Looking over my Google Reader today and yesterday as well as my limited twitter traffic, it seems that the edublogging community is up in arms about this post by Jon Becker. I suspected something was up when I read Clarence Fisher’s post about the Ed Tech Cocktail Party. Then I read more about it on Darren Draper’s blog and Vicki Davis’s blog about it. I found yet another take on it from Scott McLeod this morning. The post that started it all was called reflections of a new blogger and Jon Becker sounded like a man trying to be heard. I’ve done a lot of listening in the edublogosphere and I’ve never felt on the fringes of an elitist cocktail party.
Clarence Fisher’s blog is the first educational blog I ever read and almost the first blog. My husband recommended it to me when I started teaching my Teaching with Technology course last semester. After reading a few posts, I gathered my courage and sent Clarence an email asking him to be a guest presenter in my class. He graciously agreed to do it and I opened up a Skype account and learned about slideshare based on his recommendations. He told me that for him, helping out the future teachers in my classroom was the same as helping out the teacher down the hall. Thanks to Clarence, my first venture into the online community of educators was hugely positive.
Through Clarence’s blog, I learned about Konrad Glogowski, who was similarly gracious and made even greater efforts to work with my class to share his experience and insight about education and educational technology. I tried out Second Life and participated in a blog conversation hosted on Konrad’s blog. I think it was from Konrad and Clarence’s blogs that I learned about the edublog awards. I went there, searching for a blogging science teacher to talk a section of my course that included only future science, health, and home ec teachers. I found Stacy Baker who also writes a blog called Using Blogs in Science Education. Stacy was kind enough to speak to my class and now our classes are working on sharing data on stream quality over Google Docs. It’s been an exciting eight months!
Sometimes my reach has exceeded my grasp and I’ve tried to do things, like set up collaborations, when I really had no idea what I was doing. I rarely comment on blogs (though now that I realize how exciting it is to get a comment, I’m making an effort to comment more.) I’ve made some missteps (I am horribly naive about nettiquette) and sometimes worry that contacts I’ve made think poorly of me; I’ve gained so much from the edublogging community in such a short period of time that I often feel like a moocher for not contributing more. I started this blog and a Diigo group called Teaching with Technology in an attempt to give back what I can. I’ve just started using Twitter and am hoping that people tolerate my (probably useless) tweets until I figure out how to use the tool.
I’m flattered when people read my posts. It’s nice when they think I’ve said something useful. But my real hope is that someday I can grow to the point where I can be as kind and helpful as Clarence, Konrad, and Stacy were to me.