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… 😉

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  1. But surely 'the effect this has on Arthus' – if a negative one backs up my point about experience and emotional maturity?

  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. :-)

  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.

    • 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

    • 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.

      • 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.

  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. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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?

    • 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.

      • Seesmic video reply from Disqus.

        • It doesn’t seem to be showing up…

          • I am seeing it right now…. don’t continue to support rediculous claims with outright fallacies.

          • 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. :-)

          • 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

          • 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.

          • 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?

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

          • “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.

          • 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.

  10. Bolsheviks = Twitterverse? C'mon, that's so silly it doesn't pass the giggle test.

  11. 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.

    • 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?

      • 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.

    • 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. :-)

  12. 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.

  13. 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?

  14. 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?

  15. 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.

  16. It doesn't seem to be showing up…

  17. I am seeing it right now…. don't continue to support rediculous claims with outright fallacies.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

    • 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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!

    • 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.

      • 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’.

        • 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. :-)

          • apologies there Doug!

          • 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.

          • 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.

  23. 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!

  24. 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

  25. 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.

    • 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!

      • Learn to check your facts. You (and anyone) is always free to give me a call: http://myfla.ws/about/. Or maybe you should talk to one of the many people who attended EduCon 2.0 and my session/presentation.

        You can also check out my Flickr photos (some of which include my family, I’m sure): http://flickr.com/photos/arthuserea/

        • 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… ;-)

          • Look further back, when I actually had the time to take photos. If my only crime is not being a good photographer, than I am far from alone.

          • I work with a fellow (My Director of IT) who is an active member of the Web 2 world, but NEVER uses his real name anywhere. He simply chooses not to. That doesn’t make his contributions worth any less. He simply chooses not to. I myself usually show in most places as “betchaboy”, not because I’m afraid to use my own name, but because rather like to have a nickname.
            Your comments seem to be almost fanatically focusses on this obsession with him being called “Arthus”… who cares? Arthus has never been misleading about who and what he is, we have all known for a very long time that he is a student, he is 14 (or was when he “emerged”) and he is from Vermont. What more do you need to know? He’s not mislead you at any point. He’s never pretended to be anything other than what he is. I can understand why he might want to try again and this time appear as an adult… to see if the intellectual quality of his thinking holds up when people see him as a peer and aren’t compensating – positively or negatively – for his age.
            I think your arguments are coming across as unbalanced and unfair Doug. And as for saying this is not about Arthus… have you checked the title of this post? Or was that just an attempt at a clever pun? Either way, it pretty clearly is aimed at one particular student blogger… the one in the title and the only one you’ve mentioned by name. If it’s just general student bloggers that have you so troubled, how about naming a few more so we can see who else you are troubled by? Or can’t you think of too many others?
            Your diatribe has certainly lowered my opinion of your sense of justice.
            Chris Betcher

          • And as for saying this is not about Arthus… have you checked the title of this post? Or was that just an attempt at a clever pun?

            Yep, I was using Arthus as an example of a token of a particular type. It’s like in your classroom when you give your students a concrete example. Trouble is, everyone’s focusing on the example rather than the point I’m making behind it about students (in general) in the edublogosphere…

            Your diatribe has certainly lowered my opinion of your sense of justice.

            Oh dear. Glass houses and stones spring to mind:

            http://betch.edublogs.org/2008/06/05/enough-excuses/

            Is it intelligence? Maybe some people are just too stupid to use a computer. Maybe some people really are incapable of learning this stuff? Aptitude has something to do with I’m sure, but that only explains why some people might pick technology skills up quicker than others? it doesn’t explain why some don’t seem to be able to pick it up at all. Especially when you see the basic, basic stuff that seems to confuse some people? I mean jeez, how hard is it to make a frickin’ folder and save something in it? Trained monkeys could do that. If people are too stupid to learn basic, low level operational skills,
            then maybe they are too stupid to teach.

            I’ll leave it to other readers to comment on *that*.

    • As was mentioned above, I have spoken at conferences as well as been on many a podcast or live video. Regardless of what you may feel about me, you can’t say I’m some digital mirage.

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

  27. 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.

  28. I don't think you understand the context.

  29. Seesmic video reply from Disqus.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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… ;-)

  34. Honestly? As a junior coach when I was 16 I was heavily involved in the changes within the various sports and martial arts clubs I attended (first qualified when 16 in Aikido, but was coaching from 15 with Judo). I have always been supportive of the younger students when they want to take lead on an activity or to take ownership.

    But I do have to agree that these situations have been within a set context to let that student grow as a coach, as an instructor and as mentors for others.

    This has been done by the introduction of a very simple thing. Accountability.

    Within a school there is very limited accountability that we can put onto a student that has entered the edublogosphere other than by peer acceptance.

    The whole situation with academic labels is there to put some structure onto this acceptance. Someone who is a qualified teacher knows there stuff about teaching. The quality of this varies, especially when you take into account the extension into the web 2.0 world. At this point we also have to rate ‘teachers’ by peer acceptance. This is done quite a bit already within the online education community. There are those we will listen to and those we will not, but there is still the fact that in the back of our minds we know that what they do and what they say is held accountable due to their day job.

    I cannot do this at the moment with a student. I can understand a student needing an assigned adult to put some level of context in place for them and this might be a better thing.

    I have nothing against Arthus or Doug, but I thin both of you need to take a step back and work out why both of your arguements fail and come to some constructive conclusions about why the role of students need to show accountability and how can accredited educationalists can help develop roles for students … not for some desire to be seen to be ‘with it’, but to help put some structure or ‘context’ to the situation that exists and is likely to disappear soon.

    • I agree completely about accountability – but I’m sure the irony of your anonymously posting as ‘grumbledook’ isn’t lost on yourself or everyone else! ;-)

      • It was my first post via Disqus and whilst I had actually put my real name in, I created my account using my usual online descriptor. The anonymity was not intentional … still, I am easily trackable on a variety of sites and make no real effort to anonymise myself … but I suppose we have to consider that most people now know me as GrumbleDook … and when I do post under my real name I often get a confused ‘who are you?’

        • I always thought Tony Sheppard was the nom de plume and you were really called Grumbledook :( a bubble has been burst, Tony!

  35. It was my first post via Disqus and whilst I had actually put my real name in, I created my account using my usual online descriptor. The anonymity was not intentional … still, I am easily trackable on a variety of sites and make no real effort to anonymise myself … but I suppose we have to consider that most people now know me as GrumbleDook … and when I do post under my real name I often get a confused 'who are you?'

  36. 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.

  37. That's your response for everything, isn't it–that someone else doesn't understand.

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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!

  41. As was mentioned above, I have spoken at conferences as well as been on many a podcast or live video. Regardless of what you may feel about me, you can't say I'm some digital mirage.

  42. For everything? I don't think so. The fact that she doesn't get the analogy means that she doesn't understand the context…

  43. Oh, right. So why the assumed name?

  44. Learn to check your facts. You (and anyone) is always free to give me a call: http://myfla.ws/about/. Or maybe you should talk to one of the many people who attended EduCon 2.0 and my session/presentation.You can also check out my Flickr photos (some of which include my family, I'm sure): http://flickr.com/photos/arthuserea/

  45. 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.

