Keeping up with Blogs

I became a proud iPad 2 owner this week and it’s been a steep learning curve to learn as much as I can about my shiny new tool!

After getting my iPad I was inspired to work on updating the blogs in my Google Reader.

I know I’m not alone in being a little neglectful of my Google Reader from time to time, but it is a very useful tool.

If you are unfamiliar with Google Reader, you can find out more about it here. In a nutshell, Google Reader captures all of the new content from your favourite blogs and websites so you don’t have to be checking them all the time. Google Reader describes itself as a “personalized inbox for the entire web.”

One of the reasons I was neglecting my Google Reader is I had too many blogs in there and I guess it became a case of “I don’t want to look as I know how many unread items I’ll have!”

I have now condensed my Google Reader to include blogs that I have a particular interest in and connection with.

Using Flipboard and Reeder on my iPad, I hope to keep more up to date with all of my favourite blogs!

There are so many fabulous education blogs out there and along with Twitter, reading blogs is my top form of professional learning.

Image: 'Flipboard' http://www.flickr.com/photos/38305415@N00/4818276266
Image: 'Flipboard' http://www.flickr.com/photos/38305415@N00/4818276266


Blogs I Subscribe to via Email

I like these blogs so much that I don’t want to miss any of their posts. I have signed up get new content delivered to my inbox.

chrisbetcher.com – Chris Betcher is an ICT integration teacher in Sydney and always produces interesting and well written posts.

whatedsaid.wordpress.com – Edna Sackson is a Teaching and Learning Co-ordinator at a PYP school in Melbourne. Her posts are guaranteed to make you think!

langwitches.org/blog – American teacher/consultant Silvia Tolisano and I share a passion for globally connected learning and I have learnt a lot from her posts.

teachingliteracy.global2.vic.edu.au – I team teach with Kelly Jordan so I can’t miss any of her blog posts about literacy in junior primary.

ilearntechnology.com – Kelly Tenkely, an American teacher/consultant, never fails to be on top of the latest web 2.0 tools. Always something new to learn.

theedublogger.com – if you’re into blogging, this is a must read. Everything you need to know about educational blogging by Australian member of the Edublogs team, Sue Waters.

Blogs in my Google Reader

Blogs about Education and Technology – I prefer to follow blogs that are updated fairly frequently (but not daily!) and I enjoy following blogs from people I “know” on Twitter. It usually doesn’t take long to figure out whether a blog has a style and content that appeals to you.

Class Blogs – there are some class blogs I like to keep abreast of such as Mrs Yollis’ class blog, Mr Salsich’s class, Mr Avery’s classroom blog, Open the Door to B4 and A Peek Inside.

Student Blogs – Sue Waters has an excellent post about how to add student blogs to a folder in Google Reader. While I don’t have any current students blogging just yet, I do like to keep track of my former students who are still blogging such as Rhiannon and Bianca.

Vanity Alerts – If you’re active in the online world, you might like to set up vanity alerts to keep track of your name or sites being mentioned. This is good to form relationships, satisfy your curiosity and monitor plagiarism.  Sue Waters describes in this post how to set up these alerts using various online tools and Google Reader.

New bloggers – I like to support new bloggers where I can and Google Reader is a good way to do this. Two new blogs I have enjoyed lately are PrimEd by third year out graduate teacher, Kirby Goodey and An Aspiring Primary Teacher by student teacher, Ashley Azzopardi. Both Ashley (@ashleyazzopardi) and Kirby (@KirbyGoodey) are active on Twitter too.

Finding other Blogs

I have found that Twitter is a fantastic way to keep track of other “must-read” blogs. Popular blog posts are often retweeted and easy to find out about if you’re a regular Twitter user. Finding out about blogs via Twitter is a bit of a lucky dip but you can find some real gems As Sue Waters said, it is a bit like an (ever changing) buffet!

What blogs do you like to follow?

How do you use RSS feeds or email subscriptions?

What do you use Google Reader for?

18 Comment

  1. I try to keep up with New Zealand teacher blogs, http://miskaytea.blogspot.com/, is quite a lovely one to follow.

    I use googlereader to manage blogs I follow for personal interest and those which I follow for ‘professional’ interest.

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Thanks for the link to the NZ blog – will check that one out!

      I have a few personal interest blogs in my reader too about fitness and what not. I probably need more in there though! It’s good to balance things out. I often get edtech overload!

      Kathleen

  2. I just wish I could work out how to fit everything I want to do in a day into a day! I’m trying very hard to have a set routine of doing my reading before I get up in the morning and when I go to bed — but it is hard 🙁

    I need a clone!

    PS isn’t the iPad great!

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      @ Sue,

      It is an interesting dilemma for you because keeping up with blogs is a part of your job!

      Reading blogs before you get up in the morning sounds like a great way to start the day! I’ve only had my iPad for 7 days but on the days I’m not working (we had a few public hols +weekend), I put it under my bed so I can have a play before I get up in the morning. Couldn’t really do that with the lappy! It’s great.

