Eyes Wide Open – bloggers to watch.

One of the good things about being on school holidays has been having some time to explore links that take me to blogs I haven’t had a chance to discover due to the demands on time when working.  There are two in particular that have caught my eye for different reasons.

First discovery came from a tweet from Alec Couras. He was highlighting the vimeo reflection from Dan Meyer, a maths teacher from California who is five years into the teaching profession. I loved his reflection; it’s one of a series of ten he is making and I intend to watch each one. He is a refreshing voice; a young teacher with ideas and someone who is not afraid to challenge the thoughts and opinions of ‘names’ in the edublogosphere. I had been wondering where the young teachers were in the blogging community; following Dan is going to lead me in the direction of them I’m sure.

dy/av : 002 : the next-gen lecturer from Dan Meyer on Vimeo.

The other interesting blogger for very different reasons is Matthew K. Tabor   He writes this about himself on the front page of his blog;

Matthew’s background includes work in higher education, executive recruiting, consulting and government. He consults on graduate/professional school admissions, academic media and educates privately. He writes out of Cooperstown, New York.

What drew me to this blog was a post he has written about why he didn’t attend the NECC conference in Texas titled, A Bit More Education Techno-Twaddle; Why I Avoid NECC, 2008 Edition. This is his take on edubloggercon;

The EduBloggerCon is a tiny part of NECC – I understand that, as some sessions are more sensible than others – but the sheer lack of intellectual diversity [a statement which will undoubtedly be criticized as inaccurate], the techno-fandom, the 100% Process/0% Content split will keep me away. If I wanted to sit on the floor with a notebook, I’d go to a Halo 3 LAN party. At least those have HotPockets and Mountain Dew.

His sentiments marry with the opening keynote from the conference; the need to have a devil’s advocate to help stem the echo chamber effect of listening to like minds. That’s one of the reasons I’m subscribing to his feed; I feel the need to listen to the devil’s advocates. They will stretch my thinking and help shape my thoughts about the use of technology to support learning. The comment thread to this post is very interesting. This was my contribution;

I’m very interested in reading you often now that I’ve discovered you through this post. I’m new to the edublogger world but have been energised and excited through my involvement. I’m more excited about the possibilities for education now than I have been for many years. I was feeling stale but now look at things with fresh eyes. I don’t consider myself a tech geek, far from it, but I do think our teaching can benefit from the experiences technology can enable in our classrooms. My focus remains strongly on how the learning of my students can improve as a result of using technology- I’m not such a zealot that I think it’s the be all and end all of everything that can be achieved in classrooms. I am concerned about the echo chamber effect of working in these networks and welcome the opportunity to read you and others who will challenge my thinking.

We all need to read widely and explore varying opinions – these are the skill sets we expect from our students when they examine a topic of interest. We expect them to have investigated all angles before coming to a conclusion. Good practice that we need to model too.

 

 

    

6 Replies to “Eyes Wide Open – bloggers to watch.”

  1. Hey Jenny,

    I enjoyed reading this post and couldn’t agree more with you that having critical friends when you’re jumping into the digital waters is a good thing. Matt Tabor isn’t a bad choice, although it bothers me just a bit that he’s not an educator. (He also writes a blog called Going to the Mat)

    He and I have been having a cordial exchange of views for a few years now.

    The best critical friend that I’ve had on technology, though, has been Dina Strasser at The Line:

    http://theline.edublogs.org

    Dina writes about tons of stuff—all of it good—but she’s most concerned about the damage that digital interactions can have on humanity.

    It’s fascinating stuff that causes me to think and rethink carefully anytime that I read it!

    Anyway, it’s always fun to read what you’re writing.

    Rock on,
    Bill

  2. Jenny,

    Thanks for the nod – we all need to engage in, or at least follow, some tough discussions if we’re going to get anywhere.

