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I am Spart-arthus!

OK, so I’m not reallyArthus Erea‘ the poster boy of the Student 2.0 ‘movement’. I considered pretenting to be though. :-p Apparently he’s going to launch a new blog as ‘a teacher’:

Here’s 3 reasons I don’t think 14 15 (whoops!) year-olds have a full part to play in the edublogosphere:

  1. They haven’t had much life experience. In the same way that you wouldn’t appoint a newly-qualified teacher to run a school, teenagers haven’t got the experience to make fully informed comments on education. They only see one side of the picture.
  2. The transparency that we almost demand in the edublogosphere – even the simple ‘what’s your name and where do you come from’ – cannot be provided by these youngsters due to child protection issues. The edublogosphere therefore just becomes another anonymous forum to them.
  3. They tend to be ships without a rudder, speeding off in one direction and then another. Yes, they need interactions with more mature people to give them this ‘rudder’, but I would argue that they learn by imitation. The best place for this is offline – especially given point 2!

It’s not up to me who you follow on Twitter or whose blogs you read, but I see teenagers as having the same role in the edublogosphere as student councils do in schools. That is informing professionals.

Finally, I just find it all a bit unhealthy that we treat a 14 year-old as a fully paid-up member of adult discussions. It’s a bit like me interacting with students on Facebook, MySpace or Bebo. As a teacher, I just don’t do it.

I’d love to hear some proper justifications of why I should that aren’t platitudes or crowd-pleasing posturing… 😉

155 thoughts on “I am Spart-arthus!

  1. Linda, you're absolutely right. He doesn't realise that he's a pawn in a wider game. Everyone wants to be 'down with the students' and giving them a voice. I'm all for the latter and improving education, but not for equal status. So he can cite source correctly and use Creative Commons photos – so what? Where's his grounding in educational theory? At least the rest of us have some semblance of grounding in this through PGCEs, etc. :-)

  2. Doug,
    The “edublogosphere” is hardly an exclusive club. Nobody else has had to prove their worth, other than by their contributions. If arthus is contributing, why deny him any of the benefits (such as they are) of being in this community.

    In educational theory, the experience of talking inside the community is well estalished as being the primary learning method for newcomers. Listenting to the conversation and learning from veterans, and practicing skills in the community is the way people learn, whether they are 14 or 40. The concept of “legitimate peripheral participation”, of joining in conversation is the essence of learning. It’s not unhealthy to encourage newcomers to flex their conversational muscles, and to listen to them — even when they make mistakes. Trying and stretching and figuring out what works in a community is how people learn. it has nothing to do with age. Even people who are “experts” in the community make mistakes and learn what the limits of the community are.

    Should we demand that anyone who wants to join the conversation have to pass a test first? Should that test be simply age? How are people supposed to learn if we segregate them and deny them the very participation that will increase their expertise and competance?

    The younger generation has a lot to learn, and a lot to teach too. it might not be as comfortable as everyone sitting neatly in rows and minding their manners, but maybe we’ll all learn something in the mix.

    1. The Bolsheviks abolished the dividing line between students and teachers. If you don’t know what the result of that was, perhaps it’s worth looking up.

      Whilst I’m all for giving students a voice, but not for treating teenagers in the same way as adults. That doesn’t mean I want them to ‘sit in rows minding their manners’. This isn’t a black and white issue and it’s certainly not me vs. Arthus. It’s about appropriate responses and participation.

  3. Doug,The "edublogosphere" is hardly an exclusive club. Nobody else has had to prove their worth, other than by their contributions. If arthus is contributing, why deny him any of the benefits (such as they are) of being in this community.In educational theory, the experience of talking inside the community is well estalished as being the primary learning method for newcomers. Listenting to the conversation and learning from veterans, and practicing skills in the community is the way people learn, whether they are 14 or 40. The concept of "legitimate peripheral participation", of joining in conversation is the essence of learning. It's not unhealthy to encourage newcomers to flex their conversational muscles, and to listen to them — even when they make mistakes. Trying and stretching and figuring out what works in a community is how people learn. it has nothing to do with age. Even people who are "experts" in the community make mistakes and learn what the limits of the community are.Should we demand that anyone who wants to join the conversation have to pass a test first? Should that test be simply age? How are people supposed to learn if we segregate them and deny them the very participation that will increase their expertise and competance?The younger generation has a lot to learn, and a lot to teach too. it might not be as comfortable as everyone sitting neatly in rows and minding their manners, but maybe we'll all learn something in the mix.

