Joel Adkins at the Twain Blog recently posted "The Academia Gap and the New Philosophers." It seems to have struck a nerve with a good many readers, leading to some interesting reactions by Scott McLeod, Dean Shareski and other commenters.
In summary, Joel wonders if the gap between the "philosophers" academics, consultants and regular blog writers (with seemingly more discretionary time to muck about with new technologies) and the K-12 front line (who actually have real jobs) is growing. He pointedly muses:
I wish I could Twitter and Plurk all day too.But I can’t. I have to work.
I wish I could research blogs and contribute to the online conversation like they do.
I wish I could Ustream and connect with this global philosophy shift in live streaming.
I wish I could participate in their witty and fun conversations and travel tips they share all day and night.
I wish I could get online and ask for participants from your district because mine…well..they gave up on listening to me months ago because I am “too far out there”.
I wish I could read all those books you all talk about and listen to those podcasts while I get ready to take on a new day.
This resonates with me at some level - given that I have a day job and all. But this is also the same old, same old whine about theories from the ivory tower of education vs. the hard realities of the classroom and library.
Cry me a river. This was my reply to Joel:
I suspect many of your "philosophers" see technology as an avocation, a hobby or a means of personal gratification/identification. When people ask me how I find the time to write, my simple reply is that I don't golf, garden or fool around.
I have resolved (in my own weak mind) the dissonance between the "philosophers" and the practitioners by looking at them through the historical lens of the mountain men and the settlers. Both played important roles in developing the West, but were very different. I see many of the edubloggers, early adopters and tech advocates as the "mountain men" of the virtual frontier. Not everyplace or everything they encounter will have value or be useful and they won't get everyone to go West. But it is vital to at least scout it out and urge others to move into new territories.
(Forgive the sexism of mountain "men" and non-revisionist historical view that populating the US was a good thing. Sigh..)
Anyway, read Joel's posts and the interesting comments that follow. You'll have time if you only play nine holes instead of eighteen today.
"Liver-eatin' McLeod" Mountain man of the virtual West.
Image from: http://www.legendsofamerica.com
Why did it take me so long to figure out that I could add my favorite NYT columnists to my GoogleReader? Instead of scrounging online, hoping the local papers might pick up one or two columns, or trying to remember to go to the NYT website, I now have my own subscription to each of them: