You know how a lot of birders have life lists where they check off one species or another when they happen to see it warbling up in a tree or darting past their binoculars? In some weird way it’s akin to what it feels like meeting the bloggers who are in my Bloglines account. Yesterday I got a chance to cross Wes Freyer and Dean Shareski off of my list as we and a few other blogger types got a chance to engage in some face to face discussion about the state of education at a Discovery Educator Network dinner here in Orlando. Wes was in town to receive a Best Blogger Award from eSchool News and to give a Web 2.0 workshop at another conference in town. Also in attendance were Tim Wilson, Steve Dembo and a number of other educators who collectively produced some really interesting conversation, which we tried to record, btw.
I hope the others blog their impressions, but I was really struck by the intensity of what we talked about, the roadblocks inherent in school reform, strategies for sharing these tools with school leaders, ways to expand this conversation to teachers and schools that aren’t currently a part of it. It was exciting at times, frustrating at others. Optimistic and pessimistic at the same time. While we have a lot of these converstaions asynchronously on our blogs, it was a reminder of how effective face to face is. We covered a great deal of territory in a couple of hours.
The upshot? There is a lot of work to do, not so much even in teaching the tools as in figuring out what the answers to all of these tough questions really are. I certainly feel humbled by the sheer magnitude of this conversation, and priveleged to be even a small part of it. But I think that we’re not going to get very far until more voices enter it. And whether or not blogs will save the world, they can at least facilitate that conversation providing access is available and there is enough of a comfort level with the medium to use it.