Looking Out Through The Foggy Windows Of My Edublogs Glasshouse

Maybe I'm just stupid.

(Highly likely.)

But I just can't see what Judy and Miguel think they see.

Let's see.

Edublogs has a new online magazine and somehow that's not transparent because Lorelle is the new editor and James hasn't been all up front and people with Edublogs blogs now are going to get extra promotion in said magazine and I'm frustrated because I just don't get it. I'd jump to James' defense (because I couldn't be happier with my blogging experience here) but he does a much better job on his own without my feeble assistance.

When people keep writing about transparent edubloggers and edublogging, I can't help picturing images of glasshouses in my mind and you know what's been said about those in the past. My windows aren't made of plexiglass.

Judy says:

My concern is the overt promotion of bloggers who use the edublogs platform - rather than creating a magazine that engages us all in the global conversation. This is an obvious commercial move at the expense of egalitarianism in blogging.

It seems that money seems to be the issue (or am I wrong ... again?) and I'm not sure that words like "egalitarianism" really fit here. Especially as a humble Australian public school teacher, I know that egalitarianism in education is a giant myth and I don't see any evidence that edubloggers are any different. There are cliques and certain bloggers that are worshipped from afar, and some that have leveraged their blogs for better jobs and extra opportunities beyond their original day job. That's fine with me.

Looking through the posts thus far on the Edublogs Magazine site, I found my blog referenced twice. Will this drive more readers to my blog? Who knows? Will I be rewarded financially and finally be able to buy my own laptop (instead of using the school's) ? Not a chance. As much as I enjoy a good conspiracy theory and the edublogosphere tends to over-inflate differences of opinions into "controversies", there's no danger to edublogging and I'd be really disappointed people's reaction is to start making comments like, "I don't think I'll recommend edublogs anymore to teachers starting out."

Who are they going to recommend instead?


Oh, one last shot on transparency. I'm not really a transparent blogger. There are parts of my life and ideas that you, the reader, will never get to know. There are failures I'm not going to commit to print. For me, transparency seems to be about what others think you're not telling them. Then next, you get the conclusion jumping, and the expressed disappointments and then, the ultimatums. (Like I did a few paragraphs back.)

For me, it's a new online magazine. It services the Edublogs community that James has fostered and nourished for quite a while now. Some people within this community will enjoy a bit of time on "the front page" and it would be the height of irony if any educators (and this is not written with any person in mind - just plucking examples from my brain - a dangerous exercise, I know) who have no problems plugging elite educational institutions, locked down expensive proprietary Mac devices and big edtech conferences poke their arms out of their own glasshouses and hurl metaphoric stones at this new venture.

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10 thoughts on “Looking Out Through The Foggy Windows Of My Edublogs Glasshouse

  1. Judy O'Connell

    No worries Graham. As you’ve always said – we don’t always have to agree, and I can certainly see your point of view too. Unlike you I haven’t been a total 100% fan of edublogs, but on the other hand I have started more people blogging with edublogs than the average aussie – so really I haven’t let my personal thoughts get in the way of promoting the product. I’ve even helped Sue Waters out a little for The Edublogger. There are still other important issues (quite different ones in relation to edublogs) ..which I now know never to raise in a public way. You know how it is, big day at work, say too much, and the blogosphere is after your hide!

    Oh well, once bitten, twice shy! Instead, I will continue dialogue with people one-to-one, and help them out wherever I can with the actual genuine work of introducing edublogging in the classroom. Someone has to do it..and as yet none of the eudblogs products are doing it.

  2. Harold Shaw

    Graham – From what I can see of the new Ezine “The Edublogs Magazine” it looks promising. I don’t really care which platform (I use and am happy with Blogger) it uses.

    My biggest concern will be the content…if it is good, I will read it and keep it bookmarked, if it sucks I will vote by not continuing to read it and deleting its present bookmark. As one of the new little guys that has learned alot about teaching and himself by blogging since October 2007, I want to keep learning and using blogging to improve both as a teacher and a human being.

