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(Interview) Educational Blogging and School 2.0 with Will Richardson

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  • Steve Hargadon
    http://www.edtechlive.com/audio/WillRichardson.mp3 or http://www.edtechlive.com/audio/WillRichardson.ogg This interview was intended to help someone new to
    Message 1 of 12 , Jan 1, 2007
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      http://www.edtechlive.com/audio/WillRichardson.mp3 or
      http://www.edtechlive.com/audio/WillRichardson.ogg

      This interview was intended to help someone new to educational
      blogging to hear candid advice from Will Richardson, author of Blogs,
      Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. However,
      as you will see, it turned into much more, with Will strongly
      expressing his feelings about the need for schools to change.

      For more interviews, and for information on our educational technology
      workshops (including those with Will Richardson), please visit
      www.EdTechLive.com. Will is giving a two-day workshop in Philadelphia
      in early February. To join in the discussion on School 2.0, please
      visit www.School20.net.

      Notes:

      * You'll notice a change in the sound quality when Skype kept
      crashing and we switched to my calling Will on a land line.
      * Will, as a "frustrated journalist," started blogging in the
      spring of 2001--at which time there were only 5 or 6 other educational
      bloggers that he could find. In 2003/2004, something began to happen
      when interest in what he was writing about really started to take off.
      He was using blogging in almost all of the classes he was teaching at
      the time. In the last two years, there has been an amazing spike in
      the number of teachers and educators who are blogging about what is
      happening in the classroom.
      * The other educational bloggers he was reading and who were
      reading his blog became his "personal professional development
      community." This became "transformative" for him.
      * When I asked him if blogging was as transformative for his
      students as it had been for him, I expected a really positive answer.
      However, as he was teaching 9-week classes, he doesn't think that was
      long enough to see that take place on a general level, even though
      there were some examples of students who really "got it." So I
      followed up by asking if he has since seen examples of blogging in the
      classroom transform students. He said that he is not sure there are a
      lot of examples of student learning being transformed by blogging and
      the read/write web tools. This was a surprise, but I think indicates
      his belief that blogging isn't being widely used in classrooms, not
      that it's not transformative. In fact, I was expecting that he would
      mention his own classroom experience with his students and Sue Monk
      Kidd and her book The Secret Life of Bees.
      * Will feels that he has a pretty narrow definition of blogging:
      in order to be a learning tool, there has to be some "intellectual
      sweat"--reading, writing, commenting, and thinking. That's not
      something he sees a lot of yet, especially in the K-12 level, although
      he does see it a lot at the college level. It's much more difficult to
      do on the K-12 level, and while it is is happening in some places,
      it's not to the extent he would like to see.
      * Will surprised me with his answer to the question of how to
      start classroom blogging. I was hoping he would talk about simple
      things teachers can do to get students to blog. Instead, however, Will
      kept focusing on the teacher using blogging for their own professional
      development, which starts by reading educational bloggers and then
      becoming a part of whatever conversation you are interested in. It
      reminded me of the maxim that has largely guided my participation in
      my kids education: if you want your children to love reading, then
      love reading yourself. Telling someone to have a passion for something
      carries almost no weight; letting them see you passionate about
      something provides them with a vision of what that actually means.
      * Because of his focus on involving educators in the blogosphere
      themselves, he starts by teaching about RSS readers.
      * Will has recently really "whittled" down the number of sources
      (blogs, news feeds) that he reads from approximately 120 to about 20,
      looking for people who are really good filters of the more general
      conversations, as he can't keep up with as many sources as he used to.
      At the same time that he is trying to expand the scope of what he
      reads to material outside of the educational community, to reach out
      and give him more perspective. One way that he does this is to use RSS
      feeds for searches--giving him the ability to track or follow ideas
      rather than individuals.
      * Will is not sure how many people actually read his blog, but his
      best guess is between 5,000 - 10,000 people.
      * New bloggers will often ask him, "What should I write about on
      my blog?" His answer: If you are reading what other people are
      writing, and if you are trying to take their ideas and see how they
      apply to your own life, that's great fodder for your own blog. It
      shouldn't be just a journal or a diary, he says--there's nothing wrong
      with that, but it won't really leverage what can happen with a blog by
      making connections with others and their ideas.
      * He likes the idea that students should be "clickable." (As you
      will hear, I could image alarm bells going of in every administrators
      head with this idea...) If someone can click on something a student
      has written, that person can become a potential teacher for the
      student. If the student can't be found, then those teachers won't find
      them. I asked Will how you do that without exposing the student to
      danger. Many of our students already are clickable, he said, but it's
      outside of their school experience (MySpace, etc.). However, he
      acknowledges that it will require helping kids know how to do this in
      safe ways. This may scare us, but it's the way the world is going, and
      it's already happening for kids. And, he says, we can do this
      safely--there are tens of thousands of kids doing this already in
      classes. He says that we don't teach youth to drive by just telling
      them how to drive and then giving them the keys when they are
      sixteen--instead, we train them and sit next to them while they
      actually drive.
      * Even though schools and districts are blocking and filtering a
      lot of the sites of the read/write web, he thinks that they know that
      this is a short-term answer, and that most educators realize that they
      will need to figure out how to use these technologies. Otherwise, he
      thinks they know that they will left behind and obsoleted.
      * Education is not inherently collaborative or social right now,
      but the rest of their life will be so. Will's vision: the classroom
      walls need to be mentally obliterated. We have to get beyond the
      building--learning does not need to take place in a physical space.
      * Our kids have to do work with real audiences and real purposes.
      If we're just passing paper between students and teachers, we are
      going to be left behind.
      * We have a huge opportunity to make education a "community"
      process. There is a lot of learning that we can do in our own
      community that can be facilitated by these technologies. The One
      Cleveland project, which allows everyone in the community to interact
      with students--for example, where local doctors could answer student
      questions while they are watching a surgery being performed. We don't
      need to go around the world to do this.
      * We have to re-envision our teacher preparation program. We can't
      keep producing teachers that are being prepared with old paradigms--we
      have to help them be continuous learners and much less
      content-oriented.
      * There is a lot that has to change, because there are going to be
      many, many alternatives that are going to be cropping up for kids that
      will allow them to opt-out of education as we know it. He doesn't
      think he's the all-knowing expert on school reform, but as someone who
      has had a pretty powerful experience with these tools, and who comes
      at this conversation knowing that his own learning environment is
      nothing like what he sees in classrooms. He's not sure how this is
      going to trickle down into systemic changes, but is convinced that
      schools will become irrelevant if they can't embrace them.
      * We have no idea of what the future for our kids is going to look
      like in even five years, so we have to teach them how to be ready for
      anything: how to build their own learning communities, how to find
      their own trusted sources of information, how to network their ideas,
      and how to publish, become clickable, and be creative.
      * On building "Engaged Schools" too much of what we are doing in
      classrooms designed to strengthen their weaknesses, instead of running
      with their talents. Teaching is changing, and it's going to take a
      much different type of teacher to be successful in the classroom than
      has been the case for the last eighty years.

      --
      Steve Hargadon
      steve@...
      916-899-1400 direct

      www.SteveHargadon.com - (Blog on Educational Technology)
      www.K12Computers.com - (Refurbished Dell Optiplexes for Schools)
      www.EdTechLive.com (Podcasts, Workshops, & Conferences)
      www.TechnologyRescue.com - (Linux Thin Client Solutions)
      www.LiveKiosk.com - (Web Access and Content Delivery Solutions)
      www.PublicWebStations.com - (Disaster & Shelter WebStation Software)
      www.K12OpenSource.com (Public Wiki)
      www.SupportBlogging.com (Public Wiki)
    • Harold Olejarz
      Steve, Thanks for posting the interview and the notice about it to the list. I just finished listening and enjoyed the interview. One issue I have always
      Message 2 of 12 , Jan 1, 2007
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        Steve,

        Thanks for posting the interview and the notice about it to the list.
        I just finished listening and enjoyed the interview.

        One issue I have always wanted to bring up about blogging and haven't
        was kind of touched upon in your interview. That is the issue of
        community building. I am interested in a comparison of blogging and
        being a member of a listserv as ways for educators to build community
        and learn. Obviously you participate in both.

        At NECC in San Diego I had a conversation with a blogger who felt that
        listservs were filled with "too many dumb people" asking inane
        questions. He liked blogging because he could sift out the that was a
        waste of his time.

        I like the openness of listservs and feel they are more "democratic"
        than Blogging.

        I like the focus of bloggers and the depth they get into but feel that
        a part of blogging is about becoming a "star" blogger.


        Harold

        "Using technology to demonstrate teaching and learning is the best way
        for educators to prove that they are using technology to enhance
        teaching and learning."

        Harold Olejarz
        Blog - digitalharold.blogspot.com
        Website - www.digitalharold.com
      • John Thomposon
        Interesting comments. Are you saying that in this new Web 2.0 world of sharing, interacting and we that the way to grow a blog s community is for the blogger
        Message 3 of 12 , Jan 2, 2007
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          Interesting comments. Are you saying that in this new Web 2.0 world of
          sharing, interacting and "we" that the way to grow a blog's community is for
          the blogger to be a "star?" So the "we" is more "me" than some would like to
          admit? An example of a wolf in sheep's clothing (i.e., it's really about
          "me" but I'll use the "we" approach as a guise to enhance me?)? BTW, since
          to be a "star" one needs others to acknowledge it, a blog needs a community
          of constant posters/ings. A way to build a blog's community is for the
          blogger to be prolific in his/her writing. Your digitalharold.blogspot.com
          blog looks like there's been almost six months between posts.



          John T. Thompson, Ph.D.
          Assistant Professor & Coordinator
          Educational Computing Program
          Computer Information Systems Dept.
          Chase 208, Buffalo State College
          1300 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14222
          (716) 878-3531 thompsjt@...
          http://www.buffalostate.edu/depts/edcomputing/

          "Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed
          until it is faced."
          - James Baldwin

          _____

          From: wwwedu@yahoogroups.com [mailto:wwwedu@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
          Harold Olejarz
          Sent: Monday, January 01, 2007 11:08 PM
          To: wwwedu@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [WWWEDU] (Interview) Educational Blogging and School 2.0 with
          Will Richardson



          Steve,

          Thanks for posting the interview and the notice about it to the list.
          I just finished listening and enjoyed the interview.

