Today’s blog round-up is dedicated to the burgeoning field of EdTech. For those who haven’t heard, “EdTech” is the portmanteau of “education” and “technology,” and explores ways the two are being meshed. As such, EdTech bloggers represent a new genre of educators, academics, and enthusiasts who are interested in using technology to fuel a more effective educational experience. Reading these blogs we are, once again, knocked out by the energy, passion, dedication, and humanity that so many teachers bring to their profession. Follow along as we profile top EdTech bloggers and leaders who are making a valuable contribution to the state of this emerging art.
1) Bit By Bit. Our first Ed-techer is Bob Sprankle, the author of the “Bit By Bit” blog. Sprankle is the Technology Integrator for K-4 in Wells Elementary School in Wells, Maine, and all we can say is-wow! With his own social network, podcast series, and a school website that rivals some of the finest web interfaces out there, Sprankle is a prime example of using technology to positively impact his students’ educational experience. Just as important, his efforts provide a great community resource for teachers and academics. To get a feel for Sprankle’s accessible writing style, check out a truly genius post, “An Ed-Tech Carol.”
2) Teach42. Blogger Steve Dembo writes about 21st century learning with clarity and charisma. An Ed-techer after our own heart, Dembo is passionate about combining technology and play for a more authentic educational experience. Check out his priceless posts on turning students into Technology Ninjas or how to be a rockstar education blogger. Overall, Dembo brings a heightened level of active critical thinking to the issue of EdTech , which results in frequently inspired posts, and a more enlightened discussion overall.
3) 2 Cents Worth. This blog is written by David Warlick, a passionate advocate, published author, and regular conference presenter on the subject of EdTech. As an “embedded Ed-techer” he blogs from the front lines of the EdTech movement, bringing us up to date on the divide between old-school education and 21st century learning. Whether discussing how children interact with technology or giving a book review, his writing is fast-paced, friendly, and knowledgeable. We’ll conclude with Warlick’s own description of his EdTech experience, as “a non-traditional educator who is grappling with an intensely exciting world he had no reason to expect.” Best summary of the EdTech advent we’ve heard yet!
4) A Difference. Need a little chicken soup for the EdTecher’s soul? Check out the inspiration behind Darren Kuropatwa’s blog moniker. Then begin forwarding furiously to every educator you know. When you’re done, come back for a myriad of appropriately multimedia interviews, clips, and posts on the pulse of EdTech today. We’re particularly partial to this post about using games as innovative teaching:) Another great resource is his wiki on an Extreme Web 2.0 Lesson Makeover. Very cool stuff! By combining thoughtful reflection with hands-on application, A Difference is an altogether useful EdTech blog, and an enjoyable one.
5) CoolCatTeacher. EdTech blogger Vicki Davis is a teacher, IT director, and curator of the award-winning class wiki The Flat Classroom Project. Her blog is a round-up of relevant education links and trivia, clever Youtube Videos, and other odds and ends. For example, in addition to a very thoughtful explanation of Web 2.0, and how to dip a toe into the “read/write web,” we also learned that the word “hot dog” was introduced into the lexicon in 1900. In other words, go check out CoolCatTeacher, where you can read about education, while being educated yourself. What could be more “web 2.0″ than that?
6) Ideas and Thoughts. One of our most decorated EdTech bloggers, author Dean Shareski is a professional Digital Learning Consultant with a Masters in Education and Technology. His posts range from amusing, to informative, to downright avant-garde. For example, his blog includes an interview with an educator who live streams his elementary school classroom 24/7. (Yes, really!) Shareski is amazingly knowledgeable in the area of EdTech, but what comes across most about this blog is the author’s desire not to bring technology into the classroom, but to bring active, alert, delighted learners into the classroom. Perhaps the post that most clearly articulates that intent is this one on bringing joy into teaching. Really though, this maxim resonates through everything Sharesk writes, and this refreshing mentality is what puts Ideas and Thoughts in a class of its own.
7) Moving at the Speed of Creativity. This blog is a host of handy tools, applications and ideas, all working together to fuel a fairly revolutionary approach to teaching. For example, check out this post on how to use Google Video Conferencing to bring a virtual guest speaker into the classroom, or this one on how to use Iphone apps to add/drop college courses (then have Rosie the Robot make you breakfast, and hop into your aerocar.) But as technologically fearless as blogger Wesley Fryer may be, he also advocates creating standards of safety for EdTech, as evidenced by this post on preventing cyberbullying and this great post about knowing what your kids are up to online. This combination of revolutionary ideas with responsible constraints earns Moving at the Speed of Creativity massive EdTech cred, here at DreamBox and beyond.
8) Always Learning. Our last blog on our round-up is also our most far-flung. Kim Cofino is a 21st Century Learning Specialist at the International School in Bangkok, Thailand. We love to learn what educators are doing around the world so this blog couldn’t help but be interesting, but Kim’s posts truly are top-notch. In the brilliantly-titled “Coming to Terms,” Cofino treats us to a pop quiz on modern slang terms for technology (how many do you know?) which leads into a thoughtful reflection on how language affects e-learning integration. Another gem is a great post on the importance of teamwork between teachers and technology integrators when implementing e-learning solutions in the classroom. As you can probably tell, what distinguishes this excellent EdTech blog, besides its exotic locale, is the focus on making e-learning an effective, communal experience.
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