Friday, July 27, 2007

Who do I read?

Like many inhabitants of this space, I have an aggregator that dishes up to my virtual doorstep new posts that appear in all the blogs to which I subscribe. Over the past two years, that list has changed and will no doubt continue to do so. I try to keep it small enough so that I can actually assimilate all the new material to some degree. There are several other blogs that I read on an ad hoc basis, but these are the ones I read every day.

On the list are a few sites totally unrelated to my job or studies, just because they inspire me. Among these are:
Urban Army. Gordon Cotterill is an officer in the Salvation Army who encounters some very interesting characters and handles situations with grace.
Creating Passionate Users. It has been almost four months since the zany, whacky, articulate Kathy Sierra was hounded out of the blogosphere by cyberbullies. I remain subscribed to her feed in the hope that one day she'll feel able to venture out into the open again.
Calvin and Hobbes. This is an unofficial site and I have no idea if Bill Watterson has sanctioned the use of his material in this way. Having read biographies I think it highly unlikely, and I admit to occasional pangs of guilt that I might be contributing to an offence against someone I greatly admire. Nevertheless, a daily dose of this gobby 6-year-old and his stuffed tiger starts my day off on the right note.
The Dilbert blog. I used to subscribe to the Dilbert cartoon, but that feed broke and, in trying to restore it, I discovered Scott Adams's blog. His irreverance, his complete disregard for political correctness and his off-beat ability to see the ridiculous in everything makes a valuable contribution to my reading.

I also read a few blogs associated with the formal education within what Americans refer to as the K-12 (kindergarten to 12th grade) range. Although my learners are all adults, I suspect that there is more commonality between the way adults and children learn that many corporate learning professionals realise. These include:
Cool Cat Teacher Blog. Vicki Davis is like a dynamo. She seems to have so much on the go at once and seems to maange to do it all with unflagging zeal and passion. She very quickly became an edublogging force to be reckoned with. Vicki is someone I would love to meet f2f. Ewan McIntosh is based in Scotland and what I read in his blog about the strides the education system is making there, makes me wish I could find an excuse to move my family north of the border... the dreadful weather notwithstanding their dreadful weather! Doug is one of the youngest bloggers on my list: a mere stripling of 26, busy with a doctorate and passionate about the way history is taught in the UK.
The Thinking Stick. Jeff Utecht works at an international school in Shanghai, and faces a whole different set of challenges, among them the Chinese censorship. Like me, he feels that teachers need two different support mechanisms in including ICT in their pedagogical toolkit: technical support and maintenance and pedagogical support and mentoring.
Artichoke. I don't know Artichoke's real name. She is the newest addition to my aggregator. She is erudite, well-read and articulate and has a way of piecing things together that one didn't realise belonged together until she expounded on them. Often way over my head, but that's the point - to get around people who are smarter than you are and grow as a consequence.

