11/13/2005

What Makes A Good Education Blog -- And Why Aren't There Any?

The Washington Monthly's Political Animal asks some good questions in this post (A Good Education Blog via the Howler) about wanting a really good education blog -- and not having found one yet.

Drum's basic position is that the blogs he reads are either (like Eduwonk and JoanneJacobs) "mostly just links with a little bit of connective tissue" or (like the Howler), "offering commentary so detailed that it's all too easy to get lost in the weeds."

Now I'm not sure if those descriptions are entirely fair to Jacobs, Somerby, or Rotherham, but they do have some truth to them -- and I agree with Drum's overall criteria...

[Click below to read the full post]

...It may have been different five years ago, but few who are already interested in education really need to have repackaged articles pointed out to them, one by one, every day. We can usually get those on our own, thanks to EducationNews, Education Week, Stateline, GoogleNews Alerts, or RSS readers like Bloglines.

And no one wants to read overwhelmingly lengthy, highly predictable, unthinking (or ill-researched), or unedited posts. The Howler's stuff is fascinating but really narrow-cast and just too much for me sometimes. Much as I like it, I struggle to make it through the Carnival every week since it's gotten so long and is seemingly all-inclusive. Smart and hard-working as he is, Doug over at Education At The Brink just doesn't know enough of the history behind what he's talking about to be very helpful to me.

What I think we all want from an education blog is useful context for what's going on, fresh, sharply edited, and unconventional commentary that challenges what we think, what is being said in the MSM, and what is being written in other blogs, and -- perhaps most important of all -- maybe a little more balance and a little less one-sided advocacy. A little bit of humor doesn't hurt, either.

Effective or not, what I'm trying to do with my blog these days is to provide context and commentary only when I feel like I have something worthwhile to say, and gather and organize the week's best links by topic or theme when I don't. (That's one of the nice things about being a weekly roundup rather than a daily blog. I may post things during the week, but I can update them and get a feel for the entire week before I send anything out.)

I'm also trying to find ways to help people find out what else is out there -- either through the BlogMap or through sharing my list of Bloglines subscriptions -- to serve as some sort of a clearinghouse.

Let me know if you think I'm doing it right or need to shape up. In the meantime, check out the comments that follow Drum's post, which include some blogs I hadn't know about and some thoughtful points as well.

Previous Posts:
Best Education Blogs, The Sad State of Education Blogs, Faux Blogs: Cheesy Ways of Getting Attention, The Rise of the BlogMap, Making Big Money With Education Blogs and Websites

6 Comments:

Anonymous Tim Lauer said...

You might want to take a look at the blogs of Tom Hoffman... His personal site...

http://tuttlesvc.teacherhosting.com/blog/blosxom.cgi

and his posts over at eschoolnews...
http://www.eschoolnews.com/eti/contributors/thoffman.php

6:44 PM  
Blogger Michael L. Umphrey said...

Better education blogs, I think, would focus on conversations about teaching and learning. Most "education" writing focuses on policies and procedures.

Education as a specialized profession easily loses contact with teaching and learning about the purposes of life.

http://www.montanaheritageproject.org/index.php/teacherlore

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Joe Nathan said...

For what it is worth, I write a column each week for 31 newspapers that
reach more than 300,000 people. They are located in Minneapolis/St. Paul
suburbs and in rural Minnesota.

I post most of the columns on our website at
www.centerforschoolchange.org

Joe

9:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't find it difficult to find good education blogs. My problem is there are too many. I don't have time to read as many as I'd like. I would never expect to find a single education blog that hit on every aspect of the topic I'm interested in. Education is too complex and too tied up in our own values. Heck, I have a knitting blog and I need to keep up with more than 50 knitting blogs just to keep up with the trends in that arena.

I don't see a problem with having too many education blogs. I do wish there were some more terms within the blogosphere to distinguish clearlinghouse-type blogs, teacher diaries, community forums etc.

4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S. I'm the author of the above post.

Patti Ghezzi
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

4:39 PM  
Blogger Mike Antonucci said...

It won't surprise you that I think Patti is right: We need a few more specialists rather than generalists.

That's a hard sell to bloggers because you end up self-limiting your potential audience. But, like Patti, I'm in the education commentary business and I can't keep up with the massive number of edublogs.

But if I knew someone was focused specifically on the textbook/curriculum/testing/in-service industry, or internal school board politics, or plain language education accounting and finance, I'd be all over that blog.

But it's human nature, I guess, to cover the same ground as others. That's why we have 85 reality shows on TV and 100 police procedurals.

1:10 PM  

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