Bringing Technology Into Your Classroom

Archive for August, 2011

Read a Blog and Build Your PLN

What Is a PLN?

At your fingertips, you have the means to connect with teachers from around the world.  You can talk to them, learn from them, visit their classrooms, share information, and have a good time with them, and you never need to leave home.  Most of what I have learned about using technology in the classroom, I have learned from people I met via the internet.  These people, along with educators in my own school and community are my PLN, my Personal Learning Network.

I was able to connect with these people by following them on Twitter, Plurk, or Pinterest, liking a page on Facebook, or reading their blogs.  To gain a thorough understanding of an issue, or how to implement something, blogs are your best bet. Unlike other forms of social networking, when it comes to reading blogs you never have to say anything to the author, if you don’t want to.   As someone who writes several blogs, let me tell you that we really really want you to talk to us, but if you are at all nervous or uncomfortable about Twitter or Facebook, reading blogs is the place to start.

There are millions of blogs out there. The word blog is actually the words “web log” combined.  A blog is basically an on-line journal.  It is a website or part of a website and it can be written by individuals or groups.  Most blogs post so the most recent article is at the top.  Blogs are written about every subject imaginable.  When it comes to education, there are blogs about every aspect and every topic.  When I started reading blogs, I was most interested in those about using technology, but more recently I’ve been reading lots of grade level blogs about things teachers are doing in their classrooms.

Setting Up a Google Reader

With so many blogs out there, it can seem overwhelming to try to find them and keep up with them.  I use Google Reader to help me do that.  Take a look at the video below to learn how to set up a Google Reader account for yourself.

Practice by adding the web address for this blog to your Google Reader.  As you visit other blogs, add those to your Google Reader as well.  The next video will explain more about using your Google Reader.

Fantastic Blogs to Follow

Now it’s time to become familiar with a few blogs that are out there.  According to Hat Trick Associates, there are about 450 million English language blogs out there on a multitude of subjects, so where do you begin?  Members of my PLN on Twitter and Plurk helped me to assemble the following list of education related blogs.  Click on the links to visit the blog.  If it is something you find interesting, add the blog to your Google Reader, so you can be notified of future posts.  Check out the side bars of the blogs.  Many bloggers list favorite blogs, so you can find many additional blogs this way.   Visit blogs from other grade levels as well as your own.  You may find lots of useful ideas.

Preschool & Kindergarten

  1. Aloha Kindergarten!

First Grade

  1. Little Voices, Little Scholars,
  2. Tunstall’s Teaching Tidbits
  3. First Grader At Last
  4. A Primary Blog for the 21st Century
  5. Kids With a View
  6. Room 6 + 6 Kind Kids
Second Grade
Third Grade
Fourth Grade
Fifth Grade
Fine Arts
Special Education
A few of these are class blogs, but most are professional blogs written by educators for other educators.  Do you know of other fantastic blogs for educators?  If so, please write a comment and share the blog with us.  Next time we will take a look at classroom blogs.  You will be amazed by all the great ways that teachers use their classroom blog.

Becoming a Techie Teacher

There’s no doubt about it, I consider myself to be a Techie Teacher.  Using technology to enhance learning for my students has become a passion.  It all started two years ago when a colleague showed me how to set up my first blog.  Soon after that I enrolled in an on-line class called Using the Internet in the Classroom.  From that point on, I was hooked.

Entering the world of technology has been life changing for me, and I have tried to share some of my passion with other teachers.  For the past two years I have presented professional development to teachers in my building.  Among other things we have learned about Google Docs, my students attended one meeting to introduce teachers to blogging, and teachers have created their own blogs.  We have new iPads in our building, and we have devoted time to learning ways to utilize them to support instruction.

At a meeting last week we were discussing the purchase of more iPads and laptops, and the need for additional training.   One of my colleagues asked if we could go back and talk about some of those things we had already worked on.  That is when I got the idea for this blog.

There are many blogs written about technology in the classroom.  To be honest, some of them are way over my head.  They assume a working knowledge that is beyond my experience.  The goal of this blog is to begin at the beginning.  It will present ideas for using technology to enhance learning in the elementary classroom.  I also want it to be a link to other blogs and resources.  I want to share ways to shape your own tech journey; through blogs, social networking, or conferences.

Ideally a blog post should begin a conversation.  If I leave out a step, or fail to answer a question, please write a comment asking for clarification.  If you have a better idea, please share it.  A blog post should be just the beginning.

While I have created this blog with my colleagues at school in mind, I invite everyone to participate.  Ask questions!  Share experiences!  Give feedback!  If I don’t know the answer, I will ask people who do.  And that is step 1 to becoming a Techie Teacher.