Never worry about information overload again!
Choose your blogs wisely!!
Blogs are the heart and soul of online teaching. Without blogs we would be isolated as educators. What good would social networks be if we didn’t have insights, inspiration, stories and experiences to share with our fellow teachers?
Here’s a list of blogs that feed my teaching soul, hunger for knowledge, and need for deeper insights into teaching, learning and writing. There are so many wonderful blogs that it’s impossible to list them all here, so I’m listing the ones that have been most relevant to my own professional development. As such, they should be relevant to any teacher who wants to turn online teaching and/or publishing into a fully-fledged career.
1) Nik Peachey Edtech blogs
Nik Peachey has a number of online blogs. I’m sharing three that span his blogging presence online because they complement each other and give you the big picture of online teaching, technology, ideas, and methodologies.
a)Nik’s Learning Technology Blog gives expert information for online teachers. He covers topics ranging from manipulating tools and resources to engaging students online. The quality of this website keeps you coming back for more professional development.
b) Nik’s Quick Shout is full of creative ideas for teachers. Nik finds authentic websites and finds ways to apply them to language teaching. He shares lesson plan ideas, the reasoning behind them and what he thinks will or won’t work. When you get used to reading his articles you will find that your own creativity increases and that you will start approaching lesson planning from even more unique angles. Despite the fact that there are many blogs covering Educational Technology online, I find that Nik Peachey’s writing, thinking and sharing style is the richest and most educational for teachers.
c) Nik’s Daily English Activities is a huge favorite of mine. It’s full of creative learning ideas for independent language learners. He finds amazing websites and plans for learning tasks using the interactive technology of each site. My favorite thing about checking out these articles is the surprise and fresh ‘aha’ moments when he passes on yet another cool idea for teaching or learning. In a nutshell, these blogs stand out for me, not just because of the websites or technology shared, but because of the creative thinking demonstrated and shared so generously..
A blog for writers by a WRITER
LearnOutLive , a blog by Andre Klein gives information on social media, online teaching trends, language learning and publishing. However, to think of LearnOutLive as just an information sharing blog would not do it a fraction of the justice it deserves. The writer is a most important element in transmitting spirit, character and inspiration into all kinds of facts and experiences. Although one could find information from these categories on other blog sites, the unique perspectives of Andre Klein would be missing.
Apart from learning and knowledge, I read this blog just to enjoy the writing style and to read for pleasure. I also read it for the psychological insights that invariably run through each article so naturally as to be almost hidden, and yet clear as a bell.
I would paradoxically describe this blog as cutting-edge with regard to subject matter and information, yet old-fashioned in the sense of timeless story-telling talent and holistic artistry.
A unique aspect of this blog is the publishing advice which ranges from manipulating WordPress to writing eBooks. The articles are generous in ways you’d never expect – sharing knowledge that Andre, himself has built up over the years, and, I imagine, learnt the hard way.
3) Fair Languages
Fair Languages is a blog very close to my heart. It was the brain-child of the legendary Kirsten Winkler, and the wonderful thing about it is that it’s an Edupreneuring collaboration of the highest order. Kirsten planned and organized the website in such a way that online teachers from different niches who wish to blog online can contribute there. This blog is also special in that it celebrates multilingualism, so it’s not just focused on English. In that sense, it has something in common with WizIQ, as WizIQ is about sharing knowledge and teaching multicultural languages.
On this blog you can find tips & ‘How to s’, product reviews, language guides, podcasts, videos, and brain-friendly columns. Kirsten Winkler has always done much to encourage communities of online teachers to learn and grow, and this website is an expression of the Edupreneuring spirit. Here you will find the creativity, intelligent analysis and professionalism that will enrich your online teaching experience.
Tefltastic was one of the first blogs I subscribed to when I started teaching online. It’s full of wonderful lesson plans, resources, and brain-friendly, fun ideas. I feel very in tune with Alex Case and his approach to education, and his blogs seems to cover almost any kind of lesson plan you can imagine. He covers the whole ELT area from business English to Exam English. There are many ideas and/or links to pdfs or other files you can use in the virtual classroom.
5) EFL Classroom 2.0
This is actually a NING with a huge global network created by David Ddeubelbeiss. It hosts multiple blogs and anyone who joins EFL classroom 2.0 gets their own blog. The blogs also have privacy settings, so you can use them for class blogs, etc. I will share the link to David’s blog here as he is the giant behind a thousand initiatives online, including English Central. How this leading entrepreneur finds time to manage his multiple blogs and communities on LinkedIn is beyond me, but he seems to care deeply about grass-roots, teachers, and education in general. He is a great poet and author, which definitely adds to my attraction to his blogs. In fact, most blogs or educational professionals that I follow have that poetic spirit. His blog is about the essence of teaching as it should be. The resources on the NING itself would keep teachers happy in resources for a few lifetimes, and he is also famous for his monster posts such as ’50 ways to use song and music in the classroom’.
This is a big favourite of mine as I am deeply interested in social and emotional learning. That’s what lies behind all of my brain-friendly endeavors. There are about ten categories overall, another one being about ‘brain-based learning’. It has a technology section too, and all kinds of fascinating articles. It’s the perfect blog for those who wish to implement blended learning and integrate classroom activities with online work, as there are many articles covering this topic.
7) E-moderation station blog
The e-moderation station blog by Nicky Hockly is full of things that online teachers need to know. Nicky is a true leader in online teaching, the author of ‘Webinars – A Cookbook for Educators, and co-author of ‘Teaching Online’. Her blog is an inspiration for online Edupreneuring. She covers educational technology issues, webinars, and much, much more.
8 ) The Rapid e-Learning Blog
A crucial blog for anyone who wants to learn more about course design, managing e-learning projects, or the art of content creation. The knowledge on this blog is amazing, the expertise is cutting-edge and I want to learn everything that Tom Kuhlmann has to tell us about becoming a rapid e-learning pro.
Edudemic covers everything I’m interested in (or any teacher is interested in for that matter). I would call it the glossy magazine of ELT blogs, except that it’s also intelligent. It combines cutting-edge news with beautiful visuals and many lists of top things teachers should do, try or know. It appeals to all spectra and niches of education , and does great work in promoting blended learning. A great feature is the ‘teacher guides’ , which is kind of like our WiZiQ resources section on the main WizIQ website.
10) Free technology For Teachers
Last but not the least, this classic site has got to be on your list. I have made many exciting discoveries here. This blog offers many free guides and tutorials as well as wonderful ideas for blended or online learning. The author, Richard Byrne, curates an enormous amount of resources and describes how to use educational tools in the classroom. It’s especially useful for teachers who are new on the internet, as it takes you through many basic tools and resources that you should not be without.
What Blogs Mean to me.
My final thoughts are that I have learnt so much from reading educational blogs that it feels wrong in not being able to mention all of them here. In that light, I have been inspired to create a larger list to share on Pinterest – that way we can all have a bigger picture in visual style. Whenever that is done I can share it in a future article.
Blogging is a special pursuit. Blogging is about giving back to the educational community and society at large. In our case, as a global platform on the internet, it is giving back to the world at large. I thank all educational bloggers from the bottom of my heart for everything I have learnt, and for inspiring me to start my own blogging.