This is not a blog post…#lwf11

Earlier today while listening to the livefeed of Learning Without Frontiers #lwf11 I had the misfortune to hear Katharine Birbalsingh presenting. Not since a recent Alt-C keynote have I seen such a vitriolic twitter backchannel. And in my opinion it was justified. Several people in my twitter feed missed the presentation but picked up on the backchannel and asked me to blog a summary of the talk. We’ll I’ve written a short summary but I’ve decided not to post it because that would just be providing publicity for opinions that I actually find quite objectionable. So if you want the summary let me know and I’ll send it to you. I don’t really want such nonsense on my blog.

Dan Stucke has blogged a short sumamry of the presentation on his blog here.

2 thoughts on “This is not a blog post…#lwf11

  1. I think that another term for this “message first, think later” vitriol would be “bullying”. It seems no different from the kind of name-calling, intimidation and chanting that one might find in a school playground by a mob who decide they dislike the opinion of another child in the class who is different.

    The irony is not lost on me.

    Here we have an audience of intelligent people who consider themselves interested in disruption who are suddenly shocked and appalled by someone who has a contrary disruptive viewpoint.

    The LWF event is not a club for people who are all in agreement with each other. It’s those kinds of clubs who have failed learners in this country.

    No LWF is, as advertised, a platform for disruptive thinkers who are passionate about improving learning and equality of access and Katharine Birbalsingh certainly qualifies on this point.

    Ill-considered hectoring on Twitter and cheap shots from a following speaker to win audience approval is not clever it is plain stupid and ignorant demonstrating closed mines unwilling to listen to new arguments. This is not what LWF is about.

    As educators we encourage the careful and considered use of social media channels amongst the young, explaining the risks that once you put something on the net it is there in perpetuity for all to see. Well now we have a permanent record of the intolerance of some members of the LWF community and their inability to listen, consider and debate contrary ideas without resorting to insults and bullying.

    Well shame on you.

    That kind of behaviour won’t lead to change it will simply ensure a small pond with a few big fish who are the “approved” thought leaders. But this will not happen on my watch.

    I welcome all thinkers, doers & practitioners from all sectors who are passionate about improving learning and equality of access in this renewed discussion about the role of technology & learning. I don’t have to agree with everything that is said but I do insist on mutual respect and courtesy.

    I am embarrassed that members of the LWF community didn’t show this politeness to Katharine who gave up her time, having already been penalised for her opinions by recently losing her job and being royally stuffed by the Conservative party, to share her views.

    It doesn’t matter if you don’t like her views there are ways in which we hold a discussion and the channels and speaking podium by at least one following speaker were abused.

    We can not in good conscience applaud the chutzpah and disruption of Evan Roth because we like it one moment and then rudely dismiss the disruptive intervention of Katharine Birbalsingh because we don’t.

    I suggest those who did not show common professional courtesy in their tweets and blog posts consider how this reflects on themselves.



  2. Thank you for your comments Graham. I think we will have to agree to differ. I do however agree with you regarding the importance of professional common courtesy which is why I decided not to post a summary of a presentation that I found to be ill informed at best. That is my opinion, others are clearly entitled to theirs.