from Educators' eZine
The days of professional isolation are over. Today, you can interact with millions of colleagues through blogs.
By now most of us have heard of Blogs — user-generated, moderated websites whose readers can publicly respond to news and commentaries on specific topics. Once posted, others may reply to your perspectives, and so on. This dynamic, two-way communication among blog participants continues unrestrained, assuming good taste. These dialogues often yield stimulating and informative discussions.
The well-known Internet engine for searching blogs, Technorati, tracks over 75 million blogs. Given this startling number, there is a blog for virtually every imaginable interest. Hundreds connect teachers with teachers and administrators. Here are our favorites.
The Cool Cat Teacher Blog
A self-proclaimed technology geek, host Vicki Davis' emphasis is on "teaching content with new tools, enthusiasm and the belief that teaching is a noble calling!" While site content may initially seem overwhelming, the search engine on the home page effectively guides users. The "summary of recent posts" is also a useful roadmap. Frequent embedded video clips add another dimension. No kitty litter here, this cool blog is the cat's meow!
Kathy Schrock's Kaffeeklatsch
Kaffeeklatsch? The etymology is German - "Kaffee" meaning coffee and "Klatsch" meaning gossip. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it as an informal social gathering for coffee and conversation. (Actually a clever name for a blog.) Kathy's folksy style draws readers and contributors into the world of a technology administrator from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Be sure to also check out Kathy Schrock's Home Page a comprehensive web site. It offers teachers some of the best and most practical information available on the Web.) So make your kaffee of choice and join the klatsch.
Nominated for the "Best Educational Blog" by Blogger's Choice Awards, we rate "42" in our top 5. Steve Dembo, a pioneer in education technology, hosts this widely popular blog and podcast. You may know that Steve was one of the first education podcasters. Postings emphasize topics of primary interest to tech enthusiasts. If you are an addicted or aspiring podcaster, this blog is especially for you.
"An educational community to connect teachers from every level" is the stated purpose of Teacher Lingo. It offers an array of blogs categorized by role: elementary teacher; middle school teacher; high school teacher; pre-school teacher; special education teacher; and school administrator. There's even a blog for parents. You can also create your own blog. Topics span the entire educational spectrum. Lingo, by the way, is a jargon-free zone.
Dr. David Thornburg, one of the most popular and respected international presenters in the areas of educational change and technology â€“ Dr. Thornburg presents to over 100,000 people annually—recently launched this blog. Although the number of entries is limited given its short life, interest in his comments will soon yield many readers and contributors.. Here's your chance to be one of its first contributors.
Alan November Weblog
Another recognized international leader in educational technology, Alan November shares his expertise in this forum. Contributor participation is high and their comments are generally thoughtful. A useful search engine facilitates navigating the extensive archived blogs.
Blog Juice for Educational Technology
Blog Juice "aggregates content from educational technology leaders who are impacting the integration of new ideas into classroom learning." As such, this site offers busy professionals a quick look at what's happening in the field from multiple perspectives and sources. We recommend this site for technology administrators and policy leaders. Get your juices flowing!
The Tech Savvy Educator
If you are seeking practical ways to integrate technology in your classroom, this site is for you. There are numerous examples of successful practices as well as a categorized listing of "forum" discussions. While contributors teach in various disciplines and grade levels, they all have a common passion for successful technology integration. Yes, you can become savvy too!
While you might not be able to afford all the latest and greatest futuristic gadgets, the next best thing is bragging to others about them. This is the place to see, and hear about, the future! Digg is a "user driven social content" blog. This means that all the content is contributed by fellow bloggers. Cheesy industry sales pitches, therefore, are kept to a minimum. Digg's front page features its Top 10 Technology blogs with the most comments. So, if you're looking for the current "buzz", forget your heavy-duty digging tools and start with the Top 10. Scratching the surface and treading lightly here will get you the lay of the land.
As one of the leading resources for teachers, administrators and tech coordinators, Techlearning sponsors an equally impressive blog. It begins with their useful home page. Instead of the all-too common cluttered and overwhelming chatter, Techlearning limits their entries in both number and scope. A title and the first two to 10 lines are posted for each of the ten or so blogs. You can quickly survey the entire blog lineup in a few minutes. If you want to view the remainder of a commentary, just click the accompanying link. Their best and most unique attribute is their dynamic array of "in-house" bloggers. Twelve all-star tech professionals with varied experiences, including Teach42's Steve Dembo and Cool CatTeacher's Vicki Davis (see above), are on-call each day of the week. A complete listing with their brief bio is available through a link on the home page. Where else can you get direct access to some of the best technology innovators and leaders? This is the one!
We saved our most important recommendation for last. Technorati, as mentioned earlier, is the Internet search engine for blogs. As such, here you can transverse the entire blogosphere. Technorati's search engine is simple to use, yet powerful, as it sifts through millions of blog posts and blog directories. We suggest checking periodically for newly created blogs aligned with your personal interests. Technorati is your travel guide to connecting with others around the world, without leaving your home.
Email:Dr. Janet Buckenmeyer