  46. 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'.

  47. 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. 🙂

  48. 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. 🙂

  49. apologies there Doug!

  50. "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.

  51. Look further back, when I actually had the time to take photos. If my only crime is not being a good photographer, than I am far from alone.

  52. 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

  53. Honestly? As a junior coach when I was 16 I was heavily involved in the changes within the various sports and martial arts clubs I attended (first qualified when 16 in Aikido, but was coaching from 15 with Judo). I have always been supportive of the younger students when they want to take lead on an activity or to take ownership.But I do have to agree that these situations have been within a set context to let that student grow as a coach, as an instructor and as mentors for others. This has been done by the introduction of a very simple thing. Accountability.Within a school there is very limited accountability that we can put onto a student that has entered the edublogosphere other than by peer acceptance. The whole situation with academic labels is there to put some structure onto this acceptance. Someone who is a qualified teacher knows there stuff about teaching. The quality of this varies, especially when you take into account the extension into the web 2.0 world. At this point we also have to rate 'teachers' by peer acceptance. This is done quite a bit already within the online education community. There are those we will listen to and those we will not, but there is still the fact that in the back of our minds we know that what they do and what they say is held accountable due to their day job.I cannot do this at the moment with a student. I can understand a student needing an assigned adult to put some level of context in place for them and this might be a better thing.I have nothing against Arthus or Doug, but I thin both of you need to take a step back and work out why both of your arguements fail and come to some constructive conclusions about why the role of students need to show accountability and how can accredited educationalists can help develop roles for students … not for some desire to be seen to be 'with it', but to help put some structure or 'context' to the situation that exists and is likely to disappear soon.

  54. I agree completely about accountability – but I'm sure the irony of your anonymously posting as 'grumbledook' isn't lost on yourself or everyone else! 😉

  55. 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.

  56. 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.

  57. Well if you were my 15 year-old son you wouldn't be making videoresponses to strange 27 year-old British guys, that's for sure. Thefact that you use an assumed name, then, isn't consistent with yourother actions online. We need accountability and transparency in theedublogosphere, which you're not providing by using an assumed name.

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

  59. I'm not saying they're telling you what to write. I'm just saying thatpeople who want to appear that they're progressive align themselveswith others who think that you and other 'Student 2.0' folks arerepresentatives of others your age. That's all.

  60. Life is a great teacher and I’m constantly learning. Despite a number of core ideas on education remaining stable, it has been refined (and continues to be refined) in the years that I have been a teacher. The ability to reflect, in the form that allows you to stand apart from the process and outline how it got to be that way and locate points of transformation is a benefit that comes through time and training. I’m not being ‘ageist’. Karl Marx/Immanuel Kant/Georg Hegel were all brilliant thinkers and their work developed over time. Were they any less brilliant when they were younger? I doubt it. However, their training led them to become more systematic and make more connections in their work as time developed. The story helps me explain why I see limitations in the work of younger online voices. Their training is incomplete. I am humble enough to recognise that so is mine. However, I am a little farther along the path and I have passed certain tests (degrees, teaching qualifications, life, enter what you think appropriate) that allow me to adopt a certain verified position. I see it as my job to help guide them, to try and avoid the mistakes I, and others, have made. Sure, they have novel and exciting ways to travel along the path, and some of these qualities I try to adopt in my own continued development but this does not necessarily reduce my training to nothing. If I see them as equals in this sense, then I have regressed to the point that I have forgotten the basic ideas of my training. I am no longer reflective but reactive. After reading some of the comments on the blogs of the younger voices, I cannot help the feeling that many of the commentators are not as reflective as they appear to be. And to me, that seems to be a very worrying issue indeed.

  61. I have to agree with what you’ve said Doug.

    I feel there’s a valuable place for students to contribute and to inform our teaching. I often pick up on bits of technology from the students that I can then use in my teaching. I spotted somebody in a computer room the other day using Wordle ( http://wordle.net/ ) and the potential for using that in the classroom is huge. I wouldn’t hand over the teaching of the lesson, including the planning and delivery to the same Y9 student. I thought aged 15 that I was equal with the teachers, and now I have the life experience I wasn’t then, and I’m not yet. As an NQT come September there’s a still long way for me to go.

    I also agree about the transparacy aspect, I’ve finally got my blog moved onto my danwoodhouse.co.uk and I need to sort out my disqus account now. If we’re going to be sharing our opinions across the internet we need to be open and honest about who we are, it increases the credibility of what we’re saying. It also prevents trolls hiding behind a ‘fake’ persona.

    I have no problems with students commenting on my ideas and my teaching (either online or offline), but I won’t ever place the same value as I do on comments who come from fellow professionals.

    • I don’t think many people have actually said that Arthus’ opinion is as professionally valuable as that of an experienced teacher, I think people are just a bit baffled by the amount of airtime it’s receiving, and that some of the comments back to him seem a bit childish. Yes, he’s not a teacher and hasn’t spent the time reflecting on his own practice, studying educational theory in discussion with other professionals, etc.

      I’m not saying that Arthus’ proposed teacher blog is as valid as one of a real teacher. How can it be, it’s made up? What I’m saying is that he is 15 years old and we are at least in our 20s (I’m an NQT, but the same age as you Doug), let’s leave it and move on. If a student comments as a student and it is useful, accept it. If a student tries to comment on an area where they don’t have the experience, ignore it.

      Certainly the point I was trying to make is that we are fuelling his fire. If Arthus got up in the middle of a lesson and started to do your job, you wouldn’t spend the next week trying to argue with him until he conceded defeat and backed down. You’d just move rooms and get on with it. To say you think his opinion cannot be as valid as a teacher’s, he has managed to keep this edublogging conversation going a long time, not just here I might add.

      He doesn’t NEED to start this new blog and I don’t think it’s a good idea (his blog as a student is far more useful as it is an actual, real life perspective). However, there’s nothing we can do to stop him so let’s not let it hassle us too much.

    • Exactly. When I was 15 I knew that I was as ‘intelligent’ as those 10
      or 20 years my senior. I thought that they’d just learned more of the
      thesaurus than me. What I didn’t realise was that the discussion,
      although I could understand the words and sentences, was going on at a
      higher level than I could comprehend. It’s that difference, that
      context, that I’m talking about. :-)

      • Give me a single instance where something is on a “higher level than I can comprehend.”

        If you want to say I don’t have the experience to truly appreciate certain things, that is perfectly valid. But if you are going to insult my intelligent (which comprehension invariably is tied to, not experience), then cite an example.

        • Things can be understood on many levels, Arthus. For example, when I said in a previous comment that ‘you can’t respond by video’, obviously I didn’t mean you were *physically* unable to. I meant that you were unable to whilst remaining consistent with the idea that you remain anonymous online.

          Comprehension has very little to do with intelligence, actually. For
          example, if I set a comprehension activity in class, most pupils will able to complete it (read text, answer questions). If I get them to do something that involves a bit more thinking, then I see far different results.

