Educator Blogs: Opening the World for Learning and Sharing

Teacher blogs are abundant on the web, some great and some no-so-great!  Educators blogs are an amazing way to share ideas.  Just as students are expected to share assignments, teachers should be expected to share what’s working in their classrooms, building a positive digital footprint.  Time is so often an issue with teachers, specifically not having enough of it.  With blogs, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel.  Doing a simple search, educators can easily use blogs to find what is working in schools from anywhere in the world.   In my schools, we focus on student sharing and collaboration as 21st century skills of learning.  Why shouldn’t teachers be striving to share and collaborate as well?

Simply googling “educator blogs in math” brought pages and pages to my attention.  For my search, I decided to focus on blog sites that could directly impact my teaching and current learning environment of my school.  I wanted to find sources I would actually use or find helpful. I found many quality teacher blogs with information to share on teaching math and using technology, and often the two intertwined.

EduTech for Teachers – This beautifully designed blog site is easy to navigate and full of information. Not as much a math site as the other blogs I found,  it is loaded with ideas and tech for teachers, both experienced and novice. Going back to posts 2012, I enjoyed exploring the changes of tech uses in education from then until the present.  Although I could have read this blog site for hours, a current article caught my attention.  “Math Madness: Digital Tools for Every Concept”was outstanding!   This link presented so many apps and programs for use in the classroom  Some I was familiar with and some totally new.  It is such a comprehensive list of apps and programs that can be used for assessment, learning, and differentiating, I will definitely be using this in my future planning.

dy/dan – This is the anti-textbook blog.  Written by Dan Meyer, the site and author take a backwards look at teaching math. With a background in various context from from teaching math  to reluctant students to speaking on a national stage about this topic, Mr. Meyer is knowledgeable and experienced with this topic.  Many of the posts deal with not only what is wrong with traditional math textbooks and  approaches to learning, but also give insightful, inventive suggestions for improving it, making the learning more rigorous and challenging. In other words, he is focusing on and promoting 21st century skills as discussed in Leading 21st Century Schools by Lynne Schrum and Barbara Levin. In this book one of the 4 goals of successful students is an increase of creativity and problem-solving skills. Many of Meyer’s posts offer substantial rigor and challenge in the problems.   Teachers often struggle with a balance between teaching core content and student engagement.  This blog takes an interesting perspective on this very topic.  Again, I found myself absorbed in the posts, wanting to incorporate ideas into my lesson plans.  One specifically, “[Makeover] Systems of Equations looked promising.  Here Mr. Meyer takes the traditional type of question and spices it up, changing the verbs and making students think deeper about the relationships between quantities, not just the formal solving procedure.  I found most posts thought-provoking and able to alter the way I viewed teaching concepts.

wwwatanabe – This final blog site took a different path than the math and tech sites I focused on finding.  Written by Tracy Watanabe, this site is very clearly organized with easy access to a myriad of topics, specifically the 21st century learning skills and approaches that have become the catchphrases of the year. What stood out to me was the graphic organizer on the side, like an organized “wordle” or dynamic word map.  This included so many current topics that I had to take a look.  The site was timely and engaging with information that was applicable to my present teaching environment.  For example, clicking on “PBL” brought up posts with this topic at least 25 different times.   One in particular was “STEM, PBL, Common Core, and 21st Century Learning”.  These are all topics my school is looking to employ in the upcoming few years.  This post included embedded videos by students, examples of work, and the take-away from a student perspective.  It was well worth the read.

Print Resource:

Schrum, Lynne, and Barbara B. Levin. Leading 21st Century Schools: Harnessing Technology for Engagement and Achievement. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, 2015. Print.

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