          One issue I have always wanted to bring up about blogging and haven't
          was kind of touched upon in your interview. That is the issue of
          community building. I am interested in a comparison of blogging and
          being a member of a listserv as ways for educators to build community
          and learn. Obviously you participate in both.

          At NECC in San Diego I had a conversation with a blogger who felt that
          listservs were filled with "too many dumb people" asking inane
          questions. He liked blogging because he could sift out the that was a
          waste of his time.

          I like the openness of listservs and feel they are more "democratic"
          than Blogging.

          I like the focus of bloggers and the depth they get into but feel that
          a part of blogging is about becoming a "star" blogger.

          Harold

          "Using technology to demonstrate teaching and learning is the best way
          for educators to prove that they are using technology to enhance
          teaching and learning."

          Harold Olejarz
          Blog - digitalharold.blogspot.com
          Website - www.digitalharold.com <http://www.digitalharold.com/>



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Steve Hargadon
          ... This is an interesting point. I do think that the edublogger community worries about certain bloggers becoming stars, since the constant pointing to
          Message 4 of 12 , Jan 2, 2007
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            On 1/1/07, Harold Olejarz <holejarz@...> wrote:

            >
            > I like the focus of bloggers and the depth they get into but feel that
            > a part of blogging is about becoming a "star" blogger.

            This is an interesting point. I do think that the edublogger
            community worries about certain bloggers becoming "stars," since the
            constant pointing to particular bloggers is likely to reduce the
            variety of ideas and then maybe just mimics the few voices of
            traditional media . Stephen Downes (http://www.downes.ca) has
            discussed this concern. I think John Seely Brown has also touched on
            it.

            Certainly, for someone like me who does not have a "large" readership,
            most of the motivation for blogging is the ability to think and learn
            and network. Is it different than posting to a list? For me, yes,
            because my blog becomes a personal repository of my journey. In the
            same way that a young person likes to bring a friend over to see their
            room, the posters they have on their wall, and the music they listen
            to (ergo, the appeal of MySpace, I believe), my blog is a way for
            someone to come and see what I am thinking about and working on, in a
            way that used to be reserved only for those who were prominent enough
            to be published by traditional media.

            So, while "stars" exist in the blogging world, their presence doesn't
            stop me from making great contacts and having great discussions
            because of my blog.

            I'll copy Will on this email. I'm interested in his take on it.

            Steve

            --
            Steve Hargadon
            steve@...
            916-899-1400 direct

            www.SteveHargadon.com - (Blog on Educational Technology)
            www.K12Computers.com - (Refurbished Dell Optiplexes for Schools)
            www.EdTechLive.com (Podcasts, Workshops, & Conferences)
            www.TechnologyRescue.com - (Linux Thin Client Solutions)
            www.LiveKiosk.com - (Web Access and Content Delivery Solutions)
            www.PublicWebStations.com - (Disaster & Shelter WebStation Software)
            www.K12OpenSource.com (Public Wiki)
            www.SupportBlogging.com (Public Wiki)
          • Miguel Guhlin
            Harold, John, and Steve, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I ve blogged briefly about your entries here: http://www.mguhlin.net/archives/2007/01/entry_2490.htm
            Message 5 of 12 , Jan 2, 2007
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              Harold, John, and Steve, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I've blogged
              briefly about your entries here:
              http://www.mguhlin.net/archives/2007/01/entry_2490.htm

              8->

              Take care and thanks,
              Miguel


              Steve Hargadon wrote:
              > On 1/1/07, Harold Olejarz <holejarz@...> wrote:
              >
              >
              >> I like the focus of bloggers and the depth they get into but feel that
              >> a part of blogging is about becoming a "star" blogger.
              >>
              >
              > This is an interesting point. I do think that the edublogger
              > community worries about certain bloggers becoming "stars," since the
              > constant pointing to particular bloggers is likely to reduce the
              > variety of ideas and then maybe just mimics the few voices of
              > traditional media . Stephen Downes (http://www.downes.ca) has
              > discussed this concern. I think John Seely Brown has also touched on
              > it.
              >
              > Certainly, for someone like me who does not have a "large" readership,
              > most of the motivation for blogging is the ability to think and learn
              > and network. Is it different than posting to a list? For me, yes,
              > because my blog becomes a personal repository of my journey. In the
              > same way that a young person likes to bring a friend over to see their
              > room, the posters they have on their wall, and the music they listen
              > to (ergo, the appeal of MySpace, I believe), my blog is a way for
              > someone to come and see what I am thinking about and working on, in a
              > way that used to be reserved only for those who were prominent enough
              > to be published by traditional media.
              >
              > So, while "stars" exist in the blogging world, their presence doesn't
              > stop me from making great contacts and having great discussions
              > because of my blog.
              >
              > I'll copy Will on this email. I'm interested in his take on it.
              >
              > Steve
              >
              >
            • audrey hill
              I am not blogging to be a star; I m blogging to understand and communicate. I think star bloggers are those who blog to advance their professional goals. They
              Message 6 of 12 , Jan 2, 2007
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                I am not blogging to be a star; I'm blogging to understand and communicate.
                I think star bloggers are those who blog to advance their professional
                goals. They have a career intent, and they go forward with their goal in
                mind. They need not apologize for using blogging to support their goal. It's
                one way to be a professional in the field. People definitely have a right
                to promote their good work and their expertise, although, of course, no one
                likes the "self promoter" who uses others for their own gain and does not
                give back. Those stars are just an annoying reminder that good things can
                happen to bad people. I prefer to read those who are farther along the road
                than I am or who have something really unique that they bring to the table,
                but I also care about the quality of person and whether or not I feel like I
                can participate with them or learn from them. I read those who have
                something I want to develop and who in one way or another present a
                generosity of spirit.