          • Wait, so now *thinking* doesn’t have to do with intelligence? Give me a break.

          • No, that’s not what I said. Let me explain in bite-size chunks:

            Comprehension = low-level skill
            Thinking = higher level skill

            Thinking therefore involves engaging one’s intelligence, whereas comprehension does so to a much lesser degree (more to do with literacy).

            That clear things up? :-)

  62. I have to agree with what you've said Doug.I feel there's a valuable place for students to contribute and to inform our teaching. I often pick up on bits of technology from the students that I can then use in my teaching. I spotted somebody in a computer room the other day using Wordle ( http://wordle.net/ ) and the potential for using that in the classroom is huge. I wouldn't hand over the teaching of the lesson, including the planning and delivery to the same Y9 student. I thought aged 15 that I was equal with the teachers, and now I have the life experience I wasn't then, and I'm not yet. As an NQT come September there's a still long way for me to go.I also agree about the transparacy aspect, I've finally got my blog moved onto my danwoodhouse.co.uk and I need to sort out my disqus account now. If we're going to be sharing our opinions across the internet we need to be open and honest about who we are, it increases the credibility of what we're saying. It also prevents trolls hiding behind a 'fake' persona. I have no problems with students commenting on my ideas and my teaching (either online or offline), but I won't ever place the same value as I do on comments who come from fellow professionals.

  63. Life is a great teacher and I’m constantly learning. Despite a number of core ideas on education remaining stable, it has been refined (and continues to be refined) in the years that I have been a teacher. The ability to reflect, in the form that allows you to stand apart from the process and outline how it got to be that way and locate points of transformation is a benefit that comes through time and training. I’m not being ‘ageist’. Karl Marx/Immanuel Kant/Georg Hegel were all brilliant thinkers and their work developed over time. Were they any less brilliant when they were younger? I doubt it. However, their training led them to become more systematic and make more connections in their work as time developed. The story helps me explain why I see limitations in the work of younger online voices. Their training is incomplete. I am humble enough to recognise that so is mine. However, I am a little farther along the path and I have passed certain tests (degrees, teaching qualifications, life, enter what you think appropriate) that allow me to adopt a certain verified position. I see it as my job to help guide them, to try and avoid the mistakes I, and others, have made. Sure, they have novel and exciting ways to travel along the path, and some of these qualities I try to adopt in my own continued development but this does not necessarily reduce my training to nothing. If I see them as equals in this sense, then I have regressed to the point that I have forgotten the basic ideas of my training. I am no longer reflective but reactive. After reading some of the comments on the blogs of the younger voices, I cannot help the feeling that many of the commentators are not as reflective as they appear to be. And to me, that seems to be a very worrying issue indeed.

  64. I’m late to the party, Doug, but I wanted to go on record as saying that the only thing I agree with you about in this entire thread is this line: “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.”

    Each of your three points in the post above are just plain wrong. Perhaps you and i are too young (at 27 and 30) to be voicing our opinions in public. (Oh, wait – nope. At what age does that become an okay thing to do?) Child protection issues? Nah – we both know those are mostly promoted by “sky is falling” types. And ships without rudders? Um. Plenty of grown ups fit that description.

  65. I'm late to the party, Doug, but I wanted to go on record as saying that the only thing I agree with you about in this entire thread is this line: "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."Each of your three points in the post above are just plain wrong. Perhaps you and i are too young (at 27 and 30) to be voicing our opinions in public. (Oh, wait – nope. At what age does that become an okay thing to do?) Child protection issues? Nah – we both know those are mostly promoted by "sky is falling" types. And ships without rudders? Um. Plenty of grown ups fit that description.

  66. Exactly. When I was 15 I knew that I was as 'intelligent' as those 10or 20 years my senior. I thought that they'd just learned more of thethesaurus than me. What I didn't realise was that the discussion,although I could understand the words and sentences, was going on at ahigher level than I could comprehend. It's that difference, thatcontext, that I'm talking about. :-)

  67. Well I'm glad you agree with me on *something*, Bud! You can't justsay that I'm 'plain wrong' – you need to argue a case, surely?

  68. I always thought Tony Sheppard was the nom de plume and you were really called Grumbledook 🙁 a bubble has been burst, Tony!

  69. I don't think many people have actually said that Arthus' opinion is as professionally valuable as that of an experienced teacher, I think people are just a bit baffled by the amount of airtime it's receiving, and that some of the comments back to him seem a bit childish. Yes, he's not a teacher and hasn't spent the time reflecting on his own practice, studying educational theory in discussion with other professionals, etc.I'm not saying that Arthus' proposed teacher blog is as valid as one of a real teacher. How can it be, it's made up? What I'm saying is that he is 15 years old and we are at least in our 20s (I'm an NQT, but the same age as you Doug), let's leave it and move on. If a student comments as a student and it is useful, accept it. If a student tries to comment on an area where they don't have the experience, ignore it.Certainly the point I was trying to make is that we are fuelling his fire. If Arthus got up in the middle of a lesson and started to do your job, you wouldn't spend the next week trying to argue with him until he conceded defeat and backed down. You'd just move rooms and get on with it. To say you think his opinion cannot be as valid as a teacher's, he has managed to keep this edublogging conversation going a long time, not just here I might add.He doesn't NEED to start this new blog and I don't think it's a good idea (his blog as a student is far more useful as it is an actual, real life perspective). However, there's nothing we can do to stop him so let's not let it hassle us too much.

  70. Wait, so now *thinking* doesn't have to do with intelligence? Give me a break.

  71. Well, if Bud was late, I’m certainly far later, but after reading the discussion and the post that started it all, I think it’s worth the time to give a somewhat lengthy response.

    [Paragraphs numbered for ease in responding]

    Doug,
    [1] To start at the beginning of your comment (sans introduction), you say that 14-15 year-olds don’t “have a full part to play in the edublogosphere.” Your next few points outline some reasons for that, but it’s not clear where you’d draw the line. Perhaps you’d say a newly-certified teacher would be sufficient? But they have no experience, right? I’m just saying that I don’t know that it’s a clear division.

    [2] And as to the “full part to play,” I’m not sure what part you think students should be playing. Can they comment on their classes? Thousands do each day on various websites, though often not in a very well-considered manner. Should they be disallowed from commenting clearly? I’m pretty sure you’d agree they shouldn’t. The same thing goes for pretty much anything else: Make suggestions? Complain? Respond to teachers? I’m not sure it makes sense to exclude someone from those activities for the reasons you enumerate, if any.

    [3] Your first reason for saying students have a full part to play in the blogosphere is that they haven’t had much life experience. While that might be true to some extent, discounting someone’s opinion simply because they haven’t seen as many things as you seems foolish. To say that “teenagers […] only see one side of the picture” is true, but it quickly sweeps by the fact that very few people, if any, see all sides of the picture. That is, Arthus’ comments are distinct from, say, yours, and that’s okay. He sees things differently than you, but taking the additional input from a student (even, as you point out, one that doesn’t necessarily speak for others) seems to me to be a benefit, not something that should be discarded because it’s not the same as that of everyone else.

