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EdTech Update




« The right way to evaluate teachers | Main | What professional materials do you read - and why? »

What's old to some is new to others: guest post by Vivian


As a newbie teacher, I vividly remember sitting in the teachers' lounge listening to the old farts (probably over 35) scoffing when a new teaching techique or resource was discussed. The refrain usually went something like, "Yeah, we tried that 20 years ago and it didn't work - and it won't work now." I vowed never to utter those words.

Maybe I am slipping, becoming an old fart despite my vow. Vivian, a member of Jeff Utecht's Coetail cohort, takes me to task over yesterday's post in which I complain (and share others' complaints) about some of the professional writing being shared being unvetted and old hat. 

Thank you, Vivian - I needed your reminder that not everyone is old and jaded... Read on. Shared as a guest post with permission. (You can read more of her insightful commentary on her blog ChezVivan.)

Dear Doug,

Maybe I'm naive but I find it hard to believe that educators are mindlessly tweeting things. We have better uses of our time. I wonder how much of the frustration that is being described is due to professional boredom. You're at the top of your game so obviously a lot of what you read turns out to be " article discovering an idea that millions of educators have known for decades, but this time with diminished expectations."

How much of the frustration is that you (not you, personally--but you meaning the frustrated ones) are just satiated beyond belief with too much content and over-eating is making you cranky.

I'm a newbie on Twitter (two months) and blogging (three months). I'm ecstatic about the learning I'm doing through Coetail. I bet a lot of my Tweets are "old news" to you die-hard seasoned veterans. Good thing I know that there are other Coetail newbies that are following me and they will find my tweets useful (even though they are old news to everybody else). If I didn't have my Coetail buddies who are also new to Twitter and learning about 1:1 integration, I would seriously be intimidated by these comments and be afraid to tweet anything again.

When you shared the link to that ranting blogpost, I tweeted back to you, "Didn't catch the Twittername to make sure that I never follow someone so wise that he's forgotten what it's like to be a newbie." I still stand by that comment.

The nature of Social Media is that there is A LOT content. Someone made the analogy to it being like a "firehose" of information. No one forces anyone to read anything on the internet. If you're fed up, you can just close your browser and get some fresh air! We all have our rants internally but we have to take care regarding our online rants. To the writer of the original ranting blogpost, I wonder if his Twitter stream has altered at all? Probably not. So, what's the point of having the rant because the only result is maybe that he's frightened off a lot of young twitterers.

He mentioned in his article that some seasoned colleagues are tweeting links to rubbish. If so, then have a quiet word with that certain individual. That would make a difference, I'm sure.

Finally, there's an assumption that he is the correct judge of what is rubbish or not and an assumption that he is the fount of accuracy and knowledge. Woah. That's dangerous territory to assume that your judgement is always accurate. I bet there's someone opening up a link to HIS writing and thinking, "What a load of rubbish!" and wishing someone had not tweeted him this link. Should he also write a blogpost rant about it?

Food for thought. Here is my perspective as a two month Twitterer that has learned so much through Twitter and probably re-Tweeted a lot of exciting stuff (to me) but maybe old hat to those that are supposed to be my leaders and mentors. Yes, someone of it was probably rubbish too, but I didn't know it was rubbish as I AM LEARNING.

You're all trying to encourage teachers to build a PLN and then you all write blogposts like this? I don't get it.

I return to my main point. What is the nature of Social Media and Tweeting? The nature of the medium is that there will be rubbish that we have to sift through. Don't like the nature of the media? Then try something else: Online Research Journals. Don't like what someone is tweeting, unfollow them.

Please don't let me be this jaded in a few years!

Thanks for listening!


Thanks for commenting. I needed to hear this.


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Reader Comments (4)

I'm not young. I'm not young with technology. But, I'm young at technology integration into education though. This is what it feels like when "everything is new" again. GULP, you mean I signed up for a revolution?

Thanks Doug for being open to differing opinons. You really live your "Stone Soup" philosophy. (You, see, I am watching...!) You're never an uhm-er an "old fart" [did I just write that?!] if you're able to receive a slight tongue-lashing from me and take it onboard. :)

Thanks again for the compliment of reblogging my comments.


Twitterhandle: @chezvivian Follow me at your peril!

May 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVivian

Although I understand where you're coming from Vivian, I also completely agree with Doug and Gary. Some of the things that are posted are old hat to me (and brand new for others) but that's not the content I'm talking about. I'm talking the MANURE that is spewed on a daily basis. The posts whose titles consist of: a number, engagement, innovation, technology, etc. And then you click on the link and realize it has nothing to do with engagement or innovation. And the technology being used isn't thoughtful. It's the education bloggers that are more concerned with the numbers and the ad revenue that get to me, the ones trolling for views with their post titles. (John Spencer has had a few good posts about this lately.) I'm looking for quality over quantity. I'm looking for educators who are sharing because they want to collaborate and grow...not because they want to give me a meaningless list of ways to "engage students with iPads." I believe that you're in it for the right reason...but know that there are many out there who care more about the $$ than the growth.

May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLissa

Hi Vivian and Lissa,

It's the disagreements, the alternate POV, and challenges that have always motivated me to blog. The blogosphere is too much an echo-chamber and (non-trollish) debate is a delight.

Thanks for your bravery,


May 2, 2013 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

Hi Lissa,

I had no idea there was an ad revenue subtext going on. I guess I've only been following #coetail and credible leaders and people found through meaningful interaction while online, these few months. . I've not found anything in my Twitter pilgrimage so far that seemed unreasonable, but I don't follow zillions of people, either.

The original blogpost didn't mention what you mentioned, as I would agree with him if he is taking issue with trolling for views. and ad revenue. His criticism seemed to be directed towards educators who are mindlessly tweeting or retweeting rubbish, not vetting things, or it's just old news for him and he's tired of it. My reply was to say that I think educators are too busy to mindlessly tweet and if it's old news to him, it's not old news to someone else on the receiving end of the same Tweet.

I totally agree with what you are saying, Lissa. I vett who I follow and now I will vett them even more, before I follow.

Thanks for your point of view Lissa. It's an eye-opener.

May 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVivian

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