The Set up
To get onboard with this notion of New Voices you need to follow a path that’s been percolating for the last week or so.
I’m not sure where this thing got started, but Steven Levy’s column for next week is somewhere near the top.
Halley Suitt from Halleys Comment challenged the people at the Berkman Center’s invitation only conflab on how to avoid ethics in journalism to each find 10 new voices and promote them on their blogs. There are three rules for identifying the 10 new voices.
1. They can’t be male if they are white;
2. You must have five women and five men;
3. You must have at least three non-Americans.
The end of March is the deadline.
Jeneane Sessum followed up with a post over on Allied on the invisibility of the voices of color in the blogosphere. She points out that that the voices are there, just not being heard — a few A-list bloggers are hogging the limelight as it were.
There’s a summary of the last few days’ worth of activity on Global Voices.
Now I like this idea. And I hate this idea.
I like this idea because the blogosphere has a really low threshhold to entry in terms of money and skill. About all you need is a topic you care about and the willingness to engage it.
I hate this idea because it plays the sex/color/minority card.
But in honesty, what we’ve been engaged in over the last few days/weeks here has been such a discussion — but couched in terms of prior academic rank.
Over the last week and a half, with some help from Scott Adams, I’ve tracked down some existing blogs relating to AECT.
My List of New AECT Voices
Heather Tillberg (Not Tolland) (Whose Deadline is it Anyway) was an intern in Chicago and is a member of the AECT Strategic Planning Task Force. Her blog is a mix of personal, professional, and wicked humor. I only found it a few days ago but I’ve read most of her back posts. This woman has her own voice and we should be listening to it.
Rick Schwier (Rick’s Café Canadien) works at the University of Saskatchewan. He’s got some great posts and is part of a larger ID Community of Practice blog (ID COP). Technically, Rick can’t be one of the ten new voices because he’s male and white (I think). I’m including him on the list of new AECT voices I’ve found lately. There are so few, I have to take ‘em where I can find ‘em.
Rob Wall (Stigmergic Web) is a podcaster. I THINK he’s at U/Sask with Rick Schwier and I probably shouldn’t include him as a “new” voice because he’s been blogging longer than *I* have — but he doesn’t seem to have the visibility of a D’Arcy Norman. I started reading the blog AFTER I’d been listening to the podcasts.
David Pliska (seen through blue glasses) is an AECT member out in Eden’s Prairie who works in K-12. Unlike the higher-ed minority here in the AECT, David has to deal with real kids in real school districts. We need MORE David’s.
Bethany Smith (Bethany’s Educational Blog is a graduate student in Raleigh, NC. Her blog has been around since last year, but hasn’t been used much. I hope she sees this post and starts working on the blog more.
This short list illustrates some really important features.
1. Except for Heather and Bethany, they’re all guys — and white guys at that. Now, being a white guy myself, I don’t think there’s anything WRONG with that, but there *are* other perspectives out there. I’m working on Angela Benson and I’m waiting for Joi Moore to return my email. (Anybody in the MIM reading this? PLEASE email me!) Where are the Asian and Hispanic members? We’ve got a HUGE international section. Korean? Japanese? Chinese? Where are you?
2. Except for Dave Pliska, I think all these people are in higher ed (or will be). Where are the K-12 people? If Will Richardson is right, a lot of teachers are blogging. Are there no K-12 teachers/AECT members blogging?
3. Students. Students have some problems with being “outed” … that is a lot of what they’d like to blog about may get them into trouble. Ok. Well, Blogger.com lets ya be anonymous. You don’t HAVE to reveal more than you want. And you can have TWO blogs, one with the private face and one with the public face. Rovy and David are two students who do a great job engaging in the dialog while maintaining student status and I think it helps them establish a presence in the field in advance of actual entry.
There are a LOT of voices that are not being heard. We have the ability, the infrastructure, and the need for all the voices to be heard. You (yes, you) only need three things.
- a topic about which you care
- a willingness to engage in that topic
- an acceptance — in the face of all you believe about yourself — that your voice has meaning to the wider world
I’ll be listening…