Three observations â€” one substantive, one superficial, and one libelous â€” on Scott McLeod’s recent ranking of the edublogosphere, and the ensuing fracas.
We all get this right? Whenever Scott feels his Technorati ranking slip a little, he issues another Technorati-based ranking of the edublogosphere and watches his inbound links explode. Here’s another link, bud, but I’m on to you.
Eduwonkette notwithstanding, do any of the top fifty blog anonymously? Most feature an author bio, an author photo, and â€” bonus! â€” a unique voice.
This strikes me as the darkest dividing line between a well-written well-observed edublog and a well-written well-observed edublog on Scott’s list. Gotta pin it to a compelling voice
I have seen two very right-minded disputes with Scott’s list (thrown into the comments for brevity) and two very murky ones which I’d like to clarify:
- The bloggers at the top of the list have attained their position artificially
Full disclosure: I’m on the list. You can decide if my midshelf ranking represents a conflict of interest..
The trouble is that it’s human nature to kind of hero-worship people. We all know who the ‘rock-star teachers’ are (to quote something that came my way by email recently…) and it would seem that, unfortunately, they run the show.
I’m not saying that they necessarily try to run the show. It’s just that because of extra time (they’re no longer teaching, they’re consultants), motivation (they’re this close to effecting a long-awaited change) or energy they’re the ones who are read the most.
This response suggests an edublogosphere stocked with idiots, each one duped of their subscriptions and trackbacks by a cabal of energetic consultants. Somehow, post after post, these rubes never wise up.
A less sinister, less unhinged explanation would note these bloggers’ consistent, prolific, and quality writing, their interesting ideas, artfully written â€” in short, the objective quality of their output.
- The quality of a blog’s output is entirely subjective.
Truly, it’s impossible to account for taste, and in any other corner of the blogosphere, I wouldn’t even bother with this one. But these are educators, and I worry when educators dismiss even broad objective standards of quality for blogging / podcasting / vodcasting / whatever, or when educators confuse interesting ideas, artful writing, and a compelling voice for extra time, motivation, and energy.
This dismissive stance squanders one of the Internet’s coolest promises for our students:
You are your output. You can rise, fall, and affect change solely on the strength of what you submit to a blog, irrespective of age, gender, race, status, or disability
I mean, how would these critics rationalize the success of Students 2.0, a group of bloggers who aren’t first-movers, consultants, or otherwise endowed with vast stores of free time, who are, instead, just good writers with interesting ideas?.
How can we promote the blogosphere’s meritocracy to our students â€” the fact that no one knows you’re a high school freshman on the Internet, that your ideas can go viral just as fast as anyone’s â€” but deny it in our own blogging?