11 Familiar Conversations

Here is an oversimplified scan of the ed tech blogoshere in the last month:

1. The blogger has “seen the light”, has truth on his side, (the truth = transforming education with technology is the solution for many educational ills); but the blogger is frustrated because…

a) the administration
b) the teachers
c) the community

1. Don’t “Get It” 2. “Get It”; but are afraid to change 3. “Get It” and don’t care.

2. The blogger believes that technology is the solution for many educational ills; but is frustrated because… a) she doesn’t have access to the equipment she needs b) is restricted in her use of Web 2.0 tools, c) feels that PD is lacking d) feels that concerns about the safety of kids are overblown.

3. The blogger is frustrated because he feels that NCLB is restricting his ability to be creative and use technology in ways that he would like.

4. The blogger is excited about a hot new tech item that you should know about.

5. The blogger feels we need radical change; but also feels: a) it is probably not possible given the nature of the system b) it may be possible if we “tear it down and start from scratch” c) we need to work with those that are interested to make incremental change where we can, even if that means one teacher at a time.

6. The blogger is frustrated because he feels that the traditional approach to teaching and learning is an outdated approach left over from the industrial revolution and is not suited to the information age.

7. The blogger speculates about why teachers/administrators don’t embrace technology.

8. The blogger complains about whoever is running the networks in her school and whoever it is that creates policies which restrict what teachers and students can do with technology.

9. The blogger has totally abandoned ed tech philosophizing and showcases practical ideas and examples of how to use technology in classrooms.

10. The blogger has been to a conference or PD and reports out to us what happened there.

11. The blogger is so busy that he is cutting back on a) the number of RSS feeds he reads b) the number of posts he writes c) blogging altogether

What other conversational patterns are out there that I have missed?

Additions by commenters:

12. The blogger thinks that other bloggers are whiney and predictable. (Stephen Downes)

13. Theres also the blogger that builds a list of things on other blogs. (Bruce)

14. The blogger that is just basically journaling their experiences in the classroom – what they tried, what worked, what didn’t, what’s next. (Bruce)

pete

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17 thoughts on “11 Familiar Conversations

  1. I’d say you got them all.

    It’s kind of depressing to see it in that format. Those are really the same conversation patterns (and problems) that were going on when I started reading blogs 5 or 6 years ago.

    When it’s put like this, and I’m not sure of your intent, it seems like a lot of wasted energy and ego. I’ve done a most of those posts (1c, 2bd, 4, 5 abc, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10) – more of them than I’d like to admit. Some of it seems pretty useless now but at the time helped me vent some energy in a safe direction.

    The thing I wonder about is whether there’s a path/maturation process where an edtech blogger goes from one conversational pattern to another to reach, hopefully, a higher level of writing that does more to help others/create change/do something useful.

    Maybe there’s no such path, maybe people just tend to write according to the moment, but looking at this list and thinking of all the posts I’ve read that fall into these categories makes me wonder if some, maybe too many conversational patterns, have little impact in the end.

    A lot for me to think about in terms of how I cho0se to spend my time and energy. I want it to matter and thinking of it this way makes me wonder if about 75% of what I post is just another echo.

    That may be more than you intended with this post, but maybe not.

    Tom

  2. Tom;
    I’m not sure what to make of the recurring patterns. I have blogged just about every one of the 11, and if you read Stephen’s comment, I’ve been boorish enough to blog a 12th.

    I don’t think we should be discouraged. Sometimes we need to write about it ourselves, connecting to our own experiences, to make it ours.

    Sometimes blogging gives me the feeling of motion, even when it produces no real movement.

    pete

  3. Stephen,
    I think there’s some truth in your observation and I include myself in that whiney and predictable blogger group; while adding that I am particularly skilled with the “empty and hackneyed”.
    pete

  4. Theres also the blogger that builds list of things on other blogs.

    And I don’t know if you have the blogger that is just basically journaling their experiences in the classroom – what they tried, what worked, what didn’t, what’s next (my favorite kind actually)

  5. Pete, this is a GREAT post.

    Regarding many of your items, the fact that the same themes keep recurring across multiple bloggers may be more of an indictment of our school systems and their inability to accommodate the interests of the bloggers (whatever those may be) than of the bloggers themselves? I mean, at some point smoke indicates fire, no?

