Let me begin by saying that an international community of bloggers sounds like an idea with great potential. Nevertheless:

I need your help.

It's been over two months since we first started EduBloggerWorld, the community whose purpose has been to facilitate connections among educational bloggers worldwide. In this brief span of time, I know it has helped me to connect with edubloggers world-wide. Indeed, I have learned a lot and have enjoyed meeting - quite often virtually - so many wonderful and interesting people. With that in mind, I consider this effort to be of tremendous value to me personally.

However, I'm still left wondering why you're here and what you hope to gain from belonging to such a network.

Originally I thought that we were mostly looking for a way to connect - you know, like the connections that were made at EduBloggerCon. That connection could come, I thought, through some sort of international virtual meet-up - EduBloggerCon meets Second Life meets International bliss.

But is this really what we need? Is this truly what you want? Don't everybody jump at once.

While I think that an international on-going un-conference sounds like a great idea, I'm not convinced that everybody (or anybody, for that matter) wants to get the ball rolling. In fact, based upon my search for our previously established 'edubloggerworld_ongoingunconference' tag, I can see that very few people are actually interested in getting the ball rolling - and thus we're left: completely flat in our "flattened" world. The same holds true for our initial efforts regarding tagging standards, welcoming beginners, and the utilization of a community-wide shared calendar.

Is there no one interested in moving us forward as a community? Or is there no real direction for us to turn? I believe that all communities thrive when there is purpose in their being. Thus I beg of you:

Help me to identify our purpose.

Hence, if there is greater purpose in belonging to this community other than the accumulation of Ning friends, I would love to hear your thoughts. Please post a comment about the direction you'd like to see EduBloggerWorld take and the steps you're willing to take to move us there.

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As I mentioned in a comment to one of your blog posts, I will admit to frequently forgetting about some of those aspects of why edubloggerworld was formed. Perhaps because I wasn’t here in the beginning. And perhaps because personally I look for different things from the community. I find that time differences make planning to attend the virtual meet-ups difficult (in fact, working out when they are actually on, my time, is sometimes difficult.) Then there is the fact that they may be using software/websites/web 2.0 tools we haven’t used....

Maybe live virtual meetings are a bit intimidating. I like online chat for social situations, but when conversing about education issues with colleagues I've never met, I like that forum posting gives me the chance to carefully consider a response, edit my post if something came across incorrectly, or if my dyslexic typing is worse than usual.

I personally hope to have a place to connect with colleagues who also blog, discuss edublogging, and education issues in general, have a central point to direct me to quality edublogs and resources, and start an ongoing conversation with people addressing similar issues. And I am trying to practice what I was preaching and continue to participate actively and regularly.

But I guess those are not the goals you have envisioned for this community.

Actually, relating back to those initial goals...as someone relatively new to the site, I found all the references to other online locations for edubloggerworld a bit confusing. I would have thought the purpose of a Ning community was to negate the need for so many different types of sites....
In all honesty, the virtual meet-ups were the primary reason that EBW was created. We wanted a way to extent EduBloggerCon to those that couldn't attend in person.

However, meet-ups alone weren't what I had envisioned.

The shared calendar, work on international tagging standards, and ning community were all a part of the community. To be honest, creating the Ning was simply a way to bring us all together. I'd never imagined that my job would eventually transform into a Ning network-manager. I had always hoped that the community would work together to manage the community - exactly like we did with the EduBloggerCon wiki. While Steve began the wiki, he let the community manage and edit content.

Suzanne, I nominate you to chair our "Global Connections" committee. I think it would be great if we could spotlight a different blog every week or two. I also like the idea of spotlighting a different country every week or two.

Do I hear a second and are any opposed?
Why exactly do you feel you have become a network manager, rather than allowing the community to self run like the wiki? What do you see needs to be done by someone 'in charge'? I can see it would get frustrating to feel like you have been turned into an administrator of something that you intended to be self directed. I am just wondering what sort of specific things are causing that?

On the 'Global Connections' Committee - Cheeky! :)

I'm not sure I want to commit to anything that must be done on a set schedule, with a specific focus etc etc. However, I am quite happy to continue doing what I am doing - which is trying to patricipate in all areas of the community and help keep the ball rolling. If that sometimes involved writing a forum post highlighting a blog I have found interesting- well, that I can do.
This community has helped me in making contacts and see who is really out there in the blogging world and being active. However, I think it might take awhile to get any group going. If we want this to be a continuing "unconference" the best recommendation I can make is to provide a consistent forum and format. The WOW2 group has every Tuesday (and I know that now based on our shared calendar). If people can remember, oh this is Thursday, the day I have set aside for my own PD, we might be able to garner more meet-ups.

Or are we looking for more discussion board type interactions and therefore need themes and moderators? You could do a theme a month and ask people to pose a question to the group. I'd be willing to help keep the conversation going on a discussion board.

Otherwise, keep the faith, wonderful things are happening :)
I think that a regular meeting time would be great for our community. Once a week may be too frequent.

Perhaps the first Wednesday of every month? Time is also an issue since this is an international community.

I nominate you to chair our "Virtual Meetup" committee. : )

Do I hear a second and are any opposed?
I would really encourage all of the folks planning virtual meetings to use a site that lets you know global times for the event (like you did for the PD Darren). It makes the idea of attending much more approachable if you dont have to struggle just to work out when it's on.

At the moment I am frantically writing many job applications for 2008, as my project finishes at the end of the year. Personally, it will be interesting to see how my usage continues when I have to cope with full time classroom teaching and a potential school leadership role.
Well said, Suzanne. I agree whole heartedly. In fact, that is why we set up the EduBloggerWorld airset calendar. When a user logs into airset, it automatically posts all calendar times in their LOCAL timezone - even if the original submitter posted the event in a different timezone.

Airset truly eliminates much of the timezone confusion as long as everyone gets in the habit of using it.

In the future, we can also post links to times using the world time server like I did for my PD class.
I have never used Airset - hadnt heard of it till mentioned here. I guess I will have to look into it, it was just a bit offputting to think, one more online tool I have to join up for. I liked the one you used because I didnt have to have a membership or anything to check it.
For my personal, not education blogging, I belong to a number of collaborative groups that blog on a theme, and link to each others posts. Perhaps taking turns to post a weekly or mothly topic, and cross post/comment would be useful? Or to run a Blog carnival every now and again.... If we came up with a topic for a cranival, I'd be happy to edit it and post it on my blog - the first one anyway, maybe we could take turns with that too.
Excellent thoughts, Candace. I have the perfect committee for you to chair! I nominate you to chair the "EduBlog Highlights of the Week" committee. It would be so great to have a place where we could all go to see the best of the blogs for every week.

Do I hear a second and are any opposed?
I second the motion - mrs durff
Candace - I agree wholeheartedly! I am very interested to try virtual meetings and to see what transpires - but I also think the community has a lot to offer even if it moves in a slightrly different direction from those original goals. These things often evolve in a natural way....


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