DetentionSlip.org, please stop the comment spam!

Dear DetentionSlip.org,

I like your blog. I’m a regular subscriber, appreciate your work, and will use your site numerous times for my school law class. But would you please, please stop the comment spam?

On Wednesday you left this comment:

You should have mentioned DetentionSlip.org they are ranked 10 on Alltop, just won Best Education Blog of the Year, and are read by thousands of teachers daily! http://detentionslip.org

On April 25 you left this comment (which I deleted):

Check out http://detentionslip.org to see why public schools are failing.

And I’ve deleted others in the past. It’s very clear that you’re not contributing to our conversations. You’re just trying to get people to come to your site. In April I even sent you a polite e-mail asking you to stop:

Hi. I really like your site and I also appreciate your desire to publicize it. However, you’re not really adding anything of value to www.technologyleadership.org with your comments. To be honest, right now you’re violating blogosphere etiquette and you’re bordering on being a comment spammer. I don’t want to block you but I will if need be. Please feel free to comment, but please add to the discussion, not just try to redirect readers to your site. Thanks.

But the comment spam continues. And it’s not just me. Here’s your comment on Teaching in the 408:

Check out http://detentionslip.org for all the latest headlines in education. It’s one of the leading sources for breaking news in our public schools.

And here’s your comment on ASCD Inservice:

This story is mentioned on http://detentionslip.org It’s one of the leading sources for crazy news in public education.

And here’s your comment on The Homeroom:

Students have more to worry about than lunch trays at school. Check out DetentionSlip.org as a resource for all the crazy stories in public education from around the country.

And here’s your comment on Learn Me Good:

http://detentionslip.org is the only thing people are talking about.

And here’s your comment on Perez Hilton:

DETENTIONSLIP.ORG!!! DETENTIONSLIP.ORG!!! DETENTIONSLIP.ORG!!!

And here are your comments on The Huffington Post:

This story was featured on http://detentionslip.org! It seems schools across the country are doing everything they can to save money. Check out the site for more weird stories like this one.

I’ve read stories on http://detentionslip.org about high school kids that have contests during lunch to see who can chug the most energy drinks. They always end up in the hospital!

I read a story on http://detentionslip.org about a mother who brought loaded guns to a school conference!

Check out http://detentionslip.org for stories about school teacher drunk in class and caught with coke in school!

Check out stories about teens and sex scandals in public schools at http://detentionslip.org.

(and half a dozen more)

Not to mention your similar comments at The Fischbowl and High School Confidential and Teen Zone News and NYC Students Blog. And at Automatic Merchandiser Magazine and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and the Las Vegas Sun and NJ.com and Newsweek. And so on…

Your Technorati authority is 21, which means that in the past six months you haven’t received even one inbound link per week [so, no, I shouldn’t have included you on the list]. While you may be getting a number of visitors to your site, you’re not getting much word of mouth. And the primary reason, I would venture to guess, is your inconsiderate and indiscriminate commenting. You’re angering the very people you want to be sending traffic your way.

So congratulations on your blogging award. Keep up the good work on your own blog. But please add some value to my blog or go away.

Thank you.

Can we get a list of ‘non-ed tech classroom teacher blogs?’

Laura
said
:

There are a lot of Ed Tech blogs and they don’t appeal to the average teacher
who is not a tech junkie. Would you consider doing a "Top 10 Classroom Blogs"
list?

Ian
said
:

I would like to see a list of the most prolific/popular/useful classroom
teacher blogs. Does such a thing exist?

I’m sturggling with these questions because I’m not sure how we’d come up with a list of ‘non-ed tech classroom
teacher blogs.’ Because some classroom teachers also blog all the time about ed
tech. And some blog about ed tech a lot. And some blog about ed tech a little.
And some not at all. What’s the dividing line? 70%? 50%? 30%? 10%?

And what about consultants or university faculty members or others
who blog about pedagogy generally? They’re not writing about specific classrooms
or specific schools. Do they count?

The Internet defies bounded categorization…

[that said, go through the list of 50 and see who you think makes
your cut!]

Echo chamber redux

Below is my
comment
to Justin
Bathon’s latest post
. Mosey on over to his absolutely excellent school law blog and let him
know what you think…

Some questions for you, Justin:

A. Why wouldn’t you expect educational
technologists to be the first group of educators to dive into the use of social
media and other digital technologies? Why wouldn’t you expect early adopters to
be early adopters and later adopters to be, well, later adopters?

B.
What’s the difference between a ‘community’ and an ‘echo chamber?’ Do you
consider Manchester United fans or Lionel Trains enthusiasts or Trekkies to be
‘echo chambers?’

C. Why wouldn’t you expect entry into any new
environment to be intimidating?

D. Why wouldn’t you expect any large,
complex, self-organizing network – including the edublogosphere – to have a
classic long-tail distribution, where a few have the majority of the attention
and the many have less of the attention (although still valuable things to
contribute)?

