Sunday, June 17, 2007

Coming to the Buffet: NECC and a Global Perspective

I have four days left in Bangladesh and 100s of things left to do.....however I am piqued by some blogs today that have inspired me to put down some thoughts. According to Tim Holt and his post about 'Not Invited to the Buffet' there is a distinct lack of notable leaders, in particular notable or memorable women in educational technology leadership positions. In fact, in a list of 23 notable 'speakers' or 'bloggers' who are invited to conferences etc only two of these are women, according to what Tim can remember or knows in his immediate world (these happen to be my very good friend Vicki Davis and my colleague Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach). Tim then goes onto analyse his list in terms of race, colour, economic advantage and age. He discusses leadership and promoting 'wiz kids' on the block and says:
"The problem is, how do you recruit leaders? You can’t just walk up to someone and say, “Hey, you are the person that can be a leader for ed tech.”
But we can start to look out for the Marco Torres’ of the world. We can start looking out for the campus leaders, the wiz kids on the campus. Then we can start encouraging them.
Send them to conferences. Encourage them to present, first locally, then on the state level, and then nationally. “Hey, I’ll send you to NECC if you present.” Get them online, blogging, making wikis, get them the training they need. Chances are, they may already be doing it. Then make sure that they begin to present, and present and present."

Wesley Fryer has responded to Tim's post by also discussing diversity and
listing women in the blogosphere (13 he came up with ...including the other 3 key members of WOW2).
Wesley then goes on to say:
"In summary, I’ll go back to the original point I made about IDEAS. Whether these ideas are expressed by a man or a woman, by someone with brown hair or green hair, THE IDEAS are what are most important. The doors to conversations here in the edublogosphere, and the doors to leadership on local, regional, state, national and international levels for constructive school change, are open wider today than I think they ever have been before. Our responsibility is to keep inviting more people to walk through those doors, to share their ideas, mentor each other, and shape the conversations which will both change us and thereby empower us to help change our own contexts."

Thank you Wesley for mentioning INTERNATIONAL! Yes, let's embrace diversity, let's encourage new ideas (please!), and lets be inclusive....but more importantly let's do this on a global scale!! We can all learn from each other and learn more about the world by opening our eyes to what is actually going on out there, outside our classrooms, outside our schools, outside our states and countries. Let's not miss ANY amazing opportunities that may come along because of who we are and where we are. That is the joy of being online, being a leader can be redefined to include how and when you conduct yourself online and what you do with what you have where you are.

I am so looking forward to NECC in Atlanta this year (in 6 days!!) as I want to meet and interact with current and future 'leaders' and 'movers and shakers' of the world as we know it today. I want to revel in new ideas and (exhausted as I am right now....did you know changing jobs and moving countries at the same time is almost on the same stress level as a marriage breakup?....or am I including that as well?...the week is in it's infancy ;-)) be part of the 'buffet'.

So Tim and Wes, let's join forces and make these lists longer and provide options for best-practice use of online communication tools so that new comers and old comers alike can have diverse and exciting choices. Let's promote leadership and let's 'flatten' our approach as we embark either physically or virtually on one of the most exciting conferences in the world of global educational technology. The world is such an exciting place...and I will be flying over more than half of it to get to Atlanta! See you all soon!

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Anonymous said...


I feel partially responsible for the list Tim posted on his blog. About a week ago Tim called me and asked me if I'd send him a list of the 20 people I thought were most influencing EdTech use on a large scale. I immediately went to my aggregator, and quickly wrote down the 20 people who I thought were most influential (not an easy task by any means). While the list of bloggers I read includes many women (you included), it does seem to be dominated by white males. Perhaps that is my fault for not actively seeking out diverse voices. I am hoping the survey I put together will give us a better idea of the demographics of who we are, and I'm not surprised to see in the early results that women are represented as much as men. If you haven't taken the survey you can find a link to it on my blog.

Keep up the great work!

Brian Grenier

Julie Lindsay said...

Thanks Brian for your comments and for reading my blog. I filled in your survey..couldn't really answer the last question however as I am international, not state or national....this is what I mean about taking a broader perspective. Let's not limit the world to the 4 walls of one country.

Durff said...

Excellent post! I think we need to worry less with demographics and zero in on the conversation. Participating in that conversation has empowered me to collaborate. I would not otherwise have such an opportunity. All voices need to be heard - how can we facilitate that? I think the real question is where do we go from here and how do we get there?
Digital empowerment is somewhat probably knew I was female. But did you know that I am handicapped, I talk strangely, I use a cane, and that I have no balance. All of these handicaps are unimportant in a digital world where I feel valued for what I think, not how I appear. That is empowerment.
When I can give that empowerment to any kid who has been labeled in any way by society, I am giving them a gift. That is my definition of teaching.

Anonymous said...


I had thought about the point you made about the survey as I woke up this morning. I worried that it was written too strongly from an American point of view on a couple points. Specifically, the level of speaking and the currency I used on the income question. Still, I hope, in the end, we can at least gain a bit of valuable information about who we are as a whole. If anything, make us more aware of the people that are "sitting at our table".


Anonymous said...

Actually, I think demographics are very important.
One of the points of the "Buffet" entry was that the leadership at conferences and of organizations tends to skew to North American White Middle Class Males.
While we WANT to say that race/gender and SES is not important, I think it is.
African American students from the inner city get their messages from African American teachers in the inner city (for the most part, and that is a broad generalization I know)
Where do these teachers find their leaders?
If a community , whatever the community is, does not see the need nor the leaders using the technology, then they simply will not follow.
It is like the principal telling all the teachers to "Use technology" by sending them a memo on paper. It has no cred.

Anonymous said...

As a woman who has tried to promote other women and minorities to be visible in ed tech, I was happy to see your comments.

Two women leaders who are blogging about NECC but aren't listed on the ISTE list....Dr. Kari Stubbs and me, Dr. Rita Oates.

Read and react to what we are saying, including my comment about Digital Equity & Juan Carlos, at:

Julie, I hope to meet you in Atlanta! -- Rita Oates

Wesley Fryer said...

Julie: It was great to meet you (although just briefly) at NECC. I think it is good these discussions continue. I think we all share responsibility for encouraging more people from all different contexts to join the conversations here in the blogosphere, and also take up the torch of promoting local, constructive educational change.