Dr. Nelson Orta

Nelson Orta

The marriage of technology and learning is here to stay according to Dr. Nelson Orta. It’s imperative to never stop learning in the realm of technology, and that is what brought Nelson to the Ph.D. program in Learning Technologies. Nelson chose the distributed program and says he enjoyed the mix of both synchronous and asynchronous learning tasks combined with the yearly doctoral face to face meetings, the first at which he learned that the Ph.D. program was not a sprint and that it required grit and determination.

His illustrious career in education has taken him across several school districts from Irving to Lewisville to Garland to Allen, where he is now the Executive Director of Information Technology. He has held many different positions in these school districts from teacher to instructional designer to Director of Professional Learning to Director of Instructional Technology, Executive Director of Curriculum & Instruction, to his current role. He started the Ph.D. program in 2016 and graduated last fall. Along the way, doing his research for his dissertation, “ANALYZING THE PRINCIPAL PERSPECTIVE TO LEAD THE IMPLEMENTATION OF LEARNING TECHNOLOGIES IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS: A MULTI-STRATEGY STUDY,” he learned many lessons. For one, trust the data. He credits Dr. Warren for teaching him to keep his biases in check through rich, engaging and eye-opening conversations. For another, focus on understanding the triad of instructional theories, technological advances in learning and back-end configurations of technologies being implemented in large organizational environments. 

The lessons came in handy in his leadership positions in particular for informing his strategic decision-making for the implementation of large-scale programs with systemic and far-reaching impact. Dr. Orta emphasizes that studying a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies helped prepare him for his current position in Allen ISD. The program grew his understanding on key two aspects related to large-scale learning technologies implementations: instructional design when digital assets are ubiquitous as well as how to operationally deploy thousands of devices at scale while utilizing actionable and key data provided by educational leaders.  Family support was essential to be successful throughout the Ph.D. journey “Simply, I couldn’t have done it without them.” he stated.