A couple of other thoughts:

1. You say that "Goal #1"
of educational technology advocates [is] "the spreading of education technology
knowledge to all k-12 educators which will help students learn." That’s probably
fair, although I’d say it’s preparing kids for the 21st century (rather than the
19th). But your wording works. But then you go on about Twittering and blogging,
which are just a couple of tools in educational technologists’ arsenals. There
are numerous pathways to achieving the goal that you state and educational
technologists are taking all of them. So don’t stereotype unfairly. Yes, those
tools are popular. No, they’re neither the only path nor the end goal (and few
would tell you otherwise).

2. I don’t speak for the ed tech field. I
don’t want that burden and refuse that responsibility. I do recognize that it’s
a harsh world out there and, in the end, no one really cares about new entrants
into the blogosphere unless they add value (as perceived by others, not the new
entrant). That said, the educational blogger community is one of the most
generous, embracing, welcoming groups I have experienced. Time and time again
people volunteer their energy, expertise, and precious time to help each other.
That holds true up and down the ‘authority’ spectrum. So it’s not that we
"expect new bloggers to come to [us]." It’s just that in an attention economy we
all only have so much time – to write, to help, to read. Don’t fault people for
not having enough time to serve the world at large. This is the way the online
world works. Wishing otherwise isn’t going to change that reality (and, of
course, the physical world works the same way). And, just for the record, a
number of us try very hard to find, recognize, and highlight new voices. To be
fair you should acknowledge that too rather than claiming – without any
large-scale (or any at all?) evidence – that there are edubloggers who are
reluctant to promote others’ blogs because they’re worried that they’ll be
crowded out of the attention economy.

Methinks that you paint with too
broad a brush, my friend…

Top 50 P-12 Edublogs? – June 2008

[cross-posted at the TechLearning blog]

Many of you know that I occasionally try to wrap my head around various aspects of the education blogosphere. In the past I’ve written about hubs and superhubs. I’ve also sometimes attempted to identify and quantify some of the most popular edublogs:

Below is my latest attempt. I made a few changes from last time, which I describe after the table. Authority and rank are from Technorati as of June 2. Clicking on each blog name will take you to its Technorati page.

 


Blog Name

2008
Authority
2008
Rank
1*
apophenia
1,256
1,880
2
Weblogg-ed
897
3,222
3
Joanne Jacobs
798
3,848
4
Stephen’s Web
708
4,581
5*
The Panda’s Thumb
563
6,314
6
2 Cents Worth
559
6,364
7
Cool Cat Teacher Blog
550
6,527
8
Moving At the Speed of Creativity
452
8,585
9
Ewan McIntosh’s edu.blogs.com
434
9,073
10
Students 2.0
415
9,601
11
Dangerously Irrelevant
413
9,650
12
The Fischbowl
402
9,999
13
Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites Of The Day…
292
15,222
14
Beyond School
281
16,003
15
EdTechTalk
255
18,132
16
The Thinking Stick
251
18,485
17*
Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub
247
18,889
18
CogDogBlog
243
19,288
19
Angela Maiers
241
19,497
20
Ideas and Thoughts from an EdTech
233
20,369
21
Techlearning blog
231
20,603
22
elearnspace
231
20,603
23
dy/dan
223
21,531
24
Around the Corner
219
22,034
25
Practical Theory
211
23,110
26
Open Thinking & Digital Pedagogy
197
25,258
27
Steve Hargadon
194
25,760
28
Half an Hour
187
27,002
29
k12 Online Conference
180
28,355
30
Mobile Technology in TAFE
179
28,551
31
blog of proximal development
171
30,308
32
HeyJude
168
30,991
33
Blue Skunk
164
31,997
34
The Education Wonks
164
31,997
35
Drape’s Takes
162
32,533
36
Always Learning
162
52,728
37*
The Learning Circuits Blog
157
33,890
38
Remote Access
152
35,296
39
PBS Teachers . Learning.now
151
35,621
40
Eduwonkette
150
35,920
41
So You Want To Teach?
149
58,157
42
Eduwonk
148
36,614
43
Teach42
147
36,964
44
History Is Elementary
145
37,670
45
LeaderTalk
144
38,026
46
Infinite Thinking Machine
137
40,556
47
Creating Lifelong Learners
133
42,160
48
AssortedStuff
131
42,997
49
Connectivism Blog
128
44,360
50
think:lab
122
47,149
51
O’DonnellWeb
121
47,646
52
iterating toward openness
119
48,680
53
Teaching Generation Z
119
48,680
54
Generation YES Blog
112
52,751

Information about the table

  • This time I only included blogs that predominantly post about P-12 education. No higher education blogs. No blogs that are mostly about training, software tools, or other topics with an occasional P-12–related post. No education news channels that happen to have an RSS feed. Just ‘pure’ P-12 blogs. I was on the fence about four blogs on the chart; those are marked with an asterisk. I included blogs 51 to 54 in case you think those four should not have been included.
  • I gave up monitoring the several thousand blogs on my previous list. There were just too many to catalog and also too many newcomers. There are over 100,000 edublogs!
  • I feel fairly confident about the accuracy of this list. I considered listing the top 100 but was not as confident about blogs 70 to 100 because I kept finding new ones in that range.
  • If I missed you, I’m sorry. Please let me know for next time. If you don’t like or disagree with my selection criteria, feel free to make your own list. It would be interesting to compare yours with this one.
  • The very notion of what constitutes a ‘top’ edublog is very personal and individual (see, e.g., posts by Stephen Downes and Peter Rock as well as the numerous comments regarding my last two attempts). Also, Technorati has a number of issues, but no one has yet suggested a more viable alternative. There are many, many great blogs not on this list. While a number of people are finding value in the blogs in this table, some excellent writing is occurring on blogs with lower authority. Read and write blogs for your own reasons rather than worrying about the numbers.