    [4] Your second reason is the one I have the most trouble with, and it’s the one you seem to hold as an unquestionable value. You say that students can’t provide the “transparency” required in the edublogosphere. While Arthus certainly has shown a significant amount of transparency (except, as you point out, his official name), I understand your point that many students cannot or do not choose to do so. However, I would question the use of such a standard. Are you actually saying that if we can’t verify that a “real” person said something that it’s not of any value? That if we don’t know what they look like, where they live, and where they went to school, their comments mean less (or nothing)? I would certainly hope that you would have different methods of discriminating value in comments. I’d like to expand on this topic, and perhaps will separately, but that seems like enough commentary in this comment.

    [5] Your third point, that students tend to change directions frequently, appears to be true. I’m not going to pick at that part of the issue, other than to ask if that’s necessarily a bad thing: take their comments while they apply, ignore them when they don’t, and stop paying attention if it doesn’t seem worth it. I’m not entirely sure why you think the best way to learn to “imitate” “more mature people” is offline (they need online skills as well, yes?), but that’s a completely different topic.

    [6] I understand you acknowledge that students in the edublogosphere can have a purpose for informing, though hopefully that “informing” can at least lead to a conversation. I’m not saying that students should be treated exactly the same as adults in such conversations, far from it: they have a different set of experiences, they see things differently, and they are in a vastly different position than the teachers with whom they are discussing.

    [7] I do agree with the idea that some of Arthus’ followers latch on to his comments as representative of more than they are. Call it the “Cult of Arthus” or whatever you’d like, I think that he and you both agree that some people ascribe different meanings to what he is saying than were necessarily intended. Also, he claims to not be being manipulated by others, and I tend to believe that. I’m guessing, Doug, that you would agree that his comments are his own, no matter how others represent them as worth more (or less), and thereby twist what might be his original intent.

    [8] (Note that this comment is not intended to be an attack on Doug (nor on Arthus), but rather some comments and questions on Doug’s original post. I agree with some of his points, and have trouble with others. Nothing here is intended to be inflammatory.)

    • [1] I seem to be misunderstood by those who think that I want some type of formal demarcation. Not at all: I just want to raise questions about the role of teenagers in the edublogosphere. It’s not up to me who you subscribe to or who you follow, but to me at least, all voices are not equal – for the reasons I’ve already outlined.

      [2] I’m not trying to ‘exclude’ people – I’ve no problem with students making their voices heard it’s just what we *do* with those comments that matter. As I said above, I see their role as being similar to the role a student council has in a school.

      [3] Indeed, but I think you’d agree that the more education you have, the more you tend to see and begin to understand the views of others. For example, I was almost a completely different person before and after my degree in Philosophy…

      [4] No, I’m not saying that comments *mean* nothing if not attributed to someone who’s accountable and transparent. But it’s important to understand context if I’m trying either replicate or understand something that’s going on. Anything taking in isolation or out of context tends not to be applicable or useful in another situation.

      [5] You’re probably right that I need to expand on my ‘offline’ comments, but it seems that online you can hide behind things and pretend to be anything you want. In a community of professionals, that’s not something I would want. The Internet is a very two-dimensional place and we need to be raising and encouraging rounded, 3D people!

      [6] Oh yes, I’m all for a conversation, but not for those that involve some teenagers claiming to have some amazing skills and telling others not to ‘teach’ them stuff. That, to me, doesn’t seem like reflective learning – which, after all, is what most of us are here for.

      [7] I absolutely believe that Arthus’ comments are his own. But, as you say, that doesn’t mean they can’t be twisted and used by others in ways that he didn’t intend. I’ve learned from experience that people try to use you for their own ends…

      [8] That’s what it’s all about – raising questions and issues that make people stop, think and reflect. I’m certainly not comparing myself to Socrates, but he was known as the ‘gadfly’, irritating people by asking questions and forcing them to reflect on why and how they do things. :-)

      • Doug, I’m not sure I agree with you on point three. I know some people with a good few letters after their name who really struggle to see the views of others. Interpersonal skills aren’t something I’d say go hand in hand with formal education. ‘Education’ isn’t just about what goes on in universities, schools, etc. The main reason I’m not going to do a masters is that I’m dyslexic and the amount of writing is a hideous prospect for me. That doesn’t mean I’m not intellectually capable, it means I need to learn in a different way.

        I think a student’s role in the edublogosphere is different to that of a teacher, headteacher, etc. Pretending to be a teacher is really unhelpful as we’re trying to reflect on actual practice to improve educational provision. Hearing the views of students is very useful in informing our practice.

        Teaching a class of 30-40 students, all unique with differing abilities and needs, is hard to understand unless you’ve done it. If you’re a student, commenting as a student is the most useful way to improve education.

        • Interpersonal (social) skills are different from those of empathy and (academically) understanding the views of others though, surely?

          • Yeah, you’re right. I still don’t think empathy necessarily goes hand in hand with academic achievement, but I think you’re right about academically understanding the view of others.

  72. Well, if Bud was late, I'm certainly far later, but after reading the discussion and the post that started it all, I think it's worth the time to give a somewhat lengthy response.[Paragraphs numbered for ease in responding]Doug,[1] To start at the beginning of your comment (sans introduction), you say that 14-15 year-olds don't "have a full part to play in the edublogosphere." Your next few points outline some reasons for that, but it's not clear where you'd draw the line. Perhaps you'd say a newly-certified teacher would be sufficient? But they have no experience, right? I'm just saying that I don't know that it's a clear division.[2] And as to the "full part to play," I'm not sure what part you think students should be playing. Can they comment on their classes? Thousands do each day on various websites, though often not in a very well-considered manner. Should they be disallowed from commenting clearly? I'm pretty sure you'd agree they shouldn't. The same thing goes for pretty much anything else: Make suggestions? Complain? Respond to teachers? I'm not sure it makes sense to exclude someone from those activities for the reasons you enumerate, if any.[3] Your first reason for saying students have a full part to play in the blogosphere is that they haven't had much life experience. While that might be true to some extent, discounting someone's opinion simply because they haven't seen as many things as you seems foolish. To say that "teenagers […] only see one side of the picture" is true, but it quickly sweeps by the fact that very few people, if any, see all sides of the picture. That is, Arthus' comments are distinct from, say, yours, and that's okay. He sees things differently than you, but taking the additional input from a student (even, as you point out, one that doesn't necessarily speak for others) seems to me to be a benefit, not something that should be discarded because it's not the same as that of everyone else.[4] Your second reason is the one I have the most trouble with, and it's the one you seem to hold as an unquestionable value. You say that students can't provide the "transparency" required in the edublogosphere. While Arthus certainly has shown a significant amount of transparency (except, as you point out, his official name), I understand your point that many students cannot or do not choose to do so. However, I would question the use of such a standard. Are you actually saying that if we can't verify that a "real" person said something that it's not of any value? That if we don't know what they look like, where they live, and where they went to school, their comments mean less (or nothing)? I would certainly hope that you would have different methods of discriminating value in comments. I'd like to expand on this topic, and perhaps will separately, but that seems like enough commentary in this comment.[5] Your third point, that students tend to change directions frequently, appears to be true. I'm not going to pick at that part of the issue, other than to ask if that's necessarily a bad thing: take their comments while they apply, ignore them when they don't, and stop paying attention if it doesn't seem worth it. I'm not entirely sure why you think the best way to learn to "imitate" "more mature people" is offline (they need online skills as well, yes?), but that's a completely different topic.[6] I understand you acknowledge that students in the edublogosphere can have a purpose for informing, though hopefully that "informing" can at least lead to a conversation. I'm not saying that students should be treated exactly the same as adults in such conversations, far from it: they have a different set of experiences, they see things differently, and they are in a vastly different position than the teachers with whom they are discussing.[7] I do agree with the idea that some of Arthus' followers latch on to his comments as representative of more than they are. Call it the "Cult of Arthus" or whatever you'd like, I think that he and you both agree that some people ascribe different meanings to what he is saying than were necessarily intended. Also, he claims to not be being manipulated by others, and I tend to believe that. I'm guessing, Doug, that you would agree that his comments are his own, no matter how others represent them as worth more (or less), and thereby twist what might be his original intent.[8] (Note that this comment is not intended to be an attack on Doug (nor on Arthus), but rather some comments and questions on Doug's original post. I agree with some of his points, and have trouble with others. Nothing here is intended to be inflammatory.)

  73. [1] I seem to be misunderstood by those who think that I want some type of formal demarcation. Not at all: I just want to raise questions about the role of teenagers in the edublogosphere. It's not up to me who you subscribe to or who you follow, but to me at least, all voices are not equal – for the reasons I've already outlined.[2] I'm not trying to 'exclude' people – I've no problem with students making their voices heard it's just what we *do* with those comments that matter. As I said above, I see their role as being similar to the role a student council has in a school.[3] Indeed, but I think you'd agree that the more education you have, the more you tend to see and begin to understand the views of others. For example, I was almost a completely different person before and after my degree in Philosophy…[4] No, I'm not saying that comments *mean* nothing if not attributed to someone who's accountable and transparent. But it's important to understand context if I'm trying either replicate or understand something that's going on. Anything taking in isolation or out of context tends not to be applicable or useful in another situation.[5] You're probably right that I need to expand on my 'offline' comments, but it seems that online you can hide behind things and pretend to be anything you want. In a community of professionals, that's not something I would want. The Internet is a very two-dimensional place and we need to be raising and encouraging rounded, 3D people![6] Oh yes, I'm all for a conversation, but not for those that involve some teenagers claiming to have some amazing skills and telling others not to 'teach' them stuff. That, to me, doesn't seem like reflective learning – which, after all, is what most of us are here for.[7] I absolutely believe that Arthus' comments are his own. But, as you say, that doesn't mean they can't be twisted and used by others in ways that he didn't intend. I've learned from experience that people try to use you for their own ends…[8] That's what it's all about – raising questions and issues that make people stop, think and reflect. I'm certainly not comparing myself to Socrates, but he was known as the 'gadfly', irritating people by asking questions and forcing them to reflect on why and how they do things. :-)

  74. Doug, I'm not sure I agree with you on point three. I know some people with a good few letters after their name who really struggle to see the views of others. Interpersonal skills aren't something I'd say go hand in hand with formal education. 'Education' isn't just about what goes on in universities, schools, etc. The main reason I'm not going to do a masters is that I'm dyslexic and the amount of writing is a hideous prospect for me. That doesn't mean I'm not intellectually capable, it means I need to learn in a different way. I think a student's role in the edublogosphere is different to that of a teacher, headteacher, etc. Pretending to be a teacher is really unhelpful as we're trying to reflect on actual practice to improve educational provision. Hearing the views of students is very useful in informing our practice.Teaching a class of 30-40 students, all unique with differing abilities and needs, is hard to understand unless you've done it. If you're a student, commenting as a student is the most useful way to improve education.

  75. Give me a single instance where something is on a “higher level than I can comprehend.”If you want to say I don't have the experience to truly appreciate certain things, that is perfectly valid. But if you are going to insult my intelligent (which comprehension invariably is tied to, not experience), then cite an example.

  76. Interpersonal (social) skills are different from those of empathy and (academically) understanding the views of others though, surely?

  77. Things can be understood on many levels, Arthus. For example, when I said in a previous comment that 'you can't respond by video', obviously I didn't mean you were *physically* unable to. I meant that you were unable to whilst remaining consistent with the idea that you remain anonymous online.Comprehension has very little to do with intelligence, actually. Forexample, if I set a comprehension activity in class, most pupils will able to complete it (read text, answer questions). If I get them to do something that involves a bit more thinking, then I see far different results.

  78. No, that's not what I said. Let me explain in bite-size chunks:Comprehension = low-level skillThinking = higher level skillThinking therefore involves engaging one's intelligence, whereas comprehension does so to a much lesser degree (more to do with literacy).That clear things up? :-)

  79. Yeah, you're right. I still don't think empathy necessarily goes hand in hand with academic achievement, but I think you're right about academically understanding the view of others.

  80. AnonNymous AvecPlaisir

    July 15, 2008 — 5:31 pm

    At 65 comments after… not that many days, I am sure one more will not make a difference. However, this post has been on my mind for a few days now, and I can’t not comment. I profoundly disagree with the post, I find it arrogant, baiting, and unjustified. It’s immature, inflammatory, and narrow-minded. I personally would not engage in this level of personal attack with someone who is NOT on the same level with me, in such a public forum. In this case, though, I feel that, based on your continued defence of your initial post, you don’t see how inappropriate it is. It’s pathetic. It’s uncalled for. It’s childish. I have read through most of the comments, and I am AMAZED at how careful and measured peoples words are. I am incredulous at the fact that people are not more critical of the fact that you are, essentially, baiting and bashing a student who is likely half your age (I think I read that you are 30, ish, or thereabouts. Not that it really matters – this kind of pettiness is uncool at ANY age).

    Regardless of the precipating comments or events, calling out someone personally is pretty harsh, calling out a youth/ child/ student /anyone who has significantly less power than you do is … pathetic. I am probably harsher than most of your commenters, but, seriously people, Arthus is a kid (sorry Arthus, but, you are). Even if it turns out he is a *fake* kid, it doesn’t matter. Even if he is personally attacking you, to a point, there are ways to deal with this without directly naming or involving the person (see Clay Burrell’s respectful comments about a post that didn’t sit well with him – perhaps he’s referencing posts like this one!). If the person who is attacking you is wrong, and totally out to lunch, people will probably realise this and their popularity will decrease. Eventually.

    The sad thing is, you have some interesting comments to make with this post. While I disagree with much of what you are saying, it is a thought provoking post. A real discussion starter. However, this post could have been just as effective without the below-the-belt tactics. Instead of a thoughtful examination of a particular issue, it comes across as a personal attack, getting it out there that you have an axe to grind. However, you are old enough to know better. You have enough of a web presence that you *should* know better. I find the arrogance of some edubloggers incredibly unhealthy, and quite a bit of it is herd-following and posturing. It’s like academia, but without the requisite qualifications. Why is the edublogosphere so sacrosanct that people need to live up to a standard of ultimate honesty and transparency? It’s. The. Internet. I don’t *need* to be anything. I am not necessarily in this for ego, nor am I necessarily in it to become the ‘voice’ of Web ?.0. I can create an identity, and be authentic to that identity, and have it represent a certain aspect of my life. I do not need to live out my life online, and do not necessarily want to. (btw, calling out Arthus on his *real* identity, pushing him to reveal more personal details about himself…. seriously? Do you deal with students? Do you discuss internet safety? Do you not have any concern for your own personal (identity) safety? Who does that?! That’s manic! Ridiculous! Over the top! Irresponsible!).

    I can’t be rational in response to your post, and the comments, and your responses to the comments, because they are not rational. Talking about how your (future?) children won’t be acting like Arthus online… (insert Scooby Doo confused noise here) Really? So now you are predicting the future? Becoming the overseer of your future 15 year olds? Good luck with that. Really. Were you not 15 once?

    The post itself was not in the best taste… I feel it was a bad judgement call, but, that is my personal opinion. There is a larger, underlying issue that this post, and the ensuing comments skirt, and that is the issue of educating people about engaging with online sources. The point is, that students are online. Adults are online. Lots of people online have opinions. Departments, institutions, individuals, students all need to be taught how to evaluate resources. What should they be looking for? How can they discern between good information and bad information? How do they know when a source can be useful, but might not have enough authority to be credible on its own — for example, a student blog from an erudite writer, or the blog of a doctoral candidate and practioner? Neither of these are necessary authoratative sources, however, if one is able to triangulate their data and find other sources (ie. numerous first-person accounts, research, peer-reviewed publications that are industry-standard), than, these voices can be supported, and may turn out to provide reliable insights. Or not. People need to be continuously informed that a blog does not an expert make. An innovator is not necessarily a leader. A bright light does not necessarily have all the answers. We are all learning, and, with the rate of change, we need to constantly redefine how we use and interpret information, as well as the sources of that information. The internet can allow us to be lazy, if we let it. I think you were alluding to this when you mentioned techers trotting out Arthus as a way of looking like they are ‘in the know’. Would it be better if they referenced Stephen Downes? No. Both are symptomatic of our propensity to latch on to what is latest and greatest, obvious, or top of the google search pile.

    I am probably not a ‘fully paid-up member’ of whatever adult discussion circles you are hanging out in, and that’s okay with me. I have been integrating tech tools since I was Arthus’s age, training my teachers and others, going through a special program in my undergrad and did my grad studies in Ed Tech, but that doens’t necessarily mean I am professional or I have a relevant point of view. I am sure glad that I never encountered this kind of arrogance and dismissiveness when I was his age.

    Respectfully,
    Anonyme

    • I find your comment a bit random and meandering, but I’ll try to respond and reply to some of the points I *think* you’re making:

      1. The very point that you don’t give your name and post anonymously means I can’t put what you say in context. Are you a teacher? student? nothing to do with education?

      2. You’ve called me ‘pathetic’, ‘childish’ and ‘inflammatory’. Fine, but so long as you know you’re engaging in exactly the same kind of attack of which you’re accusing me…

      3. You say that I “have enough of a web presence that [I] *should* know better.” Do you mean by that statement that I should agree with the majority view? Or that there should be certain standards. If it’s the former, then I disagree profoundly; if the latter then you’re agreeing with me up to a point about appropriateness, etc.

      4. You mention I must be ’30-something’ and that you’re not too sure whether I have children or not. How about trying my ‘About’ page? That shows I’m 27, studying towards an Ed.D., am married and have a 17-month old son. I was commenting about what I would and would not let *him* do if he were that age.

      And yes, for the record, I *do* remember being 15. I remember registering with Compuserve with my Dad’s credit card, making sure Internet calls were less than 60 mins so they didn’t show up on the phone bill, and cancelling the Compuserve account after less than 30 days so it didn’t show up on his credit card bill. But if he’d found out I’d fully have expected him to go ballistic. That’s the difference.

      Saying (and therefore stereoyping) teenagers as ‘being a certain way’ does them a disservice. That’s what people are trying to do with Arthus, after all!

      5. I wasn’t actually *pushing* Arthus to reveal his ‘real identity’ – just pointing out the incongruity of revealing pretty much everything else and thinking that by hiding his name that somehow makes for good practice. I was shocked when he responded by video – I felt he’d completely missed the point. :-(

      6. I’m not entirely sure what point you’re trying to make with your ‘reference to sources’ paragraph. However, as E-Learning Staff Tutor next year I’ll certainly be trying to instill good practices in both staff and students. That, to me, is part of ‘digital literacy’ and something I’ll be discussing in my Ed.D. thesis. :-)

      • You mention I must be ’30-something’ and that you’re not too sure whether I have children or not. How about trying my ‘About’ page? That shows I’m 27, studying towards an Ed.D., am married and have a 17-month old son. I was commenting about what I would and would not let *him* do if he were that age.

        interesting to note this is the exact same kind of laziness you engaged in by not reading *my* about page.

        And yes, for the record, I *do* remember being 15. I remember registering with Compuserve with my Dad’s credit card, making sure Internet calls were less than 60 mins so they didn’t show up on the phone bill, and cancelling the Compuserve account after less than 30 days so it didn’t show up on his credit card bill. But if he’d found out I’d fully have expected him to go ballistic. That’s the difference.

        Saying (and therefore stereoyping) teenagers as ‘being a certain way’ does them a disservice. That’s what people are trying to do with Arthus, after all!

        You are the one stereotyping teenagers as somehow being too immature and useless to engage in an adult conversation. We don’t all steal credit cards you know…

        Unfortunately, society encourages this kind of stereoptyping and assumptions. I can’t count how many times I have had a store owner follow me around just to make sure I didn’t shoplift anything or cause destruction, just because I am a teenager. (Funnily enough, I bet I make more per hour than him, thus being much less likely to steal.)

        I wasn’t actually *pushing* Arthus to reveal his ‘real identity’ – just pointing out the incongruity of revealing pretty much everything else and thinking that by hiding his name that somehow makes for good practice. I was shocked when he responded by video – I felt he’d completely missed the point. :-(

        Once again, you miss the point of why I keep my real name secret. I would be absolutely fine with everyone in the edublogosphere knowing who I really was. That’s why I am perfectly willing to share my photo or video. In fact, I’m willing to tell people my name in a non-public forum if they want it. The *only* reason I don’t share my real name publicly is because I don’t want the reverse: people from real life being able to Google my name and find all of this stuff. Why? Let’s just say teachers can get rather tough with the grading pen when you are pointing out problems of theirs.

