Friday Five: Must Read Education Technology Blogs

By Christian Kmiecik       
Christian Kmiecik is a 2012-2013 corps member serving on the Trotter Elementary School in Dorchester.

With the Internet progressively reaching the status of universal utility, and the explosive growth of social media, the discussion of education has inevitably merged with the world of information technology. Whether educators are seeking insight or resources through the online newspapers like The New York Times’Learning Network,” or The Washington Post’sAnswer Sheet,” or crowd-sourced venues like Pinterest or Tumblr, the amount of information is staggering.

To help you explore this second world, I compiled a list of five independent blogs from educators. They are not only accomplished professionals who seek to share their passion, but they also each have a unique perspective toward addressing technology’s role in the classroom. Drawing from my previous experience as an AmeriCorps member serving Digital Wish an organization that sought to bring 1:1 computing (that’s one computer per student) to elementary classrooms, I feel these individuals provide valuable opinions on how to go forward with technology in education.

1. David Warlick, 2 Cents Worth

David Warlick is a veteran North Carolina-based educator who has worked as a teacher, administrator, consultant, and now manages the Landmark Project—a company that offers services ranging from professional development for teachers, to a “citation machine” that helps users properly format references in various styles. Warlick’s blog, 2 Cents Worth, is a venue where he shares his thoughts in a more personal fashion.

Recent topics include: observations on EduCon 2013, scripting and animating a video and thoughts on how to utilize RSS feeds in light of newer media like Twitter.

2. Scott McLeod, Dangerously Irrelevant

Scott McLeod, PhD, is another veteran educator, currently working as the Director of Innovation for the Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency in Iowa. Previously he founded the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education at the University of Kentucky. His blog, Dangerously Irrelevant, focuses on “technology, leadership, and the future of schools.” In addition to a commentary on issues related to technology and education, his site offers reviews on books and services related to the Internet, research on other top “EduBloggers” (like the ones mentioned in this piece), book recommendations, and more.

Recent topics include: thoughts on standardized testing, the Iowa 1:1 Institute, and how communities can evaluate their schools’ tech integration.

3. Patrick Larkin, Learning in Burlington

Formerly the Principal of Burlington High School (when he started the blog), Patrick Larkin of Burlington, MA, is now Assistant Superintendent of Burlington Public Schools. While his blog includes many thoughts about his district in general, the biggest draw of his blog is the archive recording BHS’s 1:1 iPad computing initiative. Launched in 2011, the initiative resulted in all Burlington High School students receiving an iPad for school use on and off campus. This resulted in many school-wide changes from electronic textbooks and classwork (think of all the paper saved!), to online forums where students can discuss lessons and projects, to a student-run technology “help-desk” (overseen by the BHS IT staff) where students are given leadership opportunities to make sure everyone’s device is running smoothly.

Recent topics include: thoughts on standardized testing and curriculum, a student-run alcohol education program happening at BHS, and thoughts on how MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) can be utilized in K-12 education.

4. Shelly Terrell, Teacher Reboot Camp

Shelly Terrell is an English language learners (ELL) teacher who has experience working with students in the U.S., Germany, and Greece. Terrelll also served as a trainer for fellow teachers online, and in person. Professional development resources that she helped create include Edchat, ELTChat, The Reform Symposium E-Conference, and Virtual Round Table language.

Recent topics include: storybook creation tools and apps, apps and activities for Valentine’s Day, and thoughts on PopuLLar –a European Union project designed to get secondary school students interested in learning foreign languages through music.

5. Lisa Nielsen, The Innovative Educator

Lisa Nielsen is a New York City education administrator and teacher who focuses on technology integration and new teaching methods in school. Her work has currently coalesced with Teaching Generation Text, a publication which controversially suggests breaking the current ban on cell phone use in schools to have them further integrated as educational supplements in a student’s daily life. More information about Lisa Nielsen can be found here.

Recent Topics Include: advice on nurturing lifelong readers, formal research that has analyzed students’ use of cell phones inside and outside of school, tips on managing social media for education resources.

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