    I’m pleased that Bill reads my site on occasion, but he seems to be a bit confused. ‘Going to the Mat’ is written by Matt Johnston – it’s one of my favorite blogs. I find his legal insight particularly solid, and I would recommend it to anyone:

    http://mattjohnston.blogspot.com/

    However, Matt Johnston is an entirely different guy, and I don’t know him personally. My knowledge of US and Int’l soccer is so sparse that I couldn’t even pretend to be Matt Johnston for more than an hour or so. [Also, I always use ‘Matthew’ on my site, though I’m fine with ‘Matt’ as well – I continue to be surprised when folks like Bill choose my name for me. Actually, strike ‘Bill’ – I’ll call him Willie.]

    “…although it bothers me just a bit that he’s not an educator.”

    That’s news to me.

  3. Matt wrote:
    [Also, I always use ‘Matthew’ on my site, though I’m fine with ‘Matt’ as well – I continue to be surprised when folks like Bill choose my name for me. Actually, strike ‘Bill’ – I’ll call him Willie.]

    Hey Jenny—

    Super sorry to have gotten Matt Tabor mixed up with Matt Johnston! They both share many of the same themes and strands, so in that sense, they’re both good reads.

    I’d definitely recommend Matt Johnston above Matt Tabor, though! Looking back at both of their blogs, Matt Johnston’s posts are far more productive.

    And he isn’t half as touchy about his name, either!

    Rock on,
    Willie, Bill, William—Really anything is fine as long as you enjoy a productive exchange of ideas.

    That’s what the blog world is (usually) all about!

  4. *Bill, or Willie, or William- (what about Will -I really like that name!) The productive exchange of ideas is what I’m looking for in this world, and I have to say I’ve found it in the blogosphere – I said in my previous post that this is the best staff room I’ve ever been a part of and I sincerely meant it. I’ve checked out Matt Johnston and will read him too.

    *Matt (can I call you Matt? You look so much more like a Matt than a Matthew to me.) You can call me Jen! I share your surprise when people call you by a shortened version of your name when they really don’t know you well -it assumes a closeness that may not be there. Most people who know me well call me Jen. I thought Bill’s words would raise some ire in you. I can almost see you, rubbing your hands with glee as you fire up your reply. I may be very wrong, but you remind me of students I’ve taught who are quick witted and spent most of their lesson thinking up clever retorts rather than focusing on class content. I always enjoy teaching students like this- they keep you on your toes and add flavour to the mix. Thanks for turning the corners of my mouth upwards!

    Jenny Luca.

  5. Jenny,

    One of the little things that I get a kick out of almost daily is the lack of attention/concern over using names accurately. I get e-mails addressed to Mike, Michael, and 100 variations that start with M. I find it funny because my name is part of my URL and on more than a few places on my website. I never know what moniker one prefers, so I try to stick with what I see them using.

    Bill’s words don’t raise any ire because they’re awfully easy to dismiss. Like you, the productive exchange of ideas is what I’m after – that sometimes includes harsh criticism of the norms and mores in education. It does not, however, include petty, personal criticism that has little relevance to the greater debate.

    And that’s where Bill’s comment falls. Sniping at one’s blog, purposely repeating ‘Matt’, shots at authority re: education, etc. – this is the web equivalent of that kid in the backseat of a car putting his hands inches from his annoyed sibling’s face and repeating “I’m not touching youuuu!”

    I think we’ve all got better things to do.

    You’re a bit off with the clever retorts comment – and, to be honest, the best practitioners of the clever retorts don’t spend any time thinking of them. It’s like the funniest comedians – they don’t sit around thinking of jokes; they’re funny and automatic.

    The most interesting part of this exchange is that the three involved have used the ‘productive exchange of ideas’ line – and the variations in commitment to that meme show how meaningless it is even though we have good intentions.

  6. Matthew,
    Thank you for replying – it takes time and effort to contribute to a comment thread and I appreciate you returning. Sorry if I’ve misjudged you; not my intention. Let’s get back to what matters; the productive exchange of ideas that will make a concrete difference to the learning opportunities for the students we teach.
    Jenny. (still don’t mind if you call me Jen!)

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