So why are you here? It's a fair question to ask a technology journalist at an education conference.
Are you here to write a story? Sure. I am always seeking and shaping stories. I am a writer. I am a folklorist. I am a journalist. That is what I do.
And there are so many stories that journalists neglect to tell. It seems particularly striking this weekend -- between Egypt and Educon -- as I see it is business-as-usual filling so much of the space in newspapers, on TV, and (omg) in technology blogs.
But even on the education and ed-tech beats, I found myself thinking about this today -- about what stories get told, as I chose sessions to attend (or at least 2 out of the 3 I went to) that I felt were the most conducive to my reporting. I chose the education policy and education reform sessions, for example, as that's what constitutes news" -- not the brilliant innovations that are leading the way in schools, in classrooms around the world.
To answer that first question -- So why are you here? -- I am not here as a reporter for ReadWriteWeb. I have taken the time off from work. I have paid my own way. I am here to listen and learn, to meet face-to-face with the people who I truly see as my constituency (I'm not sure if that's the right word) and my audience. I am here so I can tell better stories. More importantly, I am here so I can be the voice (in some way) for teachers, for students, for education technology -- so that these stories are told.
But it gives me pause, of course, that I find myself often reacting to disastrous policy (Virginia School Board, I'm looking at you) and at disastrous implementations (Google Secure Search, for example), that I very rarely get to write about the amazing and innovative things that students and teachers are doing. As Matt Berg, Director of ICT for the Millennium Villages Project at Columbia University's Earth Institute, said last night at Educon's opening panel, Anytime anyone in San Francisco does something really cool, we all hear about it.
And I think that's my major takeaway so far from Educon so far. I mean, how could I possibly spend the weekend at the Science Leadership Academy and be satisfied to only be a reactionary reporter, responding to what's problematic in policies, reforms, and technologies, and fail to highlight some of the truly innovative things that are happening in education (and of course in education technology).
I feel like I do a pretty good job finding and telling the stories of new ed-tech startups. But the stories of ed-tech implementations in the classroom? I can do a lot better.