Tag Archives: blogging

Must Read Educational Sites for Summer

This is reblogged from my post on FreeTech4Teachers

There are a lot of resources on the web for educators, and it can be challenging to sort through all of that information to find those hidden gems. Here are a few of the websites and blogs that I recommend to educators looking to get started. Some are on the general topic of education while others focus on specific themes or topics. Check out this list and add your own in the comments below!

General Education Topics

Edutopia – Edutopia was founded by the George Lucas Education Foundation to provide a place to share evidence-based practices and programs that help students learn. They cover topics from professional development to digital citizenship initiatives.

EdWeek – Education Week covers topics in education around the country, including public, charter, and independent schools. They report on current events, publish articles, and touch on pedagogical practice. Some parts of EdWeek are free but note that others are paid.

Huffington Post Education – The Huffington Post Education section includes a curated list of stories and blog posts on education. They may cover school policies, digital equity, or teacher pay disparities. This is a great resource for educators who want to keep the pulse of topics in education.

NPR Education – National Public Radio reports on education topics at the national, state, and local level. Always a great resource, NPR reports on topics such as chronic absenteeism or violence in schools.

MindShift KQED – MindShift focuses on innovative practices in teaching and learning. They cover both theory and practice in a way that is both academically sophisticated and accessible in short bites.

Educational Technology

To read the complete list, visit FreeTech4Teachers

4 Ways to Implement Blogging in the Classroom

This is reblogged from my post at Daily Genius.

Blogging is a popular activity in classrooms today because it allows students to share their writing with a broader audience and teachers to communicate with parents. There are a myriad of platforms to choose from: edublogs,Kidblog (especially good for elementary age children), Blogger, wordpress, and most LMS systems have a blogging platform built in.

How to set up blogging in the classroom will depend on your platform, and is pretty easy to figure out with all of the “how-to” videos and help center collections. What teachers most often ask me is why they would set up a blog for their class. What value is there in a class blog?

Here are some great ideas and applications for class and/or individual student blogs that you can explore in your classroom.


Blogs can be set to private, public, and shared with specific individuals or groups. This makes them a great platform for students to build their own ePortfolio. They can curate their content first for teachers and parents before publishing it to a broader audience. As a blog allows for not only written content, but multimedia material (images, videos, interactives, etc), it makes it possible for students to create a robust online presence. Kristen Wideen uses Kiblog for her elementary students to create digital portfolios; you can read more about her experience here.


If your students are making videos, creating science fair projects, writing poetry, or other creative content, then a blog is a great way for them to showcase their work. By allowing (moderated) comments, students have an authentic, broader audience that they are addressing. Imagine students who are participating in Poetry Month posting their participatory works online and getting feedback from poets around the country! TheBurlington High School Help Desk (staffed entirely by students) hosts a community blog where they post information about themselves, helpful hints, reviews for new apps and tools, individual projects, and much more. By engaging a broader audience, students learn about digital citizenship and safety while online.


Because blogs allow for threaded discussion, they are an excellent platform for discussion. One of my favorite exercises in Social Studies is to post a news article along with some guided questions (the New York Times Learning Network has great tools for this). Students then engage in an online discussion about the topic. Not only does this promote critical thinking and writing skills, but it is an excellent diving board for discussions on Digital Citizenship.


If you have students working on groups projects or in class labs, especially ones that take several weeks and exercises, then blogs are an excellent way for them to record and report on their progress. Imagine students working on a Biology Lab that encompases a quarter or semester-long project. As a group, they report their findings, measurements, and progress each step of the way. If the blog is shared with the class, then they have an audience that is also monitoring their progress, not only learning from their peers but also providing oversight for errors.

These are just a few examples of activities that you can use blogs for in your class. Explore how blogging can work in your class and try some of these examples from EdTechTeacher.



  • Creating Digital Portfolios
  • Reading, Writing, & Research
  • Teaching English, History, or Foreign Language with Technology
  • And More!

View the Full Course Catalog at ettsummer.org

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 87,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

5 Great Live Blogging Tips!

live-bloggingThis is reblogged from my post on Edudemic.

This post was co-authored by Jennifer Carey and Beth Holland.

Live Blogging is a popular medium to convey information as it is announced. Unless you’ve been privileged enough to get an invitation to the latest Apple or Google Event, then you have likely seen the release of information via Twitter or other live blog platforms. Live Blogs include not only writing, but images, video, links, and more. In essence, they are multimedia publications. Most conferences have access to wireless, and their inherent nature and culture – engaging, interactive, and open – lend to a live blog platform.

