Thanks to George Siemens at elearnspace, I was alerted to Jay Mathews intriguing request for worthy edu-blogs to bring to his readers at the Washington Post. Here's the link, which starts off with a passionate review of a Walt Gardner, a man who has certainly become a well-known voice over the past few decades in education op/ed pages, but seems to be unfamiliar with the power of blogging in similar topic circles:
He has had almost 200 letters published in the past 14 years, including 41 in the New York Times, 29 in the Wall Street Journal and smaller numbers in The New Republic, The Atlantic Monthly, Business Week, the Christian Science Monitor, the Los Angeles Times, the Baltimore Sun, and several others publications. The Washington Post has had the good sense to print his thoughts four times so far.
Why this is important is that Mathews points out Gardiner's reluctance to see much value in the rising tide of edu-blogs (which he sees as being more about venting than credibility). Mathews sees this as a worthy moment to not only celebrate Gardiner's accomplishments, but to equally draw Gardiner's eyes towards the value found in the blogosphere. And Mathews asks for your help. How? Read below. And consider adding a blog you value to his growing list:
Like me, Gardner is also not very familiar with the education blogs. "I have an aversion to them because they too often become venues for rants rather than for reason," he said. "It's a question of time management. I do learn valuable things at times from blogs, but they seem to attract a disproportionate number of self-styled experts with dubious credentials who just want to ventilate."
I have a different view. The education blogs I have seen look pretty interesting. But of course if there is anyone who qualifies as a self-styled expert with dubious credentials who just wants to ventilate, it is me, so perhaps I am drawn to my kindred spirits.
In any case, it is time to change this column's appalling lack of interest in the blogs. It seems to me they are the most likely heirs to the spirit of Gardner's letters, even if they are not all to his taste.
So I have asked Gardner to help me, and him, become more familiar with this new opinion delivery system by joining me in a blog-judging contest. I hope readers will e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and Gardner at email@example.com the links to their favorite education blogs -- no more than five per reader, please, and I would love you to rank them in your order of preference. Gardner and I will look them over and reveal our favorites in a future column. He and I have different views on some key issues and different tastes in writing styles, so entries should not be at any disadvantage no matter what their slant or tone.
In other words, help drag two old guys into the 21st century, where I hear there is much to learn.
Have to say that I love this final call-to-arms. I can already imagining "Practical Theory", "Reflective Teacher", "Web-logged", "2 Cents Worth", "Room 208", and many others being entered, far more than the 5 I'd be allowed to enter. But I'm sure he'll get plenty of options to consider!