Thursday, October 9

27 Inspiring Women Edubloggers



"Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus" - John Gray


MALE DOMINATED LIST

Sometimes in life you begin to wonder if that really makes sense. Thanks to Stephen Downes, Janet Clarey discovered my 25 Edublogs presentation, and then pointed brilliantly out that 22 of the 25 listed are men. In a nut shell, it kind of added fuel to a discussion about "women, blogging, representation, respect, recognition, and readership" (my own intepretation) that was taking place at the Brandon Hall Research Innovations in Learning Conference (Sep 25-26, 2008).

To get a clearer picture of what I am talking about, I strongly recommend that you read all the comments. I found it especially interesting to read about how women themselves reasoned why women edubloggers perhaps don't get the respect, recognition and appreciation that they really deserve. You will find all sorts of reasons in the comments section and it has also continued in blogs elsewhere (e.g. Michele Martin and Cammy Bean). It is kind of interesting, so I will leave it for you to explore and reflect that. I believe for my part, I have added enough fuel to the discussion, and have other ideas on how to make a difference. But first...


CLARIFICATIONS

I just want to make a few important points about my link visualization presentations. First, none of my visual collections are rankings or top this and that. They are simply resources, tools or people that I find interesting and useful, and would like to recommend to others. If my collections were really rankings (e.g. the top 25 EduBlogs), certainly I would not reveal the No. 1 ranked first (unless I was an idiot). What an anti-climax would that be?

Though, I can't blame some people out there in the twitter or blogging world for billing it as a Top 25 EduBlogs list, because when you see that Stephen Downes is the first one to be mentioned in the EduBlogs list (with a No. 1 tag), you might assume it is. I think I should have made this clear in the presentation to avoid such interpretations. I simply use numbering, so that viewers know where they are, and how much they have covered. And I like to start and end a collection with a bang to get that first and last impression effect. In short, not ranking, just numbering.

Finally, besides stimulating my right-brain, I am driven to create these visualized lists, because this way of sharing stuff is proving to be more effective than any other method that I have tried. For example, my 101 Free Learning Tools presentation has now been embedded or mentioned in more than a hundred sites and viewed 15600+ times (in less than 2 months!). These presentations might not make it efficient and convenient to access the links, but they seem to attract more visitors and feedback from around the world. Anyway, to solve that problem, we should provide both a text-based and visual list. Anyway, the coming visual list will be the last (for a while), as I want to reflect deeper on certain learning or e-learning issues in the coming months (2 posts a month, I predict).


WOMEN EDUBLOGGERS

Thanks to Janet Clarey's great 22-3 discovery, I have taken on another learning mission to explore more women edubloggers and below is my discoveries in a visually stimulating manner.

Yes, it is a lesson learned. I have learned a lot! I have discovered some amazing blogs (from Venus). Overall, women edubloggers seem to discuss more personal stuff, but as long as it is linked to some form of learning, I am all ears. Sometimes we need to get personal to be effective in our professional life. We are all humans (at least those that read blogs), and showing a bit of cracks in our personal life enables others to relate to us more. We might not get a journal publication with our personal stories, but we might manage to motivate and engage more readers or learners to learn and think. The mashup of logic, facts, emotion, visuals and stories can engage and inspire a person to learn, so why not utilize these tools, if you are doing it for noble purposes.

Instead of breaking recommendation lists apart, perhaps it is time to celebrate and promote our own discoveries. If you ask me, Edublogs (both male and female) don't get enough attention, appreciation, recognition, respect or readership they deserve in the media, or by the educational community at large (period!). Maybe it is because edublogs in general are not stimulating or entertaining enough, or maybe it is also because we don't do enough to promote our own kind beyond our small little learning communities.

Anyway, I do hope that one day edublogs are as widely read as political and celebrity blogs are today. Never mind the celebrity and political life, but it would be great if more educators around the world are awaken to the amazing learning possibilities that this online world is already providing us. Let's hope for the sake of our kids, we don't wake up too late.

I am still learning :)

24 comments:

Cammy Bean said...

Wow, Zaid. You move fast. I'm inspired to be seen as inspiring. I had no idea :)

Cammy

Michele said...