Jennifer Carey (@TeacherJenCarey) began live blogging a few years ago while attending conferences about educational technology. I discovered this via Twitter and began following Jen as she toured different events. Then, during the first EdTechTeacher iPad Summit in Boston, I was astounded to see these amazing posts magically appear on the #ettipad hashtag and tracked her down in person! After serving as her ad-hoc editor during the Atlanta iPad Summit last spring, I decided to accept the challenge to Live Blog with Jen this past November during iPad Summit Boston. First, let the record stand that Jen beat me handily (7-2) in this battle-of-the-blog. Not only did she hit publish faster than me, but she also incorporated more media to capture the overall experience.

If you would like to see some examples, check out my posts on the EdTechTeacher blog as compared to Jen’s posts on her blog. Given my virtual thrashing, I had to ask Jen how she accomplishes such prolific articles so quickly and efficiently. So, at the risk of demystifying what she does, here are her secret live blogging tips for events you attend – and my revelation for improvement.

Jen’s Tip #1: Preparation

Plan out the talks and sessions that you will attend in advance. Look up the speakers, the topics, examine the published material they have shared (often in session notes at conferences). Have this material open in your browser when you enter the talk. Make sure that you have your blogging platform open (I use WordPress, but there are multiple options). I enter the talk information as well as the tags I will use (e.g. #edtech or #ettipad) before the talk begins. Remember that everything you do before the talk begins is one more thing you do not have to do during the talk!

Beth’s Revelation

I did not do any of this. However, I did learn that it’s best to also have a copy of your post on your laptop in either a word processing or even HTML editor just in case you lose your network connection while trying to save or publish.

Jen’s Tip #2: Writing

Now, I do happen to type particularly fast; thirteen years of piano lessons has given me about 100 wpm. However, that really is not necessary for capturing an event. Think of your blog as your “notes” – you write down the highlights, paraphrase the speaker, copy key quotes from PowerPoints, etc. Treat this is as you would something that is just for you – but perhaps finish your sentences! It’s not about capturing everything, it’s about getting to the meat of the matter.

Beth’s Revelation

This is one time when a laptop is a better tool than a tablet or phone. After losing in the first round, I switched from iPad to computer in order to take advantage of my middle school typing lessons.

Jen’s Tip #3: Multitasking

Multitasking is not only vital, it’s key here. Open spare tabs in your browser that you will use to search: Google (key for searching), Wikipedia (great for quick information as well as open licensed images), and YouTube are the essentials for me. Using these three tools I can quickly look up information (fortunately, Google is generous with my spelling), Wikipedia is a great repository for images that I add, and YouTube is an excellent resource for videos! These are all great tools to help create a truly multimedia document.

Beth’s Revelation

It is also helpful to have a copy of the presentation materials open, as you can then incorporate slides as images or copy key quotes. I also found it helpful to have a smartphone as well. I could take pictures of the presenter and then pull them off of my photo stream (or Google Drive/Dropbox/any other system that quickly links my mobile device and computer) and into my post.

Jen’s Tip #4: Give Up on Perfection

As painful as it is, these documents will not be perfect – ever. You’re putting them together on the go. Although you will get better with more practice and time, it’s never going to be the same as using an editor and submitting multiple revisions. I had the privilege one year of using Beth Holland as an ad hoc editor, but it was still not as focused and polished as a formally edited Piece. As a perfectionist (especially in published writing), this was a painful thing to surrender. But you know what? It’s also been freeing. I publish in the now – my thoughts, reactions, reflections… This in and of itself is a powerful tool. I may go back and correct a typo here and there, but ultimately my live blog posts are just that – LIVE!

Beth’s Revelation

While I loved hitting publish and then walking away, I only regretted that I only had time to tweet out the link once. I would add (and this ties back to preparation), that next time I would like to have tweets scheduled to go out in advance of actually publishing the post. Cramming titles into 140 characters while rushing off to the next session was challenging.

Jen’s Tip #5: Share with the Presenter

I always share my live blog post with the presenter (usually via Twitter or email). I invite them to comment and submit revisions. Out of the hundreds of posts that I have shared, I have only had a handful of speakers ask for an edit – all of which have been minor. For example, when I live-blogged Greg Kulowiec’s Keynote Talk, “What is the Answer with iPads?” he asked that I make a small edit for attributing a quote. Most of the time, speakers are flattered and will often share the post with others. It’s a great way to get more readers coming to your blog and share your ideas.

Beth’s Revelation

As a presenter who has had the privilege of being live blogged by Jen, it is an honor to have a session captured. As a neophyte live blogger, I also enjoyed being able to give something back to the presenter as proof that I truly valued the session.

Take the Challenge – Live Blog your next conference

For Jen, live blogging has become the means by which she records and reflects on the conferences that she attends, shares the information with her staff and PLN, as well as participates in the broader culture of the conference. Personally, I found it to be an incredible way to hone my attention on a few key topics rather than being divided between twitter hashtags and the person in the room. I hope that you find these tips as helpful as I did and will join others on the blogosphere – contributing your own experiences with your peers and PLN.

