s concepts about living in two places at once, in real life and immersive reality, and that we’re mobile, interconnected and disconnected, crosses all boundaries: work, school, life. The more he discussed the nature of this new reality, the more intriguing the possibilities became. This book will really make you think about the times we live in—and think creatively about the future."


BECKY SIPOS is President & CEO of and CEO of the Character Education Partnership. Prior to that she was a classroom teacher for 14 years, and Virginia State Director for the Journalism Education Association.

Diana Graber


"Jason's last book, Digital Community, Digital Citizen, made such a profound impact on me that it inspired my program in Cyber Civics, which is a recognized national model used in 16 states. What engages me is his non-fear, pro-empowerment treatment to the topic, as well as how he framed digital citizenship “as a whole school approach to behavior that sets the entirety of being digitally-active within an overall ethical and behavioral context—character education for the Digital Age.” 


4Four Big Ideas for the Future extends his perspective on a number of fronts, making clear the steps we need to take to make the most of the future. I hope Jason's newest book will inspire a whole new generation of educators, parents, and policy makers to discover digital citizenship to be what Ohler calls “the lens through which we need to be viewing the world if we want to safeguard its future and our quality of life." This is a highly relevant, important, and very engaging read!” 


DIANA GRABER is Co-Founder,; Founder,

Dr. Gary Bitter


"Thank God Jason received the medical miracle he needed to keep living. In turn he has provided an excellent book that should be a must read for educators. We are lucky to have the opportunity to take advantage of his 35 years of experiences through his book Four Big Ideas for the Future. His experiences with technology are so real and full of insight, that everyone who finds technology challenging, particularly educators, will this find this book helpful.  Enjoy this book—Thank You Jason—best of health—I look forward to reading your seventh book."


GARY BITTER is Professor of Educational Technology in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University and Executive Director of Technology Based Learning & Research (TBLR); lifetime achievement recipient from the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). 

Dr. Mary Wegner


"4Four Big Ideas for the Future offers a lifetime of wisdom shared in a series of memorable stories that resonate. Dr. Jason Ohler again shows us his genius, as he explains our complex world in terms we can all understand, and that help us to become literate in today’s nowmedia culture. Humorous, insightful, and riveting, Jason pinpoints for us what matters for students, and helps guide us to create a new learning ecology. A must read for educational leaders everywhere."


DR. MARY WEGNER is Superintendent, Sitka School District, Alaska; ISTE Making IT Happen Award, and Public Policy Committee since 2006; President Obama FutureReady Superintendents honoree; League of Innovative Schools Member.

Dr. Mike Ribble


"Technology has changed who we are and how we work and play. Educational technology has forced us to look at the practice of teaching and learning. Dr. Ohler has been a driving force of these changes for over 30 years. His new book, 4Four Big Ideas for the Future, brings the breadth of his knowledge and insight to readers. He has set the stage for anyone wanting to understand how technology is changing the nature of education, for ourselves and our students. An inspiring must read for everyone."


DR. MIKE RIBBLE is author of Digital Citizenship in Schools, 2nd Edition. He is also co-creator, ISTE PLN on Digital Citizenship, and Director, Educational Technology, Manhattan School District.

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