When I started personal blogging back in the early 2000s, I used to bookmark the blogs I enjoyed reading and visited the sites daily to see if they had been updated. It was the digital equivalent of walking down to the store to buy a magazine.
Then I found out about RSS feeds – a system which enables you to pick and mix what updates you want to receive from websites, blogs, youtube delivered all to one sport. It’s a great system – basically Facebook without all the algorithms.
Because those algorithms have made us lazy.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I watched people on teacher group I’m a member of on Facebook ask for links to content that a simple google search would easily locate. We’ve all gotten so used to operating within the walled garden of Facebook that even a google search seems too difficult these days.
I worry that we’ve got to the point we’re all so used to being spoonfed content, that we’ve lost something along the way. Genuine conversation.
One of the things that drew me into blogging was the ability to connect, as you followed a person’s writing over a period of weeks, months and years you got to know the writers as people. There are so many people I’ve met, reconnected with and stay in contact with through blogging and tweeting.
And I feel like that community has been lost.
We’ve become less attached to conversations and people and are now much more likely to turn to quick fixes.
The rise of the expert bloggers and tweeters with thousands of follows has permanently changed the tone of edublogging and not for the better. A lot of the content showing up online isn’t conversational in nature – they are standalone pieces designed to be re-shared through vast social networks.
- 5 ways to have the perfect twitter account/set up the classblog/iPad apps to use in reading/questions to ask your team leader/
- Inspirational quotes without or without pretty quotes
- Infographics that look pretty but say nothing
- Tweetbait from conference keynotes – ‘no kid comes to school to take standardized tests’ that then gets endlessly retweeted.
It looks pretty and on the surface it seems collaborative but are we sharing the journey or the destination? There’s far less scope for a classroom teacher to share what worked (or didn’t) for them when there are whole bunch of edu-experts who have that problem solved in 10 easy steps.
And for me, that what isn’t what authentic learning is about.
There needs to be more conversations, vulnerability and critical eyes. It does educators no good to be stuck in an echo chamber of personal branding.
Our classroom stories don’t need to be stylised to be shareable.
If teachers really want our kids in our classes to be using the internet to its full potential, we need to be using it for more than just ‘connecting.’ The best learning outcomes for kids have been when I’ve had an established and authentic relationship with the teachers involved and mistakes have been made along the way.
Share the journey, not the destination.
Stephanie, I would concur with what you have written here. I’ve been blogging in the education sphere for nearly ten years and for me, it feels like that the more teachers that have come online (mainly via Twitter) the shallower the conversation seems to be getting. That’s probably not true but there is a lot more noise out there that one needs to tune out in order to find the real depth of conversation and reflection that you are doing here.
I like your phrase “Tweetbait” – i haven’t heard that one before but I am as guilty as anyone of posting those out into cyberspace. I also really liked this sentence from your post – “Our classroom stories don’t need to be stylised to be shareable.” I would also add that we shouldn’t just be sharing our success stories but our struggles and false starts. If successful learning goes hand in hand with mistakes, then writing that wrestles with emerging practice is more valuable than just good news stories and links to “must read” articles.
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Thanks so much for such a thoughtful comment. I know I’ve been guilty of tweetbait and 5 things that worked for me type posts. i’m hoping to document more conversations.