  4. Totally amazed that a bunch of “mature” adults have spent so long in a pseudo intellectual debate with a 14 year old. I agree, with you on points 1 and 2. Not really sure what he thinks he will prove by setting up as a “fake” teacher somewhere on the blogosphere – that he can produce as much intellectual waffle as many other edubloggers seem to manage?

    1. The point is to prove that his allegations of me somehow being an inferior writer, thinker, or blogger are based purely upon my perceived age.

      Even as the exact same writer, without knowing my age, Doug would not criticize me and say I should be barred from the blogosphere.

      1. Either:

        a) You have a unique point of view as a student to contribute to the edublogosphere.

        Or:

        b) You are just trotting out the same old stuff as everyone else.

        Which is it? You can’t have it both ways: if it’s a) then writing an anonymous blog or with a completely made-up persona is pointless, and if it’s b) then there’s no reason for you to contribute.

        At no point have I said you should be ‘barred from the blogosphere’. Please don’t twist my words.

  5. Hi Doug,
    I haven’t engaged in much conversation with Arthus, not because i don’t want to, just because our paths haven’t really crossed and we haven’t established a connection. I do however, converse quite frequently with another student blogger, one who has taught me much about this online world and who has assisted me with projects that have connected my students to the wider world. I value the connection I have formed with this student blogger -she has taught me much and I, in turn, have been there for her when she has needed me. To me, it’s an extension of the teaching relationships I share with the students I teach in real life. She has reached out to me when she has needed help and I have been able to assist her. This has been one of the most powerful experiences I have had since joining this network -feeling that i was able to help a student in need despite the miles separating us.
    Please be mindful of the effect a post like this could have on Arthus. He seems hurt by the nature of what has transpired over the last couple of days. We as teachers need to be mindful of the age of these students. Think back to when you were 14 – I know that I would have found it very difficult to shoulder the criticism. Heck, I think I’d find it hard even now.
    Jenny Luca.

  6. Hi Doug,I haven't engaged in much conversation with Arthus, not because i don't want to, just because our paths haven't really crossed and we haven't established a connection. I do however, converse quite frequently with another student blogger, one who has taught me much about this online world and who has assisted me with projects that have connected my students to the wider world. I value the connection I have formed with this student blogger -she has taught me much and I, in turn, have been there for her when she has needed me. To me, it's an extension of the teaching relationships I share with the students I teach in real life. She has reached out to me when she has needed help and I have been able to assist her. This has been one of the most powerful experiences I have had since joining this network -feeling that i was able to help a student in need despite the miles separating us. Please be mindful of the effect a post like this could have on Arthus. He seems hurt by the nature of what has transpired over the last couple of days. We as teachers need to be mindful of the age of these students. Think back to when you were 14 – I know that I would have found it very difficult to shoulder the criticism. Heck, I think I'd find it hard even now. Jenny Luca.

  7. Have you seen this story – might be the exception ;-)
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article4232103.ece

    Otherwise – I’m not scared of hearing what a 14 year old has to say and would encourage them to say it – one of the best presenters at the last teachmeet was a 14 year old who explained to us how students got round school security. But while I may read and comment on students’ blogs related to professional issues there is certainly a line I would draw on my interaction. This line is to keep a professional distance, to protect my privacy and to keep both parties out of trouble

  8. First, a little context:

    Doug has a long history of considered me a smart-ass, loner kid…who doesn’t make many friends.
    Doug has held the belief that I am somehow being manipulated and idolized without my knowledge.
    This post was precipitated by a post Darren Draper wrote upon a Twitter exchange.
    Doug apparently still thinks of me as a little boy stumbling into a world he wants to keep me out of.
    I apologized appropriately for my rudeness on Twitter.

    I am loathe to descend to your level, Doug (since it is such a low level), but I fear I must–if only to make sure your readers get the full story. That being said, I do not wish to participate in your troll tactics. If you want to give me a reasoned, rational response free of blatant ageism, I will be happy to read it. Otherwise, please keep it to yourself.