        I’m not entirely sure what point you’re trying to make with your ‘reference to sources’ paragraph. However, as E-Learning Staff Tutor next year I’ll certainly be trying to instill good practices in both staff and students. That, to me, is part of ‘digital literacy’ and something I’ll be discussing in my Ed.D. thesis. :-)

        Knowing to cite sources doesn’t require advanced academic degrees, which I think we agree on. I can do it just as well as you (and do, when appropriate and needed).

        • interesting to note this is the exact same kind of laziness you engaged in by not reading *my* about page.

          Touché! Perhaps it’s because I call my about page ‘About’ whereas you call it ‘Colophoning’… ;-)

          The *only* reason I don’t share my real name publicly is because I don’t want the reverse: people from real life being able to Google my name and find all of this stuff.

          The fact that you want to separate your offline and online worlds lends support to my argument that you – and anyone else who remains anonymous in the edublogosphere – lacks accountability and transparency. I, for one, don’t want to discuss the future of education with such people.

  81. AnonNymous AvecPlaisir

    July 15, 2008 — 5:31 pm

    At 65 comments after… not that many days, I am sure one more will not make a difference. However, this post has been on my mind for a few days now, and I can't not comment. I profoundly disagree with the post, I find it arrogant, baiting, and unjustified. It's immature, inflammatory, and narrow-minded. I personally would not engage in this level of personal attack with someone who is NOT on the same level with me, in such a public forum. In this case, though, I feel that, based on your continued defence of your initial post, you don't see how inappropriate it is. It's pathetic. It's uncalled for. It's childish. I have read through most of the comments, and I am AMAZED at how careful and measured peoples words are. I am incredulous at the fact that people are not more critical of the fact that you are, essentially, baiting and bashing a student who is likely half your age (I think I read that you are 30, ish, or thereabouts. Not that it really matters – this kind of pettiness is uncool at ANY age). Regardless of the precipating comments or events, calling out someone personally is pretty harsh, calling out a youth/ child/ student /anyone who has significantly less power than you do is … pathetic. I am probably harsher than most of your commenters, but, seriously people, Arthus is a kid (sorry Arthus, but, you are). Even if it turns out he is a *fake* kid, it doesn't matter. Even if he is personally attacking you, to a point, there are ways to deal with this without directly naming or involving the person (see Clay Burrell's respectful comments about a post that didn't sit well with him – perhaps he's referencing posts like this one!). If the person who is attacking you is wrong, and totally out to lunch, people will probably realise this and their popularity will decrease. Eventually. The sad thing is, you have some interesting comments to make with this post. While I disagree with much of what you are saying, it is a thought provoking post. A real discussion starter. However, this post could have been just as effective without the below-the-belt tactics. Instead of a thoughtful examination of a particular issue, it comes across as a personal attack, getting it out there that you have an axe to grind. However, you are old enough to know better. You have enough of a web presence that you *should* know better. I find the arrogance of some edubloggers incredibly unhealthy, and quite a bit of it is herd-following and posturing. It's like academia, but without the requisite qualifications. Why is the edublogosphere so sacrosanct that people need to live up to a standard of ultimate honesty and transparency? It's. The. Internet. I don't *need* to be anything. I am not necessarily in this for ego, nor am I necessarily in it to become the 'voice' of Web ?.0. I can create an identity, and be authentic to that identity, and have it represent a certain aspect of my life. I do not need to live out my life online, and do not necessarily want to. (btw, calling out Arthus on his *real* identity, pushing him to reveal more personal details about himself…. seriously? Do you deal with students? Do you discuss internet safety? Do you not have any concern for your own personal (identity) safety? Who does that?! That's manic! Ridiculous! Over the top! Irresponsible!). I can't be rational in response to your post, and the comments, and your responses to the comments, because they are not rational. Talking about how your (future?) children won't be acting like Arthus online… (insert Scooby Doo confused noise here) Really? So now you are predicting the future? Becoming the overseer of your future 15 year olds? Good luck with that. Really. Were you not 15 once?The post itself was not in the best taste… I feel it was a bad judgement call, but, that is my personal opinion. There is a larger, underlying issue that this post, and the ensuing comments skirt, and that is the issue of educating people about engaging with online sources. The point is, that students are online. Adults are online. Lots of people online have opinions. Departments, institutions, individuals, students all need to be taught how to evaluate resources. What should they be looking for? How can they discern between good information and bad information? How do they know when a source can be useful, but might not have enough authority to be credible on its own — for example, a student blog from an erudite writer, or the blog of a doctoral candidate and practioner? Neither of these are necessary authoratative sources, however, if one is able to triangulate their data and find other sources (ie. numerous first-person accounts, research, peer-reviewed publications that are industry-standard), than, these voices can be supported, and may turn out to provide reliable insights. Or not. People need to be continuously informed that a blog does not an expert make. An innovator is not necessarily a leader. A bright light does not necessarily have all the answers. We are all learning, and, with the rate of change, we need to constantly redefine how we use and interpret information, as well as the sources of that information. The internet can allow us to be lazy, if we let it. I think you were alluding to this when you mentioned techers trotting out Arthus as a way of looking like they are 'in the know'. Would it be better if they referenced Stephen Downes? No. Both are symptomatic of our propensity to latch on to what is latest and greatest, obvious, or top of the google search pile. I am probably not a 'fully paid-up member' of whatever adult discussion circles you are hanging out in, and that's okay with me. I have been integrating tech tools since I was Arthus's age, training my teachers and others, going through a special program in my undergrad and did my grad studies in Ed Tech, but that doens't necessarily mean I am professional or I have a relevant point of view. I am sure glad that I never encountered this kind of arrogance and dismissiveness when I was his age.Respectfully, Anonyme

  82. I find your comment a bit random and meandering, but I'll try to respond and reply to some of the points I *think* you're making:1. The very point that you don't give your name and post anonymously means I can't put what you say in context. Are you a teacher? student? nothing to do with education?2. You've called me 'pathetic', 'childish' and 'inflammatory'. Fine, but so long as you know you're engaging in exactly the same kind of attack of which you're accusing me…3. You say that I “have enough of a web presence that [I] *should* know better.” Do you mean by that statement that I should agree with the majority view? Or that there should be certain standards. If it's the former, then I disagree profoundly; if the latter then you're agreeing with me up to a point about appropriateness, etc.4. You mention I must be '30-something' and that you're not too sure whether I have children or not. How about trying my 'About' page? That shows I'm 27, studying towards an Ed.D., am married and have a 17-month old son. I was commenting about what I would and would not let *him* do if he were that age.And yes, for the record, I *do* remember being 15. I remember registering with Compuserve with my Dad's credit card, making sure Internet calls were less than 60 mins so they didn't show up on the phone bill, and cancelling the Compuserve account after less than 30 days so it didn't show up on his credit card bill. But if he'd found out I'd fully have expected him to go ballistic. That's the difference.Saying (and therefore stereoyping) teenagers as 'being a certain way' does them a disservice. That's what people are trying to do with Arthus, after all!5. I wasn't actually *pushing* Arthus to reveal his 'real identity' – just pointing out the incongruity of revealing pretty much everything else and thinking that by hiding his name that somehow makes for good practice. I was shocked when he responded by video – I felt he'd completely missed the point. :-(6. I'm not entirely sure what point you're trying to make with your 'reference to sources' paragraph. However, as E-Learning Staff Tutor next year I'll certainly be trying to instill good practices in both staff and students. That, to me, is part of 'digital literacy' and something I'll be discussing in my Ed.D. thesis. 🙂

  83. You mention I must be '30-something' and that you're not too sure whether I have children or not. How about trying my 'About' page? That shows I'm 27, studying towards an Ed.D., am married and have a 17-month old son. I was commenting about what I would and would not let *him* do if he were that age.

    interesting to note this is the exact same kind of laziness you engaged in by not reading *my* about page.

