Educator Blogs

I looked through many Educator Blogs and was surprised with the diversity of information I found. The three blogs below were the most interesting to me. I see myself coming back to these blogs in the future as I hope to utilize more technology in my own classroom.

Hey Jude

Judy O’Connell serves on two boards, School Libraries Worldwide and Horizon K-12 Project, which focus on how emerging technologies influence libraries and K-12 education. She states that this blog was created “to help me engage in reflection, learning and social networking, and to help inform my work.” I enjoyed this blog because it is true to its purpose—it serves as an arena for honest reflection. I liked the tone used throughout the blog—there was no overuse of technological terms that a novice like me couldn’t understand. It was simple yet enthusiastic, which let Judy’s voice shine through.

Her blog features posts about a multitude of new technology that she comes across. From explaining the different uses of Twitter, to the benefits of Google Apps, to exploring the use of computer tablets in the classroom, the posts cover technologies that can be used in any classroom. Judy even posts links to articles to help educators, parents, teens, etc. learn how to use these technologies. I especially liked her post about safety online. It linked to a great resource for parents to use when dealing with children (of any age) about how to be safe when exploring technology (cell phone use, social networking sites, as well as just using google). It gave great conversation starters and advice to parents to ensure that their child is accessing technology, but in a safe manner.

I found Judy’s posts to be very helpful, especially because I myself do not know a lot about the technology that is available to us. Aside from the posts dealing with integrating technology into education, I enjoyed the posts about accessories for the hottest technology (MacBooks, I phones, etc.) as well as comical photos/videos dealing with technology. These breaks from the scholarly posts again made me see Judy’s personality. Her language is very “user friendly” and it is clear that she keeps educators in mind throughout every post. I really feel that her goal is to keep classrooms in touch with our modern world. In doing so we can captivate the interest of our students and make them true lovers of learning.

A Teacher’s Education

This blog is written by Mrs. Chili, who teaches English at a community college. This blog was quite different than the other educator blogs that I reviewed, which is why it caught my interest. Many of the other blogs were very, shall I say, “educationally driven”. By this I mean that there were countless links to other blogs/podcasts/pages that were references for other educators who are trying to incorporate technology into their curriculum or classrooms. While these sites were filled with great information, at times I found the amount of information a bit overwhelming. Mrs. Chili’s website reads more like a personal blog, where the purpose seems for her own enjoyment. She states that she believes “in cooperation and collaboration” and that is the reason why she created her blog.

Similar to Hey Jude, Mrs. Chili’s blog is chock full of personality. Her posts deal with events from her life as an educator, but also include bits of her life outside of the classroom. She is an avid reader, writer, and grammar fanatic. As I scroll through her posts, I view her blog as similar to a journal. The title of her site rings true to the theme of many of her posts. Although we are educators, boy, do we get an education from this career. Her posts reflect on her syllabus, class activities/assignments, and student work. Like any educator, she has her proud moments of activities that exceed our expectations, as well as our low moments of “Well, that didn’t go as planned!”  Her posts hit the heart of why so many of us love being educators—we love what we teach and want to bring it into the lives of our students. Mrs. Chili also includes posts about humorous things that happened in her classroom/student comments, as well as funny pictures/videos relating to literature. I especially like her Grammar Wednesday posts, where she includes a grammar stumper for the community of readers to figure out.

I truly see myself coming back to this blog. The honesty of its writing really relates to my own experiences in my classroom. I find some of her activities/experiences very applicable to my own and those of my students.  Overall this blog just reminds me that despite the countless things we put in to teaching, when we actually think about it, we get way more out of it than we could have hoped for.

Jeff Utecht

Out of my three Educator Blogs, Jeff Utecht has the most interesting and diverse biography. He has been a classroom teacher for a variety of grades in a variety of countries. He has taught on University levels all over the world and also has an impressive background in school administration. Despite his past careers, one thing remains the same: he has a true passion for technology and preparing students for what he calls “an unknown future.” I feel that Jeff uses this blog to inform educators of  new technology ideas out there, as well as share his own opinions of the positives/negatives of such things.

Like the other two educator blogs, Jeff writes in his own voice. His posts don’t come off as advertisements for the products he writes about. He approaches the technology in a very realistic fashion of how it could be useful in the classroom. I liked how he responds to people’s comments to his posts, whether they agreed or disagreed with him. This showed me that he really does want to have an open communication about technology with us, the educators who are using it. His topics truly range in scope—he includes advice on how to use things such as customizing Google Apps and blog designs for your school/classroom as well as posts reviews on new products (such as the Apple iPad) in terms of how they can be used in the classroom. Some posts respond to time spent visiting teachers’ classrooms and observing how they are  using technology, while others voice his response to linked articles about technology and education written by major newspapers.

As I stated with Hey Jude, Jeff’s language is easy to understand. Again I think that this speaks to the fact that he is trying to encourage educators to become comfortable with technology and more confident in using it in the classroom. As I read through several posts, I think that it is his ultimate goal for educators to encourage students to become the producers of their own learning. Through technology, students can become creative in their learning experience and truly customize it in order to get the most out of the material.

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