Bringing Technology Into Your Classroom

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
Reading
Special Education
Library
Principals
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.
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Comments on: "Read a Blog and Build Your PLN" (4)

  1. You are right! We bloggers do like it when people talk to us, don’t we? So I just had to leave a comment here.

    This is wonderful advice, Barb. I never thought of recommending to people to start with reading blogs to build their PLN. I often think about starting with Twitter, but you’re right, when we start this new adventure, we just want to tiptoe into the PLN room, so to speak, without speaking up. Then maybe we’ll whisper to someone sitting nearby (as a comment on a blog post perhaps).

    I think the learning curve is steep, but it is fun and rewarding and there is so much help along the way. Welcome to all the new blog readers and future PLN friends!

    Denise

  2. Awesome post and welcome to the world of blogging! I really enjoy @Kathleen_morris teacher’s blog and class blog and @Kathryn_trask reflections.

  3. Barbara,

    Thanks for the mention!

    Mrs. Berry

  4. Hi Barbara,
    I love this post because that is exactly how I started. My PLN started when I took the Edublog challenge. It was suggested that we read other blogs and when we did we made some lasting connections (right Denise!).

    I am honored to be added to your list of blogs!!! I can not wait to check out all the ones you have listed here as well. Looking forward to adding to my PLN!

    Thanks for sharing!

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