Teaching Toolbox: 57 Ways to Upgrade Education

Check out the top education blogs, tweets, wikis and more as voted on by educators in the 2009 Edublog Awards.

by Tanya Roscorla / January 4, 2010 0

This year, spruce up your teaching toolbox with some of the top education blogs, tweets, wikis and more, as voted on by educators in the Edublog Awards.

On these sites, you'll be able to connect with other educators, see what's going on in classrooms around the world and find out what technology tools you can use in your classroom.


Best individual blog

  1. Winner: Free Technology for Teachers
    Google certified teacher Richard Byrne reviews free technology resources and shows educators how they can integrate those resources into their teaching. He also won the best resource sharing blog award.
  2. First Runner Up: Kathy Schrock's Kaffeeklatsch
    Technology administrator Kathy Schrock covers ed tech tools, techniques and tricks of the trade.
  3. Second Runner Up: Larry Ferlazzo's Websites Of The Day For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL
    Larry Ferlazzo teaches English Language Learners and native English speakers in Sacramento, Calif.. He provides links to sites that help educators teach English to non-native speakers. He also won best resource sharing blog award.


Best individual tweeter

  1. Winner: web20classroom
    From Winston-Salem, N.C., technology educator Steven W. Anderson interacts with other educators by sharing links to online resources and participating in conversations about real issues in education.
  2. First Runner Up: russeltarr
    Russel Tarr teaches history in Toulouse, France.
  3. Second Runner Up: courosa
    Alec Couros teaches educational technology and media in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.


Best group blog

  1. Winner: MacMillian Dictionary Blog
    As the English language constantly changes, five authors take the pulse of the living language and share how it is used around the world.
  2. First Runner Up: I.N.K.: Interesting Nonfiction for Kids
    Authors and illustrators give readers a behind-the-scenes look at how they research, write and integrate art into their books. 
  3. Second Runner Up: SCC English
    The English Department of St. Columba's College in Whitechurch, Dublin 16, Ireland posts news, poems, drama, essays, podcasts, book recommendations and more. 


Best new blog

  1. Winner: Kirsten Winkler
    Kirsten Winkler started blogging about online education in January and takes readers on a quest to find better education.
  2. First Runner Up: Look At My Happy Rainbow
    A male kindergarten teacher shares stories from his classroom in Maine. As for the blog title, one of his students shouted, "Look at my happy rainbow!" one day after he drew a rainbow with four or five crayons in one hand.
  3. Second Runner Up: Teach Paperless
    Shelly Blake-Plock shows educators how to teach with interactive technology and provide real-world learning opportunities for their students.


Best class blog

  1. Winner: Billings Middle School Tech Class Blog
    From Seattle, Technology Integration Coordinator Jac de Haan shines a spotlight on students' adventures with digital tools and discussions about the social, political, environmental and moral impacts of technology.
  2. First Runner Up: Mrs. Yollis' Classroom Blog
    Third graders from Linda Yollis' class learn and share what they're learning on their blog.
  3. Second Runner Up: English With Rosa
    Rosa Fernández Sánchez helps her students from Coruña, Galicia, Spain, practice English.


Best student blog

  1. Winner: Civil War Sallie
    A Boyd's Bear named Sallie Ann travels to classrooms, museums and battlefields to learn about the United States Civil War, and then shares what she learns on her blog. The person who created Sallie Ann is a student from St. Patrick School in Carlisle, Pa.
  2. First Runner Up: Universo
    Eighteen-year-old Néstor Aluna Maceda Pacheco writes about botany from Rio Blanco, Veracruz, México.
  3. Second Runner Up: Moo
    A college student majoring in photography shares photos and commentary. She also happens to be the daughter of The Scholastic Scribe, which earned first runner up in the best teacher blog category.


Best resource sharing blog

  1. Winner: Free Technology for Teachers
    Voted the best resource sharing blog for the second straight year. Google certified teacher Richard Byrne reviews free technology resources and shows educators how they can integrate those resources into their teaching. He also won the best individual blog award.
  2. First Runner Up: Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day
    Larry Ferlazzo teaches English Language Learners and native English speakers in Sacramento, Calif.. He provides links to sites that help educators teach English to non-native speakers.
  3. Second Runner Up: Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day
    Social learning consultant Jane Hart features an ed tech tool each day.


Most influential blog post

  1. Winner: "Heads in the Cloud" from Anseo.net
    This post shows how one school uses cloud computing through Google Apps as a communication tool for the staff and board of management.
  2. Joint First Runners Up:
    "This, This, That" from Dear Kaia and Skyelar
    Three-year-old Kaia explored the desert near her home in Qatar, took photos of what she saw and created a photo essay that she posted on her blog. She wrote the post with her dad, teacher Jabiz Raisdana, who then sent it out to his Twitter network. 

    The link made its way into the Twitter stream of technology teacher William Chamberlain, who asked the eighth grade students in his class to comment on the blog post.

    The story doesn't end there. The eigth-graders had some questions about Kaia and her dad's life in Doha, Qatar, so Raisdana skyped into their class. The students also created video comments that they sent to Kaia (read the complete story on Raisdana's blog).

    On top of that, professor John Strange from the University of South Alabama saw the post and passed it on to the students in his educational media class. They commented on Kaia's photo essay as well and wrote more than 50 blog posts in response to the photo essay (read this part of the story in Raisdana's words).

    "Tech addiction 'harms learning' ... really??? $24.99 and I am no wiser" from Wishful Thinking in Medical Education
    After seeing tweets about a BBC News Education story in her Twitter stream, general practitioner and clinical lecturer Ann Marie Cunningham checked out the research that prompted the above headline.

    She had to pay to find out what was in the report "Techno Addicts: Young Person Addiction to Technology, and what she found was 'poor research.' She gives her analysis in this blog post.

Most influential tweet / series of tweets / tweet-based discussion

  1. Winner: #edchat
     Through Twitter, educators discuss real education issues on Tuesdays at noon EST and 7 p.m. EST using the hashtag "edchat."
  2. First Runner Up: Blogworthy Tweets
    English teacher Claudia Ceraso from Buenos Aires, Argentina, publishes some of her tweets on the blog ELT notes.
  3. Second Runner Up: #teachertuesday
    Every Tuesday on Twitter, educators and others recommend teachers to follow through the hashtag #teachertuesday.


Best teacher blog

  1. Winner: Two Writing Teachers
    Ruth Ayres and Stacey Shubitz share their tools, ideas and experiences with educators who teach kids how to write.
  2. First Runner Up: The Scholastic Scribe
    A high school journalism teacher writes about life inside and outside of her District of Columbia classroom. She is the mother of the college student behind Moo, who earned first runner up in the best student blog category.
  3. Second Runner Up: Cool Cat Teacher
    Vicki A. Davis from Camilla, Georgia, shares her experiences with technology as well as how students are collaborating globally through activities including the Flat Classroom Project


Best librarian / library blog

  1. Winner: Never Ending Search
    Joyce Valenza writes about technology, research, search engines and more from Springfield Township High School in Oreland, Pa. Check out the school's cool virtual library.
  2. First Runner Up: Bright Ideas
    The School Library Association of Victoria run this blog, where school library staff can share how they use the latest research tools in their libraries.
  3. Second Runner Up: Library Media Tech Musings
    Gwyneth A. Jones passes on education links and resources, among other things, with a sprinkle of snark, as she puts it.


Best educational tech support blog

  1. Winner: iLearn Technology
    Technology teacher Kelly Tenkely wants to help teachers "fall in love with technology the way that their students have," and she does that by giving them ideas for how to integrate new technology into their classrooms.
  2. First Runner Up: Langwitches
    This blog follows Silvia Tolisano as she discovers the magic of learning on her journey as a technology integration facilitator.
  3. Second Runner Up: Life Feast
    Ana Maria Menezes shares what she's learning about using Internet tools to enhance her classes and change up the daily routine for her EFL students in Brazil.


Best elearning / corporate education blog

  1. Winner: MPB Reflections — 21st Century Teaching and Learning
    From Teaching Without Walls, co-owner and educational consultant Michelle Pacansky-Brock posts her thoughts about changes in higher education, with an emphasis on online learning.
  2. First Runner Up: Angela Maiers
    After a 20-year career in education, Angela Maiers became an independent consultant who focuses on literacy education, and through her blog, she encourages teachers to be great learners.
  3. Second Runner Up: e-learning, conocimiento en red y web colectiva
    This blog covers e-learning, network knowledge and the collective Web.


Best educational use of audio

  1. Winner: Xyleme Voices Podcasts
    A podcast library on the evolution of training, featuring interviews with top industry analysts, consultants and practitioners in the field of learning.
  2. First Runner Up: Musical Blogies
    Ignacio Valdés posts audio and video of his students, who play music from a secondary education institution in the Spanish principality of Asturia.
  3. Second Runner Up: My Audio School
    Children can download more than 150 classic books and listen to more than 200 radio and television broadcasts on My Audio School. While this Web site was originally designed to help dyslexic students, it can be used for any students.


Best educational use of video / visual

  1. Winner: Bitácora de Aníbal de la Torre
    Aníbal de la Torre compiles short educational videos on his blog from Palma del Rio, Cordoba, Spain.
  2. First Runner Up: The Longfellow Ten
    Middle school students create and share stop-motion films that depict academic terms and concepts. They're definitely not boring.
  3. Second Runner Up: Inanimate Alice
    Through text, sound, images and games, writer Kate Pullinger and digital artist Chris Joseph tell the story of a girl named Alice and her imaginary digital friend, Brad. Pullinger teaches creative writing and new media for De Montfort University in Leicester, United Kingdom.


Best educational wiki

  1. Winner: Greetings From The World
    Teachers and students tell others about their countries by sharing glogs on this wiki.
  2. First Runner Up: Soar 2 New Heights
    A fourth-grade class shares books and themes that they enjoy.
  3. Second Runner Up: HUMS3001: Censorship and Responsibility
    From the University of South Wales, the students in Ben Miller's class on censorship and responsibility work together to build the pages in this wikispace.


Best educational use of a social networking service

  1. Winner: English Companion Ning
    English teachers help each other on this network, which high school English teacher and author Jim Burke created.
  2. First Runner Up: EFL Classroom 2.0
    This Ning provides a space for English language teachers and students to ask questions, share answers and find resources to help them learn. 
  3. Second Runner Up: RSC Access and Inclusion Ning
    The Regional Support Centre for North and East Scotland allows educators to discuss, share and join with other colleagues as they work with learners who need additional support in higher education.


Best educational use of a virtual world

  1. Winner: Virtual Graduation at the University of Edinburgh
    While some education students graduated at McEwan Hall in November, other students graduated online in Second Life. Those students completed their Master of Science in E-learning, which is a distance learning program.
  2. First Runner Up: Virtual Round Table Conference
    This Ning is dedicated to a virtual conference on language learning with technology that LANCELOT School coordinated.
  3. Joint Second Runners Up:
    ISTE's Second Life Island
    Second Life Education New Zealand


Lifetime achievement

  1. Winner: Karl Fisch
    Karl Fisch has been teaching for 21 years and is currently director of technology at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo. He was previously a middle and high school math teacher.
  2. First Runner Up: Will Richardson
    Will Richardson is the "learner in chief" at Connective Learning and author of Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms.
  3. Second Runner Up: Larry Ferlazzo
    Larry Ferlazzo teaches English Language Learners and native English speakers in Sacramento, Calif. On his blog, he provides links to sites that help educators teach English to non-native speakers.


For more ways to learn online, check out these resources: