flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

There is nothing better than reading a post that by the nature of its content challenges you to really reassess your thinking. This is where on the one hand a part of me is left nodding in agreement, but then a part of me is left unsure what it means for my own practices.

I have read two such posts lately, Jon Andrews reflection on education cheeserolling and Dan Haesler’s question of disclosure. Andrews considers the tendency for many to simply play a game of follow the leader with little awareness of what we are actually following and who is actually leading. A point that Richard Olsen captures this so well in his post on research.

Haesler on the other hand puts the spotlight on disclosure. His point is about being clear about any gifts or donations that you may have received from companies whose products you may be writing about. Even though Haesler said that he had no gripe with people actually receiving such kickbacks, this post left me with more questions than answers.

The main quandary that I was left with was if we are really going to be open and honest about disclosing, where does one stop? So here goes, my attempt to disclose:

  • I write a lot about Google, I am a Google Certified Innovator. However, beyond providing the opportunity to spend a few days learning in Sydney a few years ago and a badge, I have never received any products or kickbacks.
  • If you click this link I will not receive a thing, but you can sign up to Reclaim Hosting too and like me experience their awesome support.
  • I have reflected on Adobe Voice (now Spark) quite a bit, however, the offer of Tim Kitchen to come to my school only after I had published my posts, while the free subscription to Adobe Cloud was a part of becoming an Adobe Campus Leader.
  • I have presented at a number of conferences, including Leading a Digital School and GAFESummit. This often comes with free entry. Although there is no expectation as to what this means, however there is encouragement to share out with your network.
  • I love to read and believe that a part of the process is responding. Other than Anywhere Anytime Learning, which was free for few days, I have paid for every book that I have reviewed for free. (I do not count David Culberhouse’s book here, as it is always free.)
  • To be fair, I have written about a lot of edtech products, whether it be TouchCast, Thimble, Blogging or Microsoft OneNote. I have not recieved any benefits from these companies.

With all of this said, I think that the disclosure that matters most is why we do what we do. This is what Steve Box touches on in his response to Haesler’s post,

I probably (perhaps cynically) assume that anytime someone is spruiking a product (via blog or tweet etc) that there is either an existing or a desired commercial relationship. This is especially where my ‘spidey-senses’ appear when a tweet uses @product or a hyperlink.

I have written about my ‘why’ before. However, Box’s comment leaves me doubting myself. Maybe deep down I am just fooling myself. Maybe there is a part in all of us, even Steve Box, that wants to be a thought leader held up in the limelight. Of course, you can say no, just as I do, but do you really know?

So what about you? What are you disclosing? I would love to know.

 


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