    I’d love to hear some proper justifications of why I should that aren’t platitudes or crowd-pleasing posturing… ;-)

    I’d love to think that you, as someone who has at least some degree of intelligence, could write something which transcends that. This very post runs amok with platitudes, and the only reason for publishing it that I can see is to engage in crowd-pleasing posturing.

    Since when did Twitter become your domain? This is not a symposium where you can just shut the doors. The internet is a free place, and if many intelligent teachers chose to read what I write, that is their prerogative—you can’t dictate what the rest of the world should read.

    They haven’t had much life experience. In the same way that you wouldn’t appoint a newly-qualified teacher to run a school, teenagers haven’t got the experience to make fully informed comments on education. They only see one side of the picture.

    Your example proves my exact point. Am I teaching or running a classroom? No, I am just giving ideas and suggestions. As for seeing only one side of the picture, the same could be said of you far more than of me.

    The transparency that we almost demand in the edublogosphere – even the simple ‘what’s your name and where do you come from’ – cannot be provided by these youngsters due to child protection issues. The edublogosphere therefore just becomes another anonymous forum to them.

    First of all, your degrading monikers only prove your own immaturity in the face of perceived threats. Where do I live? Hinesburg, VT. The only reason I don’t share my real name isn’t because of ridiculous “child protection” issues—I just don’t want outright slander like this showing up should someone Google me. Furthermore, how do we even know that you are Doug Belshaw? What keeps you from adopting a fake pseudonym to use when slandering others and I?

    They tend to be ships without a rudder, speeding off in one direction and then another. Yes, they need interactions with more mature people to give them this ‘rudder’, but I would argue that they learn by imitation. The best place for this is offline – especially given point 2!
    You offer absolutely no justification for this absurd statement. What was I blogging about last time you chose to display your outright ageism? Education. What am I blogging about now? Education. In the last 10 posts on your blog, far more of them are random spins into strange lanes than any of mine. If the best you can do is make accusations and comments with no proof to back it up, then I can see why you attack 14-year-olds, since they are usually easier targets.

    It’s not up to me who you follow on Twitter or whose blogs you read, but I see teenagers as having the same role in the edublogosphere as student councils do in schools. That is informing professionals.

    Here is where your argument breaks down atrociously. What am I doing if I am not informing professionals? Hopefully, must teachers are professionals. And I’m certainly not in a classroom teaching.

    On a final note about maturity, I would like you to do a search through my blog and find how many smilies I use. Also, find how well I cite my sources. Oh, and maybe take a look at the images I use (they’re all Creative Commons license). Who has more Myspace-esque widgets in their sidebar? I don’t think these things matter, but if we’re going to go into an argument about maturity and sense than I suggest you take a look in the mirror. Do you see a professional?

    By the way, I’m 15: at least bother to check your facts, or didn’t they teach you that in your years of schooling?

    1. I’ll respond to this with a video comment (something, note, that you can’t do because of your anonymous standing) after the guests currently at my house have left.

          1. So you’ve shown yourself onllne, say on your About page where you go to school – so why not the real name? Then people like me might start to take you a bit more seriously.

            The argument you put forward before about negative things resulting as a result of being googled shows a lack of transparency and honesty to me…

            But, yet again, this is about the wider issue – not just about you. I’m not sure you quite get that yet. :-)

          2. Hello, Doug,

            Given that this post contains Arthus’ (online) name in the title, the url, and the opening paragraph, it certainly feels as if it is about Arthus, at least a little.

            Also, after having read this thread, and the other threads (and I’ll admit it’s been painful, and that I regret not making more productive use of the time) I’m not seeing where your actual point merits this much energy.

            I’d advocate that everybody take the weekend off (heck, celebrate a little — don’t come back to this ’til Tuesday). Then, let’s re-read the threads, watch all the videos, and let’s see how well the logic in these arguments has aged.

            Cheers,

            Bill

          3. My point is that your points are moot. You complained of me not showing my image: I just did. That’s how an argument works: you make ridiculous points, and I make counterpoints which trump your arguments.

          4. So, I say again, if you can show your image/video (do your parents
            agree?) and we all know which school you go to and where you live –
            why the assumed name?

    2. Please watch the video, but if you really can’t…

      1. I’m not attacking Arthus, I’m just against ‘equal status’ for teenagers or, indeed, those with educational grounding (degrees, teaching experience, etc.)