    What I read across many of the patterns listed is dissatisfaction with the current system and a need to express their voice about it. Nothing wrong about that in my book; that’s the beauty of blogging.

  6. Scott,
    When I look back at the post, I am torn.

    In one sense, I feel like the dissatisfaction expressed in the blogs (myself included) is like complaining about a relationship…”my husband doesn’t communicate, my wife drinks too much” and not doing something about the situation. After a long while, if the person in the bad relationship stays in it and keeps complaining; their friends stop listening. You can’t take them seriously after awhile.

    On the other hand, speaking out and using our voices is important. Building communities of like minded educators who are dissatisfied with the status quo is helpful. It gives our ideas far more reach than what we would have without the blogoshpere.

    Like I said, I haven’t sorted this one out yet.

    pete

  7. Pete – like you I have seen these themes and am torn. I read the relationship complaints, and sometimes I am lucky to read about people who focus on what is already working.

    It is easy to point out failure, to point out the problems. In fact, we’ve been trained to do that! Problem solving scenarios assume that there is a problem to be solved!

    Blog, as an online journal, is a tool for reflection. It’s ok to reflect upon what is frustrating me and you…though in my experience a focus on frustration breeds more frustration…

    > What other conversational patterns are out there that I have missed?
    I’d like to add the post where bloggers share inspirational stories of success in education. (like your own about Mrs. Alvarez 🙂 )

  8. Tracy,
    Sometimes I think these times of NCLB are like the 1950’s. A conservative time…but it was the 1950’s that sowed the seeds of the changes that we experienced in the ’60’s. Perhaps the currents of change are right below the frozen surface of the river.
    pete

  9. Wow – guess your blog doesn’t like comments with many links 🙂

    I had responded by questioning the thickness of the ice on that frozen river of yours.

    I had also included a whole bunch of links to teacher sites and articles and wikis about blogs and connectivity in actual classrooms around the world.

    Here, I’ll include one – it’s my own class blog 🙂
    http://missrosen.edublogs.org

  10. Sorry Tracy…I retrieved your comment from the spam filter. Unfortunately, my picture shows up on the comment rather than yours. Yours is better.

    Thank you for the resources. I am adding them to my RSS feed.

    pete

  11. I thought (being a relatively new and optimistic blogger) that I would rewrite your list in a more positive light:

    1. The blogger sees the possibilities in transforming education with technology and pushes for change in …

    a) the administration
    b) the teachers
    c) the community

    2. The blogger sees that technology could be the solution for many educational ills and passionately discusses how technology could be used in the schools/classrooms.

    3. The blogger points out why arguments by administrative agencies that restrict technology use are invalid.

    4. The blogger is excited about a hot new tech item that you should know about, and details how it can be used to improve learning.

    5. The blogger feels we need radical change and hopes that by increasing the population of their readers, they can do their part to implement change on a national level.

    6. The blogger understands that the traditional approach to teaching and learning is an outdated approach left over from the industrial revolution and is not suited to the information age.

    7. The blogger pushes for other teachers/administrators to embrace technology by showing practical and easy uses of technology in the classroom.

    8. The blogger points out the shortcomings in school policies that restrict what teachers and students can do with technology.

    9. The blogger showcases practical ideas and examples of how to use technology in classrooms, in addition to occasionally philosophizing about ed tech.

    10. The blogger has been to a conference or PD and reports out to us what happened there – which is great, because sometimes we couldn’t get to that conference or that session.

    11. The blogger pushes industry to change their technology to make it better suited for education. (my addition)

  12. Hmm…great list, Pete. Here’s my contribution:

    The blogger realizes that his writing, while failing to effect change in the system, knows it is necessary for his personal growth…in essence, bringing about change in his own life.

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