BY DR. MALIA HOFFMANN
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON
Blogs are a quick and easy way to learn something new on the fly. Through blogs, you can get inspired, personalize your learning, and connect with other experts.
In one of my earlier blog posts, 6 Popular Classroom Blogging Ideas, you would have read that there are over 58.6 million blogs on Wordpress alone.
How do you sift through them and find what is relevant to you? There is the Google machine, but you still have to skim through them, look for keywords, and determine the author’s credibility.
Here is a list of my top 10 blogs, not only for new teachers, but all teachers plus one bonus blog.
#1 - TEACHER TECH
Alice Keeler is one of my all-time favorite educators in technology. She is the epitome of what it means to share and give back to educators. She presents at conferences across the country, tweets, and blogs.
She is also a Google Certified Teacher and most of her posts revolve around the G Suite (formerly known as GAFE). So if you are a Google School, you need to know Alice Keeler.
Keeler’s blog covers everything Google, from Chrome extensions, G Suite tips and tricks, as well as many math tech uses (TPACK in action!). Not only is she a giver of knowledge, but she also corresponds with us commoners.
She will respond to your comments on her posts as well as any direct tweets. Be sure to scope out the Tag Cloud at the bottom of her pages if you are looking for specific content. You will not be sorry you discovered Alice Keeler; however, you may fall down the rabbit hole of information overload.
#2 - BYOT NETWORK
Dr. Tim Clark earned his Ed.D. in educational leadership but covers a wide range of educational topics. He’s the author of many educational periodicals including his own blog.
Being that he is a Doctor, his posts are a bit more academic and research-based; whereas, Keeler’s posts are more application-based. Nonetheless, both are excellent blogs.
Dr. Clark’s Blog: BYOT, Bring Your Own Technology (technology has been interchangeable with Device, BYOD), covers topics on educational leadership, collaboration, digital literacy, and fair use.
All of these topics are of value to new teachers, yes, even the leadership piece. He has a rich database of posts, and like Keeler’s, use the word cloud to find topics that suit you (are you finding a theme here? Hint: look for the word cloud).
#3- BLENDED LEARNING AND TECHNOLOGY IN THE CLASSROOM
Catlin Tucker is another Google Certified Teacher. She has written several books and also has a wide range of topics covered on her blog. One of my favorite things about her blog is her “Favorite Web Tools” tab.
She covers in a few sentences several must- have web tools with links to access them. She blends the technology seamlessly into her instructional practices (dare I mention TPACK?), including English Lit uses.
If you are an English teacher you should definitely check out her site, but you don’t have to be an English teacher to appreciate the tools she shares.
#4 - CLASS TECH INTEGRATE
I find this site is a bit more geared to the techie teacher -- someone who has a lot of foundational tech knowledge and wants to advance that with their students is the primary audience here.
There are several posts about coding in the classroom. This is timely because this week (Dec 5-11) is Computer Science Education week, where schools around the world are encouraged to engage in “An Hour of Code”.
This is to promote computer science to all students, across all disciplines. If you’d like to join the movement, I suggest checking out this blog to get you started. It covers free and easy sites such as Scratch and Codecademy.
Not only does this site cover computer sciencey stuff, but it covers digital literacy, G Suite, and other digital tools.
#5 - CLASS TECH TIPS
Dr. Monica Burns, another teacher turned tech leader, is an Apple Distinguished Educator, conference presenter, and also holds several accolades from leading tech companies around the country.
She has a unique slant on her blog postings from her most recent post, 5 Apps for Student Sports Lovers with Curriculum Connections, Best Technology for School Grant Program, and How to Strengthen Student Listening Skills with Podcasts.
Like Dr. Clark, Dr. Burns connects many of her posts to the theoretical framework that shapes why we do what we do as educators. It is easy to forget about the research side of it as we put the blinders on while planning a lesson.
She’ll help remind you that it’s always important to focus on the Why first and then the How.
#6 - COOL CAT TEACHER
Vicki Davis is the author of this teachers’ blog. She is a current educator, presenter, and guest writer for many esteemed publications. She writes this blog as a hobby to share what she’s doing with her students and what she finds important.
Her posts are timely, like her latest post on her suggested gift list for techies this year. She has great posts on How to Help Your Subs Make Progress with Your Students and How to Teach Kids to Use Smartphones Safely.
She’s been a classroom teacher for over a decade and has a lot of experience and knowledge to pull from. This blog is especially good for beginning teachers because it comes from a veteran.
#7 - ED TECH TEACHER
The Ed Tech Teacher blog is great because it includes a team of educators’ posts. Their team is made up of K-12 educators, instructional designers, instructors, etc.
There is a wide perspective posted here to appeal to all teachers. They cover great topics to inspire new ideas in your classrooms, Smashing Apps and harnessing Chromebooks, to name a couple.
If you are looking for something to freshen up your classroom, this is a one-stop-shop.
#8 - EDTECHNOCATION
Michael Fricano II is a technology integration specialist. He has been an educator since 2007 and has some great experience in those emerging technologies like MakerEd, Coding, gaming, and Virtual Reality.
His blog posts lend themselves well to the STEM/STEAM movement if that interests you. He also has a nice library of YouTube tutorials on his channels, when let’s face it, sometimes we’d rather watch and listen than read one more thing.
Fricano also has several Apple topic related posts, which I haven’t seen much of on the last seven blogs. His posts are easy to integrate into your classroom tomorrow if you are so inclined.
EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY AND MOBILE LEARNING
NOTE FROM EDITOR: This blog has come into question over its content creation and licensing practices. We have chosen to remove it from the list.
#10 - SHAKE UP LEARNING
Kasey Bell is another presenter at several conferences, consultant, and writer of educational content. Her blog covers several Google related topics from, becoming a Google Certified Educator and trainer, using the G Suite tools in unique ways, and how to keep up with the constant innovation of Google.
Her posts are short and sweet so they won’t take you long to read. So get in that arduous line at the grocery store, pull out your phone and Shake Up your Learning and read what Bell is writing.BONUS - THE K-12 DAILY DOSE
We saved the bonus blog for last! Our very own spot on the internet talking about the latest edtech trends, statistics and device news.
Produced by BEYOND Technology Education, The K-12 Daily Dose provides unique content, premium content and features guest bloggers including me! The K-12 daily Dose is always looking for new bloggers.
If you want to try out your writing skills and have something interesting to say to other teachers then give them a shout.
How do you keep track of all these blogs? I like to use a tool called Feedly. It curates all your blogs into one easy place to access. Feedly notifies you of new posts without having to go out to each blog.
Mobile apps are available as well to make your blogs all the more accessible. Information on the go, what’s not to love. Now get reading.