      2. Just because Arthus or another eloquent teen says something doesn’t make it true. They are not representative of all – or even most – teenagers.

      3. Arthus and the like are very able, but need *context*. This takes more than the ability to reference sources and put Creative Commons-licensed images on your blog. Qualifications aren’t everything, but they give a grounding in educational theory teenagers simply don’t have.

      1. Nice job lying.

        A) I have shown my image in both video and photos.
        B) I have talked on plenty of live podcasts or vodcasts.
        C) I have spoken at conferences.

        You continue to claim that the job of students/student councils is to *inform* the professionals, yet have not offered a single argument as to how what I am doing is not exactly that: informing professional educators.

        1. This isn’t about you Arthus, as I keep repeating – it’s about the wider issues of students in the edublogosphere. I’m sure you are informing educators, but those educators are taking your word as gospel.

          OK, so you’re not responsible for how you’re taken and perhaps misrepresented (as some are doing to my points here) but both you and they seem to think you have some type of equal status. My point, which I keep on making, is that whilst you have the intellectual ability and way with words, you do not have the context, experience or training of adult educators.

          1. “I’d like to make the point first of all that Arthus, and any other teenager, can’t respond in this manner.”

            That is a flat out lie. I just did, and you know it. I have shared my image many times before and saying I can’t respond in this manner not only trivializes your points, but makes you seem like one who couldn’t be bothered to check your facts.

            You didn’t say all teenagers. You very specifically said Arthus.

          2. Well if you were my 15 year-old son you wouldn’t be making video
            responses to strange 27 year-old British guys, that’s for sure. The
            fact that you use an assumed name, then, isn’t consistent with your
            other actions online. We need accountability and transparency in the
            edublogosphere, which you’re not providing by using an assumed name.

  9. I think Arthus or anyone who can write a bit could make a convincing NQT type blog. I just question why they’d want to, unless it was to parody, which I admit could be fun to read. I find his arrogance that people would try to find this ‘joke’ blog quite amusing in that most NQT or student teacher blogs languish unread on blogspot or edublogs. I comment on quite a few as they often find the Classroom Displays blog and link to it, possibly as a result of being told to by who ever got them blogging.
    I just have this vision of lots of 22 year old girls called “Mindy” or similar being accused of being a 14 year old boy in disguise :-)
    To be serious for a moment I share your unease about the whole arthus cult. I have no desire to stop him blogging or joining the conversation. That’s fine. I just have this faint feeling that he’s being patronised, wholesale.

    1. That’s because, frankly, most student teacher blogs are a load of hogwash.

      For the most part, the idea would be to do a parody: exaggerating the ridiculousness of some in the School 2.0 crowd.

      Have you even bothered to read my blog?

      1. First to Arthus:
        I agree many Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT in the UK are not students) blogs are basically hogwash. Some are not. Some are very earnest attempts at using a blog to explore the scary learning curve of the first year in the classroom on the other side of the great divide. Almost all are unheard and ignored by the ‘edublogosphere’ I still contend that yours would be too.
        I understood that it would be a parody. There’s much rich source material around. I just questioned why someone in their teens and with an internship to look forward to would be bothered to do it.
        I used to read your blog. I’m afraid I dropped it as it got a bit boring. Sorry, I’m not exactly a teacher and my interest in some aspects of the US centric debate is waning. I don’t read many US edubloggers either these days. I still read Clay and enjoy some of your comments there.
        I can vouch for Doug BTW, he isn’t someone else in disguise. I’ve eaten pizza with him at TeachMeet 08. He’s a serious thinker, someone trying to explore and make sense of the world of blogs and all that it might mean for schooling.
        I don’t always agree with him but he doesn’t question things lightly and when he is occasionally flip he usually corrects himself, as in the video.
        Now back to talking to Doug:
        I’m not seeing any strong pro student power arguments in your comments yet. I might have to blog this one myself. I almost think by using Arthus as an example you undercut and misdirected the opposition. Hmm.
        What I’m not sure about and would like to explore more is how exactly you would limit the influence of the handful of students like Arthus? What practical steps would you take? If any.
        BTW disqus is vile, messes with your comment feed, and I hate having to click again to see more than 10 comments. I liked the video comment though.

