Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Innovative Educator’s Top 20 Blog Picks

Here are my must-read blog recommendations for those who want to catch up on the latest news and trends in the area of innovation and education. These are blogs that have been in existence for at least a year. As an innovative educator, I am influenced by a range of sources such as principals, teachers, students, policy makers, parents, icons, and career experts. Listed below alphabetically are the blogs / bloggers that I follow to get ideas when it comes to supporting students in learning innovatively.

  1. Adora’s Blog - Adora Svitak Teenager Adora Svitak is author, student, teacher, activist, and blogger who is passionate about bringing student voice to the education transformation conversation. Adora is a student leader. When you read her blog you connect with the her thoughts, dreams, predictions, and opinions that are representative of many students passionate about ed reform. Adora recently launched The Student Union Blog where young people can submit a text post, audio, quote, or video in answer to the question "What does learning mean to you?"
  2. Angela Maiers Blog - Angela Maier Angela Maiers is a leader in passion driven learning and supporting teachers and leaders in creating learning opportunities that really matter for students.
  3. BiblioTech.me - Michelle Luhtala
    BiblioTech.me is the blog of Librarian Michelle Luhtala who is a leader in thinking outside the ban and out of the blocks. Michelle was helped to lead the way for her school to trust students to use their own technology as well as have access to all web content. In her blog Michelle shares what happens when we stop fighting and start entrusting our children with the freedom to learn with the tools and resources of their world.
  4. Career / Homeschooling - Penelope Trunk Innovative educators must always keep their eye on the prize. That is helping to raise young people that will have a successful home and career life. Penelope Trunk is the go to person for today and tomorrow’s career entrants. She is a trend spotter that knows what employer’s are looking for and what makes today’s youth tick. She is also an expert on managing the career / life balance. Her recently launched homeschooling blog features her journey of removing her children from school and taking ownership of their learning. She provides first-hand accounts of the rewards and struggles experienced by a dedicated, working mom.
  5. Children Should Not Be a Number - Chris Cerrone
    This blog is authored by a parent and educator who is standing up and speaking out against standardized testing with a goal to return the freedom to learn to the hands of children.  The blog is Cerrone’s effort to start a movement to end standardized testing in New York State and our nation. He explains that parents need to start this revolution by opting out their children from state testing programs in order to take back public education from the corporate reformers who are destroying the education of our children. He is frequently covered in the local and national media about the ideas he shares in his blog and a contributor to opt out of testing sites such as Opt Out New York.
  6. Connected Principals - George Couros Hear from school thought leaders from elementary through high school including some amazing princpals who I always look to for insight, advice and guidance like Eric Sheninger, Lyn Hilt, and George Couros, David Truss, Patrick Larkin, Jonathan Martin
  7. Cooperative Catalyst - Multiple Contributors
    The Cooperative Catalyst brings together some of my favorite educator and student voices in education to come together to propose solutions and structures for re-imagining what self-directed learning can and should be. Many of the contributors also have their own blogsand sites which I highly recommend. Here are the contributing students (Nikhil Goyal, Jabreel Chisley, Line Dalile) and educators who guide and inspire my thinking (Marybeth Hertz, John T. Spencer, David Loitz, Monika Hardy, Shelly Sanchez Terrell, Kyle Pace, Pernille Ripp, Deven Black, Pat Farenga, Gwyn Ridenhour, Kirsten Olson, Paula White, Pamela Moran, David Wees, Melia Dicker).
  8. For the Love of Learning - Joe Bower
    Joe Bower is my go to man for examples and research supporting the need to update our outdated practices in the areas of homework, assessment, standardization, accountability, and grading.
  9. Getting Smart - Tom VanderArk This is a great site if for those interested in online learning and personal digital learning. Here you’ll learn about the latest trends, like badges for credentialing students, and important reports, products, and information.
  10. Hagan’s World of Awesome - Hagan Miller
    Join young Hagan in his world of Awesome as he shares what learning looks like through the eyes of an early elementary student. Hagan began his blogging journey in Kindergarten recounting his awesome life via photos and Dragon Dictation, going back to correct any errors, and then working with his mom to finalize and publish stories about his awesome life. Read this blog to get the rarely seen perspective from the life of a child.
