EdTech Brainstorm - April 5, 2007

Jennifer Maddrell explains and challenges the EdTechTalk community to a Frame Game.  Also Jeff Lebow, Doug Symington, and Jennifer Maddrell make plans for the NYC Podcamp.  Check back later for all the live interviews from NYC. 

Don’t miss Thrusday April 12, 2007 when Jen M will activate Yugma and Skype while turning a typical face to face discussion into an virtual challenge. Join us Thursday night 9:00 EST for an engaging “Frame Game” encounter. 



To the folks who hosted the EdTech Brainstorm on April 5, 2007,

In general, I have really enjoyed listening to many of the EdTechTalk episodes.  As a lifelong learner, avid technology enthusiast, and veteran teacher I need to comment on the podcast that appeared on your RSS feed on April 5, 2007.

During this episode, your group discussed cyberbullying vs. what I will call, constructive criticism.  I found the discussion refreshing re: this.  But then, in the same episode you mentioned another podcaster's name, Kathy King of Fordham U./About.com, and her podcasting crew of one, Mark Gura (which you could not remember his name).  Some of the things that were said I felt were very unprofessional- and not constructive.  I feel this is hypocritical and absurd. Moreover, it was syndicated for anyone to hear. As educators we do have to model professional, ethical, and community minded behavior.  In my own mind, referring to Dr. King as a "geek", slamming her Ph.D., and then by not providing constructive criticism regarding the Podcast For Teachers podcast, your group did not portray or model the kind of behavior that I hope all of us would find constructive.

I note that I do listen to Podcast for Teachers on occasion.  Some episodes I have found more informative than others.  They have quite an avid following.  I have never met Kathy King or Mark Gura (former director of IT of the New York City Board of Education!)  Though Mark is opinionated re: some of the articles he reviews, I can not say that I have ever heard either one of them utter a bad word about another podcast...or other podcasters on their feed. 

You may disagree with my remarks; you may indeed not find their podcast very interesting; but at the very least, I would hope that in the future that you provide some sort of constructive comments regarding a podcast, podcaster, etc. so as to model the very type of behavior that will create a civilized, ed tech community.

dear anonymous...

A few comments...

The word geek is a compliment at worldbridges.

We do not actually control what guests on any given show 'say' in the brainstorm format... it is just that, a brainstorm.

The speakers were insulting 'phds' in general and not 'her' phd.

I have just listened to the part that you spoke of... it starts at about 17min into the show. While I do agree with you that there was no 'positive' critique of the show (and that that would be useful) I'm not sure that it somehow makes people hypocritical. I note, however, that you have chosen to post your comment in this space anonymously...

In the interests of taking your criticism seriously I will speak to the people who were speaking on the show and ensure that they have read your comments. I also invite you to come on the show and express them in person

thanks for your time

dave cormier

 I agree with Anonymous that some of the things said were unprofessional and just not nice.  We sometimes refer to these Ed tech Brainstorms as 'a cyber faculty lounge' and I think the comments that were made are the kind of thing friendly colleagues might say around a table at the end of a long day.  Of course, those conversations don't get recorded  and released to the public.  I don't think there was any malicious intent, just candid opinions about another podcast... and the 'geek' label was indeed used as a term of respect   Still, it was inconsiderate to say them on air and not a good idea to publish them.  Civility and mutual respect are core values of Worldbridges, and we have certainly aimed to build the EdTechTalk community in a way that is welcoming and respectful of others.   I apologize to Dr. King for any disrespect shown.  Coincidentally, I met Kathy in person a few days ago at Podcamp and she did a wonderful job answering Chrissy's question (from New Zealand) and even followed up by sending more resources to Chrissy by email.  The video is one of my all-time personal faves.

 This balance between authenticity and civility is a challenging one for all those participating in social networking communities.  We discussed this a bit during this week's brainstorm which included Jen's Frame Game, 'Tactics to promote positive online interaction'.  Some of the most important elements we came up with were modeling, tolerance of others' opinions, and  a sense of humor.  Also, as a general rule, it's probably not a good idea to say anything 'on air' that you wouldn't be comfortable saying if you knew the subjects of your comments were listening. I'm sure this discussion will continue as the community evolves and we develop policies and norms for how to deal with potentially hurtful public honesty.

 Anonymous, thanks for taking the time to share you concerns and encouraging us to begin addressing this important aspect of community development.

Best wishes,

Hi Anonymous,

I have to take responsibility for the conversation declining.  I was the person who was critical of Podcast for Teachers.  I am actually a weekly downloader of Podcast for Teachers and Adventures in Transformative Learning.  I do listen to the podcast occasionally.  These are informational podcasts and you can tell that Kathy and Mark work hard on them every week.  

My comment about their podcast was targeted at my not being able to listen regularly.  IMy criticism of their podcast is not really a criticism as much as me having different moods where different types of conversations work for me.  I can always listen to NPRs On the Media, or This American Life, but there are some shows that I have to take breaks from such as Speaking of Faith.  I think that Podcast for Teachers falls in this later category.

As Dave said above, my geek comment was meant as a good thing.  I think that Kathy is a amazing technologist. 

My comments about PhD's, well, that was unfortunate, and I apologize to anyone who has a PhD, including my father and many other relatives and colleagues.  It was a sarcastic remark, that should have been left unsaid.

We live and learn from our experiences.  Anonomous, thanks for helping me see the errs of my ways.  I'll take this with me from  now on.

- Alex