    2. Linda, you’re absolutely right. He doesn’t realise that he’s a pawn in a wider game. Everyone wants to be ‘down with the students’ and giving them a voice. I’m all for the latter and improving education, but not for equal status. So he can cite source correctly and use Creative Commons photos – so what? Where’s his grounding in educational theory? At least the rest of us have some semblance of grounding in this through PGCEs, etc. :-)

  10. I think Arthus or anyone who can write a bit could make a convincing NQT type blog. I just question why they'd want to, unless it was to parody, which I admit could be fun to read. I find his arrogance that people would try to find this 'joke' blog quite amusing in that most NQT or student teacher blogs languish unread on blogspot or edublogs. I comment on quite a few as they often find the Classroom Displays blog and link to it, possibly as a result of being told to by who ever got them blogging. I just have this vision of lots of 22 year old girls called "Mindy" or similar being accused of being a 14 year old boy in disguise :-) To be serious for a moment I share your unease about the whole arthus cult. I have no desire to stop him blogging or joining the conversation. That's fine. I just have this faint feeling that he's being patronised, wholesale.

  11. Totally amazed that a bunch of “mature” adults have spent so long in a pseudo intellectual debate with a 14 year old. I agree, with you on points 1 and 2. Not really sure what he thinks he will prove by setting up as a “fake” teacher somewhere on the blogosphere – that he can produce as much intellectual waffle as many other edubloggers seem to manage?

  12. That's because, frankly, most student teacher blogs are a load of hogwash.For the most part, the idea would be to do a parody: exaggerating the ridiculousness of some in the School 2.0 crowd.Have you even bothered to read my blog?

  13. But it's pointless to pretend to be a teacher. Everyone has their niche and merits which is the reason people subscribe to their blogs. Just what, exactly, would his pretending to be a teacher achieve. That he can write better than most adults? Wow.

  14. The Bolsheviks abolished the dividing line between students and teachers. If you don't know what the result of that was, perhaps it's worth looking up.Whilst I'm all for giving students a voice, but not for treating teenagers in the same way as adults. That doesn't mean I want them to 'sit in rows minding their manners'. This isn't a black and white issue and it's certainly not me vs. Arthus. It's about appropriate responses and participation.

  15. I'll respond to this with a video comment (something, note, that you can't do because of your anonymous standing) after the guests currently at my house have left.

  16. My my. If being an educational “professional” makes it okay to take public pot-shots at the students (or any other member of the educational community, which absolutely does include students, regardless of our preferences about their use of student voice), then it’s a sad profession indeed.

    Several of us were on twitter when Arthus tossed out that playful idea, and we thought it was fun and witty, and offered some fun, playful advice. It’s sad to me, Doug, that you would seize on it as an opportunity for an attack – especially after Darren just apologized for doing a similar thing to Arthus earlier today, and after you yourself held out a palm leaf to Arthus on his own blog.

    For the record: Arthus has his idiosyncracies like any individual of any age, and we can like or not like them. But his accomplishments – from his session at Educon in Phillie to his uStream election call-in show to his many fine posts on many spaces on the web – they deserve mention here. Not many students in the world are doing these things, and we rightly give Arthus our attention when he shows they can be done. He is a model.

    Our reactions to him and other students, too, are models. Right now, they’re not very good ones.

    The one point of view the “professionals” – from Ed. D. to assistant teacher – do not have is the students. That’s not a platitude, but a fact. Would we want a new Ed. D. who didn’t value that perspective to run a school? I wouldn’t.

    I’d have no problem with your post if it were about the ideas in the second half. But the first half just smacks to me of mean-spiritedness of the most unnecessary sort. As somebody said, “Superior people talk about ideas; mediocre people, about things; inferior people, about other people.”

    Let’s stick to ideas. We don’t need to hurt people by aiming at them alongside the ideas.

    1. I’m not attacking *Arthus* – I’m questioning the role and status of teenagers in the edublogosphere. It’s very easy to set up a straw man, Clay, but if you actually read my blog post carefully and pondered on it, I think most education professionals would agree.

      I’ll probably get shot down in flames for saying this, but what the heck: in my opinion there’s a lot of educators who are using Arthus to show how ‘progressive’ they are. I don’t think that’s right.

