by Tammy Ryan
Before 1980, people found quiet, cozy spots to log the day’s most interesting thoughts in a diary or journal. Entries were logged using a pencil or pen, written on paper, and detailed with sketches or doodles. Content remained private to the author, and diaries were locked with a special key. During the late 1980s, Doogie Howser, M.D, a character played on a television comedy-drama, exposed Americans to “digital” diaries as he weekly logged his thoughts in a computer. Today, people create and use online diaries or blogs, short for “weblogs,” to log interesting thoughts and discoveries. Entries are composed online using a computer, laptop, or mobile device, photographs and videos are uploaded for detail, and content is open to the public to read and post feedback.
Many blogs focus on important educational topics. These topics range from educational news, policy, teaching trends, to research, and technology. Blogs are created by and for administrators, librarians, teachers, parents, and students and are designed to inform teaching and learning. See Top 100 Education Blogs and Scholastic’s Top 20 Teacher Blogs for 2012 blog favorites.
Below, I highlight three educational blogs informing the field of education. The first provides an example on how a community of teachers co-construct a blog to share important teaching tips. The second illustrates ways a classroom teacher uses a blog to chronicle monthly literacy happenings. The third demonstrates how a blog creates a powerful virtual space for educators to discuss educational issues.
Teaching Blog Addict (TBA) is a blog created by and for prekindergarten through 6th grade teachers. It offers teaching tips across subject areas, common core, assessments, classroom management, technology, etc. It includes free templates, freebies, and information on how to create your own classroom blog. Below is an example of a TBA second grade page.
Ms. Cassidy’s Classroom Blog creatively captures through pictures, videos, and narratives the monthly learning experiences of six and seven year olds in Saskatchewant, Canada. Ms. Cassidy invites the world into her classroom to learn how she integrates a class Tweeter account, Skype, iPads, Web 2.0 tools, and digital technologies into reading and writing events. The site includes access to individual student blogs that also include videos, pictures, and stories.
Chris Guerrieri’s Education Matters Blog is a forum for educators to stay abreast of current issues affecting education such as policy, electing leaders, and accountability. The site includes links to other blogs such as Diane Ravitch’s Blog, Journal of Educational Controversy, and Schools Matter. Below is a sample from the Education Matters Blog.
Undoubtedly, blogs are creating important spaces to socially construct what we know about teaching and learning. To easily create your own blog, you can download free software from a site such as Edublogs or WordPress. Then, you can enjoy sharing your educational discoveries with a global community.
Tammy Ryan is from Jacksonville University, Jacksonville, Florida.
This article is part of a series from the International Reading Association Technology in Literacy Education Special Interest Group (TILE-SIG).