For some reason, today I stumbled upon a couple of “carnivals” which do a regular roundup of whatever submissions the author gets as interesting blog posts in whatever subject his or her own blog is about. I’d taken a look at carnivals before, but today was the first time that I found myself spending some time clicking around. The Education Wonks just posted it’s 37th roundup while Scribblingwoman just put up what looks to be the second “Teaching Carnival” of higher ed bloggers.
I found a couple of things pretty interesting. First, there were links to a great number of edbloggers who I had never seen or read before (which in iteself is always a nice surprise.) Some got my attention more than others, which started me thinking about the emerging genres of edblogging out there that seem to be falling into three pretty distinct camps.
First, there seems to be an edpolicy group that spends a lot of its time writing about NCLB and education funding and teacher contracts. In my own little hierarchy, there’s no doubt that the members of this group are blogging. They’re linking, defending opinions, pushing each other’s thinking. Depending on your political leanings, they can either be encouraging or frustrating, but they are almost always passionate in their writing.
Second, there is the group that primarily narrates life in the classroom. Sometimes inspirational, sometimes harrowing, there’s obviously such a wide diversity of experience and teaching conditions that it’s amazing we expect any of our kids to come out knowing anything close to the same material. Without taking anything away from the efforts of these teachers, they seem to be using blogs to reflectively share their worlds more than using them for blogging. Not saying that isn’t a noble undertaking, just making the distinction.
Finally, there’s the group that focuses on the technology. Obviously, that’s where I’d put this space. It’s a mix of reflective analysis and pretty serious blogging all in an attempt to connect ideas and experiences for others to share and learn from. It’s where I find most of the push for my own learning.
I also think it’s notable that bloggers in the first two groups usually seem to get more in the way of audience participation. And some of the back and forth is really great stuff. But to be honest, I don’t spend very much of my reading time in those spaces. Obviously, I think the technology is what’s transformative here, and I’m most interested in practitioners who are actually using it in their classrooms with their kids. That and there are not enough hours in the day (even with the carnivals.)
Any genres that I’ve missed?
All of which moves me to think more about the ways in which we can ask students to do similar real blog writing in our classrooms.