    Transparency in blogging and on the web is a myth that needs to go away. This is true especially as more and more people are attempting to make money blogging about (fill in the blank).

    In the past 5-10 years (which I was not a part of unfortunately) there was an open exchange of ideas that people used to grow and learn, but that openness seems to be decreasing as more people “turn into consultants or profit based blogging” using ideas developed and learned from these blogging forums.

    I am very concerned about this possible evolution in blogging, because I believe that it will eventually dampen the open exchange of ideas that I am becoming accustomed to…because bloggers are starting to see others profit on ideas they may have had and discussed openly without any credit or profit for themselves.

    Maybe I am being too critical or pessimestic in my view, I hope I am wrong and we continue to have open and frank discussions in the education community to help improve our teaching and our students futures, but…we will see. And maybe I am just simply way off base as usual. If I am please let me know. Thanks Harold

  3. Lorelle VanFossen

    Harold, I want to hug you. 😀

    And you, too, Graham. Let our content speak for itself, which is what a really good blog should do. Besides, there will always be naysayers.

    I’m so excited to offer a platform that will bring educators and bloggers together so we can all learn from each other. We all want to work harder to bring blogs and web technology into the school system, a system in some countries with such Victorian fears about overprotecting children from technology it’s embarrassing to watch. Which is why I’m so glad we have recruited Charles Brown to cover some of the personal aspects of that kind of thinking, putting a human face on what the actions of governments and “well-intentioned” school officials are really doing.

    This is a huge subject and we can only cover a small portion of it all. We are not going to be the sole source for online education news, but we will cover all that we can can.

    As for helping Edublog members, it’s not a matter of money, it’s a matter of voice. Hosted by Edublogs and part of the Edublogs Network, we want to work harder to help the Edublogs Community build their community voice and let them be heard. And found. I’m really looking forward to helping all educators and students be heard, but especially those who blog for free, with no direct compensation, here on Edublogs. These altruistic folks need all the applause they deserve.

  4. hshawjr

    Lorelle thank you — (screen hug) I went to the Ezine again and read and re-read a few of the entries…especially the one by James “In Defense of This” http://magazine.edublogs.org/2008/01/30/in-defense-of-this/

    If prior to this article it wasn’t very clear about the goals of The Edublogs Magazine, it is now. James and Lorelle have set this Ezine up to make money, not as a public service. Which I don’t have a problem with, that is how we support a consumer driven economy, people taking a risk and seeing where it leads.

    They are also saying they are not going to limit contributors to only the Edublog blogging community, however, I believe that they will probably give first preference to Edublog writers, which as a money making enterprise it is their right, just as it is a local newspaper’s right to choose their articles. They are saying that if others have something to say, they are not forcing anyone to switch to Edublog. (Please correct me if I am wrong).

    As as a result my research today I decided to take a closer look at EduBlogs and signed up for an “account only” to see what it was actually about. I haven’t really looked around Edublog very much before, having just started blogging a short while ago. While it seems well put together and visually appealing, I didn’t see anything that differentiated it enough, to cause me to jump up and immediately switch everything from Blogger. I will keep poking around though.

    That being said – I still continue to have some trepidation about how this will all turn out…I honestly hope it works well for all concerned and that the present mostly “collegial” collaboration of the educational blogging community continues and does not become dog-eat-dog in people’s efforts to “get their share of the pie”. Or that there are contentious and continuous claims around “copyright infringement” on their ideas that were/are developed while blogging, which would tear apart and segment our community even more than it does today. The who’s idea was it argument again.

    When things become monetized and there is the possibility of making money, people change (often very quickly).

    I fear that the “age of innocence” in blogging in the educational community might be coming to an end (I hope not) and perhaps this is why so many other bloggers are commenting negatively about this issue.