Zaid--thanks so much for seeing this discussion as an opportunity for learning and for sharing with the rest of us both your process and the results. This is a great demonstration of how I think blogging can work as a catalyst to exploring issues and ideas. I also have to say that I'm very impressed and pleased to see that you took our discussion in a constructive light, as opposed to getting defensive or argumentative. It really was inspiring to see how you handled this.

Off to blog about your list!

John said...

I hope this does not come across impolitely, but what is the point of an exercise such as this?

I ask this from two perspectives:

One - between my own blog roll and my rss aggregator I quickly counted at least 40 or women edubloggers of which you have listed perhaps 4 or 5. And my lists only skim the surface of the very many women out there maintaining educational blogs.

Your own list is therefore not only subjective (as all such lists inevitably have to be) but is also limited by your own blogging and educational horizons (as would any such list created by anyone else, including me).

Two - why on earth would we want to create and ponder a list of edubloggers comprising women only? What does it achieve other than to perpetuate meaningless divisions between the sexes?

So, to ask again, what is the point of such an exercise?

Sarah Stewart said...

It also depends on what blogging circles you live in. For example, I know some great women who blog about education for health professionals. They won't make a list like this because they will be seen more as health professionals rather than educators. They only have a small audience compared to the more generic blogs of people like Sue Waters & Michele Martin.

Janet Clarey said...

John, I think the purpose of such a list is to incite change. In my experience, women are typically missing from A-list blogs and blogrolls in many areas – even when there is a nearly equal amount of men and women writing.

This same issue comes up frequently in other circles (politics, technology to name a few) just as it has here in the edublogosphere.

I don’t think the point is to create a great gender divide but to get people thinking. So, to you there may be no point. To me, simply raising one question about imbalance is one of a hundred actions that incite change.

I’ve seen dismissive comments…‘oh, here’s the annual gender thing again’ from people who probably don’t see a point. That is what it is. There’s a lot of shit that I see as having no point but may represent someone’s life work.

Because there is an ongoing conversation on this topic illustrates (to me) that for many, these conversations have a purpose (we could argue all blog posts that receive a fair amount of comments do have a purpose.

At one point I looked at this phenomenon in a little depth. I found several researchers that have studied genre and identity in relation to blogging.

Susan Herring, Inna Kouper, Lois Ann Scheidt, and Elijah L. Wright studied the issue of identity through an empirical study of gender. In addressing the “democratization” claim associated with blogging (that open access to technology democratizes communication), their study showed that even though quantitative studies report as many women blog as men, dominant discourses on blogging, including scholarly communication, continue to privilege blogs kept mostly by men (Graddol and Swann, 1989).

What to make of this? Herring (2004) explored this and proposed that gender and age bias arises in part as a result of a focus on the male-dominated “filter” (commentary-type) blogs vs. the more popular (and more read) journal-type blogs that are written mostly by women.

Pollard (2004) suggested that once a power curve is established, and male-dominated, it is self-perpetuating. He said, “To that extent, the blogosphere becomes unconsciously sexist. But it isn't to begin with.” If this is true then, in essence, “democratic discourse is not met.” (Herring, 1993)

In the educational arena, Herring (1993) suggested that women are discouraged or intimidated from participating in discourse online based on the reactions their posts get when they do contribute. In her study, when women persisted in posting on controversial topics, men reported feeling dissatisfied with the discussion. Some threatened to leave the conversation. A small male minority was dominating the discourse and, in effect, the conversations were being censored despite being open to everyone with Internet access and the ability to write. This problem is not a result of the medium but rather, it “continues pre-existing patterns of hierarchy and male dominance in academia more generally, and in society as a whole.” (Herring, 1993)

Access to experts and other professionals has been perceived as one of the most valuable aspects of blogging (Farmer and Bartlett-Bragg, 2005). However, this value may be limited to a specific gender and genre. By studying bloggers – their style, discourse, reach, and exposure – we can begin to address genre and gender-based inequity, which can limit access for women (and to women) experts in the field of education.

So, that’s my summation of the point here. It's not about a list.

