Showing posts with label Education Blogs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Education Blogs. Show all posts

Saturday, November 13, 2010

My Edublog Awards Nominations

The nomination process for the 2010 Edublog Awards began this week. Picking nominees is a difficult thing to do because there are so many great people who deserve to be recognized. I've been thinking about my selections for three days and what follows is the result of much deliberation. I have not picked in every category, only the categories that I'm most familiar with.

Best Use of Video: Learn It In 5.

Best Educational Podcast: Seedlings Bit by Bit.

Best Individual Twitter: Steven Anderson @web20classroom (no one Tweets more useful links more often than Steven)

Best Use of a PLN: Beth Still for the ISTE 2010 Newbie Project

Best Educational Technology Support Blog: Speed of Creativity (Wesley Fryer)

Best Resource Sharing Blog: iLearn Technology (for a bunch of reasons this was the most difficult category for me to pick, not the least of which is that voters have twice awarded me in this category)

Best Librarian Blog: Joyce Valenza Never Ending Search

Most Influential Blog Post: Dan Meyer Math Curriculum Makeover (seriously, I wish he had been my math teacher in school).

Best Student Blog: Sorrel Dunn A Year in Frankfurt (Admittedly this is a total homer pick because Sorrel was my student last year and her father is my district's technology director. That said, it is a fun blog to read about an American high school student studying in Germany).

Best New Blog: Hack Education Audrey Watters

Lifetime Achievement: Vicki Davis Cool Cat Teacher (This was another very tough call. In fact, I typed and deleted a bunch of times before posting this).

Again, I cannot adequately express how difficult it was to pick just one nominee in each category. There are many many blogs in my RSS reader that deserve mention, some of them are listed here. I look forward to seeing the nominations of others because it is a great way to discover great new-to-me people.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Nominations Open for 2010 Edublogs Awards

In 2008 and 2009 Free Technology for Teachers was fortunate enough to be awarded the Edublog Award for Best Resource Sharing Blog. This year Edublogs in collaboration with Classroom 2.0 is again hosting The Edublog Awards.

The Edublog Awards is an annual online series of awards given out to recognize the contributions of bloggers to the advancement of education. The award recipients are chosen by the global community of education bloggers and blog readers. There are twenty-three award categories. Nominations can be made by anyone who has a blog. I will be making nominations very soon.

To nominate a blog or person in a category simply write a post on your own blog listing your nominations by category (you do not have to make nominations in every category). Then use the contact form on the Edublog Awards page to submit your list of nominations. You must do both of those things to make your nominations count. After the nomination period closes the nominations will be posted by category on the Edublog Awards page where you can vote for your favorites.

Disclosure: Edublogs is an advertiser on Free Technology for Teachers.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

One Principal's Approach to Cell Phones in Classrooms

Last week I posted a video about two approaches to dealing with cell phones in schools. In short, the video featured a school with a zero-use policy toward cell phones and a school that was trying to use cell phones as mobile learning devices. This morning The Boston Globe featured Burlington, Massachusetts High School principal Patrick Larkin and his vision for the use of technology in his school. One of the things that jumped-out at me while reading the article was this quote from Patrick in response to a question about concerns that students will cheat or be distracted by using cell phones or laptops: “If they want to cheat, they’re going to cheat,’’ Larkin said, “with technology or anything else.’’ He said he doesn’t see much difference between this and the old scourge of teachers — note passing. “We’ve had no problem with note passing the last few years . . . I wonder why . . . they’re texting!’’ he said. Read the whole article here and make sure you read the closing quote from Principal Larkin.

Patrick Larkin takes an approach to dealing with cell phones in schools that many of us would like to see in schools. Rather than spending our effort and limited time telling students to put away their pocket computers (cell phones) we should put that effort into learning how we can leverage mobile devices to improve the learning experiences of our students.

On a related note, here is Patrick's guest post on this blog: Every Principal Needs A Blog!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A New Directory of Education Blogs

Disclosure: Edublogs is currently a paying advertiser on Free Technology for Teachers.

Edublogs has just launched a brand new directory of education blogs. The directory is divided into fourteen categories covering most K-12 subjects, library blogs, and professional blogs. Although the directory is hosted by Edublogs, the directory is not limited to blogs hosted by Edublogs. Anyone can submit his or her blog to be added to the directory. And if you're into blog badges, Edublogs provides a blog directory badge that you can display on your blog.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for some new blogs to add to your RSS reader and some people to add to your PLN, check out the new Edublogs Blogs Directory. Likewise, if you're introducing teachers to RSS readers, blogs, and or PLNs, the Edublogs Blogs Directory could be a great reference to direct those teachers to.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
My PLN and the Butter Battle Book
Learn Central - A Social Network for Educators
Teachers Connecting - Find a Collaboration Partner

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Avoiding Comment Spam Scams

For every blogger receiving comments from readers can be a feel-good experience. It makes you feel like your writing has reached someone on a level deep enough or important enough that the reader takes time out of his or her day to respond to you. But before you approve the comment and publish it to your blog, take a minute to determine if it's an authentic person leaving the comment or if it's a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Some comments are easy to recognize as spam, comments containing misleading links or the commentator's name is linked to a nefarious website are obviously spam. A less obvious spam comment is something like "great post, thanks for sharing, I'll be sure to visit this blog often." Sure that may be a legitimate comment, but in most cases if you visit the site linked to the commentator's name you'll find a spammy website.

A recent trend I've seen in comment spam is a request for you to send the commentator an email. This is what I'm seeing, "Great articles and it's so helpful. I want to add your blog into my rrs reader but i can't find the rrs address. Would you please send your address to my email? Thanks a lot!" While this comment is obviously trying to appeal to my helpful nature, there are a couple of tell tale signs that is a spam comment,. First of all my RSS feed is pretty easy to spot on my blog, it's a big button with the letter RSS on it. Second, the comment has nothing to do with the blog post. If you receive a comment like this on your blog, DON'T RESPOND TO IT! It is an attempt to capture your email address which at the very least will end up on spammer's list. On a similar note, as I mentioned on Seedlings, posting your complete email address with the "@" symbol is an invitation to spammers.

There are a number of very good plug-ins that you can use to automatically filter comments. As good as some of those filters are the one fool-proof method of protecting yourself from spam is to moderate comments yourself.

Image credit: Thomas Hawk. Image link.

Friday, January 15, 2010

PostRank's Top Blogs of 2009

PostRank recently released their list of the most engaging blogs of 2009. PostRank ranks blogs based on user interaction with a blog's stories. There are rankings for a huge range of categories into which PostRank places blogs. The two categories that educators will be interested in are education and teaching. The rankings aren't without flaws. That said, the lists are good places to find new blogs to add to your RSS reader.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Seven Edublogging Secrets

I'm often asked, via email and or in-person, questions about how I find the time to blog and questions about building a blog audience. While I am by no means a "pro blogger" or a "social media expert," I do have some tips that can help new(er) education bloggers. The following tips apply to those people who would like to expand the size of their blog's audience. If you're not interested in this topic, skip this post and I promise the next one will be back to "regularly scheduled programming."

1. Identify a niche for your blog and write for that niche. You might be thinking that "education" is a niche, but it's not. A niche is something like "K-12 School Leadership" or "Technology in the Elementary School Classroom." Identifying a niche does two things for you. A niche helps visitors quickly identify what your blog is about. A niche also helps you identify topics for your writing.

2. Post consistently. You don't have to post five things a day to build an audience. In fact, you don't even have to post everyday, but you do need to post consistently. Chris Guillebeau has built a huge audience by posting three times a week on a regular schedule. In addition to posting on a regular schedule, post with a consistent voice (see #1 above).

3. Link to other bloggers. If you read a post on someone else's blog that inspired the post you're currently writing, link to that person. If you're quoting someone, make sure you link to that person. And if you use someone else's slideshow, video, or audio make sure you link to that person (I forgot to do this once and was very embarrassed). Linking to others is not only the right thing to do, it can also be the way to get on another blogger's radar for the right reasons (I'll talk about the wrong reasons later). If you link to another blogger, he or she may see your post even if they're not a regular reader of your blog. Down the road that blogger may link back to you.

4. Write original material. It's fine to quote other people and or to post other people's presentations, but in doing so make sure you're adding value to that work (also make sure you link to them, see #3). Adding value can be writing a commentary about a video and how that video influenced your thinking. Adding value could also be a critical commentary designed to spark conversation. Simply copying and pasting another person's blog posts without adding value, even if you link to that person, is not only bad etiquette, it can be a violation of copyright.

5. Network. Get on Twitter or Plurk or FriendFeed and contribute to conversations there. (Read this post for ideas about finding other teachers on Twitter). If you're making good, insightful, or helpful contributions to conversations, people will be more inclined to check out your blog. Don't be afraid to self-promote, but do so sparingly. (As Chris Brogan says, don't be that guy).

6. Remember, it's not about you, it's about your readers. People come to your blog for a reason. That reason may be to further their learning, to be inspired, or to be entertained. Whatever the reason, they're coming with an expectation and you need to try to meet that expectation.

7. Don't stress-out over fluctuations in statistics. Watching the statistics of your blog can be stressful if you worry about every fluctuation. The statistics do give you some nice feedback about things like the type of post that appeal to your readers, but don't obsess over daily fluctuations. Instead look at weekly or monthly statistics to see if your audience is growing. Think of it this way; the more readers you have, the more people you will have stop reading.

As I said at the beginning, I'm not a "pro blogger" or "social media expert" so take my advice with a grain of salt. If you're interested in what the "experts" have to say I recommend Pro Blogger, Chris Brogan, and Gary Vaynerchuk.

Do you have your own advice for new bloggers? If so, please leave a comment.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Edublog Awards - Thank You

Last night the winners of the 2009 Edublog Awards were announced. Free Technology for Teachers won in two categories; Best Resource Sharing Blog and Best Individual Blog. Thank you to everyone that nominated me and voted for me.

I was very happy to see that two people I nominated, Karl Fisch and Steven Anderson, won last night. Karl Fisch won the Lifetime Achievement Award. Karl is the original creator of the "Did You Know?" (Shift Happens) presentations that have been seen by millions of educators world wide. "Did You Know?" is now into its fourth official remix. If you haven't seen any of the "Did You Know?" videos watch this one now. Steven Anderson won for Best Individual Tweeter. Steven is a great person to follow on Twitter as he always has something interesting to share.

Kevin Hodgson has compiled the full list of winners from each category, please check it out as you may discover a new-to-you blog. Any of the blogs that were on the short list of nominees is well worth giving a visit and or subscribing to. I subscribe to a lot of them myself.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Edublog Awards Voting and How Old Am I?

The Edublog Awards voting is now live, I was honored to be nominated in three categories; Best Resource Sharing Blog, Best Individual Blog, and Lifetime Achievement. While I am very flattered to have been nominated for a lifetime achievement award, I haven't been blogging long enough (just over two years) to merit winning that category. There are many people who have given more to the ed tech community than I have. I nominated Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod for Lifetime Achievement awards (Scott is encouraging people not to vote for him too). Besides that I haven't been blogging long enough, I'm not old enough to get a lifetime achievement award. :-) So while I'd love to have your vote in either of the other two categories, I'd prefer that you vote for someone else in the Lifetime Achievement category.

The voting can be a little confusing at first so I'll try to explain as best as I can.
1. Visit the list of categories.
2. Click on a category.
3. Vote once in that category.
4. Repeat until you've voted for all of your favorite blogs.
5. Voting is limited to one vote per category per IP address.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Great Way to Find Great Education Bloggers

As I mentioned last week, nominations are now being accepted for the 2009 Edublog Awards. I posted my nominations here. The Edublogs Awards Blog has created a widget that you can use to track all of the nominations. Check out the widget for yourself and see who has been nominated for this year's awards. Looking at the nominations is a great way to discover education blogs with which you may not be familiar.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Good Source for Content Area Blogs

Dr. Scott McLeod is organizing the Moving Forward wiki. One element of the Moving Forward wiki is a listing of excellent blogs by content area. If you're looking for some good blogs to add to your RSS reader check out the Moving Forward wiki. There is currently a push underway to add more blogs to the content area listings on the wiki. If you know of good content area blogs that should be added to the wiki, add your suggestions.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
100 Education Blogs Worth Checking Out
My 21 Must-Read RSS Feeds
How-to Week, Day 2 - Setting Up a Blog

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Another Good Place to Find Education Blogs

Yesterday, I posted a link to 100 education blogs. This morning a reader reminded me via email of the Support Blogging wiki. On Support Blogging you can find hundreds of blogs related to education. The wiki is categorized with classroom blogs, professor blogs, teacher blogs, administrator blogs, and much more. There is more to Support Blogging than just lists of blogs, you can also find resources for starting your own blog.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

100 Education Blogs Worth Checking Out

I received an email this morning from Clearview Education informing me that Free Technology for Teachers was included in their list of 100 Best Blogs for Teachers of the Future. Like many lists of this type, the selection criteria isn't clear. That said, this list contains many good blogs that I read and some that I haven't seen before. If you're looking for some new blogs to add to your RSS reader, take a look at this list.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
A Fantastic List of Education Blogs
21 Must-Read RSS Feeds

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The New Carnival of Education is Posted

The new Carnival of Education is posted on Siobhan Curious: Classroom as Microcosm. If you've never looked at it, you should because it is a good place to find some of the best user-submitted blog entries of the last week or so. You can find blog posts like mine about lesson plans for teaching Brown v. Board of Education and blog posts like Scott McLeod's about the way that educational leadership faculty are seen by those they serve.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New from Jim Gates - Gates Ideas

Jim Gates, winner of the 2007 Edublogger award for best resource sharing blog, has launched a new venture called Gates Ideas. I've been a subscriber to Jim's blog, TipLine, for over a year and continuously find it to be a good source of thoughtful ideas for technology integration. The purpose of Gates Ideas is to keep people informed of Jim's upcoming workshops and to share resources about teaching with technology. The resources section has a collection of model blogs and wikis. If you've enjoyed TipLine over the years make sure you give Gates Ideas a look.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Social Studies Central Gets a Face Lift
Cable in the Classroom's Must-Read Blogs
10 Teachers to Follow on Twitter

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Fantastic List of Education Blogs

If you're looking for some good education blogs to add to your RSS reader, Online University Reviews has just published a list of 100 Most Inspiring and Innovative Blogs for Educators. Some of my favorite blogs are included on this list. There doesn't appear to be a comments section at the end of the list so if you know of a blog or you write a blog that you think should be included on the list, please leave a comment. (Note to spammers, education blogs only). A few that I would add to the list are Dangerously Irrelevant, iLearn Technology, and It's Not All Flowers and Sausages.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Blog Basics for the Classroom

Teachers First provides a wealth of lesson plan resources to teachers of all K-12 content areas. Additionally, Teachers First provides teaching ideas and practical tips for classroom teachers. One such resource is their guide Blog Basics for the Classroom.

Blog Basics for the Classroom is designed to provide guidance to teachers creating classroom blogs for the first time. This guide starts with an explanation of what a blog is, provides many suggestions for using a classroom blog, and concludes with step-by-step explanations for setting up a blog.

Thanks to Kelly Hines for link.

Applications for Education
This could be a good resource for teachers who are interested in creating a blog for their classrooms, but aren't sure how to get started. The "blog use ideas" section of the guide is a practical list for anyone who has a classroom blog.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Create a Homepage With Scholastic's Homepage Builder

Grading Student Blogging
File Sharing and Blogs and Wikis. Oh My!

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Making Teachers Nerdy

Making Teachers Nerdy is a blog that I've recently started reading. Each entry is well thought out, and definitely worth taking the time to read. It is updated once a week. The most recent entry contains a fantastic list of live webcam feeds that can be used in creating visual field trips.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Look at Edublogs From Outside the Echo Chamber

Today, I came across the Social Media Explorer blog through my Google Alerts (more about Google Alerts in the next blog post). Social Media Explorer is written by Jason Falls. SME appeared in my Google Alerts because Free Technology for Teachers appears in Jason's list of the top 50 education blogs according to reader engagement as measured by Post Rank. (Incidentally, the Post Rank widget on the right side of this blog ranks the five most popular blog entries at any given time).

Usually, when I see a blog post with list like this one I scan the list and don't think twice about it. This blog post was interesting because the list was generated by someone that is outside of the edublog-o-sphere or "echo chamber." In the blog post Mr. Falls explains the process he used to find 150 education blogs. The final top 50 list includes some blogs that I had not heard of prior to today. That said, the list is by no means inclusive and clearly misses some bloggers that are well known in the edublogging world . Overall, the article and list is worth taking the time to read because it provide us with an outsider's look at the edublogging echo chamber.

Edit: I initially wrote that Larry Ferlazzo was not on the list. As Larry points out in the comments, he is on the list, in fact he's number 9. My apologies to Larry.