  5. Miguel Guhlin

    Entertaining reading. To cheapen the conversation, I’ll respond.

    I like this quote on transparency:

    The promise of transparency is that the customer is being put into a new relationship. Instead of treating customers as couch potatoes bred to be bathed in the hostile photons of marketing messages, we’re going to assume we’re all adults. We’re going to do our business as if it were a matter of mutual benefit. No trickery, no hype, just quickly coming to agreement about what’s in each of our self interest.
    More at http://tinyurl.com/2b8qgc

    Edublogs is a business, not an individual. As such, transparency is a matter of mutual benefit. Edublogs gets the benefit of the doubt, but there’s no reason why I can’t ask or inquire about their true motives.

    And, who cares if you’re transparent? You’re one of those lone bloggers! Now, if you were making money selling water online to other Australians, you’d be open to criticism!

    Of course, maybe openness and transparency are specific to our geography, along with great pieces of legislation like No Child Left Behind?


    Take care,

  6. Harold Shaw

    NCLB is a whole other world of hype, hyperbole and lead shielding 🙂 done by politicians to teachers for others to make money surreptiously.

  7. Graham Wegner

    Let’s get the twitter responding going here:
    @Judy – I appreciate your focus on the issue, and it’s only by opening up our respective points of view, do we have any hope of understanding them. On that point, @Miguel, I still don’t get it because I’m not sure what about the Edublogs magazine you see as lacking in transparency. You may just have to ignore me because I’ve read your blog posts thoroughly and am still no wiser. Perhaps someone else will put in simple enough words for me to comprehend!!!
    @Harry Thanks for your perspective here. It’s always good to have someone weigh up opposing points of view and point out various aspects that I hadn’t considered fully.
    @Lorelle. Thanks for adding your thoughts here – however, I will warn you that I might not be contributing much to the magazine. I struggle to keep this blog going as it is! 😉

  8. Lorelle VanFossen

    That’s okay, Graham. Everyone does what they can. You never know when a moment of inspiration may hit. 😀

    hshawjr: Wow, I’m always amazed at what people get from reading between the lines. Currently, Edublogs Magazine is supported by Edublogs and its related services. Gotta pay for those hosting fees, you know. Which means, currently, it has no income, no advertising, and while it might in the future, and has the potential to monetize, as does every self-hosted blog and blogger, right now we’re taking things slow and building up content – which is the right thing to do.

    As for offering a public service, Edublogs Magazine is just part of the tremendous volume of good will that comes out of the sheer life force that is James Farmer. I told him a year ago that Edublogs needed an umbrella site that featured information on education issues for edubloggers and a showcase for the now more than 150,000 bloggers on edublogs, and he said “Sure. Do it.” I won’t tell you what I told him when he turned my idea back around on me. It involved four letter name calling words. And yet, here I am. Altruistic naivety.

    As for favoritism over Edublogs contributors, I’m in charge of the favors and so far I’m not very discriminating on that issue. 😀 Actually, I’ve very discriminating. You write some good stuff, and you want to contribute, you got my vote. Where you come from doesn’t matter. I’m an equal opportunity geographic discriminator.

    As for switching from Blogger, come join the lemmings soon before you are left behind. 😉

  9. Harold Shaw

    Lorelle: just gotta have fun, make myself and others think — that is what blogging is all about to me. Attempting to read between the lines, we all do it, if you get it right cool, if not at least you show you are attempting to use what has been given you. Then you can be corrected and learn what was really meant when things are clarified for you and others :).

    I honestly hope you succeed!!! An umbrella for Edublogs is a great thing and I think your new magazine can/will fulfill that role.

    As far as joining the lemmings, it seems to me they also jump off cliffs at the end…(humor). We will see, maybe I will go back to using a W/P blog??? Time will tell.

    I wish you the best of luck and I hope that this venture is profitable for you both and I noticed that you had 2 more new blogs today. Keep them coming. — Harold

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