Anyone whose read a little of my stuff (and fluff too), throughout the years knows with a capital “K” that I’m an ardent supporter of education being free of influence and especially profit. Be that a school where our young go each day or be it twitter or any site or social network.
However, human nature being what it is, can be duped. The ego is a tremendously weak link (but I acknowledge its strength too) when it comes to throwing ourselves into things that might parade “our” cause.
What am I getting at?
Well, recently David Truss wrote about the plethora of sites offering “badges” and “free promotion”. Pandering to the lowest common denominator of online teachers – promotion. Read his post, I won’t repeat things here nor my own and others comments therein. However, I do want to expound a little further on one of the biggest “dupers”.
First some honest self-reflection. I AM GUILTY! I have participated too much in my own share of ego boosting, get me a badge contests! If only half of that energy had gone towards teaching and educating others online! And I’ll tell you this much – when I see a contest or a list from some entity – I too can’t resist. I shake and quiver with the thought that I’ll be discovered, I’ll be read. I’ll be the next flavor on the ice cream truck of educational technology!!!!!!
So there, it is out of the closet and I’m working hard now to just keep doing the small things I do. Avoid that puffery and vanity. I can’t promise I won’t regress but I’m trying and part of that is “coming clean” here. I’ve been duped! (and I’m not going to take it anymore!)
So now the specifics and let me know what you think? What is the ethical line?
Onlineuniversities and Smart Teacher.org undoubtably drives traffic to their sites by sending out a plethora of “Top X, Y and Z” lists. They even get others to do their “dirty” educational marketing on other blogs. Yes, some of the lists are interesting but they ARE NOT from committed and informed professionals. They are a marketing tool, clear and simple.They get paid and helping educators is a sideline, an ignoble one.
Just today, I got an email from them, asking to promote and post on EFL Classroom 2.0. I politely said, “Great idea”. I will make a blog post shortly in promotion. I will send them this link. Here’s the pitch…. incessant and not in the spirit of education – in the spirit, mean spirit of profit.
I know this email is out of the blue, but I just posted an article on my blog entitled “50 Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom” at http://www.universityreviewsonline.com/2005/10/50-ways-to-use-twitter-in-the-classroom.html . Anyway I figured I’d bring it to your attention in case you thought it interesting enough to drop a quick mention on your site about it as I’m trying to increase readership of my blog.
Either way, hope you have a good week.
Now you may ask yourself, if I dislike this so much, why am I linking to them and actually giving them EVEN MORE promotion? Good question. My thinking is that you be the judge. I’m not here to control but I will voice my opinion and try to win you over. I also think that once you look at the facts, you’ll see my side of things.
Why are onlineuniversities and other sites (probably even worse – Smart Teaching.org ) that dupe, so bad? Well, they undermine the dedicated professionals (I could list so many! Shelly Terrell and Larry Ferlazzo are two who immediately always cross my ELT radar) who take the time and energy to share their vast knowledge and experience. How will we ever find the right answers when the netiverse is flooded with this crap? (yes, I’ll say it again: CRAP).
Or how can my own TOP 100 Youtube videos list (many linked to their youtube equivalent on EFL 2.0) ever hope to compete with the likes of their intensely promoted lists? I vouch that mine is well researched, made from videos I’ve actually used and watched. Probably took my a few days to make and many more to “experience”.
But yet others promote. Go figure. They get tweeted around like the second coming or a UFO siting. And it is disturbing. So I’m doing my part to keep education clean of any motive other than creating/knowing and learning. That’s the future I hope for and let’s keep our house halfway tidy.
Please repeat after me: “I will not be duped.” Take the oath and stick to it. Thank you.
I won’t even get in to the ethics of some ELT professionals tweeting and name dropping one “new” publishers social networking site. Doing so and contributing there and being paid for it and NOT telling others that they are paid to “do the dirty work” and promote. No, I’ll leave that one alone.
But I’ll end with Eminem (thank you Karenne S. again), to reinforce my message and stance.
If you liked this post – you might enjoy my contentious thoughts about twitter and the ethical use of it. Twitter – Love it / Hate it