                I've written more about it on my blog and if anyone cares to read the rest,
                it's here.<http://stonepooch.com/blog/2007/01/02/youre-just-a-star-blogger/>

                Audrey

                On 1/2/07, Miguel Guhlin <mguhlin@...> wrote:
                >
                > Harold, John, and Steve, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I've blogged
                > briefly about your entries here:
                > http://www.mguhlin.net/archives/2007/01/entry_2490.htm
                >
                > 8->
                >
                > Take care and thanks,
                > Miguel
                >
                > Steve Hargadon wrote:
                > > On 1/1/07, Harold Olejarz <holejarz@... <holejarz%40gmail.com>>
                > wrote:
                > >
                > >
                > >> I like the focus of bloggers and the depth they get into but feel that
                > >> a part of blogging is about becoming a "star" blogger.
                > >>
                > >
                > > This is an interesting point. I do think that the edublogger
                > > community worries about certain bloggers becoming "stars," since the
                > > constant pointing to particular bloggers is likely to reduce the
                > > variety of ideas and then maybe just mimics the few voices of
                > > traditional media . Stephen Downes (http://www.downes.ca) has
                > > discussed this concern. I think John Seely Brown has also touched on
                > > it.
                > >
                > > Certainly, for someone like me who does not have a "large" readership,
                > > most of the motivation for blogging is the ability to think and learn
                > > and network. Is it different than posting to a list? For me, yes,
                > > because my blog becomes a personal repository of my journey. In the
                > > same way that a young person likes to bring a friend over to see their
                > > room, the posters they have on their wall, and the music they listen
                > > to (ergo, the appeal of MySpace, I believe), my blog is a way for
                > > someone to come and see what I am thinking about and working on, in a
                > > way that used to be reserved only for those who were prominent enough
                > > to be published by traditional media.
                > >
                > > So, while "stars" exist in the blogging world, their presence doesn't
                > > stop me from making great contacts and having great discussions
                > > because of my blog.
                > >
                > > I'll copy Will on this email. I'm interested in his take on it.
                > >
                > > Steve
                > >
                > >
                >
                >
                >


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Andy Carvin
                ... the rest, ... here. ... And here s my contribution to the conversation:
                Message 7 of 12 , Jan 3, 2007
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                  --- In wwwedu@yahoogroups.com, "audrey hill" <audhilly@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > I've written more about it on my blog and if anyone cares to read
                  the rest,
                  > it's
                  here.<http://stonepooch.com/blog/2007/01/02/youre-just-a-star-blogger/>
                  >

                  And here's my contribution to the conversation:

                  http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/learning.now/2007/01/educational_blogging_avoiding.html

                  excerpts:

                  I've been finding myself fascinated by the discussion, partially
                  because I agree with a lot of what's been said and also because it's
                  forced me to think about whether I'm a part of the problem or a part
                  of the solution. For example, if you read my blog regularly, you'll
                  probably see certain names popping up on regular occasions, like
                  Will's, Miguel's, David Warlick and others. I'll refer to their blog
                  writings because they have a wonderful signal-to-noise ratio when it
                  comes to insightful thinking, making them very quotable. And because
                  the blogosphere has distributed conversations, in which people will
                  post their replies to other posts on their own blogs, it's not unusual
                  to develop a sense that there's a group of "usual suspects" talking
                  among themselves. It's certainly not intended to be exclusionary, but
                  for those people who aren't a part of the conversation, I can see how
                  it's sometimes interpreted that way.

                  This isn't really a new phenomenon by any means: since the earliest
                  days of email discussion lists, well before the Web or the
                  blogosphere, discussion groups could usually be divided into the
                  "leaders" who posted frequently and the "lurkers" who almost never
                  posted. More recently, this phenomenon has been referred to by some as
                  the One Percent Rule. Whether you're referring to a list, a blog, a
                  discussion forum or even a site like YouTube, you often find a similar
                  pattern: about one percent of the audience posts frequently, 10% posts
                  occasionally and the rest of them lurk. So it's hardly a new trend
                  that's emerged because of blogging. Of course, not everyone has the
                  time to participate actively, but the smaller group of people
                  participating in a conversation, the more likely you'll only find
                  limited diversity in their viewpoints. To paraphrase the sign-off line
                  of edtech pioneer Stephen Collins, we all need to give back to the
                  Net, and we do that by participating in it. Otherwise we suffer from
                  the usual suspects syndrome, with a limited group of repeat offenders
                  contributing to the conversation. This holds true for discussion lists
                  just as much as it does for blogs.

