Friday, June 20, 2008

Should I Attend Edubloggercon?

I love conferences. I've attended and spoken at hundreds of them. I relish the opportunity to spend time exchanges ideas and catching-up with old friends while meeting new ones. I welcome any opportunity to discuss powerful ideas with colleagues.

A large part of me would like to attend the upcoming Edubloggercon before NECC. I know that I am welcome there, but are my ideas?

The problem is that although I understand and use Web 2.0 tools, I am less sanguine about their potential to revolutionize education. I believe that the emphasis on using computers as information appliances represents a tiny portion of the computer's power.

This and other important issues are worthy of debate, but I am not sure that Edubloggercon is the right venue for questioning the educational assumptions held by a good number of participants. Some colleagues identify so closely with the ethos of the blogosphere that any criticism of the software tools or classroom applications is interpreted as a personal attack. One educator wrote the following about me today,

I just believe the criticism, even if justified, was not done in the spirit and manner of a what I was taught an educator should do.


I respect Steve Hargadon and his efforts on behalf of Edubloggercon too much to generate unwanted dissent or be the skunk at the Edugarden party.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Isn't it Ironic?

Many of the most popular, hired and prolific members of the EduBlogosphere (particularly the edtech bloggers) spend a great deal of time, word count and airplane mileage talking about the importance of literacy - old literacy, new literacy, media literacy, superdooper 21st Century Web 2.0 literacy and "literacies" yet to be invented.

Literacy dominates my esteemed colleague's thoughts about education. Therefore, I find it shocking that there is so little [read: none] discussion of the news that the federal Department of Education has concluded that Reading First, the $6 billion shock and awe approach to literacy education at the core of No Child Left Behind, has FAILED to improve the reading comprehension of American students.

Why the silence among EduBloggers? Is this issue unimportant? Should we ignore the calamity created by Reading First just because it doesn't mention Twitter, Apture, Ning or other made-up words?

Or, are you waiting to be told what to think by Tom Friedman or Daniel Pink?

Too bad the self-proclaimed prophets of the information and media literacy "revolution" have nothing to offer the educators who will need to cleanup this mess created by the Bush Administration and perpetuated by those who remained silent when they knew better.

For the record, I've been writing about this issue for four years. An anthology of this work may be found here. I hope to have a more substantive piece published for a larger audience sometime this week. Stay tuned.

Labels: , , , , ,