  17. My my. If being an educational "professional" makes it okay to take public pot-shots at the students (or any other member of the educational community, which absolutely does include students, regardless of our preferences about their use of student voice), then it's a sad profession indeed.Several of us were on twitter when Arthus tossed out that playful idea, and we thought it was fun and witty, and offered some fun, playful advice. It's sad to me, Doug, that you would seize on it as an opportunity for an attack – especially after Darren just apologized for doing a similar thing to Arthus earlier today, and after you yourself held out a palm leaf to Arthus on his own blog. For the record: Arthus has his idiosyncracies like any individual of any age, and we can like or not like them. But his accomplishments – from his session at Educon in Phillie to his uStream election call-in show to his many fine posts on many spaces on the web – they deserve mention here. Not many students in the world are doing these things, and we rightly give Arthus our attention when he shows they can be done. He is a model. Our reactions to him and other students, too, are models. Right now, they're not very good ones.The one point of view the "professionals" – from Ed. D. to assistant teacher – do not have is the students. That's not a platitude, but a fact. Would we want a new Ed. D. who didn't value that perspective to run a school? I wouldn't.I'd have no problem with your post if it were about the ideas in the second half. But the first half just smacks to me of mean-spiritedness of the most unnecessary sort. As somebody said, "Superior people talk about ideas; mediocre people, about things; inferior people, about other people." Let's stick to ideas. We don't need to hurt people by aiming at them alongside the ideas.

  18. I must admit I find the very notion of the ‘Cult of Arthus’ quite bizarre.

    His commentary and views are indeed quite good. Not in any way brilliant and certainly not visionary but I think the grounding of his ‘popularity’ is his age.

    How many chat shows have we seen where they wheel out a 7 year old who plays an instrument (pretty badly) but gets mock adulation just because it’s a ‘hey, look at that little kid play….’ type scenario. btw, I’m not saying that Arhus is any way a ‘little kid’, before I get accused of ageism :).

    Some of his view are mature. But he isn’t – he’s a teenager and must be treated and his views compensated for accordingly. But, to disagree slightly, Doug I do feel anyone with comments, viewpoints or knowledge to share or put forth should be given a platform.

    But to address the blog thing… I think it would be fantastic learning experience for him if he would create a blog pretending to be an adult teacher. Then he would see if his commentary would stand up on its own merits not (partially) because of him being seen a Web 2.0 wunderkind.

    I urge him to do so!

    1. But it’s pointless to pretend to be a teacher. Everyone has their niche and merits which is the reason people subscribe to their blogs. Just what, exactly, would his pretending to be a teacher achieve. That he can write better than most adults? Wow.

      1. not at all Doug!

        My gist was that I feel the hype and possibly even the ‘credibility’ the guy has is, bizarrely, largely down to him being of the age he is. I feel if he were our age (I’m guessing you’re 30s?, apologies if you’re not), he wouldn’t have the ‘blogerati’ following that he has now and his commentary wouldn’t inflame so many folk!

        If he feels the need to pretend to be a teacher to pursue whatever agenda he has, let him. I personally think that would be misguided and quite naive, but he is a 15 year old boy and he’ll see, at some point, that his idea was nonsense. If he wants to pretend to be an adult he should be prepared to be judged as one.

        As you said in your video reply, he isn’t truly representative of teenagers, both of us know that through years of work in secondary schools, which does give, again IMHO, give weight to your stance in this case. But I wouldn’t like to see the restriction of teenagers per se from debate on matters related to educational / learning / instructional technology. They are at the ‘business end’ of what I do and I want to hear their views!

        But, as you know I don’t teach, so perhaps I’m not the best qualified to understand your depth of feeling, but in my role working within secondary education I’m deeply committed to advancing learning through the development of ICT and I for one would like to have input for the ‘kids’.

        1. Cheeky beggar – I’m 27 (as it says on my About page!) ;-)

          I’m not for some type of formal restriction, I’m just pointing out that:

          a) Arthus (still not using his real name) is not representative of other students.
          b) He (and others) are being used to serve the agendas of others or to show that they are somehow ‘down with the kids’.

