Great Blogs For Educators
The ability to share today’s thoughts and information has little in common with the world of 1998, when a handful of weblogs existed (so named by Jorn Barger in December 1997). The concept’s name was shortened to “blog” and the rest is history. A quick scan of the web reveals a blog for just about everything and everyone – from Martha Stewart to the New York Yankees! If you are an educator, be sure check out the following blogs.
With 20+ years experience as an educator, Angela Maiers now “provides consulting services to schools, organizations, and individuals seeking to use technology and social media to leverage human capital and production goals.” She firmly believes passionate learners, with a desire to grow, can enjoy a limitless future. Her goal: to strategically use technology to leverage human capital and maximize performance of organizations big and small.
The blog has a section called “Chalk Talk.” In a post dated 9/23/11, she features some helpful sites she found while “traversing her way through the Blogosphere.” She discussed:
- Evernote – A comprehensive note-taking and note-organizing app for iPhone and iPad.
- A great post on Knewton Blog about the problems with current methods of teaching math in schools.
- Draw It Live – A website that provides an easy-to-use collaborative whiteboard.
- Famous Quotes – A free app that gives you over 50,000 enlightening and inspiring quotes by famous authors, musicians, and more.
- Words Like – A great online thesaurus. It’s an excellent way to look up words you don’t know or just expand your vocabulary.
Another link on the blog led to a TED Talk entitled You Matter: A Message, A Reminder, A Connector, A Mission. This has exceptional significant for educators; view her talk at http://www.angelamaiers.com/2011/08/new-ted-talk-you-matter.html.
Carol Richtsmeier, called Richie by her students, currently teaches at a public high school located just south of Dallas. She advises both the school newspaper and yearbook while she waits to be discovered by Oprah. (On her blog is an active campaign to capture Oprah’s attentions!) Richtsmeier is a freelance writer and journalism workshop instructor, with a prior life as a reporter for the Dallas Morning News. She received the 2005 Courage in Student Journalism Award from the national Newseum, Student Press Law Center and National Scholastic Press Association – the first teacher to ever receive this award.
Richtsmeier’s blog points to the irreverent side of education. With great humor and openness about life’s foibles, the hope is that you “look at our educational world from a different perspective – not from the lessons I have taught my students, but rather from the lessons my students and others have taught me.” Her site has some hilarious articles, such as Deadlines, Omelets & Banned Chocolate – a delightful essay recounting the trials of deadlines without EC (Emergency Chocolate).
Vickie Davis started her professional life with a management degree from Georgia Tech. Moving into the business world, she was a market analyst and then a general manager of a cell phone company for 13 counties in southwest Georgia. After a stint as a stay-at-home mom, she developed websites and technology integration courses for businesses and school systems. A school noted her vast experience, and recruited her to join their staff as an educator. She learned about blogging at a 2005 educational technology conference. Her passion: “to advocate, inspire and inform teachers, parents, and professionals about how to reach this generation of learners.”
Her blog is packed with information. Under the Freebies tab, Davis shares some downloadable items, all from a variety of sources that she has authored or contributed to. Everything is free unless noted otherwise; examples include (1) The Web 2.0 Classroom [PDF] and (2) Flat Classroom eBook from Atomic Learning, based on the author’s web video series. Under the Popular tab, Davis has a myriad of blog topics, such as:
- 122 Apps & Software For You
- Making the Case for Cell Phones in School
- The Frontier of Education: Web 3D
- 11 Steps to Online Supervision of Your Child
And heed the blogger’s advice: “Remember your noble calling, teacher.”
Edutopia is the vision of the George Lucas Educational Foundation “dedicated to improving the K-12 learning process by documenting, disseminating, and advocating for innovative, replicable, and evidence-based strategies that prepare students to thrive in their future education, careers, and adult lives.”
The organization strives to promote three fundamental skills:
- How to find information
- How to assess the quality of information
- How to creatively and effectively use information to accomplish a goal
Lucas believes that education is the foundation of our democracy, yet traditional education can be extremely isolating and not relevant to real life. New digital multimedia and telecommunications can support the engagement of students, and well-prepared educators are critical. The foundation documents and disseminates the most exciting classrooms where these innovations are taking place. This resource is a virtual treasure trove, packed with tabs for (1) searching by grade level, such as grades 3-5, (2) searching by core strategies, such as integrated studies or technology integration, (3) pages of videos, (4) 13 different blogs, (5) learning communities, such as online learning or project-based learning, and (6) schools that work, which discovers successful schools and strategies across the United States.
Blogger Steve Hargadon, from California, is Elluminate’s Social Learning Consultant and the founder of the Classroom 2.o social network. He blogs and speaks on educational technology and social networking, and has consulted with PBS, Intel, Ning and others on these issues.
This resource is loaded with interesting podcasts from a variety of experts. Topics include (1) Children’s Education Bill of Rights, (2) iPads in the Classroom, (3) Helping Students Motivate Themselves, (4) The Future of Libraries, and (5) Teaching and Learning in a Networked World. There is a Forum tab, containing 385 forum discussions at the time of review. Topic threads include:
- The 21st century skills teachers should have
- Bloom’s Taxonomy: the 21st century version
- Dealing with anxiety at the start of a new school year
- E-textbooks – boon or pain?
- Teens and divorce
- Dealing with rejection
Registration as a Future of Education member is required; there is no cost for this resource.
Blogger Kelly Tenkely is veteran of the classroom – seven years as an elementary teacher and five years as a technology integration specialist. Offering mentoring, training and professional development, her goal is to “help teachers fall in love with technology the way their students have.”
This resource offers iPad Curriculum, a collection of the best in applications, practices and deployment of the iPad as a learning device. Among Tenkely’s reviews are:
- Demibooks Composer – the first iPad based authoring software
- Stick Pick app – offers teachers a category of questions based on Bloom’s Taxonomy
- Virtual Rat Dissection app – offers students all of the tools that come with a real dissection without all the mess and smell
Additionally, Tenkely has links to a variety of freelance articles, such as (1) 15 Tools to Help You Go Paperless, (2) 5 Best Virtual Field Trips, (3) 10 Technology Enhanced Alternatives to Book Reports, and (4) Lessons Learned from Master Teachers.