                  What's different, though, is blogging is more visible to the public.
                  The same people who used to wrote cogent thoughts in relative
                  anonymity on email lists now find themselves making a public name for
                  themselves because they're continuing those same thoughts on blogs.
                  Blogs are more accessible than email lists, better indexed by search
                  engines, better at attracting a diverse audience and more likely to
                  get you quoted by the mainstream media. All of these factors, when
                  taken together, can lead to a situation in which some bloggers develop
                  a certain notoriety. This can create the perception that they dominate
                  the online conversation, and since popular bloggers will blog among
                  themselves as I've noted, that perception is sometimes warranted.

                  In some ways, I'm reminded of a fascinating speech by Internet
                  entrepreneur Mitch Kapor that I saw last summer. Mitch suggested that
                  political blogging was failing the public when it came to true open
                  discourse about policymaking, with bloggers talking among themselves
                  and discussing things in a linear, tit-for-tat way, rather than
                  collaborating in ways that affect positive policy outcomes. He argued
                  that wikis might actually be a better tool for collaboration, since it
                  allows participants to layer each other's best ideas on top of each
                  other and create a product - in this case, new policies - that better
                  reflect the opinions of the public. Call it citizen policymaking, if
                  you will.

                  The same thing might be said of educational blogging; at times, those
                  of us who do it sometimes project that it's an exclusive club, simply
                  because some people get bigger audiences than others. We may not do it
                  consciously, but we still do it, and it's a shame, because most of us
                  who blog about education would argue that blogging is a democratizing
                  force, open to all newcomers, who can create an audience based on the
                  merit of their ideas. I still believe this very strongly, but
                  acknowledge I need to do a better job at reflecting those new voices
                  when I blog. RSS tools can help, because they can let you manage
                  larger amounts of content, but it's easy to get lazy and rely on the
                  same two or three blogs as sources, thus limiting the scope and
                  breadth of your own professional development.

                  Blogging, it seems, is just like making a commitment to lifelong
                  learning; if you don't expose yourself to a constant flow of new
                  ideas, your own ideas become stale. We need to do a better job at
                  bringing more people into the conversation. I need to do a better job
                  at it.

                  Andy Carvin
                  andycarvin at yahoo conm
                • Janice Friesen
                  Star blogging... I think it is an issue because blogging can become a sort of referential circle. I have favorite blogs that I read and if I refer to them and
                  Message 8 of 12 , Jan 4, 2007
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                    Star blogging... I think it is an issue because blogging can become a sort
                    of referential circle. I have favorite blogs that I read and if I refer to
                    them and they refer to me ad infinitum we end up having a fairly closed
                    circle. I don¹t think that anyone means or wants it to be that way, but I
                    think it naturally happens. If we read what motivates and excites us and
                    then respond to it certain bloggers will be the ones that are linked often
                    and become part of a discussion. I don¹t think that is bad. However, it
                    means that if you are one of those bloggers that everyone reads it is even
                    more important that you are reading and highlighting different blogs.

                    Some people are better communicators than others and also have unique
                    insights on a more regular basis than most of us! There is only limited
                    time and so we all have to settle down into reading a few blogs rather than
                    all of the blogs that might interest us. How do you keep from only reading
                    the people who you agree with?

                    Just some thoughts,

                    Janice Friesen
                    janicef@...
                    http://malahinitx.blogspot.com



                    On 1/2/07 11:34 AM, "Steve Hargadon" <steve@...> wrote:

                    On 1/1/07, Harold Olejarz <holejarz@... <mailto:holejarz%40gmail.com>
                    > wrote:
                    >
                    >> >
                    >> > I like the focus of bloggers and the depth they get into but feel that
                    >> > a part of blogging is about becoming a "star" blogger.
                    >
                    > This is an interesting point. I do think that the edublogger
                    > community worries about certain bloggers becoming "stars," since the
                    > constant pointing to particular bloggers is likely to reduce the
                    > variety of ideas and then maybe just mimics the few voices of
                    > traditional media . Stephen Downes (http://www.downes.ca) has
                    > discussed this concern. I think John Seely Brown has also touched on
                    > it.
                    >
                    > Certainly, for someone like me who does not have a "large" readership,
                    > most of the motivation for blogging is the ability to think and learn
                    > and network. Is it different than posting to a list? For me, yes,
                    > because my blog becomes a personal repository of my journey. In the
                    > same way that a young person likes to bring a friend over to see their
                    > room, the posters they have on their wall, and the music they listen
                    > to (ergo, the appeal of MySpace, I believe), my blog is a way for
                    > someone to come and see what I am thinking about and working on, in a
                    > way that used to be reserved only for those who were prominent enough
                    > to be published by traditional media.
                    >
                    > So, while "stars" exist in the blogging world, their presence doesn't
                    > stop me from making great contacts and having great discussions
                    > because of my blog.
                    >
                    > I'll copy Will on this email. I'm interested in his take on it.
                    >
                    > Steve




                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Janice Friesen
                    Andy, This is why I read what you write.... You are so good at putting things into the right words. I just love the quote ³they have a wonderful signal to
                    Message 9 of 12 , Jan 4, 2007
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                      Andy,

                      This is why I read what you write.... You are so good at putting things into
                      the right words. I just love the quote ³they have a wonderful signal to
                      noise ratio when it comes to insightful thinking².

                      Thanks,

                      Janice
                      janicef@...

