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Echo chamber redux

Below is my


to Justin

Bathon’s latest post

. Mosey on over to his absolutely excellent school law blog and let him

know what you think…

Some questions for you, Justin:

A. Why wouldn’t you expect educational

technologists to be the first group of educators to dive into the use of social

media and other digital technologies? Why wouldn’t you expect early adopters to

be early adopters and later adopters to be, well, later adopters?


What’s the difference between a ‘community’ and an ‘echo chamber?’ Do you

consider Manchester United fans or Lionel Trains enthusiasts or Trekkies to be

‘echo chambers?’

C. Why wouldn’t you expect entry into any new

environment to be intimidating?

D. Why wouldn’t you expect any large,

complex, self-organizing network – including the edublogosphere – to have a

classic long-tail distribution, where a few have the majority of the attention

and the many have less of the attention (although still valuable things to


A couple of other thoughts:

1. You say that “Goal #1”

of educational technology advocates [is] “the spreading of education technology

knowledge to all k-12 educators which will help students learn.” That’s probably

fair, although I’d say it’s preparing kids for the 21st century (rather than the

19th). But your wording works. But then you go on about Twittering and blogging,

which are just a couple of tools in educational technologists’ arsenals. There

are numerous pathways to achieving the goal that you state and educational

technologists are taking all of them. So don’t stereotype unfairly. Yes, those

tools are popular. No, they’re neither the only path nor the end goal (and few

would tell you otherwise).

2. I don’t speak for the ed tech field. I

don’t want that burden and refuse that responsibility. I do recognize that it’s

a harsh world out there and, in the end, no one really cares about new entrants

into the blogosphere unless they add value (as perceived by others, not the new

entrant). That said, the educational blogger community is one of the most

generous, embracing, welcoming groups I have experienced. Time and time again

people volunteer their energy, expertise, and precious time to help each other.

That holds true up and down the ‘authority’ spectrum. So it’s not that we

“expect new bloggers to come to [us].” It’s just that in an attention economy we

all only have so much time – to write, to help, to read. Don’t fault people for

not having enough time to serve the world at large. This is the way the online

world works. Wishing otherwise isn’t going to change that reality (and, of

course, the physical world works the same way). And, just for the record, a

number of us try very hard to find, recognize, and highlight new voices. To be

fair you should acknowledge that too rather than claiming – without any

large-scale (or any at all?) evidence – that there are edubloggers who are

reluctant to promote others’ blogs because they’re worried that they’ll be

crowded out of the attention economy.

Methinks that you paint with too

broad a brush, my friend…


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