    And yes, for the record, I *do* remember being 15. I remember registering with Compuserve with my Dad's credit card, making sure Internet calls were less than 60 mins so they didn't show up on the phone bill, and cancelling the Compuserve account after less than 30 days so it didn't show up on his credit card bill. But if he'd found out I'd fully have expected him to go ballistic. That's the difference.Saying (and therefore stereoyping) teenagers as 'being a certain way' does them a disservice. That's what people are trying to do with Arthus, after all!

    You are the one stereotyping teenagers as somehow being too immature and useless to engage in an adult conversation. We don't all steal credit cards you know…Unfortunately, society encourages this kind of stereoptyping and assumptions. I can't count how many times I have had a store owner follow me around just to make sure I didn't shoplift anything or cause destruction, just because I am a teenager. (Funnily enough, I bet I make more per hour than him, thus being much less likely to steal.)

    I wasn't actually *pushing* Arthus to reveal his 'real identity' – just pointing out the incongruity of revealing pretty much everything else and thinking that by hiding his name that somehow makes for good practice. I was shocked when he responded by video – I felt he'd completely missed the point. :-(

    Once again, you miss the point of why I keep my real name secret. I would be absolutely fine with everyone in the edublogosphere knowing who I really was. That's why I am perfectly willing to share my photo or video. In fact, I'm willing to tell people my name in a non-public forum if they want it. The *only* reason I don't share my real name publicly is because I don't want the reverse: people from real life being able to Google my name and find all of this stuff. Why? Let's just say teachers can get rather tough with the grading pen when you are pointing out problems of theirs.

    I'm not entirely sure what point you're trying to make with your 'reference to sources' paragraph. However, as E-Learning Staff Tutor next year I'll certainly be trying to instill good practices in both staff and students. That, to me, is part of 'digital literacy' and something I'll be discussing in my Ed.D. thesis. :-)

    Knowing to cite sources doesn't require advanced academic degrees, which I think we agree on. I can do it just as well as you (and do, when appropriate and needed).

  84. interesting to note this is the exact same kind of laziness you engaged in by not reading *my* about page.

    Touché! Perhaps it's because I call my about page 'About' whereas you call it 'Colophoning'… 😉

    The *only* reason I don't share my real name publicly is because I don't want the reverse: people from real life being able to Google my name and find all of this stuff.

    The fact that you want to separate your offline and online worlds lends support to my argument that you – and anyone else who remains anonymous in the edublogosphere – lacks accountability and transparency. I, for one, don't want to discuss the future of education with such people.

  85. I work with a fellow (My Director of IT) who is an active member of the Web 2 world, but NEVER uses his real name anywhere. He simply chooses not to. That doesn't make his contributions worth any less. He simply chooses not to. I myself usually show in most places as "betchaboy", not because I'm afraid to use my own name, but because rather like to have a nickname.Your comments seem to be almost fanatically focusses on this obsession with him being called "Arthus"… who cares? Arthus has never been misleading about who and what he is, we have all known for a very long time that he is a student, he is 14 (or was when he "emerged&quot;) and he is from Vermont. What more do you need to know? He's not mislead you at any point. He's never pretended to be anything other than what he is. I can understand why he might want to try again and this time appear as an adult… to see if the intellectual quality of his thinking holds up when people see him as a peer and aren't compensating – positively or negatively – for his age.I think your arguments are coming across as unbalanced and unfair Doug. And as for saying this is not about Arthus… have you checked the title of this post? Or was that just an attempt at a clever pun? Either way, it pretty clearly is aimed at one particular student blogger… the one in the title and the only one you've mentioned by name. If it's just general student bloggers that have you so troubled, how about naming a few more so we can see who else you are troubled by? Or can't you think of too many others?Your diatribe has certainly lowered my opinion of your sense of justice.Chris Betcher

  86. And as for saying this is not about Arthus… have you checked the title of this post? Or was that just an attempt at a clever pun?

    Yep, I was using Arthus as an example of a token of a particular type. It's like in your classroom when you give your students a concrete example. Trouble is, everyone's focusing on the example rather than the point I'm making behind it about students (in general) in the edublogosphere…

    Your diatribe has certainly lowered my opinion of your sense of justice.

    Oh dear. Glass houses and stones spring to mind:http://betch.edublogs.org/2008/06/05/enough-exc…..

    Is it intelligence? Maybe some people are just too stupid to use a computer. Maybe some people really are incapable of learning this stuff? Aptitude has something to do with I'm sure, but that only explains why some people might pick technology skills up quicker than others? it doesn't explain why some don't seem to be able to pick it up at all. Especially when you see the basic, basic stuff that seems to confuse some people? I mean jeez, how hard is it to make a frickin' folder and save something in it? Trained monkeys could do that. If people are too stupid to learn basic, low level operational skills,then maybe they are too stupid to teach.

    I'll leave it to other readers to comment on *that*.

  87. umm…one of the most important lessons I learned early on in my teaching career was not to get involved in arguments with students.

    Reading through this post and its comments I am amazed at this public argument between teacher and student.

    You mention, “appropriate responses and participation” in your first comment, Doug. Help me to understand how it is appropriate to engage in public argument with a student? I read through all of the comments so far, and I don’t understand it yet.

    • It’s ‘appropriate’, Tracy, because it’s *not* an argument with a
      student. It’s a questioning of the *role* of students in the
      edublogosphere. Arthus is just an example I used.

  88. umm…one of the most important lessons I learned early on in my teaching career was not to get involved in arguments with students.Reading through this post and its comments I am amazed at this public argument between teacher and student.You mention, “appropriate responses and participation” in your first comment, Doug. Help me to understand how it is appropriate to engage in public argument with a student? I read through all of the comments so far, and I don't understand it yet.

  89. It's 'appropriate', Tracy, because it's *not* an argument with astudent. It's a questioning of the *role* of students in theedublogosphere. Arthus is just an example I used.

  90. You are correct, the post itself and the questioning of roles within a defined space of learning is quite appropriate, perhaps even necessary.

    It is the ensuing argument, spanning over 70 comments, that I am referring to.
    You can call it a questioning, it reads like an argument.

  91. You are correct, the post itself and the questioning of roles within a defined space of learning is quite appropriate, perhaps even necessary.It is the ensuing argument, spanning over 70 comments, that I am referring to.You can call it a questioning, it reads like an argument.

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