                      On 1/3/07 2:23 PM, "Andy Carvin" <andycarvin@...> wrote:

                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > --- In wwwedu@yahoogroups.com <mailto:wwwedu%40yahoogroups.com> , "audrey
                      > hill" <audhilly@...> wrote:
                      >> >
                      >> > I've written more about it on my blog and if anyone cares to read
                      > the rest,
                      >> > it's
                      > here.<http://stonepooch.com/blog/2007/01/02/youre-just-a-star-blogger/>
                      >> >
                      >
                      > And here's my contribution to the conversation:
                      >
                      > http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/learning.now/2007/01/educational_blogging_avo
                      > iding.html
                      >
                      > excerpts:
                      >
                      > I've been finding myself fascinated by the discussion, partially
                      > because I agree with a lot of what's been said and also because it's
                      > forced me to think about whether I'm a part of the problem or a part
                      > of the solution. For example, if you read my blog regularly, you'll
                      > probably see certain names popping up on regular occasions, like
                      > Will's, Miguel's, David Warlick and others. I'll refer to their blog
                      > writings because they have a wonderful signal-to-noise ratio when it
                      > comes to insightful thinking, making them very quotable. And because
                      > the blogosphere has distributed conversations, in which people will
                      > post their replies to other posts on their own blogs, it's not unusual
                      > to develop a sense that there's a group of "usual suspects" talking
                      > among themselves. It's certainly not intended to be exclusionary, but
                      > for those people who aren't a part of the conversation, I can see how
                      > it's sometimes interpreted that way.
                      >
                      > This isn't really a new phenomenon by any means: since the earliest
                      > days of email discussion lists, well before the Web or the
                      > blogosphere, discussion groups could usually be divided into the
                      > "leaders" who posted frequently and the "lurkers" who almost never
                      > posted. More recently, this phenomenon has been referred to by some as
                      > the One Percent Rule. Whether you're referring to a list, a blog, a
                      > discussion forum or even a site like YouTube, you often find a similar
                      > pattern: about one percent of the audience posts frequently, 10% posts
                      > occasionally and the rest of them lurk. So it's hardly a new trend
                      > that's emerged because of blogging. Of course, not everyone has the
                      > time to participate actively, but the smaller group of people
                      > participating in a conversation, the more likely you'll only find
                      > limited diversity in their viewpoints. To paraphrase the sign-off line
                      > of edtech pioneer Stephen Collins, we all need to give back to the
                      > Net, and we do that by participating in it. Otherwise we suffer from
                      > the usual suspects syndrome, with a limited group of repeat offenders
                      > contributing to the conversation. This holds true for discussion lists
                      > just as much as it does for blogs.
                      >
                      > What's different, though, is blogging is more visible to the public.
                      > The same people who used to wrote cogent thoughts in relative
                      > anonymity on email lists now find themselves making a public name for
                      > themselves because they're continuing those same thoughts on blogs.
                      > Blogs are more accessible than email lists, better indexed by search
                      > engines, better at attracting a diverse audience and more likely to
                      > get you quoted by the mainstream media. All of these factors, when
                      > taken together, can lead to a situation in which some bloggers develop
                      > a certain notoriety. This can create the perception that they dominate
                      > the online conversation, and since popular bloggers will blog among
                      > themselves as I've noted, that perception is sometimes warranted.
                      >
                      > In some ways, I'm reminded of a fascinating speech by Internet
                      > entrepreneur Mitch Kapor that I saw last summer. Mitch suggested that
                      > political blogging was failing the public when it came to true open
                      > discourse about policymaking, with bloggers talking among themselves
                      > and discussing things in a linear, tit-for-tat way, rather than
                      > collaborating in ways that affect positive policy outcomes. He argued
                      > that wikis might actually be a better tool for collaboration, since it
                      > allows participants to layer each other's best ideas on top of each
                      > other and create a product - in this case, new policies - that better
                      > reflect the opinions of the public. Call it citizen policymaking, if
                      > you will.
                      >
                      > The same thing might be said of educational blogging; at times, those
                      > of us who do it sometimes project that it's an exclusive club, simply
                      > because some people get bigger audiences than others. We may not do it
                      > consciously, but we still do it, and it's a shame, because most of us
                      > who blog about education would argue that blogging is a democratizing
                      > force, open to all newcomers, who can create an audience based on the
                      > merit of their ideas. I still believe this very strongly, but
                      > acknowledge I need to do a better job at reflecting those new voices
                      > when I blog. RSS tools can help, because they can let you manage
                      > larger amounts of content, but it's easy to get lazy and rely on the
                      > same two or three blogs as sources, thus limiting the scope and
                      > breadth of your own professional development.
                      >
                      > Blogging, it seems, is just like making a commitment to lifelong
                      > learning; if you don't expose yourself to a constant flow of new
                      > ideas, your own ideas become stale. We need to do a better job at
                      > bringing more people into the conversation. I need to do a better job
                      > at it.
                      >
                      > Andy Carvin
                      > andycarvin at yahoo conm
                      >




                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Harold Olejarz
                      Hi, I have enjoyed reading the posts in this thread and also the fact that this thread has spilled over into several people s blogs. Andy Carvin s thoughts
                      Message 10 of 12 , Jan 4, 2007
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                        Hi,

                        I have enjoyed reading the posts in this thread and also the fact that
                        this thread has spilled over into several people's blogs. Andy
                        Carvin's thoughts were especially insightful.

