I was looking at the website of the recent Learning 2.0 conference; pictures of the presenters were shown across the top. There were six men and one woman. All white. Six American, one British.

Is this the general face of Web 2.0 leadership in education? Is this the general face of Web 2.0 in education?

I started looking at some educational blogs I read, noting the ethnicity, sex, and nationality of the bloggers. Besides blogs I read, I checked blogs those bloggers read. Except for here (classroom20.ning.com) the vast majority were white American men. Second were white American women.

Another thought that occurred - how many are still teachers and/or school administrators?

I haven't been to NECC for two years, but my memory is that attendees are overwhelmingly white. There was a sizable international presence due to the international aspect of ISTE, and a large number of females, I assume due to the general makeup of females in education (According to the National Education Association the number of male school teachers is hovering at a forty year low - Newsweek, Sept 17, 2007)

My questions and thoughts:

1. Does this matter? Isn't what is important not who leads, but who follows - the teachers and administrators who read and interact and learn and implement in the schools and classrooms?

2. But to what extent does who leads have an influence on who decides to follow?

3. Where are the nonwhite educational technology leaders? Does this have an implication for the education of urban, nonwhite students?

4. Where are the non-American educational technology leaders? (not just Americans and British working in other countries.)

4. classroom20 here on ning, with thousands of hopefully diverse members, is extremely important.

5. Is my admittedly unscientific analysis skewed because I began with bloggers I have chosen to read, and I am also a white American man who left the employ of school districts 4 years ago?

Just wondering, and would like to read the thoughts of others!

Jeff Branzburg

Tags: equity

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I think that Darren Draper had these same thoughts in mind when he suggested starting Edubloggerworld (http:/edubloggerworld.ning.com). What's been interesting about that network is that there have been some visible geographical pockets where there have been more sign-ups--like Argentina, for example. I know Darren really wants to build EduBloggerWorld by helping find world-wide constituencies who are active contributors.

I don't think the site is getting the traction that Darren had hoped. He, and the other co-founders of the site (Julie Lindsay, Victoria Davis, and me) would love some feedback about it if you have the time.

I just registered on edubloggerworld.ning.com and will take a look later and give feedback.

Jeff Branzburg
Hi Jeff,
I think the same thing every ed tech conference I go to--you are right, it's not just blogging.

There was an interesting diversity discussion in the edu-blogosphere in June this year, started on Tim Holt's blog (Not Invited to the Buffet). I think it started there, anyway...

If you look at the range of comments, you can see that it was a hot topic, and spread to a number of different blogs, tons of varying opinions, explanations, and solutions. It branched out to diversity in race, gender, and global perspectives. It's sort of hard to follow the who said what to whom. (Funny that blogs are STILL so bad at following a conversation.) I put my two cents in too.
I was part of that discussion, and it led me to to start In Practice. I feel that as much as there is a under-representation of minorities in edublogging, there are not enough teachers in high poverty/high minority (or minority majority) schools talking, so that perspective is sometimes missing. I find most edubloggers (white, male, what have you) are very interested to hear what folks in classes like that are doing, so I think they are open, we just need to have a voice?
Hi Sylvia

I just read your post from June regarding the issues of race, gender, nationality in educational technology. I think that the racial imbalance far exceeds the gender imbalance. I think the reason for this is obvious - education is (and always has been) a very acceptable field for women. So, there will be a reasonable number of women involved in ed tech; just look at sessions and exhibit halls at ed conferences -quite a few women!

Now, this in no way negates the disproportionate number of women in leadership roles. But to me, the racial inequity - both in numbers of members of the profession, and in numbers in leadership roles - is an even greater disparity.

A good deal of my work is in NYC, with urban teachers and students. Although it looks to me like there is an increasing number of non-white teachers, I don't see this in the ed tech world as much as in the general population of educators.

But as I asked in my post, does this matter? Maybe what is more important is the make-up of the participants, not the leaders. I'm not sure.
I agree about the racial imbalance outweighing the gender imbalance. But I was speaking from my experience, and I have lots of first-hand experience being an woman and none being a racial minority ;-) So that's the reason for the viewpoint expressed in my blog post.

I think the problem with the makeup of the participants and leadership being skewed is two fold- 1) potential leaders don't "see themselves" and therefore may feel there is no place for them, and 2) leaders can be fooled into thinking that their experience mirrors the constituency they are leading. Lots of leaders are attuned to issues of gender and racial imbalance, many are not.

So I think it does matter, but I'm not feeling expert enough to propose a solution other than awareness and time.
I was quite surprised to stumble on this thread today...I think that the leadership in this area seems to reflect those that are in the field and interested in talking about edtech in terms of policy and research. As a minority, what I have found when participating in edtech professional development is that minorities in attendence tend to be most interested in learning "how to make it work" and not studying, changing and shaping policy. Their interests seem to be more practical than theoretical.

I have strong memories of the blogger cafe at NECC and feeling very intimidated by the large number of white men who were hanging out together. It definitely felt kind of "old boys networky" to me. As a white woman new to blogging this year, I was excited to be in such amazing company, but shy about participating. I have to thank Chris Lehmann for introducing himself to me and welcoming me in to the group (he knew me from ning!).

I do think it makes a difference when your role models don't look like you do. It makes it harder to picture yourself in those roles.



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