Friday, February 09, 2007

I am a "new Voice".

Hi All,

Scott McLeod has named me one of the "new voices" of the ed tech blogosphere. I appreciate the kind words about the blog and enjoy the fact that I am his "favorite contrarian"! :-) I am taking that as the intended compliment.

Here is a reponse I crafted for his blog, for the many people who may be encountering me for the first time.

It was really kind of you to highlight on your Dangerously Irrelevant Blog (which, by the way, is one of my Blogline feeds that I check daily).

For those who may be new to the site I would like to offer a little background. started as a magazine style site in March of 2001. I was encouraged to actualize the site after a brief conversation with Ian Jukes about my vision for the space. (I doubt he would remember it, but it was over a bite in Stamford, CT.) Many of the "Mavens", who offer varying points of view on the use of ed tech in schools, wrote articles at no cost for the site in order to help generate meaningful conversation. I am grateful that they were willing to do that. In March of 2005 I decided to stop pestering these people for free articles and switched to the blog format ( to allow the world to interact around controversial questions and ideas related to educational technology.

I hope that my contribution to the ed tech blogosphere will allow for open conversation where no "sacred cows" exist. We need to continue to face down the real issues associated with the use of ed tech in REAL schools in an honest manner. This allows the world of ed tech to move forward, not based on business plans and units sold, but on great ideas from front line teachers and those who know what great teaching looks and feels like.

I play the role of contrarian but you all should know that I am a licensed teacher who has a dozen years of science and technology teaching experience in public schools who has embraced the use of ed tech, where I found it to be appropriate. I started with my ed tech journey with Apple IIe Muppet Keyboards with K-4 kids, moved to level 3 laserdisc use with middle schoolers utilizing titles like "science sleuths" and "the great ocean rescue" and even Asst-coached an award winning Lego Robotics team.

I may be a contrarian but I am no luddite. I just think that, given the significance of ed tech, it is worthy of a rolling conversation. As Francis Bacon said, "A prudent question is one half of wisdom." If I ever post a dumb or obvious question, smack it down with a great response.

That's the whole point.

All the best!

Jm Forde :-)

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