February 25, 2024

Should I Attend Edubloggercon?

I love conferences. I’ve attended and spoken at hundreds of them. I relish the opportunity to spend time exchanges ideas and catching-up with old friends while meeting new ones. I welcome any opportunity to discuss powerful ideas with colleagues.

A large part of me would like to attend the upcoming Edubloggercon before NECC. I know that I am welcome there, but are my ideas?

The problem is that although I understand and use Web 2.0 tools, I am less sanguine about their potential to revolutionize education. I believe that the emphasis on using computers as information appliances represents a tiny portion of the computer’s power.

This and other important issues are worthy of debate, but I am not sure that Edubloggercon is the right venue for questioning the educational assumptions held by a good number of participants. Some colleagues identify so closely with the ethos of the blogosphere that any criticism of the software tools or classroom applications is interpreted as a personal attack. One educator wrote the following about me today,

I just believe the criticism, even if justified, was not done in the spirit and manner of a what I was taught an educator should do.


I respect Steve Hargadon and his efforts on behalf of Edubloggercon too much to generate unwanted dissent or be the skunk at the Edugarden party.

15 thoughts on “Should I Attend Edubloggercon?

  1. Pushback creates an environment of learning. I think Edubloggercon would be a richer experience if you were to attend. Too many people singing the same song doesn’t lead to learning anything new. I like to be challenged, and you provide that push, whether I agree with you or not.

  2. It’s all in the delivery.

    Read the non-verbal cues and modify the delivery as necessary. Discussions depend upon various perspectives.

    (I’m not going to NECC but will see you at Constructing Modern Knowledge in NH)

  3. I disagree: Edubloggercon is an excellent forum for questioning all kinds of educational assumptions.

    Many of us who will attend certainly accept much of the web2.0-changing-education meme. However, that doesn’t mean the ideas we hold are completely valid or that they shouldn’t be challenged.

    I, for one, want to hear the contrary views since discussing them either forces me to re-evaluate my thinking or helps clarify my arguments in support the ideas I hold.

  4. Can you go and learn about the tools, and save the discussions for their relevance to the big picture until later?

  5. With the others that have commented here, I’d love to see you there at EduBloggerCon and would very much welcome the objective point of view. Part of the trick in education is that very few issues have little gray area and opposing viewpoints can be extremely informative.

    In my opinion, it’s better to be understood than to be agreed with.

  6. I think you should go. So often, passionate conversation is interpreted as a deliberate creation of conflict. I personally struggle with this misconception among my school colleagues, and I can see why you may question your own attendance…but if people are truly there to be challenged, then I think we have to get past the comfort zone, get our hands dirty, and start finding solutions to some of the big questions that are at the core of edubloggercon . I only wish my flight was earlier- I will only be there for the afternoon.

  7. Josh,

    Is Edubloggercon a workshop about Web 2.0 tools?

    I think I understand the tools.

    Where should the big picture be discussed?

  8. Thanks to everyone who has so kindly responded to my post.

    I will make my decision after some more careful consideration.

  9. I for one do not fall into the follow the leader mentality. I challenge when it needs done. I appreciate when others do the same. We may not agree with one another, but we can respect one another for the passion of the argument. I do not always agree with you. I do not always agree with my boss. I do not always agree with my wife. But, you know, I must enjoy the debate because I keep coming/going back for more.

    Show up and I will get you lined up for some Texas smoked ribs on Sunday evening. Then again, I will line you up for some regardless. The conversation is worth the price of admission.

  10. EduBloggerCon has rarely been a forum to discuss how to use the latest tools (we’ll leave that designation to Twitter, thank you).

    In my experience, it has very much been a place where people have come together to discuss the big picture. Last year’s session with David Warlick, for example, was focused on what the 21st Century school should look like and Steve Hargadon’s session was about the role that we all have in facilitating change.

    In viewing the proposed offerings for this year, I would expect much of the same as a great majority of the sessions will not focus on the tools themselves.

  11. Gary, I appreciate your contrarian point of view…consider the advice Tim Russert took to heart for Meet the Press…

    “It’s simple. Learn as much as you can about your guests’ positions on the issues, and then take the other side. If you do that faithfully every Sunday, you’ll always have balance.”

    Show up…although I’ll miss the event, I hope that if you see me in the hallway, you’ll pull me aside and tell me what a Web 2.0 dope I am.

    With appreciation for you and your insights,

    Miguel Guhlin

  12. For what it’s worth:

    Edubloggercons were an idea that originated from David Warlick, and while “EduBloggerCon” may be a little bigger in scope, I think David still holds informal edubloggercons at a lot of conferences that he goes to. The idea behind the all-day or independent “EduBloggerCon” was/is to gather educational bloggers and then let them set the agenda and facilitate the discussions.

    So, while Web 2.0 tools are near and dear to the hearts of many who attend and so are talked about, so are the pedagogical issues that are being discussed in the edublogosphere. I think your perspectives would be a welcome addition; but I also wonder if you suggested a topic discussion, and it wasn’t well-attended or even selected to be discussed, if you’d feel your day wasn’t well spent… An integral part of a “collaboratively-built” conference is that it holds the inherent dangers of democracies. 🙂

  13. Gary

    That was my comment you quoted in your post and I think it needs more context then you are giving it.

    It was not a personal attack by any means. You have a right to question, criticize, and editorialize about what ever you would like. As a former working journalist and journalism teacher, I very much support this right and respect you for it. My comments were aimed at what I thought were gratuitous over the top comments you posted. My personal objection was to the manner, not your right to comment or on the nature of the comment.

    I also agree that using tech is a small part of the reform or revolution that needs to happen in our schools. I may agree or disagree with you on how it should be done.

    I personally believe that diverse voices in discussions like those that occur at EduBLoggerCon is a must so we can continue to grow personally and professionally. Challenges to our thinking are vital.

    I plan to attend part of the afternoon sessions as time permits. I hope your are there. Your voice is needed. Your perspective is needed. Everyone may not agree with all you say, but by choosing to silence your voice by not attending the discussion contracts and does not expand. From the expanding of a discussion, I believe all participants grow.

    I look forward to meeting you at NECC.

  14. As a self-appointed, pro-bono Devil’s Advocate I agree with the practice of speaking out and challenging assumptions and trends. However I can empathize with the situation with respect to edubloggercon–by it’s title alone it seems like a place where one surely would be the Apemantus to Timon’s dinner guests. I feel like that myself a lot of times, even when I’m merely asking questions that are difficult to answer.

  15. Go, Gary.
    As Jared wrote, we need those who pose questions that are not being asked and that are difficult to answer. Of course, delivery and tact can go a long way in asking those important questions. I will not be there, but wish I could be. I will have to be content with virtual attendance.

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