What’s WRONG with the edublogosphere?

Darren Rowse had a brilliant idea to ask, “What’s wrong with blogging?” I think we should ask this about the edublogosphere as well. So…

   What’s wrong with edublogging?
   (or, if you like, What’s wrong with the edublogosphere?)

I invite you to share your thoughts, either in the comments area or as a post on your own blog (please leave us a link in the comments area, though!). As Darren notes, this is a great opportunity to deconstruct the medium and get some stuff off your chest that frustrates you about the edublogosphere. Share whatever you want as long as it is NOT positive (as Darren says!). Also, it probably would be more polite if you wrote about general issues rather than go after particular bloggers (if you must do the latter, go easy on me!).

I’m looking forward to seeing your thoughts. Note that tomorrow I’ll ask you what’s RIGHT with the edublogosphere!

47 Responses to “What’s WRONG with the edublogosphere?”

  1. Like all digital forums for communication, the blogosphere makes it really easy for people to uncork without any consequences or reasoned thinking. You see evidence of that lack of accountability in comment sections sometimes where people can be hateful.

    Those kinds of comments often stifle conversation completely—-the dialogue becomes competitive instead of collaborative—-and stifled conversation is useless.

    I also think that there still aren’t a ton of people who realize that blogs are supposed to be conversations rather than soap-boxes. I hate seeing long comment sections with no interaction between commenters because it shows a bunch of people talking and yet no one listening.

    I guess that’s something that we need to keep modeling—both to our colleagues on blogs and to our kids in classrooms—simply because competitive interactions are the norm in our world.

    Any of this make sense?
    Bill

    • Hi Bill,

      I couldn’t agree more with those thoughts on rigour and ethics. I think that people lack accountability due to the medium (not blogging per sec, but being physically removed in the digital environment) and therefore perceive they can put any blather out there.

      I struggle with those who never share their own ideas, continually curating the ideas of others – is this a somewhat ‘old fashioned’ belief and am I becoming irrelevant myself?

      The quality of the dialogue – open, honest, with integrity and rigour is what determines the quality of our relationships, which in turn determines the quality of our educational process.

      Rob

  2. I love what Bill said about people who “uncork” because they feel they are anonymous. And that’s always been a plus of blogging in the classroom when the movement first began: Students who don’t like to talk in front of their peers now have a place to go to share their thoughts. Many of us as educators pushed the fact that blogging was anonymous so say what you really feel. But like everything, someone will always push the limits, and you get the kind of comments that drags down a post like Bill says above.
    What bothers me about the edubloggosphere is what was brought up a couple years ago about being at the “cocktail party.” Some people just blog for the wrong reasons. They blog because they see it as their ticket to become “a name” in ed tech. I blog so I can forward on some things I think are cool and hopefully make people chuckle. I’m excited when I check my feed and see one person is still reading. I write because I enjoy writing, not to advance my career. I think Bill hit it on the head when he said we need to keep modeling – we need to model writing for pleasure. There’s a place for the persuasive essay, but the edublogosphere should be more about informing and entertaining, not an all out promotional blitz. You can create a positive, successful digital footprint without trying to rough up the footprints around you.

  3. I’m a huge believer in edtech, but I see too much bandwagon-jumping in the sphere: digital textbooks, podcasting, web 2.0, no lectures, etc. I’ve taught for over 30 years, and I believe there is a place for everything, yes, even lectures! Technology isn’t a magic wand.

    I’d like to see more technology initiatives tied to measurable outcomes as well.

    My .02.

  4. My biggest concern is not about those who blog, so much as those who just read. Just as random venting is a problem for some, feeling not qualified is a problem for most. As I try to get other teachers to blog, I discover they feel it has to be perfect for them to be able to post at all. It turns many of us into lurkers, and cripples the conversation. Since many teachers have been trapped in their isolated classrooms for years, blogging offers a real opportunity for professional dialogue that we just aren’t taking as a group.

  5. Sometimes I think that all these edubloggers are just talking to each other and not really converting over the naysayers.

    The edublog world has its own 1% doctrine. We need to get others involved.

  6. The edublogasphere is just too small. Too few people writing blogs, too few people leaving comments and too few even reading blogs. The too few reading is probably the largest problem. There are many great ideas that teachers could benefit from that they are just not learning about.
    But people not blogging is also a problem. I think this is even more of a problem in areas where teachers are one of few if not the only teacher in that area in a building. Thinks like computer science (my area), art, music, and other specialty subjects. There needs to be a lot more sharing of ideas to people outside your building.

