Education Blogs: The Digital Classroom
Primary Tech is runner-up nominee for the 2012 Edublog Awards: Best Teacher Blog. Created and maintained by Kathleen Morris, the blog addresses technology integration within classrooms. Ms. Morris is a primary school teacher (4th grade) at Leopold Primary School in Victoria, Australia. She has even received recognition for her ambitious and creative integration of technology into the classroom from The Age newspaper.
The blog is very informative and aims at educating children,adults, and teachers in technology. For example, when discussing digital safety, Kathleen Morris addressing digital footprints of children, cyber safety, and even internet tips for teachers. These resources address real-life problems while providing detailed solutions. How easy is that for all subscribers!She tackles NETS for Students Standard 5: “Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior” with her leadership and pioneering. Who would have thought that 4th graders would individually have blogs and contribute to a classroom blog? Also, for the skeptics or more traditional teachers, there is a blog post titled The Benefits of Educational Blogging. I highly recommend this for new and experienced teachers. It discusses the growth of students beyond technology such as mathematics, literacy, social skills, and creating a closer community (blog as a “window into the classroom”).
This blog finds a way to blend professionalism (teaching) and youth (students). Information is presented clearly and concisely to reduce confusion with a broad audience of subscribers. Throughout the blog you can see the dedication and passion of Kathleen Morris. She is so confident of the success of blogging that she provides guidelines for anyone to get started! Her advocacy is also evident through endless documented evidence, personal experience, and outside resources.
Winner of the 2012 Edublog Awards: Best Teacher Blog, Caroline Bowen credentials in speech-language pathology are beyond impressive. Her professional education, research, and collaboration set her apart as an educational blogger. How you may ask? Well, have you ever wondered about speech and language disorders? If so, you can learn about each one, diagnosis, treatment, therapy, and even be put in touch with a speech-language pathologist or speech and language therapist near you! Unlike blogs I have seen thus far, Speech-Therapy-Language dot com is a true professional blog and resource. If you are not convinced yet, just take a look at the blog’s cumulative glossary. The appearance and layout of the blog make it user-friendly with ease of navigation through an otherwise complex field of knowledge.
This is not a casual blog. Caroline Bowen is a true professional who holds herself to very high standards. Teachers with students who may have a type of speech disorder would be wise to use this blog. It offers professional growth in a highly specialized medical and education field. Additionally, this type of blog along with the school’s speech therapist would be ideal to share with parents who may be concerned about their child’s speech development. In the classroom, this type of blog could be used to discuss diversity and disorders. I could picture myself in a 5th grade classroom grouping students and letting them decide on a disorder to present via Powerpoint, video, blog entry, etc. The great thing about the source is it’s extremely high credibility and ease of navigation even for students.
Nominated for 2010 Edublog Awards: Best New Blog, 2011 Edublog Awards: Best Teacher Blog, and 2012 Edublog Awards: Best Teacher Blog, Amanda Dykes is a proven educational/teacher blogger. Also noteworthy, Amanda Dykes has taught 1st, 3rd, and 5th grades while currently teaching 6th grade. This personal blog (no affiliation with a school or class) focuses on technology use in classrooms. Her post, What Is Standing Between You and Your Students Using Tech?, shows some great graphical representations of significant data. According to her source, mashable, a majority of teachers want more technology in classrooms, 90% of teachers have access to computers, 59% of teachers have access to interactive whiteboards, and 35% of teachers have access to tablets. This data address the availability but not the implementation or use within the classroom. Nonetheless, the data is useful.
Upside Down Education does offer some non-tech posts. I enjoyed the post, Insanity Prevention, discussing how administrators can help teachers from losing their minds throughout a school year. The social aspect of a professional environment cannot be undervalued according to Amanda Dykes. Teachers need time to be with teachers, especially during the school day to plan, vent, and talk openly as adults. She also recommends professional development outside of the school that builds a community and bonds teachers beyond lesson plans, books, and student interactions. I enjoyed her confidence to address administrators who may read her blog directly. She is not afraid to express her opinion and give recommendations to others. Many teachers can relate to this type of post (not just technologically savvy readers) which shows the variety of posts available through the blog.
Overall, Upside Down Education is an easy read that does not take much time to gain valuable information. Unlike Speech-Theray-Language dot com, Upside Down Education is a far less professional blog yet still very eloquent. This contrast between blogs should be demonstrated to students to show two distinctly different blogs who are both successful. With a creative and relaxed blog comes certain advantages too. One can speak more freely with opinion language, diversify posts (such as Amanda Dykes does posting about technology statistics, ideas to improve teacher moral, online reputation, and even soapbox about failures of teachers), and let your mind creatively guide you to your next post. Amanda Dykes does a great job modeling a creative, useful blog that is expressive and informative.
If you have any recommended teacher blogs, feel free to comment and I will definitely look into them!
Have you ever seen a blog post with an indented first line of paragraphs? Odd…
Have a great weekend.