Innovation in education is a communal process. One person alone makes a small difference. Working in a Professional Learning Community to affect change creates a much more effective and efficient change. In order to begin changing education, one must first understand learning. Defining learning requires research into learning theory and applications for the real world (Ormrod, Schunk, & Gredler, 2009). Therefore, I am recommending my favorite bloggers to help create a Professional Learning Community with strong ties to research based applications.
Alex Rister is an educator at Full Sail University. She works as an instructional designer, translating principles and into instructional strategies (Ertmer & Newby, 1993). Her blog, Creating Communication, focus is on the visual presentation methods. She analyzes current books, webinars and personal experiences to create an interactive forum addressing the formalized learning of adult students (Smith, 1999). She connects me with innovators in the field by imbedding slides, video presentations or simply important pictures into her blogs about their techniques. When I am looking to enhance my presentations of a new topic, I immediately search her blog for new ideas. For example, she has presented slide makeovers that improve my presentations.
Bill Ferriter, the Tempered Radical, is by far my favorite blog. I attended one of his training sessions last year and was inspired by his “edges of the box” theory. I have read his book, Teaching the iGeneration and often revisit it when looking to increase my repertoire of technological skills. His blog focuses on techniques he is utilizing, new books that include current research and educational policies that affect our classrooms. Bill Ferriter is one of the most innovative educators in North Carolina and strives to improve all educational practices. He includes resources such as voice thread and PLC tune up. I especially enjoyed his article on Merit Pay as many of my colleagues and I worry about the implications of this policy. He presents an educated an informative perspective on issues that directly impact myself and my colleagues.
Christopher Lehman was recommended to me by my principal last year. His techniques for teaching Language Arts are so effective that our school district hired him for professional development seminars. Although I was not able to take part in these training sessions, our Language Arts department was impressed. Although I began reading his blog to research the effective techniques used in Language Arts, I was drawn to his post on poverty. I teach in a high priority school and am concerned about the effects of poverty on education. He provides research and analysis on this important topic. He posts blogs on current topics of educational concern such as the Common Core and Bullying.
Although I tried to recommend only three blogs, I could not help listing the TED blog. It is my favorite blog that is not strictly about education. TED is a conference that has some of the best technology and world leaders in a variety of fields. I enjoy watching the videos of conference sessions and reading about new ideas. I use this blog to stay current with technology on a global scale. Topics range from recycling plastics to meteorology.
While these four blogs are my favorite, I would enjoy learning about other educational innovators and their ideas. I am focusing on applying different learning theories and current educational research. As a middle school teacher in a high poverty school, I find it important to connect with others who are improving education so that I can improve my techniques and understanding of the human brain. Please feel free to post blogs that deal with learning theories, educational practices or brain research.
Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (1993). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4),50-71.
Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson.
Smith, M. K. (1999). Learning theory. The encyclopedia of informal education. Retrieved from http://www.infed.org/biblio/b-learn.htm