As technology transforms the world of communication, it creates a new lexicon of high-speed terminology. In 2005, Merriam-Webster added “blog” to their dictionary, calling it “a web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer.”
Bloggers are even redefining how Americans receive news and commentary on public education. This week, USA Today spotlights the blogging phenomenon and its intersection with the teaching profession. According to this article, many teachers across the country now use blogs to record their experiences in public schools: blog tracking website Technorati.com lists 848 teacher blogs. Who’s reading? Blog sites are reportedly visited by policymakers, state/local education officials, even future teachers.
Over time, blogs have come to be regarded as important, auxiliary means of communicating, offering readers up-to-the minute, personal reactions to current issues and events. Alexander Russo, education writer and blog host, likens blogs to a “dispatch from the front lines or a letter written in a foxhole.” Blogs also permit participants to write in relative obscurity: according to USA Today, entries are “raw and unscripted… often written anonymously for fear of reprisal.” Such freedom represents a real, potential threat to the education establishment. While the establishment tightly controls “messaging” for the mainstream media, they are unable to muzzle unnamed, frustrated educators seeking an outlet in the “blogosphere.”
Clearly, blogs have their pros and cons. On the up side, they allow readers to freely assimilate information from a range of sources. But instant information from anyone with Internet access has a down side – some sources are untested and unreliable, creating a credibility gap. But there are a number of good blogs out there. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Eduwonk – Written by Andrew Rotherham, co-founder of Education Sector, this education news blog compiles the best examples of teacher blogs.
- joannejacobs.com – A former Knight Ridder columnist, Joanne has also helped start a charter school in California so she brings a deep reservoir of education knowledge to her self-described “free thinking and linking.”
- Edspresso – Hosted by the Alliance for School Choice, the Edspresso blog highlights breaking news, commentary and debate on school reform issues.
- Jenny D. – A doctoral candidate in education and public policy and former journalist, Jenny D. writes about a range of education issues, including charter schools and education legislation.
Closer to home, my blog, located on the Locker Room web site, offers hard-hitting daily commentary and reaction to education developments in North Carolina.
Whatever your vocation – parent, educator, or citizen activist – information and resources are just a click away. I hope to see you online!
Lindalyn Kakadelis is the director of the North Carolina Education Alliance.