Follow the educational technology blogosphere and conversations on Twitter, and you start to notice certain categories. I don’t write this to label people or to make fun (at least not in a mean-spirited way). In fact, most of us fit into many of these categories. Some of us take pride in associating with almost all of them. Looking over the list, I’m pretty sure that I fit into at least 10 of them. Regardless, here are the big fifteen. Feel free to suggest others that you notice by posting a comment.
1. Ed Techies – These are the educational technology enthusiasts who love the software and/or hardware. They might be part programmer and part educator, or maybe part techie and part educator. They sometimes run the labs, fix the computers, and teach in a typical day at work. They talk about their love for education, but tend to enjoy talking about the tools themselves or equipping young people with the skill to leveraging technology. While they love teaching, they are also comfortable doing the troubleshooting. They are big on practical “how to” guides and tutorials, so people often appreciate the practical nature of what they write.
2. Ed Tech Cheerleader – Just like it sounds, these are the pro- bloggers. They write about what excites them, and that is a lot. They cheer on new efforts and invite others to join them. Things are exciting and these bloggers are likely to describe people doing great things in Ed Tech as rock stars…with three exclamation points. Oh, also enjoy using exclamation points, bold, caps, emoticons, and big fonts.
3. Ed Technophiles – These are ed tech groupies. They are similar to the cheerleaders. They love all things educational technology. They know the big names in the field, are up on the latest developments in the industry, and do a great job curating resources and keeping the rest of us up to speed.
4. Ed Technopreneurs – These are the ones who want to help shape the future of education through innovation, new educational technology venutres, ed tech startups, and coming up with new methods, models and strategies. They blog about what they are doing, but it is clear that what really energizes them is the creating and doing something that has never been done before.
5. Ed Technophobe – This is an interesting one. This is the ed tech blogger who is compelled to write about educational technology topics, but often ends up writing about the fears, dangers, and concerns about the future. Have we gone too far? Was this a worthwhile effort after all? Maybe we should slow down a bit.
6. Ed Technocritic – These are the ed tech bloggers who find themselves pointing out the limitations of technology in education, drawing our attention to the dangers, the unexpected consequences. Or, sometimes it is focused on critiques of current efforts in the ed tech word, frequently the strongest voices against mindless acceptance, careless planning, and uninformed decisions. They are fans of ed tech, but they are not afraid to call out what they think is stupidity in the field.
7. Ed Techno-philosopher – The techno-philisopher is fascinated by the many philosophical question that come from exploring the nature of life in an increasingly technological world. I include the psychological and sociological questions in here as well. What is the nature of community in a digital world? How is the digital world impacting our understanding of authority, community, collaboration, meaning, or dozens of other topics?
8. Ed Technicist – Technicism has many meanings, but one is the idea that new is better. New technology is good. Newer technology is even better, and technology is increasingly beneficial to society. These ed tech bloggers love to write about the latest technological developments and their possibilities for education.
9. Ed Tech Humanist – This is the educational technologist with a love for the humanities and liberal arts. They might talk history, philosophy, or even delve into literary references. They see lots of power and possibility with educational technology, but they approach it with the mind and heart of a humanist.
10. Ed Technethicist – This is the blogger who is focused on exploring the many ethical issues around life and learning in a technology rich world. There might be an emphasis on cybersafety, cyberbullying, the digital divide, or ethical issues around openness and access to education.
11. Ed Technopolist – In Neil Postman’s book technopoly, he used the term to describe a world where technology is turned into some sort of messiah. I’m instead using it to describe people who use their position in ed tech to explore any topic under the sun. These are the people who have defined educational technology is the broadest possible way. Pretty much anything in education is educational technology, whether it be a new teaching strategy, the software and hardware, or new models of schooling. By the way, I’m probably 90% ed technopolist.
12. Ed Tech Conspiracist – These bloggers like educational technology, but it isn’t really about the technology. They are proud participants in an educational technology conspiracy, a movement to promote openness, the democratization of education, do-it-yourself learning, or some other compelling cause.
13. Ed Tech Gurus – These are the big name bloggers. They are gurus because people come to them to learn. They are known names with massive numbers of Twitter followers. When they hang out at the ISTE Blogger’s Cafe, you see people pointing at them or running over excited to finally meet them in person. Some have published books. Others do the speaker circuit. Still others made their name through a well-known podcast or by staring a Twitter chat. Many of them make a living through their blog and the work that comes from it (consulting, endorsements or sponsors, etc.).
14. Ed Tech Corporate Ambassador – These are the bloggers with a loyalty. Sometimes it is formal. Other times it comes from a personal love for a certain company or product. In this category, I include the Google Certified educators, Apple Distinguished Educators, those in the Discovery Education Network, and the like. They may have a special loyalty, but many of them are also open to other ideas and possibilities. It is just that they invest much of their time and energy around their company or product of interest. By the way, a sure giveaway for bloggers in this category is when that include part of a company name in their Twitter handle.
15. Ed Tech Networker – These people love building their personal learning network. It is all about connections, meaningful connections for them. They are often open, and bring the gift of hospitality to the field, being quick to introduce two different people with shared interests. They often don’t feel a need to lead the conversation or be in the spotlight, but they love learning with and from others; and helping foster the connections that make exciting things happen in the field.
What do you think? Have you come across any of these bloggers? What other categories would you suggest?