Link: Not Invited to the Buffet.
There has been some response in the blogosphere to Tim Holt's musings about diversity in ed tech leadership, and I suppose his post could be considered timely as many well known ed tech leaders will be strutting their stuff at NECC next week.
I've thought often about the fact that there are very few compelling women on the ed tech speaker circuit, and I have a couple of theories, based on nothing scientific. As I am co-organizing spotlight and keynote speakers for the Illinois Technology Conference for Educators this year, I can tell you that there are many more men then women on my short list for presenters. What exactly is the problem? Are men more self-promoting? Do men like to hear themselves talk more than women? Are more men usually sitting in the educational seats of power and thus are more likely to be asked to speak at events? Generally, on the issue of women, I find it interesting that there's a dearth of women in educational technology leadership positions, given that the field of education is composed mostly of females. Feel free to jump in and correct me if I am wrong... again, my thoughts are not based on specific, conclusive research, but observations rather.
And, as a person who reads others' blogs and attends a fair amount of professional development events, I also admit to being tired of the same spiels generated by many ed tech speakers. Their messages are important, and I suspect there are still a lot of people who need to be called to action, so their work is not done. However, I really would like to discover some new and exciting ed tech voices, or at least hear some fresh and innovative ideas. Who are the ed tech leaders who are really mixing things ups, who are truly thinking outside of the box, who are truly brilliant? Edutopia has an annual feature called the Daring Dozen which provides a good place to start and its focus is on education in general. If you were to compose a Daring Dozen list for the field of educational technology solely, who would be on it?
While I am in a critical mode, I also might add that I most admire ed tech leaders who are still working with kids. Staying close to the classroom adds a tad more credibility in my eyes to the messages carried by ed tech leaders. It's not a prerequisite, but I guess I have more respect for those who have not completely given in to hustling for their next speaking gig. I suppose I should keep this mind myself, as I probably will look to do more consulting work in the future.
Tim ends his post with a great line which cracked me up with the Dionne Warwick reference:
We need the David Warlicks of the world. But we also need Jose Warlicks, and a Jane Warlicks, and Dionne Warlicks. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun.) We need Wes Fryer at age 45, but we also need Wes Fryer age 25, and 35.