International Edublogging Women’s Day 2006

Josie Fraser has put out the call for us, in honor of “International Edublogging Women’s Day 2006,” to point to the women edubloggers who have informed our practice. It’s a great idea, especially since quite a few of us have been observing how inspiring so many women eudbloggers have been over the past couple of years, but how little we hear about them. Blogrolls and RSS feeds abound with the same dozen edubloggers, only a smattering of whom are women.. It’s a shame. Well, I for one, am deeply influenced by a community of women edubloggers–so much so, in fact, that along with my NITLE edublogging cohorts, Laura Blankenship and Barbara Sawhill, I’ve proposed a session on edublogging at Blogher this summer.

I’ve touched upon the topic of the relative quiet of the women edubloggers in a couple of recent posts, teachers who use blogs in the classroom but do not necessarily blog out into the world. Now I want to devote a post to the women out there who have meant so much to my own blogging practice.

First off is Sarah Lohnes, many years my junior, who brought blogs to my door, really, in the fall of 2001, and although not as regular a blogger as others, has taught me a tremendous amount about technology and its place in our classrooms. She is now a graduate student at Columbia, and I’ve been reaping the benefits of her grad education by reading along as she grapples with the theory and practice of technology in education.

Catharine Wright and Mary Ellen Bertolini, my Middlebury blogging colleagues have also taught me a good deal about using technology with students. Mary Ellen is fearless when it comes to technology, and she is blogging away on several fronts on her own, in the classroom, and with Middlebury’s peer writing tutors. Catharine is a writer and a multimedia artist exploring the lines between personal and edublogging, and mentoring/editing one of the best group blogs I have encountered in Higher Ed, Dis.course, a blog to which students and faculty post (through her editorship) on issues of identity.

Moving out from my own shores, I have also felt a special kinship with Laura Blankenship, Barbara Sawhill, and Kathleen Fitzpatrick–all liberal arts edubloggers, whose blogging could not be more different one from the other. Laura, aka Geeky Mom, as I’ve pointed out before, has figured out how to thread in all of her life (or most of it) into her personal blog. She keeps a couple of other blogs as well. Barbara blogs a bit, skypes a great deal, hosts languagelabunleashed on Thursday evenings, and is doing a terrific job blogging with her students in Spanish. I love her understanding of the tensions faculty feel as they move toward technology–she’s smart and funny, energetic and committed–now if she’d only blog more often! 😉

Every day when I check my Bloglines account for new posts, I hope to find something from Josie Fraser in the UK, as she keeps her eye on the full edublogosphere for us; Barbara Dieu in Brazil, on her own blog and dekitawhere she works hard to keep the EFL community up-to-date with developments in educational technology; and the tireless, inspiring Anne Davis in Georgia who points to examples in classrooms, news in the world of education, and her own musings on this work. I don’t know how she does it all.

What I particularly love about their blogging is these bloggers’ ability to post entries that move the conversation–they do not repeat the posts of others; they think through the thorny issues facing us, always giving me something to think about and techniques to take with me. I highlight these women because they are in the trenches–the classroom with students and with teachers, and they are making quite a difference for blogging educators trying to open up education on both sides of the Atlantic, both sides of the Pacific, both sides of the equator.

There are others, of course, bloggers from libraries (Joyce Valenza and Jenny Levine, The Shifted Librarian, for starters) the researchers such as Jill Walker, Jean Burgess, danah boyd (and there are many others I read), and those bloggers from the wider world of educational practice, such as Nancy White who blogs about distance learning and communities of practice and really gets it about creativity in the workplace and about connectivism in the classroom. Lovely blog.

Kudos and thanks to all of you!