References (of course, because I'm a researcher...)
Brooks, K., Nichols, C., & Priebe, S. (2004). Remediation, genre, and motivation: Key concepts for teaching with weblogs. Into the Blogosphere. Retrieved April 16, 2008 from http://blog.lib.umn.edu/blogosphere/remediation_genre.html


Farmer J. & Bartlett-Bragg, A. (2005). Blogs @ anywhere: High fidelity online communication. Balance, Fidelity, Mobility: Proceeding of the 21st ascilite conference (pp. 197-203). Retrieved April 15, 2008 from www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/brisbane05/blogs/proceedings/22_Farmer.pdf

Gurak, L., Antonijevic, S., Johnson, L., Ratliff, C., Y Reyman, J. (2004). Introduction: Weblogs, Rhetoric, Community, and Culture. Into the Blogosphere. Retrieved April 17, 2008 from http://blog.lib.umn.edu/blogosphere/introduction.html

Healy, K. (2004, December 17). Gender and blogging. Crooked Timber [blog]. Retrieved October 5, 2005 from http://crookedtimber.org/2004/12/17/gender-and-blogging

Herring, S.C. (1993). Gender and democracy in computer-mediated communication. Communication Institute for Online Scholarship. Vol. 3, No. 2. Retrieved April 16, 2008 from http://www.cios.org/EJCPUBLIC$$282733147871$$/003/2/00328.HTML

Herring, S. C., Scheidt, L. A., Bonus, S., & Wright, E. (2004). Bridging the gap: A genre analysis of weblogs. Proceedings of the Thirty-Seventh Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-37). Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Press. Retrieve March 19, 2008 from http://www.blogninja.com/DDGDD04.doc

Herring, S.C., Kouper, I., Scheidt, L.A., & Wright, E.L. (2004). Women and children last: The discursive construction of weblogs. Into the Blogosphere. Retrieved April 15, 2008 from http://blog.lib.umn.edu/blogosphere/women_and_children.html

Nowson, S. & Oberlander, J. (2006). The identity of bloggers: Openness and gender in personal weblogs. School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh. Retrieved April 15, 2008 from www.ics.mq.edu.au/~snowson/papers/SS0603NowsonS.pdf

Pedersen, S., & Macafee, C. (2006). The practices and popularity of British bloggers. In B. Martens & M. Dobreva (Eds.), ELPUB2006. Digital Spectrum: Integrating Technology and Culture—Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Electronic Publishing, 155-164. Retrieved July 6, 2007 from http://elpub.scix.net/cgi-bin/works/Show?213_elpub2006

Pollard, D. (2003, October 30). Is the blogosphere sexist? How to Save the World [blog]. Retrieved March 19, 2008 from http://blogs.salon.com/0002007/2003/10/30.html

Schmidt, J. (2007). Blogging practices: An analytical framework [Electronic version]. Journal of Computer-Medicated Communication, 12, 1409-1427. Retrieved April 15, 2008 from http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol12/issue4/schmidt.html

Janet Clarey said...

Thanks for the mention Zaid. You've interested me to several new names. I echo what Michelle has said. Tip of the hat.

Janet Clarey said...

Gee...that should be "introduced me"

Christy Tucker said...

Thanks for this list and for continuing the discussion. I'm pleasantly surprised to be included. As others have mentioned, several of these names are new to me. I appreciate you expanding my horizons too.

Zaid Ali Alsagoff said...

Dear John Connell,

Thanks for your feedback and questions :)

First, if you want to reply to John Connell, I would also recommend replying directly to his blog: (http://www.johnconnell.co.uk/blog/), so that the learning conversation can reach new learning spaces.

But before I share some of my views, I have a couple of questions to you. Did you watch 'Episode 1'(http://www.slideshare.net/zaid/25-edublogs-you-simply-dont-want-to-miss-presentation/)? Secondly, have you read the ongoing discussion in Janet's blog (http://brandon-hall.com/janetclarey/?p=789)?

If you have done that, I suppose you have a clearer picture about the story behind this list and presentation.

In your blog, you ask "can anyone offer me a good and valid reason for the creation of..(this list).."

I think Janet's response (URL above) has done that already, according to my standards (who cares!).

Here are a few more reasons for creating the list:

Yes, I agree with you that the list is subjective and is limited by my own blogging and educational horizons. But then again, I am not asking you to endorse it. Also, you might have discovered some new edublogs that you have not explored before.


Secondly, you have commented here and posted something about this list on your blog. In other words, the list is facilitating a learning conversation.

Thirdly, I share my learning adventures with my readers. And this adventure was about exploring and discovering inspiring women edubloggers (a reaction to my ignorance). Since my blog is mostly a learning and resource sharing blog, why should I not share my discoveries with whoever reads my blog?

