As an educator in this constantly evolving world it is important to continuously step back and evaluate our practices and tools that we use to accomplish our craft. Each new wave of students is coming to us with different experiences, new perspectives, and a more intuitive knowledge of technology then the group before. It is our job as educators to not only keep up, but set the standards for new and innovative ideas in the classroom. One great way to find these new ideas is through educational blogs. These blogs can give some great insight on ways to improve and enhance the use of technology in your classroom. Watch this video from Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach about why it is important to be a connected educator.
Ms. Nussbaum-Beach is the author of the blog 21st Century Collaborative. She uses her blog to share information about the importance of seeking professional development in education. As an experienced educator, she tracks her process as a professional development provider and connects her readers to new opportunities and ideas that might help them grow in their own learning. Her blog post Walking the Walk explains why she decided to pursue professional development as a way to connect to the education community. In her blogpost In Defense of Rigor she explores the many definitions of rigor as defined in education. In both blogposts she links her thought process to other articles and ideas that have informed her opinion and comes to some powerful conclusions about the whys and hows of education. This is a great blog if you are looking for thought provoking, big picture discussions. She regularly looks at what educators are doing in the classroom, and perhaps more importantly why are they doing what they are doing in the classroom.
Another educational blog that has some great insight is Voices from the Learning Revolution. This blog is authored by a variety of educators and sponsored by Powerful Learning Practice Professional Development. It discusses different ways that new technology are being experimented with in the classroom such as Virtual Field Trips and Skype adventures. Each post is written by an educator that was actively involved in the experiment and includes the process that they followed, the outcomes that they experienced and some reflections on the process. The blog also includes blog posts on pedagogy and teaching practices. In How Do We Teach Critical Thinking in a Connected World? Sr. Geralyn Schmidt reflects on the ways that teachers use critical thinking to refine their own practice. In Encouraging Teachers to Teach Creatively Margaret Haviland poses a new perspective on Bloom’s taxonomy and the importance of fostering creativity within the learning community. Overall, the blog presents some great starting points for discussions on classroom practices. It reads like a continual list of action research abstracts with the conclusions and take-aways stated at the end of each blog post.
The last blog that I would like to discuss today is Teaching English using web 2.0 authored by Ann S. Michaelsen of Norway. Michaelsen uses her blog to post ideas, articles and thought provoking media about how technology is being used in classrooms around the world. As an administrator in her school Michaelsen has made it her goal to foster technological practices in every classroom. In her blog-post Innovative Ideas from Across the Globe she highlights the ways that schools are using technology by posting a video from the Infinite Thinking Machine that explains their “design for giving” contest. It is inspiring to see what other schools are doing and it could be a great way to present a global perspective on technology. Another of her blogs titled MIT launches student-produced educational video initiative explains a new program the MIT is launching to create quality education videos that target STEM initiatives. In this article she explains the program, includes a short video that shows highlights from the program, and connects links to articles if you would like to read further. This blog is a neat way to stay connected to the international educational community. Michaelsen has a keen eye for what is hot and seems to keep her finger on the pulse of technological education.
No matter what blog you choose to read, it is important to constantly reflect on your practices as a teacher. Blogs are a great way to see what others are doing, and perhaps challenge yourself to try something new.