BlogHer 2006: Talking about Education outside the Edublogosphere

I’ve been quiet on the blog for nearly two weeks due to a schedule filled with projects and planning and snatches in the garden and lovely moments with family—true true—-but really, now that I’m here at the keyboard, I confess that the multitude of fascinating projects has been as much an excuse right now not to post as a real reason why I have been scarce around these parts. When I received an email from Terry Freedman today in which he extended his hope that I was enjoying my vacation, I thought, vacation? what vacation–and I told him as much. And indeed, I have been absorbed by my work this summer, and it’s been incredibly exciting to move between plans for my fall teaching to workshops for Middlebury faculty, and writing applications for grants (well, that’s not all that exciting) to leading and planning Web 2.0 workshops and giving talks and writing and reviewing and meeting with colleagues in the field. Phew–it’s a whirlwind and incredibly stimulating.

But truth be told, I have dragged my feet on the blog because the closer I have come to BlogHer, the further away I’ve been from knowing what I want to say in the session on edublogging where I am co-presenting with two of my absolute must-reads in the edublogosphere, Barbara Sawhill and Laura Blankenship. I couldn’t quite get my head around what to say in a non-education-oriented conference. After all, many people outside this realm, when they hear the word “education” during the course of a conversation, smile politely and let it just pass on by without comment. As Ken Robinson said in his riveting talk, (and in his equally compelling book, Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative, people don’t want to talk about education; they want to tell their own learning stories, sure, the terrible or wonderful things that happened to them in school, but they blanch at the mention of EDUCATION (and I DO try to stay away from that word as it smacks of the delivery-system of knowledge rather than the student -centered process of learning). They hear me say, “I’m an edublogger” and they recoil just a bit or look blank. And indeed, in the din of the pre-conference shindig for presenters last evening, someone thought I said I was an “anti-blogger” not edublogger–ha. I bet some of the people here (and even in my edublogging world) think this loose kind of essay writing I do is anti-blogging. I know that. I’m okay with that. In fact, the reason I wanted to come to BlogHer was to see the wider world of women bloggers first hand. Do they struggle getting their voices heard in a male-dominated world? Do they care? How do I talk about the things I am passionate about in teaching and learning to people outside this world? If we don’t want disasters such as DOPA to strike again and again, we have to get out beyond our own set of readers and thinkers as well as throw ideas around with one another.

I’m learning, I’m learning…

And I’ll be back with another post on creativity in the classroom–


One Response

  1. Barbara,

    Thanks (as always) for the reading recommendation.

    Do people truly not want to talk about Education, or do they not know how? Everyone can speak from the perspective of a learner, whether they have been formally educated or not, but most have never attempted to accomodate the divergent learning styles of dozens of people at once. I, for one, am daunted by the thought alone.

    So, how to talk to non-educators about Education? How do you talk to non-writers, or novice writers, about writing? Or to beginners in any discipline? I don’t have the answers to any of those questions, but I’d wager that they’re awfully similar.

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