Celebrating 35 Years of SITE by Featuring 35 Emerging Scholars: An Interview with Todd Cherner and Rebecca Blankenship

The Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) conference is an annual event that plays a significant role in teacher education by focusing on the integration of technology into teacher preparation and professional development. It serves as a global platform for educators, researchers, policymakers, and technology developers to share insights, research findings, and innovative practices related to the use of technology in education. This year marks the 35th anniversary of SITE, known as the ‘friendly society’.

SITE promotes the development and dissemination of theoretical knowledge, conceptual research, and professional practice knowledge through its conferences, books, projects, the Journal of Technology and Teacher Education (JTATE) and the annual publication Research Highlights in Technology and Teacher Education (RHTTE) , featuring the  top papers submitted to and presented at SITE.

Dr. Todd Cherner from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Dr. Rebecca Blankenship from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University are beginning their terms as editors for RHTTE. To kick off their editorship and recognize SITE’s 35th anniversary, they are planning a “35 Emerging Scholars for 35 Years of SITE” feature in the 2024 edition of RHTTE. This publication opportunity is geared toward scholars who are establishing an impactful research agenda. The submission should highlight a recent scholarly contribution that is representative of the author’s agenda that connects technology with teacher education.

Learn more:

For AACE Review I talked with Todd and Rebecca about their vision for this publication, their personal history with SITE, and their commitment to giving back to the community.

Since when are you members of the SITE community?

Todd: I first attended SITE in 2016, when it was held in Savannah, GA.

Rebecca: I have been a member of SITE since 2013.

If you think back on your career, how has SITE helped shape your scholarship and advance your professional network?

Todd: I am incredibly grateful to SITE. As a freshly minted Ph.D., I was very nervous about conducting research, and I submitted my first manuscript to Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education. The editor who was leading the journal at the time provided me with the guidance and feedback I needed to move the manuscript from a “revise and resubmit” status to “accepted” for publication. I still recall the thrill I had when I received that email. From that early publication, it helped build the confidence I needed to launch and sustain my research agenda over time. Plus, SITE’s community of scholars, practitioners, and professionals is something I greatly appreciate. With colleagues from around the world, I have engaged in thought-provoking conversations, been invited to research collaborations, and so much more.

Rebecca: Being a member of the SITE community has enabled me to network with other academic professionals advancing the research in technology and education. Through SITE, I have been afforded numerous opportunities to participate in research, present at national conferences, and engage in scholarship through different publications.

Tell me more about the call for papers for emerging scholars. Who do you want to reach as authors and audience and what is the motivation behind this publication?

Todd & Rebecca: The motivation behind the publication is to celebrate 35 years of SITE by showcasing 35 emerging scholars who represent the best up-and-coming scholars from the SITE/AACE community. Providing publication opportunities to early-career faculty is something that we can give back to the community that has supported us. Plus, it is an opportunity for us to introduce ourselves as the new Editors of RHTTE and our progressive vision for its future.

Can ALTAC (alternative academics) or adjunct professors submit their work?

Todd & Rebecca: Yes, if the explanation of their qualifications and submission proposal aligns with the call.

Do you have a word of advice for graduate students in PhD programs for creating a competitive submission?

Rebecca: Innovation is key. Our goal for the 35/35 RHTTE is to not only promote emerging scholars but also showcase the next generation of academics and where their research will take technology in teacher education into the future.

Todd: Plus, with generative AI taking up so much space right now, it is an opportunity to further explore the opportunities the technology will offer while still keeping a critical lens. I also think we should break out of the hyper-focus being placed on generative AI in education right now and focus on other technologies and best practices connected to teacher education.

Do authors have to present at the SITE conference to be considered, or is it an open call?

Todd & Rebecca: It is an open call but presenting at the SITE conference is always a bonus.

Will you be onsite at SITE 2024? What aspects of the conference are you most looking forward to?

Todd & Rebecca: Yes, we will be onsite for SITE 2024, we are really looking forward to connecting in person with other scholars with whom we have been working via email and Zoom over the past years.

Any other comments or remarks about 35 years of SITE and the emerging scholars publication?

Rebecca: This is really a great opportunity for emerging scholars to have their work published in a peer-reviewed publication to help build their CVs as they advance in their respective positions in academia.

Todd: In addition to being an editor for RHTTE, I also serve on SITE’s Teacher Education Council. When I was running for that position, I made a point to emphasize that I will do all I can to expand publishing opportunities to SITE’s membership, and this is one way I have found to create that space. Also, in close, SITE’s commitment to be a “friendly community” is important to both Rebecca and me. For all the emerging authors who submit a proposal, whether accepted or not, I promise that Rebecca and I will treat your proposal with care and provide you with meaningful feedback to the best of our abilities.

Further Information

Review the Call for Papers “35 Emerging Scholars for 35 Years of SITE!


Todd Cherner earned his doctorate in teacher education from the University of Tennessee. Currently, he is Program Director of the Master of Arts in Educational Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Rebecca J. Blankenship is an Associate Professor and Director of TESOL programs in the Elementary Education Department at Florida A&M University’s College of Education. Dr. Blankenship has over 16 years of public school teaching experience in both the states of Tennessee and Florida.

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