Friday, December 11, 2009

Blogging for The Huffington Post: I’m Gonna Need Your Help

In the next week or so, The Huffington Post is going to add some new "blog topic" pages within their existing Technology section. One of those topic pages is going to be "Tech + Education," and I've been asked to be a contributing blogger to that section.

(Update 12-16-09: They've decided to delay the Tech + Education section until January 11th, 2010, so that it doesn't get lost in the holidays. This is perfect, as it gives me almost four more weeks to lose sleep over this.)

(Update 1-19-10: Now pushed back to January 25th.)

(Update 1-26-10: Now pushed back to February 8th.)

(Update 2-11-10: Now pushed back to March 1st. No really, it's going to be March 1st. Maybe.)

(Update 3-9-10: "Before the end of March . . .")

This was not an easy decision for me for a variety of reasons. The Huffington Post is a different space than this blog, and that brings with it both some good things and some not so good things. One of my concerns is that the conversations on that blog can get both off-topic and somewhat uncivil at times. Not only do I not have a very thick skin, but I'm not particularly interested in contributing to something that generates a lot of noise but doesn't actually move the conversation forward.

The Huffington Post is also generally considered to have a political bias, and – while I realize everything has a political aspect to it – I don’t want what I write about (and what we’ve all been talking about these last few years) to be viewed as being on one political "side" or the other. I'm not very much interested in "sides," I'm more interested in solutions. I know it's naïve, but I don't view any of this stuff through a political lens, I just want to write about and think about and talk about learning. And students. And teachers. And technology. And how best to do this thing we call school. And I want it to make a difference.

So I thought about this for a while, went back and forth with myself, and finally decided to give this a shot for a couple of reasons. First, it's an opportunity to take this conversation to a wider and different audience than typically reads this blog. We've all talked about "preaching to the choir" and the "echo chamber," and how we need to engage with folks that typically are not present in our spaces, and this is an opportunity to do that. I've written more than once about teachers and students being willing to take some risks in their teaching and learning, so I guess I better walk the walk and take a risk myself.

Second, and this is the main reason for this post, I'm counting on a secret weapon to help me out with this.


(Stop looking around, I'm talking to you.) I figure if I can bring all of you with me, then I have a much better shot at making this work.

So, here's the deal. Whenever I post to The Huffington Post I'm going to cross-post here, and I'm going to both ask and count on all of you to get involved in the conversation there as well as here. Now, I'm not asking you to always agree with me (although, you know, it would be nice if you occasionally did). What I'm asking is that you bring your perspective as thoughtful people that have been thinking and writing and commenting and struggling with these issues for a while now into a space where many of the folks reading and commenting are coming at this from a different perspective. That doesn't mean their perspective is wrong or that we can't learn from it, it simply means that we need your perspective as well. If you'll join me there, then maybe, just maybe, we can do some good.

What do you say?


  1. So much of what you say in your first paragraphs seems like a perfect way to introduce your blog at that site, as well as provide a context for major trends you might be tackling.

    On an unrelated topic, the snarky tone of so many of the comments at H.Post trample on the (early) anti-troll, anti-flame customs of virtual communities. A little modeling might be just what the doctor ordered. ;-)

  2. Hi Karl-
    I'm a daily reader of the HP and I don't think you will find a political slant on the technology page. You are going to be a great addition to HP. I will make a point to read your blog!

  3. I don't read the Huffington post but I do listen to a podcast called 'The Skeptics Guide to the universe' and it gets mentioned there a lot. It seems to have a lot of pseudo science and anti vaccine stuff on it. While I appreciate that it is not what you talk about I would feel more than a little apprehensive writing for a website that does not support rational evidence based thinking in all its articles. I would hate to be tarred with the same brush.

    Maybe its a way of improving the reporting and sharing of ideas from within an organisation. Just make sure that what you talk about is based on evidence and fact. I think you do that anyway. Science does impact on teaching and learning. Just reading Steven Johnson's 'Everything bad is good for you' is an example of changing out ideas about technology, media and learning based on evidence.

  4. Sounds like you're starting a political movement of your own, Karl!

    And I'm happy to be a part of it. I agree that moving the conversation beyond the echochamber is important if we're ever going to see real change for schools embraced. I also agree that for the conversation to be productive, it's going to need some like minds and productive modeling.

    Thanks for elevating our voices alongside yours.

    Bill Ferriter

  5. Go team! Happy for you, Karl, and grateful for your inclusive vision of your way going forward.

  6. Owning a political blog, technical blog, personal blog and marketing blog and a businss -- I understand!!

    The trick for me is to focus on the topic at hand and avoid politically correct as well as unpolitically correct phrases... Both of these are land mines... Do not be afraid to focus and say what you want about technology, just keep your face out of the wind, your hands inside the car, and your feet on the floor...

    If this does not sound like fun - it isn't, I enjoy my personal and politcal blog way more than I do my technical and marketing blog... two will let me vent, the other two will show me the money...

  7. As a long time follower I am looking forward to this evolution in your blogging. Can't wait, and promise to contribute.

  8. I'm in.

    Congratulations on this new venture!

  9. Looking forward to your contributions over at the Huffington Post, Karl. Count me in on participation.

  10. Congratulations, Karl! I'm looking forward to the conversations. You can count on me.

  11. Karl, You know your PLN will be out there with you.

    I'm in.

    It's an honor but I certainly do understand your reservations, as conversations on political blogs do get, well, political. And intense sometimes.

    That being said, Huffington Post is oft quoted and this seems like a wonderful career opportunity in terms of sharing your vision with a larger audience.

    Good luck!

  12. Heck, even a Luddite could enjoy this--count me in.

  13. i think one of our biggest energy zappers is senseless arguing - when a conversation is no longer about a mission, but an agenda. unfortunately, even just the word political takes me there.

    i love that you're doing this karl. danah boyd's interview here - ended with these words:

    The questions I continue to want to ask are the things that are challenging to me: having to sit down and be forced to think about uncomfortable social stuff, it's really hard to get my head around it – which means it's exactly what I should dive in and deal with."

    we all need to be doing more of that. digging down.

    thank you karl - for being among the brave leaders for ed.

  14. Wow - and to think I knew you before. Thank you for walking out yet another plank on behalf of kids and teachers. Know you can swim and have plenty of life guards ready to jump in. I'm in.

  15. Go Karl! Go!

    No better choice for a seasoned, reasoned voice to add to that larger discussion. We has your back. ;0)


  16. Huffington Post comments are heavily moderated, so it's unlikely that anything truly offensive will make it through--that's one of their faults (e.g., why the pseudoscience frequently slides through without contention). But this is a great move in spite of that site's faults because your audience will increase dramatically. I avoid the crap on H. Post by selectively subscribing to the blogs I care about. Since you're cross-posting, I will definitely wander over there to add my comments.

  17. I'm looking forward to your posts. I've worked many years on projects to use technology as a way to light a love of lifelong reading in early readers. I spun off a company (Sabi) and we've shipped two games that more folks than our family consider breakthrough reading games.

    I'll be very interested to see what other amazing uses of tech in ed are being implemented by passionate folks.

  18. Count me in! I'm happy that the Huff has seen fit to add the Tech-Ed tab and that the folks there did their "homework" and found you.

  19. Congratulations on your new venture! Looking forward to seeing what you bring to the TechEd section!