  11. Laurie A. Couture's Blog - Laurie A. Couture Laurie A. Couture's blog provides a wealth of information in areas such as alternatives to meds for ADD/ADHD, respecting youth, and learning through life. Laurie provides real-life examples via her work with young people who've been damaged by school and through the beautiful way she implements these practices in her own family with her remarkable son Brycen R. R. Couture who among other things is a musician and child activist who blogs here.
  12. Minds of Kids - Lisa Cooley The Minds of Kids is authored by radical school board member and progressive education thought-leader Lisa Cooley. Read this blog and its comments if you want to discover education transformation efforts from the view of a school board member.
  13. Mrs. Yollis’ Classroom Blog - Mrs. Yollis
    This is the blog of elementary teacher, Mrs. Yollis who does a wonderful job of connecting her students to the world through the use of online media. This is a wonderful blog for anyone interested in best practices when it comes to blogging with students. Mrs. Yollis’s students have the option to contribute to the classroom blog, and comment, but it is not a requirement. Those students who show exceptional interest in writing can apply to have their own blogs. If you want to learn about best practices for connecting with the world through blogging, commenting, and Skype this blog is for you.
  14. My Island View - Tom Whitby
    Known for his famous tropical shirts, Tom Whitby’s day job is teaching teachers to be teachers at the college level. He began this work after a few decades as a secondary English teacher in the NY public school system. Tom is a leader in connecting and making meaning through the use of social media including LinkedIn,
    The Educators PLN, and most prominently via Twitter for which he received the Edublog Award for the most Influential Educational Twitter Series, Edchat, which he founded. For those who are interested in discovering the power of social media in general, and Twitter in particular, this is a great blog.
  15. Practical Theory - Chris Lehmann
    Here's the blog of the person who'd get my vote for U.S. Secretary of Education. Read Practical Theory. Chris Lehmann is a renowned thinker, writer, and speaker who every policymaker and administrator should be listening to. Lehmann is the principal of the Science Leadership Academy. He is known for leading a school that does more than teach subjects, but rather teaches unique individuals with passions, talents, and interests in an environment where technology like oxygen, is expected to be all around and used on an ongoing basis for survival and success in today’s world.
  16. Seth Godin’s Blog - Seth Godin Known for his writing about about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, leadership and most of all, changing everything, took a plunge into the education arena this month with his manifesto, Stop Stealing Dreams.  Seth provides no shortage powerful quotes and inspirational ideas via his blog posts. Though Seth is widely popular, he’s not too busy to stop by and leave a comment or even make a call to authors of blogs who write about his ideas.   
  17. The Daily Papert - Gary Stager
    Gary Stager is a provocative, antagonist, who is never afraid to tell it like it is.
    Stager has on the money ideas about topics like assessment and project based learning and he is happy to share them via his blog and social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Gary draws heavily on his work and experience with Seymour Papert, creating The Daily Papert as an effort to bring bite-size nuggets of Papert wisdom with an intent to inspire educators, parents, scholars and citizens to investigate more of Papert’s work in years to come.
  18. Skipping School - Kate Fridkis Kate Fridkis is a 20-something Ivy league college graduate who is a lay cantor and successful writer who never attended school before College. She spent her life learning without school via a method called unschooling where youth are empowered and entrusted to learn naturally in life and explore and discover their passions. Kate explains how you can learn anything and achieve your dreams without school. Read this blog and be ready to rethink many of your preconceived notions about teaching and learning. Note: While this blog is not currently active as of 2/12, the rich content is worth checking out.
  19. The Innovative Educator - Lisa Nielsen My blog, The Innovative Educator, is written with inspiration and guidance from all those mentioned in this list. I love sharing ideas about giving students the freedom to learn with the tools, resources, and in the ways they love best. I believe we should always support young people in leading a life of happiness and satisfaction where they can discover and develop their passions and that we should do our best to never go against the wishes of a child or their parent.
  20. Read. Write. Connect. Learn - Will Richardson I’ve been following education blogger Will Richardson since his days as a classroom English Teacher where he spent 22 years. Richardson has been blogging for more than a decade serving as an outspoken advocate for change in schools and classrooms in the context of the diverse new learning opportunities that tech innovation now offers. Richardson has inspired many to share their voice through blogging on online media and had a great impact on my decision to launch The Innovative Educator more than four years ago.
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