Social Equity and the Edublogosphere


Wesley Fryer has a post on his Moving at the Speed of Creativity blog referring to a post Tim Holt has called, Not Invited to the Buffet. Tim talks about the lack of female and minority voices in the edublogsphere, at the same time that our student populations are less white, and more linguistically diverse. He posts a list of edublogging “leaders” which includes few women and minorities.

I am a white woman, but I teach minority students, and language learners. I think that gives me some perspective on the ed tech issues for those groups. I think this puts me in a different place than say, Will Richardson (well, more than that puts me in a different place). In addition, I’m an elementary teacher using technology, which is a subgroup itself. I think there are now more women bloggers because of the increase in technology at the elementary levels (where most studies show there are more female teachers). What strikes me is that most of the blogs for teachers who are teaching in my demographic tend to be reflecting more on their teaching experience and the policy issues/problems as much as we do on integration of technology. Depending on the week, that can describe this blog. Some do not talk about tech integration at all, so they are having a different conversation than say, Pat Aroune. Here are some examples; Elementary Educator, Entropical Paradise, Teaching in the 408, and Teaching in the Inner City.

My finding is that in spite of the fact that I am a very new addition to the edublogosphere, some of the opinions I express are getting more weight than my seniority here would merit. Here are my points:

  1. Edubloggers seem aware that they are often working in or with more affluent students and would like to see some of the same things done with poor and minority children. They are interested in equity issues. I base this on the Scott McLeod’s posts on scripted reading programs that are favored in poor and minority schools and districts. Basically, they are rooting for kids like mine to succeed because they care, and also because if I can’t make it work, then much of the case they are making for technology (it’s an equalizer, it’s for everyone, it’s democratizing) falls apart. Whether this is enough, is a reasonable question.
  2. The list he has shows the top tier of edubloggers, but that is changing and being added to. Vicki Davis makes that point in her comment on Mr. Fryer’s post. The explosion of WoW2.0 shows this.
  3. How much of this is in control of the edublog technorati, and how much of it rests with those of us reading them? Who do you have in your feed. Are most of them on that top list? Here are some ideas, Mark Pullen wants to know other elementary bloggers to add to his blogroll. Bigger blogrolls, mean more, different voices rising to the top. Bump on the Blog has a survey to try to see who edubloggers are, fill it out. I would suggest you add folks who are in the trenches teaching these populations, and I’m not the only one there. Here are some of my picks, and if you have suggestions, add them:

Okay, there is one blogger there who is a technology administrator from South Africa, think of the diversity that will add to your blogroll. Frankly, Kobus and I have both been amazed at the similarities in our student population.

This is just based on copying my blogroll. With all due respect to Mr. Fryer, who has been very open about this discussion, I don’t have him on my blogroll or my feed list. I do this because I want to concentrate on connecting with other practicing teachers. This is a conscious decision on my part to keep from just going to the same voices. I will eventually hear about what they are saying (I got this post didn’t I). The blogs that I’m seeing that I want to add, and that I’m afraid of missing are Mark Pullen’s, because if I don’t have them in my feed, I might miss something that won’t show up somewhere else. I know what Dave, Scott, and Wes have done to alert us to unheard voices, and it’s commendable, but what are we doing to bring folks up? We’re all in this together.

Mr. Holt also has some interesting stuff on why some folks are edublogging leaders (The Zealots are the Leaders). I will just say that although I give edubloggers an “A” for effort, the advocacy for Web 2.0 in the classroom is not up to grade (see, The Blog of Ms. Mercer » The “A” word….). In addition, based on the 2nd paragraph above, I think the policy priorities of edubloggers teaching poor and minority students has many other issues in addition to technology integration. On the other hand, maybe a few women would get the job done better, lol?

I think the questions are good, but the answers may not be obvious, or easy.

by posted under politics/policy | 3 Comments »    
3 Comments to

“Social Equity and the Edublogosphere”

  1. June 19th, 2007 at 10:40 pm      Reply Tim Holt Says:

    Thanks for keeping this conversation going.
    In the past few days I have been thanked, I have been quoted, I have been blogged about, and I have been called a reverse racist with associated guilt because of my whiteness…

    So, anyway I hope that this conversation continues because I think it is important. I am not advocating doing away with the predominantly white leadership of Web 2.0, but what I do hope for is that more leaders will begin to emerge from the groups that you and I are familiar with.

    Keep fighting the good fight.


  2. June 20th, 2007 at 5:15 pm      Reply Rick Says:

    Thanks for the mention, Alice. As a group, I think that most educators who blog are interested in promoting their craft as well as improving the general conditions of education today.

    It’s alarming how slow many districts are to adopt the latest technology that will promote teaching and learning. Male or female, we bloggers need to continue to pioneer the Web 2.0 (whatever that means) and continue to advocate for getting these tools in the classroom on a consistent basis.

  3. June 23rd, 2007 at 9:55 pm      Reply Dorothy Burt Says:

    Hi – really interesting perspective you bring to this discussion. I also am white teaching in an elementary school of Pasifika and Maori students and our students have really taken to the empowerment of Web 2.0. But for us it is podcasting. Their podcast, KPE, can be found on iTunes and their byline is “We want you to hear what we have to say” . They have been producing weekly episodes since August 2005 and are completely inspired by getting feedback from their global listeners. This year I am released from teaching to research how podcasting with KPE has improved outcomes in reading for these students. In the last week I have been recording interviews with the students and it is overwhelming how consistently they respond to my question about what has created the positive attitude to learning with “because people are listening to me” and ” I know that people around the world hear what I have to say”…
    I guess what I am letting you know is that we have no idea of the impact we can make in diverse students’ lives if we take a moment to step outside of ‘the in crowd’ and just acknowledge that we are listening to them…

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