Beth Holland (and hopefully, Jen Carey) will be Live Blogging iPad Summit San Diegoin February. You will be able to follow along, February 4-5, at edtechteacher.org/blog.

Great Blogs & News Feeds for Educators

Here is a great list of blogs for educators to follow!

NPR: Education – This is National Public Radiod’s section on education. It addresses concerns about public education, academic trends, and general news about education.

Tech & Learning: Ideas and Tools for Ed Tech Leaders – Some great ideas on how to implement technology in the classroom addressing topics like STEM, Common Core, tools, etc.

Mathy McMatherson – A great blog by a teacher of math in an underprivileged school in Arizona.

Tech Tips – Technology Tips for Elementary School Teachers – A wonderful blog hosted by my colleague Karen Arrington. She focuses on effective adoption and implementation of technology in an elementary environment.

Powerful Learning Practice – Voices of the Learning Revolution – A blog by educators, administrators, and other educational leaders with a primary focus on connected learning.

Ed Tech Teacher Blog – The blog hosted by the Ed Tech Teacher team and focusing on a variety of educational technology topics.

ISTE Blog – The official blog for the International Society for Technology in Education. It focuses on a variety of topics of education in technology throughout the world.

CUE Blog – Official blog for Computer Using Educators (CUE). It focuses on a variety of educational technology topics.

Cool Cat Teacher – A great blog by Vickie Davis, a full time educator and prolific writer. What I love about her blog is the personal element.

2¢ Worth – The blog of the “grandfather of educational technology” David Warlick. He focuses on the changing landscape of education.

KQED Mind/Shift – covering cultural and technology trends, groundbreaking research, education policy and more.

21K12: Exploring & Celebrating 21st century Learning – Focusing on trends and pedagogy within 21st century learning.

Huffington Post: Education – Huffington Posts’ Education section.

Education Week – Weekly publication on all things education. Their blogs update daily.

PSA: Don’t Let Salami and Google Images Get You In Hot Water

This is a true story.

Three years ago, an eleven-year-old blogger here on Edublogs wrote a post about his favorite lunch food – salami.

As part of his post, he used Google Images to find a quick photo of salami that he then uploaded to his blog.

Fast forward to now.

Our Edublogs support team just received a lengthy cease and desist letter from a large law firm that represents the photographer of the salami photo. The formal letter describes all sorts of legal problems for Edublogs and the author of the blog should we not immediately remove the photo in question.

We get these letters daily, but what stood out about this one is that the photo was several years old and not particularly interesting or unique…

Read the remainder of this article here: PSA: Don’t Let Salami and Google Images Get You In Hot Water.

Update on Using Blogs in the Classroom

I originally posted about my desires and plans to use blogging in the classroom in my post: “Blogging in the Classroom.” I felt that this was important for my students for several reasons – the rise of blogging in college classrooms really put me over the edge. So many of my former students and colleagues (that had returned for first or additional graduate degrees) were telling me that online assignments and class blogs were becoming the norm in 21st century education. They told me that the greatest challenge for them was simply learning how to use the tools – the less exposure to computers and online tools, the steeper the curve. And of course, as many of us who have been through the college experience, know – it is a rare College Professor that will hand-hold you through the learning process, or even patiently walk you through the process. They expect you to already know it (as part of your own college preparation) or expect you to learn on your own.

I started with a simple blogging assignment that I highlighted in “First Week Using Class Blogs” and followed up on “Update on Blogging in the Class.” I teach three different levels of classes – 9th grade, 11th grade, and 12th grade. So I have geared various assignments for those skill levels. It’s been a learning process along the way and overall, I’m happy with the new addition and think that I will continue with it in the future. Out of all of my classes, I’ve found that my 9th graders have been the most excited and readily adapted to this new medium. My older students have largely been more hesitant – I’m struggling with grabbing their interest. I know that if I could get a Facebook page going, we’d be all there. 😉

With my 9th grade class, we have a weekly assignment called “Current Events in History.” They have to go out weekly and find a “historical news story.” It can be about a new book coming out, an archaeological find, the destruction of a monument in war, etc. They must prepare an oral presentation (with a PowerPoint slide) and do a summary write up for the class blog. Also, they choose the topic on a ‘first come first serve’ – that means they have to check the blog before they post to ensure that they don’t repeat a classmate’s story. Their blog post has to be at least 100 words and include the source. They seem to have really taken to this. What I have seen is that they are better at collaborating (they will tell me before I get a chance if a classmate has ‘taken’ their story), becoming better public speakers (they have 2-5 minutes of practice every week), are better ‘casual’ writers (although sometimes I have to remind them), and are becoming more adept at finding reliable resources. They can also get up to 10 points of extra credit on the assignment for commenting on a classmate’s work – still not getting a lot of collaboration there.

Here is a great example of some of their recent work: