Module 1: Resource Sharing Blogs

5 Sep

 Free Technology for Teachers was the 2009 Best Resource Sharing Edublog and is written by Richard Byrne.  I’ve followed him on Twitter, but never actually been to his blog, so taking my first look was exciting.

Purpose of the blog: Each post features idea or link for teachers and librarians to try.  I like that Byrne does not overload his readers with links.  In terms of the links that Byrne shares, many seem social studies focused, as he is a social studies teacher (like economic games or 60 second civics), but there are also many posts that feature new web tools like Draw it Live or tutorials on commonly used web tools like Google Chrome.  Finally, Byrne’s posts also encourage teachers and librarians to form PLNs.  His most recent post is about EdCamps.  I am going to EdCamp Harrisburg in November!!
Types of posts: Chronological, short n’ sweet, labeled for easy access.
Educational resource value: Byrne comes right out and says that the tools he features have educational value. Following the description of each tool is an “Applications for  Education” paragraph so teachers and librarians have ideas about how to make connections with the tool.  My favorite is a post about how to use Geocaching in the schoolyard as a way to have students practice sequencing, spelling, or solving math problems.
Other thoughts: A lot of ads makes the blog a little too busy for my tastes.  Since he links his posts to Twitter, I will continue to follow there.

EmergingEdTech is a resource sharing blog created by Kelly Walsh who currently is the Chief Information Officer at The College of Westchester in NY.
Purpose of the blog: The purpose of the blog is to keep teachers and librarians in the know with educational tech trends (10 Internet Technologies Educators Should Be Informed About: 2011)  and conferences, as well as reviewing the best of Twitter each week with Tweet Wraps.  The Post Index is a great way to find posts by topic, such as professional development, the future of education technology, and special needs students (one of the first blogs I’ve seen in my search for blogs for this class!  Here is an post about using tech to analyze data for special needs students)
Types of posts: Chronological, and easy to browse.  Once a post becomes more than a few days old, it becomes thumbnail size, which allows the reader to glance over the page quickly see if they’d like to finish the article.  Most posts contain many hyperlinked sites, so if a post really appeals to your needs, you would be able to explore it further.  For instance, here is 100 Ways to Teach with Twitter.  Though there aren’t 100 links, Walsh annotates the links he does use, and categorizes them to make using the list easier for the reader.
Educational resource value: Though Walsh’s blog is a little less conversational and and light in terms of style and topics, I liked that his posts stretch from K (Twitter in the Kindergarden classroom) to college (Seton Hill’s implementation of Ipads).  Any teacher or librarian at any grade level could find something they could use.
Other thoughts: I like the Tweet Wrap.  So many people post so much on Twitter that if you miss a day (or even a few hours) you’ve missed out on a lot.  To be able to look back at some of the best Tweets on Walsh’s feed makes me feel more in the know.

Open Culture is a culminating effort of 4 professionals in the education and tech worlds.
Purpose of the blog: Open Culture says it it is the “best free cultural and educational media on the web”.  The blogs purpose seems geared to educators with older students and professionals seeking to expand their knowledge base
Types of posts: Most posts feature videos or images and seem to be focused fun events, or throwbacks from history like predictions of the future in tech and fashion.  Students do tend to like seeing comical or insightful things those in the past predicted about us in the future.

Educational resource value: The section of the blog that would have the most appeal to educators and librarians are the lists of freebies on the upper right hand side of the page.  Free books, movies, and courses could be applicable for all teachers to hone their skills or expand their knowledge base, whereas specific sections for free science videos and language lessons might appeal to upper level science and language teachers and the media specialists in their building.  AP level students may also be interested in the free college courses for the AP classes they are taking.
Other thoughts: I don’t think this blog is really meant just to be for teachers or librarians, but it could be useful for quick cultural tidbits (librarians, check out Biblioburro), and for the freebies that are mentioned.  I also think it is probably more applicable to those who teach older students.  One dislike I have about the blog is the ads that fall in the middle of the page on the freebie sections.

How might you use resource sharing blogs to support your role as an educational leader? Resource sharing blogs contain posts with ideas and tech tools/ tips that I may not have found on my own, or known how to use on my own.  Using resource sharing blogs would encourage me to increase my repertoire of tech tool know – how and information sharing ideas.  It may be neat to have students weigh in on the resource sharing blogs they like, or to share the posts and new tools with them.  Serving student needs is the goal of teachers and librarians, and getting a student’s take on the blogs and resources in them could provide new insight on which blogs are the most helpful for your school population. 

How would you share these resources with teachers in your building and encourage them to give them a try?  Sending a email with a link with a blog post to interested teachers may be an option.  It might be beneficial to have teachers in your building subscribe to your Twitter feed (or similar blog feeds) to share ideas.

How might you use resource sharing blogs for professional development or collaboration?  Using blogs for PD and collaboration is supported by Derven’s “Social Networking: A Force for Development.  One of Derven’s points in the article is that social networking allows school districts to cut the cost of PD while increasing connectivity.  Blogs are free and open any school district up to new ideas and tech tips.  Blogs are also easy to share with other educators in your building using Google Reader, or educators in your building could save applicable blog posts to a common bookmarking site like Diigo.


4 Responses to “Module 1: Resource Sharing Blogs”

  1. slm509cms September 8, 2011 at 4:32 pm #


    I reviewed Free Technology for Teachers and loved it! Richard Byrne has so much to offer! I am still new to twitter (the meaning of the symbols still confuse me!) but I will try to make sense of it as i try to follow Byrne. Thanks for highlighting the EdCamp post. I had never heard of them before but they sound like a great learning environment! Just another example of how technology can help people with similar interests, find each other and come together to share and learn. Are you presenting at the one in November? How did you get involved with EdCamp?


    • Mrs.Johnson September 8, 2011 at 11:49 pm #

      I’m not presenting, this will be my first Edcamp. I found out about them through people I follow on Twitter, who seem to love them. I’m trying this one out in November, and then if I like it there is one specific to social studies in March. They are free, and the one in Harrisburg in November is on a Saturday, so it seems easy to try

  2. slm508lrl September 8, 2011 at 11:12 pm #

    Thanks for sharing Richard Byrne’s blog with us. I did not discover his blog in my own search of resource sharing blogs. There are just so many out there! I really like the simplicity of his blogs. It is easy to navigate and is not overloaded with too much information. I really like the free e-books for teachers he provides on his blog as well. One topic that he just added today was about an online writing program called Boom Writer. It is a program that gives students a chapter starter and they complete it. The responses are voted on and the best ones are published. The end result is a completed book. How cool! I do think the blog is updated frequently with topic of interest. His blog is definitely one I want to subscribe to!

    • Mrs.Johnson September 8, 2011 at 11:46 pm #

      Wow! I love the idea with boom writer. You could even do it informally with other classes (History, Science) on topics that are being taught in class

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