  7. As a new psuedo-edublogger, I have to admit I don’t know much about the genre or even other edubloggers. *blushes* I’ve just been writing, keeping it relaxed, trying to outrun stage-fright/writer’s block. More mentoring, perhaps? 🙂

  8. The problem as I see it, the edublogosphere is dominated by the those who are seen as the Mothers and Fathers of education, leaving little room for those regular folk with great ideas to gain any readership. There are programs on Twitter and else where that try to get more new blogs some readership but still there is just too much domination by those who have been around while. Their ideas may have been great before but I am afraid that they are becoming outdated and refuse to change with the times.

    Just the way I see it…

  9. The biggest problem is that those that are on the front lines (teachers, others working directly with students every day) are also the ones with the least amount of time to contribute to the discussion. The vast majority of the most important voices are too busy to be regular contributors to the conversation.

  10. Twitter seems to keep many bloggers from posting. The echo-chamber effect often keeps us stuck going around in circles. Our focus is often not on student learning, but on problems/ideas that effect a very small minority of students.

  11. I’m with Rob. I like the community I’m a part of in my little niche (English Language Teaching) but beyond the core of participants who always tweet, comment and post… what are the wider world thinking?

  12. I don’t even understand the question. It’s like asking “what’s wrong with driving”. It is what it is.

  13. Ed Tech Steve wrote:

    The biggest problem is that those that are on the front lines (teachers, others working directly with students every day) are also the ones with the least amount of time to contribute to the discussion. The vast majority of the most important voices are too busy to be regular contributors to the conversation.

    Too true, Steve. I think the voices that get the most attention are also the ones that are the most polished—and polished voice takes time that many teachers just don’t have!

    That’s only compounded by the fact that districts generally don’t allow teachers to count time spent blogging/participating in blog conversations for professional development credit. The work I do on my own blog and in the comment sections of other people’s blogs is the MOST important part of my own professional growth and yet my district won’t recognize it as professional learning.

    Why invest time that you don’t have into things that your district won’t formally recognize or value?

    You’ve got me thinking…
    Bill

  14. John wrote:
    The problem as I see it, the edublogosphere is dominated by the those who are seen as the Mothers and Fathers of education, leaving little room for those regular folk with great ideas to gain any readership.

    You know, the interesting thing for me is that I’d blog—and continue to comment on the blogs of others—even if no one read a thing that I wrote. For me, blogging and participating in the blogosphere is about polishing and reflecting on my ideas instead of gaining readers.

    Now, I won’t lie: I like it when I see that others are tuned in to what I’m saying. But good writing and reflections that resonate are what gain readers—whether you’re new to the ‘verse or a recognized star.

    Maybe that’s another thing I don’t like about the blogosphere: It’s gone from being a conversation to a competition for attention.

    Bill

  15. There is no agreed upon valuation model for reputational currency – thus, no way to measure the value of the contributions. Without a value measurement, the value of the contributions cannot be priced into evaluation systems for employees … i.e. no way to accurately compensate people for their work and time.

  16. I feel the same way when I go to most conferences. It’s like going to church – those that believe already agree.

  17. Too much posting out into the ether, not enough engaging individuals in a conversation. It isn’t really a problem with Edublogging, but blogging in general. That is why hyperlinks and the @ symbol matter more now than ever before.

  18. Blogging is messy.

    Long live messy.

  19. I agree with Sylvia. Nothing … it is just growing up.

  20. I think Sylvia and Shelly nailed it.

  21. I think I am lurker and I personally love learning from the blogs I read but I have no interest in blogging myself. I am not “a writer” so the idea of making my mediocre writing available for others seems foolish. I am not sure how being a lurker cripples the conversation though. I do on occasion comment on blogs but I hope I don’t need to be considered an edublogger to participate. Twitter is great for me as I share the links to other great blog posts with my PLN or other friends or educators I work with. I can also sometimes come up with something valuable in 140 characters. I think inviting people to “lurk” is a great way to teach the benefits of the edublog world. (Sorry- not a response to Scott’s original post but I felt I had a valid response to the comments!)

  22. The probem as I see it is that the people who
    really should be engaging with the concepts,
    processes & conversations are too busy photocopying
    worksheets, getting ready to have the students
    sit tests and wondering if their sentences are too long.

    The Bolshie Teacher

  23. So true, Steve. We as a profession could use more ‘Google-Time’, i.e. 20% of the work week devoted to personal interests. Like Google found, we would find an overall benefit to ed.

  24. Ed Tech Steve hit the nail on the heard. While there are some excellent ed tech blogs authored by classroom teachers (Richard Byrne and Larry Ferlazzo spring to mind), it seems like many ed tech bloggers spend a lot of time attending conferences. Also, when I check my Google reader at school, I see a lot of ed tech blog posts with a big blank spot where the YouTube video should be. My district, and many others, block YouTube.

  25. I am long the same lines as it just being young and growing up. It’s not large enough to were its apart of everyday talk with teachers and the subjects are wide spread and messy. Give it time and take of the EduBloggers and help them grow and reach more people. And we should all see the changes we want.

  26. There’s no such thing as *THE* edublogosphere. My “edublogosphere” looks (hopefully) very different than others’ “edublogospheres” and it’s (usually) a moving target. So, I could tell you what’s wrong with “my” edublogosphere at this point in time, but that’s my own problem. If I know what’s “wrong” with “it,” I should “prune and tune” (Rheingold, 2009)”it” to make “it” work for me.

    What’s the next post: “What’s wrong with the PLN?”

  27. What’s wrong with the edublogshpere? Apparently, those who write blogs are snooty, those who read blogs are too quiet, those who respond are mean, and those who don’t respond are chicken…oh, and those who don’t write are timid.

    A little aggressive?

    Personally, I love the complexity of the edublogshpere, and I believe there is a fit for everyone who chooses to play a role. The most that I see “wrong” with it is that I can’t read as much as I’d like, and don’t comment near as much as I wish.

  28. What’s wrong with this question, as I told
    you yesterday, is that it invites generalizations about different things that appear to be the same. Others have expressed this already – so I’ll stop soon – but there is no one “edublogosphere.”

    And that’s okay. Except when smart folks get confused or lost or fooled by asking or getting lost in questions like this one.

    Asking “what’s wrong or what’s right allows
    for too many generalizations that appear to be truths. And they’re not.

  29. One thing I struggle with in the edublogosphere is the lack of complete thoughts. I will explain. I admit, I do this so I think I am correct here. I come across a great new tech toy for the classroom and and say on my blog or tweet “here it is.” I even go as far as providing a link! Ultimately, that’s not very helpful. Especially to the teachers who need to be walked through the implementation of that new tech toy. I get so excited about the new found method that I never lay out a lesson on how I used it, assessed it, shared it, etc. I think we in the edublogosphere could do a better job at completing our thoughts. I think those on the outside would be better served by those on the edge of teachnology if we did. One of my big goals is to help my colleagues along, not to be held up as an example in a faculty meeting. Great question and I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

  30. In response to Bill Ferriter’s:

    You know, the interesting thing for me is that I’d blog—and continue to comment on the blogs of others—even if no one read a thing that I wrote. For me, blogging and participating in the blogosphere is about polishing and reflecting on my ideas instead of gaining readers.

    Now, I won’t lie: I like it when I see that others are tuned in to what I’m saying. But good writing and reflections that resonate are what gain readers—whether you’re new to the ‘verse or a recognized star.

    Absolutely! I started blogging about the day-to-day stuff I was doing in my classroom for my students first, but then needed a space for my thoughts and reflections. It took me months (like 6 or so) to realize that anyone was even reading what I was writing. I did it for me first, an audience second.

    What’s wrong with edu-blogging? I think that there’s no general spot to find blogs with commonalities to your subject matter/ interest. I have visited hundreds of blogs because of their addresses, only to find that they were not anything I was interested in reading. I wish that there was more of a database for edublogs. Or, that everyone would just write about subjects that fascinate me. That’d work, too.

  31. I suppose “what’s wrong” could also be viewed as a strength – the wide variability in blogs and comments. Some seem as trite and shallow as talk radio and some as insightful and thought provoking as a good NPR story.

  32. I will define the problem as I see it with my own blogging experience. I blog to clarify my thoughts, to expose ideas and tools, and to take ownership of my own ed. doctrine if you will. My problem, and I think others have fallen into this trap, is that I mistake blogging with taking action. I sometimes believe that my writing alone may influence a change that really takes more than just that effort. Words are important, but they are not always listening to what you say. Actions must lead the way. Be the change you want to see!

  33. I’m with Rob here. I think that the edublogsphere is mainly composed of early adoptors (to use Roger’s language) – which is why we tend to be bandwagon-jumper, according to Bob Irving. The conversations we need to be having aren’t with other early adoptors, but with those who should be following after us. But since we do tend to be talking to each other a great deal, we leave those other groups of adoptors behind and they never catch up to us.

  34. The rarity with which anyone (blogger or commentor) *really* considers that someone else might be right, rather than explaining to them why they are wrong.

  35. John said: “Also, when I check my Google reader at school, I see a lot of ed tech blog posts with a big blank spot where the YouTube video should be. My district, and many others, block YouTube.”

    As a school IT professional, I *cringe* when I hear about schools/districts blocking YouTube or anything else, really. Blocking is lazy, ignorant, and does more harm than good. Education, responsibility, and consequences for abuse are better every time. I employ a “filters are evil” philosophy at my school. As others have said before me, if we’re going to ban something like YouTube because a student *might* view something inappropriate, then we should also ban pencils because a student *might* poke someone’s eye out (or write profanity, or create a cheat sheet, or…)

  36. As a “board member”, “trustee” or as we call them, as an elected commissioner, I find the educational blogs some of the most valuable pictures I can get of education today.

    What’s wrong with it? Well, I am 99% sure that I am the only commissioner in my board who gets involved at this level.

    And when you’re writing a blog, as I do, you sometimes don’t think of putting something into the greater context of the issue. Educators can often lose me in their sea of acronyms. 🙂

    Thanks for this.

    Steve
    http://avoteforthefuture.wordpress.com/

  37. I said in my blog that there weren’t enough actual students contributing to the conversation about learning in the 21st century. We really need to know how the kids who are the alleged ‘natives’ in this medium use the tools… and what we as teachers are doing wrong.

  38. Excellent topic! I posted my response and opened the question to further dialogue on our Ning:

    http://simplek12.ning.com/group/edtechbloggers/forum/topics/yeah-whats-wrong-with-blogging

  39. I’m with Rob here. This is always my worry. I blog about assessment issues and my Reader is essentially a bunch of bloggers who agree with me. We all turn around and pat each other on the back or if we disagree, it’s in the margins, not on the major stuff. You can certainly argue that’s my problem, not the edublogospheres. But I think the nature of how we connect to each other lends itself to connecting like-minded people.

    What I need is something like DisputeFinder for my blog. I can post something and it’ll find opposing viewpoints.

  40. I have never considered a blog to be a conversation (thanks to Bill F.for getting me to at least think about that).

    Even though I’m (only) an elementary school teacher, I’ve found that students participate and share more deeply when they keyboard their thoughts – it frees them up somehow. I’m not much different, personally.

    Liken this to attending a party with a large number of people in attendance. I enjoy being there and I enjoy listening to others in conversation, but I don’t really feel like I have much to offer. I don’t “conversation drop” or “lurk”, but I am interested in what others have to say.

    I have to digest, sometimes a long time, before I respond or even formulate a response and reading blogs allows me to do that. Maybe it’s true that too many bloggers simply expound, but that’s OK. I am discerning enough to just stop reading the uninteresting or apparently self-absorbed.

    When I run across one that “feels” like conversation, I will participate at least a little bit. I think that’s the art of the blogger – an inviting style that makes people feel comfortable enough to participate. Like this one.

    Now that took a long time for me to post. But, I did. On the other hand, if I had just read everything and not posted, all of it would have still had an impact on me.

  41. What I find is hard is just where to start. There is information everywhere, and that can be overwhelming for someone who’s trying to get in on the act, especially at a time when faculty and staff alone are being encouraged to disseminate more information and more ideas in this way.

  42. I get frustrated at blogs that make demands – “Why do schools still do this?” “Most principals never?” “Nobody is listening to the students” But I think the root of this frustration lies in the fact that these blogs challenge me to look at my own school. That being said, I do love to hear of “real” schools that are making a “real” difference. Most of us agree with the progressive ideas we hear at conferences and in blogs…we just need to be able to put these ideas into practice.

  43. Too much opinion, too little evidence.

    In my opinion 🙂

  44. @Todd Wandio : You read my mind, great reply. I only will add not enough time to respond to those posts that site references that really need to be read to address the post with an informational background.

  45. Well said. Because I teach, and have a family, I have little time to read everyone’s blog and respond and write my own. Though I do (www.teachertracks.com) I think one problem is that some edublogs are soooooo long! As teachers we need to just get to the point sometime. Some bloggers write 3 paragraph introductions! I just don’t have time to read such long entries.

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