          I prefer to draw on my interactions with my *real* students to know what they’re like and to demonstrate that I’m in touch with their thoughts, ideas and aspirations. :-)

          1. He (and others) are being used to serve the agendas of others or to show that they are somehow ‘down with the kids’.

            Yea, I’m a helpless pawn so stupid that I am easily manipulated into doing and saying whatever helps the agenda of so-called professionals.

            Give me a break. That’s just plain condescending to assume that my age makes me so naive that I can be manipulated into serving people’s agendas.

            Nobody created me and nobody controls me.

          2. I’m not saying they’re telling you what to write. I’m just saying that
            people who want to appear that they’re progressive align themselves
            with others who think that you and other ‘Student 2.0’ folks are
            representatives of others your age. That’s all.

  19. I must admit I find the very notion of the 'Cult of Arthus' quite bizarre.His commentary and views are indeed quite good. Not in any way brilliant and certainly not visionary but I think the grounding of his 'popularity' is his age. How many chat shows have we seen where they wheel out a 7 year old who plays an instrument (pretty badly) but gets mock adulation just because it's a 'hey, look at that little kid play….' type scenario. btw, I'm not saying that Arhus is any way a 'little kid', before I get accused of ageism :).Some of his view are mature. But he isn't – he's a teenager and must be treated and his views compensated for accordingly. But, to disagree slightly, Doug I do feel anyone with comments, viewpoints or knowledge to share or put forth should be given a platform.But to address the blog thing… I think it would be fantastic learning experience for him if he would create a blog pretending to be an adult teacher. Then he would see if his commentary would stand up on its own merits not (partially) because of him being seen a Web 2.0 wunderkind.I urge him to do so!

  20. Have you seen this story – might be the exception 😉http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asi…Otherwise – I'm not scared of hearing what a 14 year old has to say and would encourage them to say it – one of the best presenters at the last teachmeet was a 14 year old who explained to us how students got round school security. But while I may read and comment on students' blogs related to professional issues there is certainly a line I would draw on my interaction. This line is to keep a professional distance, to protect my privacy and to keep both parties out of trouble

  21. This all seems a bit odd to me. As teachers, we seem to cope well with classroom situations and then go to bits as soon as we get online. It seems that Arthus has lulled a load of teachers into a big slanging match and is holding his own. Can you imagine the farse that would unravel if this happened in real life? Arthus seems to be a very clever and probably humorous young man with a great future ahead of him, but this situation seems to be an attempt by various people to prove themselves or get on top in an argument. It’s like a game.

    As an edublogger and an NQT, I’ve received a modest but incredibly useful number of comments on my blog, which have enabled me to make a couple of excellent contacts. Obviously, when nobody comments it’s a bit demoralising, although having read some of my posts back I’m surprised anyone has read them at all! The point being, if someone thinks I’m a fake, so what? I’ll just ignore them, attempt to engage them in useful discussion, or even delete them, and move on. Let the lad attempt his teaching blog. He might find it harder than he thought or he might fool us all and have a great time. I don’t think he will have a negative impact on the plight of fledgling NQT edubloggers. Perhaps people don’t read some of them because they are boring or rubbish. Net neutrality and freedom of speech have there pros and cons. Yes we should tell him if we think he is out of order, but only if we think he will listen, he has a right to try (The one comment I would make to Arthus is that, as teachers, we’re only trying to help and also, trying to do your best for 30 children or young people can fry your brain sometimes).

    So, on the issue of people online being made up characters, I have actually seen Doug Belshaw, at teachmeet08 in London, and at that time he was a real person. The situation may have changed since January but I’m pretty sure he still exists. I think this shows why purely online asynchronous textual contact is a bit one dimensional and further illustrates the problems that can occur when people fling the odd short message at each other.

    1. Yep, I exist – you could contact Durham University and ask them to confirm my existence, Doncaster council for my existence on the electoral role, and my Flickr pictures which show my happy family. Can I do any of this for teenagers in the edublogosphere? No.

      Normally if I had exchanges like I’ve had with Arthus I’d contact the person directly. I feel uncomfortable doing so with a 15 year-old I don’t actually know – for obvious reasons. More grist to the mill!

        1. I still fail to understand, then, if we’ve got all that why you need to use a pseudonym? We need transparency in the edublogosphere as an absolute minimum!

          BTW your Flickr photostream is a succession of unboxing pics and screenshots… ;-)