May 03, 2007

The world isn't as flat as we think

Through Tara I see that Riya, the photo recognition search service scooped here 18 months ago, are now pulling out of India. The reason? Because the cost savings described as the main reason for outsourcing by the likes of Dan Pink et al are beginning to get narrower as "India grows up".

Once more the world is changing, to one where it's no longer cheap labour and cheap ideas that you get out of the emerging economies of this planet. You're now getting top class ideas, inspiration, creativity - and top salaries - which are on a more level playing field that most Westerners can quite comprehend.

And I'm seeing the "can't quite comprehend" in the way the edublogosphere links to each other - or doesn't. I've certainly noticed far fewer links going to the main Scottish and English blogs from our American counterparts. NZ and Australians are linking more to each other than outside. I'm finding many of the previously fascinating insights into technology and education becoming less relevant and more, well, moany than I've ever seen before. In amongst this Great Depression talking about how we can't get our management to see the virtue in the tools (arghhh - it's not about the tech, it's about the teach) I see possible solutions and answers on other continents.

But no-one's biting. Why is this? Why are we more internal than we've ever been before? What 'markets' are we ignoring or withdrawing from and what might the consequences be in our little corners of the planet?

Comments

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It is interesting that you are noting a shift to the crosslinking happening in the edublogosphere. Coming from the Australia / NZ part of the world, I would have to agree that I am linking more and more to Kiwi bloggers than I was a year ago, but I'm also pointing to more Canadians. It could that there are now bloggers to link to in our part of the world than previously, or it could be that there are more classroom based educators reflecting and connecting that are finding a voice that are changing the dynamics away from the more well known, keynote invitee, big picture bloggers. It's not necessarily a bad thing but maybe the flattening is at that level of the "ordinary teacher" is being empowered to be heard at the same level as the bigger names from a year or so ago. Maybe edubloggers are searching for people who can understand their particular cog in the education machine. Just a theory - I'd be interested in what you make of my idea, Ewan.

I think your notion does have legs, although I'm not convinced that country need be educators' first filter for blog reading. For example, I know plenty of primary educators who would like to be more tuned into active learning (purposeful play) and extreme learning (Australian style experiential learning) in the classroom, but they aren't reading bloggers who talk about those things.

Part of the problem, I think, is that the new generation of (fascinating) edubloggers don't have the same technical literacy at seeing who visits them and who reads them. Given this, it means that they don't pursue those people to see what they have to say in the same way the bloggers of a year, two years, three years ago have done.

Do *you* think that has legs? ;-)

Hi Ewan,
I am not often relevant but I hope I am not moany;-)

I've felt the global to local slippage in my reading for a while now.

My edu blog reading is pretty local, mainly because it seems more relevant to me. I am interested in what will work in my classroom and what is working or not, in classrooms like mine.
A lot of the US blogs I read/have read seem to be more about theory/politics than practise/technology. I still read quite a few (mostly a reflection of your sidebar) and hope interesting things will feed through from the (in your phrase) meta bloggers.

I don't know if we are ignoring the USA or the USA is ignoring us, Scots have a certain tradition of travel and looking outwards, the USA of being self sufficient.

I also try to spend a proportion of by blog reading time on reading and commenting pupil blogs as I expect that I can be more effective there than I can in discussion of Edu theory or politics.

My reading of tech blogs is not limited in the same way because I am interested in anything new I might bend to have a little fun with in the classroom. These will not necessarily be found in edu blogs although Tim Lauer is a great tech filter.

Ewan, I agree that country shouldn't be the first filter for education bloggers and it's not my first criteria for whether I engage with someone's blog or not. But firstly what someone is writing has to have relevance to what I'm doing or exploring - that's what will get me subscribing, commenting and linking. There are more edubloggers out there compared to a year or so ago (even if it's still a very small percentage of educators worldwide!!) and experienced, widely read bloggers like Will Richardson and Darren Kuropatwa are publicly cutting down the number of blogs they read so it's harder to catch the attention of that level of the edublogosphere - so people shift to and link to others who are noticing their work. It's a mutual benefit thing. I would totally agree with your second paragraph although some of the new tools like MyBlogLog and Twitter make it easier to discover who is reading your work. It's a bit like any wave of change - the pioneers pave the way (that's Richardson, Warlick, Davis, yourself, Freedman etc) then the early adopters get on board (I think that's where I fit) and now we are seeing the next larger wave. The vast majority are still waiting in judgement before they make a move! I think sitting back we can see elements of Gladwell's tipping point theory in action.

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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