One of the great things about blogging, web 2.0 communication, and digital collaboration tools more generally is the way they can potentially erase many of the things we might look at or consider first when we are talking with someone face to face. As human beings, we generally notice what someone looks like and how they sound before we start listening to their ideas in a face-to-face conversation. That is part of Malcom Gladwell’s thesis in his book, “Blink,” from what I understand. (Full disclosure, I have not read the entire book yet.)
This is not the case in the blogosphere. I delight in the fact that digital communication spaces can be much more egalitarian than the face-to-face world is or ever can be. Here, we can focus on ideas, and generally avoid distractions like appearance or gender. (I do understand that “gender matters” in some discussions, but I do not want to get sidetracked on that topic in this post.)
I exchanged emails recently with someone who perceived a lack of available female presenters to speak at educational technology and learning conferences. In fact, the person with whom I corresponded felt there was only ONE female with the credentials and speaking ability to present at a particular conference. I do not want to single out either this individual or the person who they regarded as the lone, credible female advocate for digital learning, but I do want to share a short list of people I personally know who are outstanding advocates for digital learning and appropriate educational technology integration, who just happen to be female. In sharing a list like this, I KNOW I am going to leave some people out, and for that I apologize in advance. Remember, this is NOT a complete list of all the female bloggers I follow or outstanding female educators I’ve ever heard about, but rather a list of people I have personally met face-to-face (and in many cases consider myself to be good friends with) who are OUTSTANDING presenters and educators. In my view, the fact that someone is female or male is a fact of biology, but not a criterion I consciously consider when thinking about them or their ideas. I’m sharing this list here, however, because if one person perceives a lack of credible female presenters on digital learning topics, most likely others do too. That is an inaccurate and unfortunate perception, and needs to be remedied. Here is my short list, in alphabetical order by first name:
Bonnie Bracey Sutton
Of course, there are many, many more learning and educational technology leaders who just happen to be female, who are not included on this list but could be. Again, I am limiting this list to people I have actually met. (In Elizabeth Helfant’s case, I’m counting a series of videoconferences last summer as “face-to-face” meetings.)
I don’t like it when “gender matters” in circumstances when it should not.
Let no one say, “We just can’t find any female presenters to invite to our educational technology or educational leadership conference this year.”
If I know you personally and have left you off this list, and you should be on it, I apologize in advance. I wrestled with whether to attempt “a list” like this at all, and finally decided this was a good idea, because the perception I am wanting to address via this post is an important one and needs to be highlighted.
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- Apple Believes technology is not all you need, but a critical tool - 2011
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- Results in learning: What are ways we can assess the impact to teaching and learning? #i11i #vanmeter - 2010
- Be The Change You Want To See In Schools by Shannon Miller #vanmeter #i11i (library perspectives) - 2010
- Fluency 3.0 by Angela Maiers #i11i - 2010