The biggest news in the blogosphere today seems to be that the number one blog in the Technorati 100 is now the 老徐 徐静蕾 新浪BLOG from China written by Xu Jing Lei, replacing Boing Boing. Couple that with the information in the latest report by Dave Sifry that less than 1/3 of the blogosphere is now written in English and it’s hard not to be impressed by the global reach of the Web. It’s pretty amazing and inspiring. Now I know that we’re still talking about a comparatively few actual content creators instead of just content consumers. If my math is right, 40,000,000 bloggers/1,000,000,000 Web users is 4%, right? If the trends continue, however, we’re going to have more and more international voices entering the conversation.
Similarly, I had a chance to revsit Global Voices Online this morning, and I was just blown away by the work that’s happening there. GVO is a project from the Berkman Center at Harvard:

A growing number of bloggers around the world are emerging as “bridge bloggers:” people who are talking about their country or region to a global audience. Global Voices is your guide to the most interesting conversations, information, and ideas appearing around the world on various forms of participatory media such as blogs, podcasts, photo sharing sites, and videoblogs.

It’s an amazing resource for any student or teacher studying international issues. It’s an amazing model for the type of work we could be doing with our own students. And, as Clarence writes, it’s sorely needed in our classrooms:

These are the voices I’ve been waiting to hear. The voices that most North American kids, locked up in our continental fortress need to hear. We need to listen, to read, to understand; to grow in global understanding and perception. The ability to cooperate internationally, to compete internationally, to know how others live through their days will bring a deeper understanding.

And, I would add, we need to contribute our own voices and those of our students to that mix.

The problem is that these types of technologies and the shifts they are facilitating are not prominently on the radar of any of the conferences I’ve been to of late. In fact, I am still amazed at the virtual lack of presentations that put the use of any technology use in the context of anything greater than the four walls of the traditional classroom. We need to be more expansive in our thinking. We need to be talking more about the opportunities “out there” instead of how to make things incrementally better “in here.” (I’m serious, right now, all sessions on PowerPoint should be banned from conference schedules.) If educators who pay their way to ed tech events don’t at least leave with a sense of the changes and opportunities that the Web affords these days, they’re wasting their money.

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