12/15/2005

Leave No Blog Behind

Much as I've enjoyed blogging the last couple of years, I have to say that most education blogs -- including this one -- continue to disappoint me greatly.

Once again, I wonder, where are -- or when will we get -- great education blogs that add value to the debate and -- as has happened long ago in other parts of the sphere -- have a real world impact on education policy, politics, or coverage?

It's going to be a while.

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For example, mine isn't updated daily, is all over the place in terms of content, and doesn't contain as many new ideas or as much original reporting or research as I'd like. Plus, my profile picture is bad and I'm a spammer. There's no excuse.

Too many other education blogs are simply a chronological series of "hey, look at this" posts about the day's articles from the mainstream media. If you're reading more than a couple of blogs, or tracking the news yourself, there's not much value added there. Often times, the articles linked to are the same from blog to blog. Yawn.

Another problem for many education blogs is the mind-numbingly repetitive and predictable rants -- usually against NCLB, or for charter schools, or against the contract, or whatever. That gets tiring after a while. (I should talk, having ranted about this before several times.)

Meanwhile, established education journalism organization that should have great blogs -- Education Week, EWA, the Hechinger Institute, Catalyst -- don't have them, or don't have good ones (Ginny Let Those Dogs Run! Eduwonk), and -- this is especially galling -- don't want to give mine the good home it deserves. Really, it's a shame.

There are some exceptions, of course.

EIA's Intercepts is honed in on one key set of issues (teacher unions) and provides content and analysis you don't get everywhere else. (He's also up for a Weblog award, which you can vote for here).

Once in a very long while, bloggers actually engage with each other, rather than spouting simultaneously on separate corners (an issue raised in the BlogPulse analysis of liberal bloggers earlier this year). This week, for example, Jenny D and Eduwonk are going back and forth on growth models. That's the type of collaboration and cooperation that we need. (Andy, you need to add a comments feature to your site, too.)

The Education Wonks are providing a pretty valuable service with their "Carnival of Education," a roundup of "best" posts submitted by bloggers so you don't have to go to each site. Check it out: Week 45.

They're not really blogs, but sites like the weekly PEN Newsblast and Jimmy K's Education News.org and the Stateline education feed are a valuable source of links and stories without all the "look here" crap you get in many blogs. But you already know that. EdWeek's Daily News is now subscription-only, but it still deserves a mention in this category.

The classroom/teacher blogs at least have some detail and immediacy to them, even if their view of the world is narrow. And, though I wouldn't have any way to know, apparently instructional blogs are a useful classroom activity that can promote literacy. ‘Blogs’ Catching On as Tool for Instruction (Education Week). See also: Blog Basics

At least, they're useful when they're not being used to plan keggers or harass other students (Blog bullies busted Sun Times) or for advertisers to beam messages into kids' eyes (The MySpace generationBusinessWeek).

Over all, my take is that the education blogs still are way behind other parts of the blogosphere, notably politics and technology. There's no real reason for this. The level of public interest in education issues is high. At $500B a year in K12 alone, it's a giant market/industry/whatever full of people who have a professioanl interest. The "next" NCLB is just around the corner.

Perhaps -- probably -- it will be a new blog, one not yet in existence yet, that will take education blogs to the next level. I'll be jealous, but I'm looking forward to that.

Previous Posts

What Makes A Good Education Blog-- And Why Aren't There Any?
Faux Blogs: Cheesy Ways of Getting Attention
Education Sites Win Online Journalism Recognition
The Sad State of Education Blogs
The Best Education Blogs

1 Comments:

Anonymous EIA's Mike said...

I think I have a more hopeful view of edublogging than you expressed, but I am also frustrated by the lack of original content of most blogs. The entertainment industry blogs often come up with amazing scoops and all kinds of inside info. It would be great if more news blogs -- not just edublogs -- tried it out.

1:51 PM  

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