EDTECH Listserv


EDTECH is a moderated H-Net Discussion of Educational Technology mailing list (listserv) that focuses on discussion 
and problem solving among people interested in educational technology. EDTECH list has 
approximately 3,500 direct subscribers and 8,000 readers from 50 different countries who 
participate in sharing ideas and information. Information is shared and accessed via USENET NEWS as bit.listserv.edtech, on gopher, and on private electronic bulletin boards. EDTECH also is available on a web site that archives group activity making the information accessible without subscribing to the list. 

The EDTECH web site is located at http://www.h-net.org/~edweb. The EDTECH listserv is also archived as a Google group at http://groups.google.com/group/bit.listserv.

I subscribed and followed the EDTECH list beginning for approximately two months. Having participated in a variety of listservs in the past, my initial impression of the EDTECH list was underwhelming. Considering the list's theme and the reported number of subscribers and readers, there was not as much sharing of information or ideas on the list as I expected. Most days there were typically 6 to 12 posts about topics that ranged from people seeking and sharing advice about specific tools to discussions about technology literacy, issues, and pedagogy. Looking into the archives of the EDTECH list, I found that discussions also may address solving problems in educational technology, sharing research, conversations about research and books, educational hardware and software, conferences and events related to educational technology, and information about educational technology graduate programs and the universities that offer them.

During the two months that I subscribed to the EDTECH list there were approximately 240 posts to the list. The discussion threads on the list with the most activity were about MovieMaker and Flip cameras (20 posts), K-5 software suggestions (11 posts), Lesley University degrees (10 posts), 

Taking into consideration that the discussion thread with the most posts was about using MovieMaker and Flip Cameras with 20 posts, most of the 240 posts on the list had very little activity and many posts remain unanswered or not discussed beyond the original post. A reason that many posts remain unanswered or not discussed may be due to the nature of many posts. A common use of the list appears to be for seeking advice and information, but posts are also often used for unsolicited sharing of information, similarly to how social networking tools, such as Twitter and Delicious are used to collaborate and share ideas and information. 

My initial reaction to the limited activity on the EDTECH list prompted me to reflect on the evolution of information networking over the past five years and evaluate how web sites like Twitter, Diigo, Delicious, YouTube, and Ning sites have empowered people to develop multiple avenues for sharing and seeking ideas and information, collaborating, and problem solving. 

Based on my experience, I would argue that Twitter is replacing the traditional listserv, such as EDTECH, as the dominant technology medium for sharing and seeking information and advice. The Twitter hashtags #edtech and #edchat typically have more postings in an hour than EDTECH list does in a day and even some weeks. Given its limited activity, the postings themselves in the EDTECH list are more in-depth and substantive than those in Twitter. This is most likely due to the user interface of the EDTECH list is an email message that is preferably 500 lines or fewer compared to Twitter posts that are limited to 140 characters.

When considering the limited activity of EDTECH list in contrast to other prolific networks, such as Twitter, the the types of information shared and discussed still makes the EDTECH list a valuable resource that should not be overlooked. 

To subscribe to the EDTECH list, send an email to EDTECH@H-NET.MSU.EDU and enter SUB EDTECH Your Name on the first line in the body of the message (Replace "Your Name" with your first and last name).