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August 03, 2007


Gary Stager

Your question is interesting, but I wasn't writing about abstract social causes as the reality of segregated schools and the Supreme Court affirming segregation.

One would think that educators would be talking about an issue that directly affects them.

Christian Long

Gary -- To be fair, I 'umbrella'd' your argument to include more than segregation, as opposed to trying to water down your point. Thanks, however, for taking the time to comment and clarify. Point well taken.

I do think Vicki made some important points in her response to you in clarifying that it is not any one or the collective edu-bloggers' responsibility to host all questions. There are plenty of educators with blogs who are doing just that -- take a look at the good folks in Chicago at the Small Schools Workshop (which I'm sure you're familiar with) for a great daily debate about equity, et al, in public education, esp. for minority communities so often over-looked at the federal and local levels.

Vicki pointed out that many bloggers are tech folks who are prone to talk more about blogging than any particular issue (such as segregation). It doesn't suggest that they haven't read Kozol or are not facing real issue of equity/access in their schools, but that they are in Web 2.0 conversations with like-curious folks.

For someone like me who has played many roles in many different educational settings, it would be impossible (by design and default) to know the many political/social conversations I am in with regards to education en masse; one might even assume that I am caught up ONLY in the 2.0 fever with little concern for the literal welfare for kids who are marginalized by society. That would, of course, take for granted that my last teaching assignment was in inner-city DC, climbing into dumpsters to collect 'free' cardboard so my kids could have 'posterboards' for projects, or that I kept granola bars in my desk for kids who would not otherwise have a meal outside of lunch that day. It would similarly assume that many of the other edu-bloggers are not simultaneously 'in the trenches' on many fronts' with regards to real kids, real issues, real equity concerns, and real resource issues. Is it all about "Twittering While America Burns?" I'd argue that it's an and/and, not an either/or, and that your very title takes too much for granted just to catch eyeballs as an editorial writer. Easy to point at strawmen without having to actually know their resumes or the kids/communities they've put their careers on the line for today...and throughout their careers. For what it's worth.

In a democratic educational system, the point is NOT to align all voices or topics.

You make a point that matters a great deal to me and I'm appreciative; so do the others, as well, people like Vicki. The 'future of learning' question will be forged on many fronts without fail...and in many semantic language streams. Suggesting that it is an either/or prop is to offer little more than the arguments of old which were founded long before you or I were ever labeled 'educators' or members of society as a whole.

Again, thanks for the feedback/clarity. Hope to be in conversation beyond today, but if not...thanks again.


I chose the elearning post because that is what I am most interested in, not that I didn't find the other articles interesting. I would love to know which choice was most popular.

Stephen Downes

Third. Most people, most dollars, and as I mentioned in my post, the values angle is intriguing.

Graham Wegner

Story Five - simply because the title evokes images of America being the only place where issues are worth discussing. Interestingly, twitter is a useful tool for communicating about ed issues on a global basis.

Christian Long

Thanks to Janine, Stephen, and Graham for taking time out of their days to mention that it was in fact 3 different stories that caught their attention...and obviously for very different reasons.

Obviously all 6 stories caught my attention since they made it on the post in the first place.

The story about Vicki's promotion strikes me as vital to keep an eye on because she is taking over the largest single education-minded foundation on the planet with nearly endless reach. And having had time to meet with her (and hoping to do so again in the future), there is a personal element here, too. Plus, her predecessor -- van der Ark -- took time during my graduate school experiences when he first was first leading the position to talk with me and a project group about the foundation. Always appreciated that.

The 2nd story showing the bus hit me on a very gut level; amazing that the driver hit the brakes in time. While it is hardly the only near-tragedy impacting kids, it reminds us that theory and tech aside, sometimes just seeing them get home in one piece is all that matters.

Story 3 certainly demonstrates how the intersections of business, technology, and education are all re-creating the horizon line right in front of us. Still amazed at how few adults are even aware of Club Penguin's existence.

Twitter becoming a 'real' company is timely as a new Twitter-ite. Had this happened 4 weeks ago, it wouldn't even caught my attention on any level. Today, however, it jumped right to the front of the queue.

I clearly took time to respond to story 5 in a previous comment after Gary took the time to comment here. Personally, I appreciate his attempt to re-direct the 'conversation' towards the issues of equity; at the same time, it is a bit of a rush-to-conclusion on his part to claim that edu-bloggers should write about anything in particular. Plus, he offers up an intentionally over-kill title -- good for headlines, not necessarily necessary in terms of the larger questions that already carry enough weight on their own -- which is both the strength and weakness of his editorial.

Finally, the last story allows us to do the oh-gosh moment as we try to compute what it all means at the F2F/virtual school intersection. Will the shift occur for real...or will it be an overpriced trend at best?

Again, thanks to all of the previous comments!
Cheers, Christian


So, I am just slogging thru my neglected bloglines account... and this caught my eye. I choose the story about the bridge collapse. The story resonates with me for a few reasons... one of which is that I was raised 2 hours from the Twin Cities. Having driven the 35W bridge several times this summer, my attention is drawn to the human story surrounding the structural failure of a bridge. I actually found out about the bridge collapse from a tweet from John Pederson (I think), in the 30 minutes of internet time I had in a week. I immediately called my friends in the Twin Cities area to check in with them and get some additional details.

In all the bling of the web, I am still drawn to the compelling human stories that are accessible in a 24/7 information feed.

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