Other lists of top edublogs

Other attempts have been made to catalog the top edublogs. Of note are the following:

Some stats on Alltop

Only 19 of the top 50 blogs in the chart above are on Alltop Education. Interestingly, I also discovered that at least 9 of the blogs on Alltop Education have an authority of less than 26, meaning that they have less than one inbound link per week.

Alltop01

Blogs with big gains in authority

Take heart, bloggers who want more readers / links! As the chart below shows, a number of the blogs on this list had large gains in authority over the past 11 months. Some of the top blogs (including Students 2.0, Angela Maiers, and Eduwonkette) didn’t even exist a year ago.

2008authoritygains

Final thoughts

As always, please let me know if you have any thoughts or reactions regarding this post. I am deeply honored that so many of you choose to read my blogs, appreciate any and all feedback, and look forward to the conversation!

Video – Change is good

Greg Davis, who’s on the CASTLE Advisory Board, sent me the Change is Good video yesterday. It’s cute and makes some good points. Here are a few that stood out for me:

  1. Re-recruit your best people. As a leader you always should be in marketing mode, obtaining and reinforcing buy-in for desired actions. You can’t just take your stakeholders – even your ‘best’ ones – for granted.
  2. Forget for success. It’s difficult to get rid of existing mental frameworks but it’s often necessary in order to move forward.
  3. You can’t teach culture. You have to live it … experience it … share it. And most importantly … you have to show it. If we want our staffs to be technology ‘learners,’ what are we doing as school leaders to personally model those learning processes ourselves? Also, what are we doing to help our staffs live and experience the digital, global world on a regular basis?
  4. The things that get rewarded and appreciated get done. Leaders control the resources of time, personnel, money, etc. Use them wisely and strategically.
  5. Reinforce, reinforce, reinforce. The job is never done. Continuous emphasis of important themes and actions must happen if change is to occur. Say-it-once or do-it-once models of information dissemation and/or staff development are doomed to fail.

FYI, there also are a number of other leadership videos at the Simple Truths web site. Here’s a great quote from the You Can’t Send a Duck to Eagle School video:

If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.

Unfortunately our K-12 educational system has been asked by society to chase a lot more than two rabbits…

Thanks for sharing, Greg!

Why don’t we do more pre-testing?

[cross-posted at LeaderTalk]

When I moved to Iowa from Minnesota, the Iowa Motor Vehicle Division
(MVD) didn’t test me before it issued me a driver’s license. It took into
account my long history of driving and my clean record and determined that I did
not need to take either a written or driving test. I did a quick vision check,
took one of those goofy photos, and I was all set.

Imagine, however, if the MVD, before it would issue me a license, wanted me
to sit through a series of classes intended to ‘teach’ me how to operate a car
and drive safely. I would have been completely annoyed. ‘Test me now!’ I would
have exclaimed vociferously. ‘I already know how to do this! Stop wasting my
time!’ By now you’re probably nodding your head in agreement, knowing that you’d
do the same thing in my situation. Although you’d rather not have to do the
written and driving tests again, you’d definitely rather be tested than sit
through hours of instruction on material you already know.

Unfortunately this is exactly what happens to our nation’s schoolchildren on
a daily basis. Millions of students regularly experience curricula and lessons
that address content and concepts with which they’re already familiar. It’s not
just the ‘talented and gifted’ kids; there are plenty of students who know the
material in a particular learning unit before they even start. They’re just
never given the chance to demonstrate their knowledge ahead of time. Nor do they
have the opportunity to request to be pre-tested.

What a colossal waste of time this is. Rather than
the joy of wrestling with and thinking about new material, students suffer
through yet another hour ‘learning’ old information. Rather than working with
children who are eager, interested learners, teachers suffer through yet another
group of disengaged students.

I wonder why we don’t care more about this? It’s one thing to
cover the required curriculum. It’s quite another to have students cover the
curriculum despite the fact that they already know it.
As a former
eighth grade teacher, I know how difficult it is to differentiate instruction.
But it’s relatively easy to do some simple pre-testing and at least make an
attempt at altering a ‘one size fits all’ lesson plan. If more teachers did this
on a regular basis, they might be surprised at how much instructional time they
gained back during the year. And of course they’d also have better baseline data
with which to assess student learning growth for each curricular unit. And did I
mention the message of respect for students that accompanies the practice of
pre-testing?

Why don’t we do more pre-testing? Why is it so hard
to get teachers to buy into this?