"What is the point of any such lists?"

By you asking that question, you are already making a point.

Does it perpetuate meaningless divisions between the sexes?

That seems to be your perception and view, and I am not sure many feel that way. If you think about it, it might just do the opposite in the long run. Try using Edward De Bono's six thinking hats to go beyond the black hat :)

"Lists - who needs them?"
I think your 'Great Blogs" list is great, but who needs it?

Finally, John Connell I am enjoying your blog (another reason), and noticed that you love a debate. So, to stir a debate, you need to provoke, and I believe you have done a great job in that :)

Though, one thing sad about good debaters is that they sometimes win arguments due to their superior reasoning ability, even though their ideas, opinions and solutions are shown in the long term to be poor (or failures).

In other words, is your perception or opinion really solid? Your answer might be, "what about yours?"

Let's both think about it :)

On a positive note, you have probably discovered a few new EduBlogs, and I have discovered your blog :)

Warm Regards,

Zaid

Liz Davis said...

Thanks for including me in your second list, for sharing some new people for me to explore (both male and female) and for pointing me to Janet's post on the topic. (I contributed my gender gap thoughts there.)
-Liz

houshuang said...

Great work Zaid,

it's funny, just coming back from a recurring issues in higher education class that was all about gender and oppression and white privilege. I don't necessarily agree with all the conclusions, or even ways of arguing, presented there, but I totally agree for the need for more diverse voices, and for periodically thinking about things that one takes for granted.

People might become well read for various reasons, gender, race, language, educational level, networking skills, HTML design, or whatever. I am male, but I was an undergraduate when I began writing, and still I am only a first year MA student... getting anyone other than my local friends to read my writings have taken time, and it has also depended on people who have been longer in the game including me. I really appreciate that, and will certainly try to "pay it forward".

Stian

John Powers said...

This post is so cool, this whole multi-blog conversation is so great! I came to this via Michelle Martin's Bamboo Project. I don't read a lot of Edublogs, but I do know people who would like to but don't really know about the Edublogospere. Lists make discovery more available for people like that. So now I'm trying to figure out who I'll share this link with. Great post and great demonstration about being a life-long learner.

Kerrie Smith said...

I guess, strictly speaking, these are not "edubloggers" - as that leads you to think they are blogging at edublogs.org, but they are women educators who blog

Emma said...

Good list - and nice to have lots of new blogs to follow.
I'm not sure, though that I'd agree with the last poster ... I don't see Edubloggers as those that blog at Edublogs ... nor would I see it as Educators who blog ... rather I'd see it as people who blog about educational issues...

Karl Kapp said...

Zaid,
Great list and hats off to you for responding some positively to the feedback and creating the list.

And, er...thanks for including me on the list. I have blogged about my reaction of being male and making the list Er...Happy to Make the List?
Karl

Malinka said...

Zaid, Thank you for your respect to women edubloggers and also for including my blog in this list. I admire your past and present blog work!

c4lpt said...

Zaid - thanks so much for including me (as Jane Knight) though probably most people know me now as Jane Hart (since I remarried). But thanks for your continuing support.

Jane

Zaid Ali Alsagoff said...

Dear Jane Hart,

I apologize for using your past name (I should have double-checked! Lesson learned!). From now on, if (or when) I mention your great stuff I will refer to you as Jane Hart.

Thanks and again sorry for that.

Warm Regards,

Zaid

neal said...

I found it especially interesting to read about how women themselves reasoned why women edubloggers perhaps don't get the respect, recognition and appreciation that they really deserve. You will find all sorts of reasons in the comments section and it has also continued in blogs elsewhere.
----------------------------

jnnywllms

transmitter

neal said...

These presentations might not make it efficient and convenient to access the links, but they seem to attract more visitors and feedback from around the world. Anyway, to solve that problem.Instead of breaking recommendation lists apart, perhaps it is time to celebrate and promote our own discoveries.
--------------------------------

jnny

transmitter

e40sam said...

Women or men,edubloggers have a mission in their chosen niche.My motto always has been to blog for the common good.I am honored to be recognized as an inspiration.Thanks,Zaid!

Online Degree said...
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Petrucci said...

their study showed that even though quantitative studies report as many women blog as men, dominant discourses on blogging.
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Petrucci said...

That is what it is. There’s a lot of shit that I see as having no point but may represent someone’s life work.
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