                        What continues to be so great about the web is it's shamelessness. I
                        can click on a link in some one's response on the list and wind up on
                        some one's blog and then read the responses to the blog posting
                        without having to "go out and buy the next edition of the journal,
                        magazine or newspaper."

                        Still in some respects I wish that all of the responses stayed on the
                        list. Yet I also realize that having the dialog spill onto blogs
                        spreads the conversation to more people and ultimately that is what
                        all of us who participate in list or post on blogs are about,
                        communication.

                        Personally I was excited about Blogging and started a blog with the
                        intent of blogging about NECC in San Diego and continuing after that.
                        As was commented on in a previous email in this thread, my blogging
                        ran out of gas. Other projects sucked up my time and in the end I
                        guess my motivation was not strong enough to keep me going.

                        In some respects I see blogging as a way for those people who posted
                        thoughtful and insightful things on lists to "own" their work. Posting
                        your writings on a blog as opposed to on a listserv gives the author
                        more credit. (Bloggers become "auteurs" when they post on their blogs
                        as opposed to just another posting on a listserv.)

                        One thing I do find limiting about blogs is the diaristic linearity of
                        them. I have maintained my own website for many years and like the
                        complexity of connections that a website offers. I also like the fact
                        that websites can have different sections with different material.
                        (Andy Carvin linked to my blog on his blog but didn't link to my
                        personal or school website. I feel that my personal website is more
                        representative of me.)

                        At lunch today I was sitting next to a teacher who has done some
                        things with technology. She is a terrific, hard working educator who
                        has an impact on kids. Our school website, which I set up and maintain
                        came up. Then she talked about new technology and out of the blue
                        said, " I hope they aren't going to make us start blogging."

                        Unfortunately, K-12 teaching is so demanding time-wise that few
                        teachers have the time for blogs or listervs.


                        Harold

                        "Using technology to demonstrate teaching and learning is the best way
                        for educators to prove that they are using technology to enhance
                        teaching and learning."

                        Harold Olejarz
                        Website - www.digitalharold.com
                        Blog - digitalharold.blogspot.com
                      • tednellen
                        i like these points, janice. i have not jumped into the blog world because i have had similar reservations. the blog doesnt offer for me a dialogue as it
                        Message 11 of 12 , Jan 5, 2007
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                          i like these points, janice. i have not jumped into the blog world because
                          i have had similar reservations. the blog doesnt offer for me a dialogue
                          as it could. for instance a blogger posts rumminations and then there are
                          some comments and that is the end of it, in too many cases. unlike the
                          discussion board of a moodle, for example, where we can get back and
                          forth discussion on a topic, we don't get that in most blogs i have read.
                          a blog post appears and a comment or two, mostly in agreement without
                          response to those comments, no real dialogue. blogs are very good as you
                          point out because of the articulate posts by some bloggers. but
                          unfortunately too many blogs are vacant of real intellectual consideration
                          as opposed to mere observations that dont demand response or even seem to
                          want one. hear me and that is it. i see blooging falling into the trap of
                          print media but with some sex added. and too often that sex is
                          masterbatory in nature, not in need of a partner. i'm trying to figure out
                          via GOOGLE how each of my scholars can use the blog of their own much as i
                          used individual webpages years ago. with the quality of commenting makes
                          the blog a real boon in education where the webpage had its day to begin
                          the scholarly process of making our work public and then engaging in peer
                          review. the blog has these possiblilities and yet i dont see that
                          happening yet.

                          the wiki provides more of a possibility as readers and writers share the
                          same text and can then create hyperlinks within the text to create those
                          conversations. this too i am exploring.

                          moodle is the place i am trying all of this and it is slow going, but
                          fruitful as i enjoy the discovery process of my scholars. not public yet,
                          as i have to consider the ramifications of public now with the fear of
                          whatever looming over all of us in schools.

                          reinventing ourselves is tiring but fruitful work.

                          ted





                          On Thu, 4 Jan 2007, Janice Friesen wrote:

                          > Star blogging... I think it is an issue because blogging can become a sort
                          > of referential circle. I have favorite blogs that I read and if I refer to
                          > them and they refer to me ad infinitum we end up having a fairly closed
                          > circle. I don¹t think that anyone means or wants it to be that way, but I
                          > think it naturally happens. If we read what motivates and excites us and
                          > then respond to it certain bloggers will be the ones that are linked often
                          > and become part of a discussion. I don¹t think that is bad. However, it
                          > means that if you are one of those bloggers that everyone reads it is even
                          > more important that you are reading and highlighting different blogs.
                          >
                          > Some people are better communicators than others and also have unique
                          > insights on a more regular basis than most of us! There is only limited
                          > time and so we all have to settle down into reading a few blogs rather than
                          > all of the blogs that might interest us. How do you keep from only reading
                          > the people who you agree with?
                          >
                          > Just some thoughts,
                          >
                          > Janice Friesen
                          > janicef@...
                          > http://malahinitx.blogspot.com
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > On 1/2/07 11:34 AM, "Steve Hargadon" <steve@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > On 1/1/07, Harold Olejarz <holejarz@... <mailto:holejarz%40gmail.com>
                          > > wrote:
                          > >
                          > >> >
                          > >> > I like the focus of bloggers and the depth they get into but feel that
                          > >> > a part of blogging is about becoming a "star" blogger.
                          > >
                          > > This is an interesting point. I do think that the edublogger
                          > > community worries about certain bloggers becoming "stars," since the
                          > > constant pointing to particular bloggers is likely to reduce the
                          > > variety of ideas and then maybe just mimics the few voices of
                          > > traditional media . Stephen Downes (http://www.downes.ca) has
                          > > discussed this concern. I think John Seely Brown has also touched on
                          > > it.
                          > >
                          > > Certainly, for someone like me who does not have a "large" readership,
                          > > most of the motivation for blogging is the ability to think and learn
                          > > and network. Is it different than posting to a list? For me, yes,
                          > > because my blog becomes a personal repository of my journey. In the
                          > > same way that a young person likes to bring a friend over to see their
                          > > room, the posters they have on their wall, and the music they listen
                          > > to (ergo, the appeal of MySpace, I believe), my blog is a way for
                          > > someone to come and see what I am thinking about and working on, in a
                          > > way that used to be reserved only for those who were prominent enough
                          > > to be published by traditional media.
                          > >
                          > > So, while "stars" exist in the blogging world, their presence doesn't
                          > > stop me from making great contacts and having great discussions
                          > > because of my blog.
                          > >
                          > > I'll copy Will on this email. I'm interested in his take on it.
                          > >
                          > > Steve
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > WWWEDU, The Web and Education Discussion Group
                          > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wwwedu
                          > http://www.edwebproject.org/wwwedu.html
                          >
                          > Yahoo! Groups Links
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >

                          --

                          Ted Nellen 8-) http://www.tnellen.com/

                          "You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
                          To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

                          Buckminster Fuller
                        • Janice Friesen
                          I have begun to really love Wikis for the reasons that Ted mentions. I think that they can be a real conversation. The actual conversation may mostly go on
                          Message 12 of 12 , Jan 7, 2007
                          • 0 Attachment
                            I have begun to really love Wikis for the reasons that Ted mentions. I
                            think that they can be a real conversation. The actual conversation may
                            mostly go on in the background on the discussion list as a wiki is created.
                            It will be interesting to see what becomes of them.

                            Janice

                            On 1/5/07 7:15 AM, "tednellen" <tnellen@...> wrote:

                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > i like these points, janice. i have not jumped into the blog world because
                            > i have had similar reservations. the blog doesnt offer for me a dialogue
                            > as it could. for instance a blogger posts rumminations and then there are
                            > some comments and that is the end of it, in too many cases. unlike the
                            > discussion board of a moodle, for example, where we can get back and
                            > forth discussion on a topic, we don't get that in most blogs i have read.
                            > a blog post appears and a comment or two, mostly in agreement without
                            > response to those comments, no real dialogue. blogs are very good as you
                            > point out because of the articulate posts by some bloggers. but
                            > unfortunately too many blogs are vacant of real intellectual consideration
                            > as opposed to mere observations that dont demand response or even seem to
                            > want one. hear me and that is it. i see blooging falling into the trap of
                            > print media but with some sex added. and too often that sex is
                            > masterbatory in nature, not in need of a partner. i'm trying to figure out
                            > via GOOGLE how each of my scholars can use the blog of their own much as i
                            > used individual webpages years ago. with the quality of commenting makes
                            > the blog a real boon in education where the webpage had its day to begin
                            > the scholarly process of making our work public and then engaging in peer
                            > review. the blog has these possiblilities and yet i dont see that
                            > happening yet.
                            >
                            > the wiki provides more of a possibility as readers and writers share the
                            > same text and can then create hyperlinks within the text to create those
                            > conversations. this too i am exploring.
                            >
                            > moodle is the place i am trying all of this and it is slow going, but
                            > fruitful as i enjoy the discovery process of my scholars. not public yet,
                            > as i have to consider the ramifications of public now with the fear of
                            > whatever looming over all of us in schools.
                            >
                            > reinventing ourselves is tiring but fruitful work.
                            >
                            > ted
                            >
                            > On Thu, 4 Jan 2007, Janice Friesen wrote:
                            >
                            >> > Star blogging... I think it is an issue because blogging can become a sort
                            >> > of referential circle. I have favorite blogs that I read and if I refer to
                            >> > them and they refer to me ad infinitum we end up having a fairly closed
                            >> > circle. I don¹t think that anyone means or wants it to be that way, but I
                            >> > think it naturally happens. If we read what motivates and excites us and
                            >> > then respond to it certain bloggers will be the ones that are linked often
                            >> > and become part of a discussion. I don¹t think that is bad. However, it
                            >> > means that if you are one of those bloggers that everyone reads it is even
                            >> > more important that you are reading and highlighting different blogs.
                            >> >
                            >> > Some people are better communicators than others and also have unique
                            >> > insights on a more regular basis than most of us! There is only limited
                            >> > time and so we all have to settle down into reading a few blogs rather than
                            >> > all of the blogs that might interest us. How do you keep from only reading
                            >> > the people who you agree with?
                            >> >
                            >> > Just some thoughts,
                            >> >
                            >> > Janice Friesen
                            >> > janicef@... <mailto:janicef%40jfriesen.net>
                            >> > http://malahinitx.blogspot.com
                            >> >



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