The largest section of my aggregator is given over to a section I call "learning and related". These include:
2¢ worth. This is Dave Warlick's blog. Dave is a popular speaker (with good reason, I understand). He doesn't have a very high opinion of his reading and writing skills and his blog does show occasional signs of dyslexic tendencies. I mention this only because I am a nitpicking pedant who is normally irked by spelling errors. However, what Dave has to say so vastly overshadows any irritation I may feel. Not only has he taught me a great deal about learning, he has taught me to get over myself!
bgblogging. Barbara Ganley works in higher ed. Although her posts are thin on the ground, they are well waiting for.
Brandon Hall Analyst Blog. Janet Clarey is a fairly recent addition to my aggregator, largely because she is a fairly recent entrant to the blogosphere. Much of her material has direct bearing on my day job. Added to that, she is the mother of sons, so we have that synergy, too. She is someone else I'd like to meet f2f.
Christopher D. Sessums :: Blog. Chris Sessums sometimes blogs as if he is handing in an academic paper, often complete with references at the end of a post. Other times, he is all passion and informality. He is well informed and well-read, and makes for an interesting read.
Cognitive Edge. I haven't been reading this blog for long, but thus far, my view of Dave Snowden is that he is irascible. Occasionally controversial, which is what we like, after all.
Connectivism blog. It's probably not too much of a stretch to call George Siemens one of my de facto learning gurus. I like the way he thinks, the way he explains things and his humility towards both his growing fame and his detractors. I really recommend his online conferences.
Dave's Educational Blog. Dave Cormier is, well, Dave Cormier. He doesn't blog that often, but when he does, you get the impression that he writes as he speaks and speaks as he thinks. I can relate to that.
Donald Clark Plan B. Donald is a dyed in the wool iconoclast. Sometimes I get the impression that he sits down and wonders, "Hmm, which sacred cow can I desecrate today?" Sometimes I agree with him, sometimes I don't, and sometimes I get downright annoyed, but it all makes for interesting debate.
e-Cippings (Learning as Art). Mark Oehlert is very into his games and simulations, a field I have had little insight into. Nevertheless, his views on learner engagement gel with me.
EdTech Roundup. This is another Doug Belshaw blog, where Doug highlights stuff that has stood out for him recently.
EdTechUK. Josie Fraser is altogether too quiet nowadays!
eLearning Technology. Tony Karrer's focus is on corporate learning and he has insight into the drivers of this world. This means that we often face similar issues and challenges, although he is a CEO and I'm just a li'l ol' learning designer. Tony's photo on his blog looks a bit like George Clooney - check it out for yourself and tell me I'm wrong!
Harold Jarche. Harold went solo some time ago and deals with a whole different set of challenges. However, many of the issues on which he advises his clients are very similar to those my own clients face. Not only that, but Harold has sons, too, so there's that synergy thing again. To be honest, I just plain like the guy and would add him to the list of people I would like to meet f2f.
In the Middle of the Curve. Wendy Wickham is about the most transparent blogger I have ever encountered. You always know exactly what she is working on, what her challenges are, how she feels about them, what she's learning or has learned. I'm not sure how she gets away with it, to be honest (my employer would have a conniption), but I'm glad she does!
Informal Learning Blog. Well duh! Is there a learning professional in the blogosphere who doesn't read Jay Cross?
Learning Conversations. This is the blog of my friend and colleague Mark Berthelemy, who introduced me to blogging (yup - it's all his fault!). Mark often deals with things that make me go huh? He tends to use his blog to point at stuff he's found interesting or useful, or as a reminder of how to do something he's just learned. Occasionally he gets up onto his soapbox and vents his spleen, and those are my favourite posts on his blog, because they give a small peep into his passion.
Occasional rants. Patrick Dunn seems to see the world much as I do, so I probably look like Noddy as I read his posts. I suspect we all like to reassure ourselves by attaching to like-minded individuals. No? Just me then!
OLDaily. As with Jay Cross is there a learning professional in the blogosphere who doesn't read Downes? This blog tends to be almost like an aggregator, full of points and brief opinions or reactions. He has another one called Half an Hour, where he calls it like he sees it, and at far greater length.

And that's yer lot, except for a few online journals that I might cover another time.


Wendy said...

Thanks for the cite.

I get away with my transparency because I point my co-workers to my blog when I am talking about something singularly boring (like learning theory). Keeps 'em away when I'm talking about sensitive stuff....

More seriously, I'm also fortunate to work in an environment where at least the CEO and the CIO (my boss) believe in transparency and sharing. If either of them ARE reading (and I think my boss might), as long as I represent myself appropriately and truthfully I should be OK.

Harold Jarche said...

Thanks for the plug :-)

I just added Calvin & Hobbes to my +150 feeds - good recommendation!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comments. Wendy: your CEO and CIO are to be commended.

Harold: always a pleasure! Glad to have been of service.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha - a 'stripling' indeed! Thanks for this Karyn, it's prompted me to have a bit of a sort-out of my RSS feeds. I shall post the results on my blog when I've done... :-)

diane said...


I'm still adding to my feeds and welcome suggestions.

Maybe a few of your favorites will boot me out of my comfort zone and stimulate some evaluation and re-evaluation of my own posts and point of view.


Anonymous said...

Doug: glad not to have cause offence - you have a gravitas and insight beyond your years, if it isn't patronising to say so.

diane: happy to be of service. Had a look at your blog - love the poetry quotes. Perhaps we could spend time talking about our favourites. Mind you, Beowulf doesn't feature among mine! Check out these two posts of mine that touch on that topic:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Karyn! You're one of my daily reads as well...
As a new blogger, your support has been appreciated. I love your writing style and hope too that we get a chance to meet up f2f one day. I wasn't reading a couple of these that you list but will check them out.
BTW...Josie moved to (drop the edtechuk/)

Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher said...

Great list! I'm going to have to spend some time going through these -- I'm glad I made the list -- of course I keep up with your blog.

I'm a bit afraid to post my list of "must reads" because someone somewhere might get upset! (Ha ha)

Thanks for being one of my first "friends" on the blogosphere -- I'd love to meet you too!

Anonymous said...

Janet: Thanks for the tip. And for the boost. If I had my way, we would have met up later this year in Santa Clara. Sigh...

Vicki: The way you're going, it won't be long before you're invited to come and speak at a conference in the UK, and then I expect to hear from you, so that we can hook up for a meal and a natter.

Josie Fraser said...

Hi Karyn - sorry for being so quiet - I've been working for myself as a consultant since January and things have been really busy!

I'm blogging over at SocialTech now:
and hanging out over at the Emerge site:

Thanks for the cite!