      Kathleen

  3. Thanks for your post. I love my ipad though I haven’t upgraded yet. I always enjoy learning about new blogs and sites. It is difficult sometimes to follow as I teach in Beijing and we are blocked from most blogs.

    I faithfully follow:

    Vicki Davis – coolcatteacher.blogspot.com
    David Warlick – davidwarlick.com/2cents/
    Julie Lindsay – 123elearning.blogspot.com/
    Kim Caise – kcaise.wordpress.com

    Kim cofino – kimcofino.com/blog/ – she always has great things to say and as she is now in Tokyo she has experienced the earthquakes first hand.

    Julie and Vicki are the cofounders of the Flat Classroom Projects.

    Of course, my students would love for anyone to visit their blog at http://year4atalks.weebly.com

    🙂

    Hope that helps a bit.

    iPad apps – Zinio as a magazine reader
    iAnnotate – fabulous for pdf files
    iThoughts – great for brain mapping
    WiFi Finder
    Living Earth
    Earth Window

    Enjoy

    Heather

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      @ Heather,

      Thanks for your comment. It must be difficult working Beijing with your restrictions but well done for persevering!

      Thanks for the links to your favourite blogs, I must check them out as well as your class blog. I love Kim Cofino’s work to but a couple of the others are new to me.

      I appreciate the iPad tips – I’m always on the hunt for good apps!

      Kathleen

  4. Hi Kathleen,

    Once again, I’ve learned so much from you! I’ve never heard of “Vanity Alerts” and followed all of Sue Water’s instructions for how to do that.

    I organized blogs into folders about 2 weeks ago because I too had too many. I remember Mr. Avery chatting about it during the Edublog Teacher Challenge last January (or I think it was him). So, I searched Edublogger for tips and found them. Here are my folder categories:
    1) ABCs = which to me means the most important ones that I don’t want to miss.
    2) AJUSD = which are the blogs made by people in my school district. I want to support them and make sure I leave comments or visit them.
    3) Ed Tech
    4) Class Blogs / Blogs to comment on
    5) For Fun
    6) (And just added) Vanity

    Thanks so much for this post!

    Kind regards,
    Tracy Watanabe

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      @ Tracy,

      What great advice with your folders. I like your folder names. I think I need more folders.

      Have fun with your vanity alerts!

      Kathleen

  5. Simone says: Reply

    I am relatively new to reader/blogs but use my reader for a quick skim for interesting posts. It seems everyday I am finding interesting people to follow but just last night edited my reader to make it more manageable. My favourite blogs are:

    http://artoflanguage.wordpress.com/ NIST Language Arts blog by Sam Sherratt

    http://noteasilytrained.blogspot.com/ by John Spencer. I like all his blog, simple and to the point.

    http://sethgodin.typepad.com/ Seth Godin’s short posts seem to always related back to Education. Always gives me something to think about.

    http://whatedsaid.wordpress.com/ In my top 3 education favourites.

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      @ Simone,

      It’s so hard to make your Google Reader manageable when there are SO many great blogs out there! Well done on condensing it down.

      Thanks for those blogs – I hadn’t heard of 3 of them so will check them out when I have some spare time!

      Kathleen

  6. Thank you for mentioning me, Kathleen.
    Google reader is such a great tool. Once again, you have inspired me. This time to update my google reader! I have a great list of blogs on my blog. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      @ Ashley,

      You’re welcome – I wish more student teachers would dive into the world of Twitter and blogging etc. I bet you’re learning a lot more than some of your peers!

      Kathleen

  7. Ed says: Reply

    Hi Kath

    Thanks for the mention. It’s entirely mutual. More than that, we have a link to your blog on our teacher wiki to help teachers learn about blogging and see what’s possible. And I’ve shown it several times in different presentations to teachers!
    I recently cleaned out my reader too, halved the number of blogs to which I subscribed and organised them into folders. Not successful enough! I have to reduce still further, although a good technique seems to be to dip in an out when I have time and look at a few different ones each time. Really worthwhile posts are often tweeted and re-tweeted on twitter and so they come to one’s attention that way, but sometimes there are hidden gems that appeal to me personally even though they might not have wider appeal.
    I also find commenting so important… this is the way we really connect and make blogging into a conversation rather than a passive reading experience. Yet I so often leave a post open to come back to comment when I have a moment later, then don’t get around to it.

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      @ Edna,

      Thanks so much for offering your thoughts. Even though I have just condensed my Reader, I am thinking the same as you – it is still too big! I think I will use the approach you mentioned, just try to dip in and see a few different things each time rather than pressuring myself to keep up with everything!

      You’re right about Twitter, while powerful posts are often retweeted, I have stumbled across some great posts with very few readers and maybe 0 comments. It’s good to keep your eyes open!

      Thanks so much for linking to my blog!

      I do the same thing, leaving a page open to comment later then not coming back. I find I have to do it straight away otherwise other things will get in the way. Comments are so import though – they really make blogs come alive!

      Nice to hear from you,
      Kathleen

  8. Ohh almost forgot this wonderful teacher’s blog: http://elearningr14.blogspot.com/

  9. You are fantastic Kathy. I am beginning to see blogging, and I am still very new to it, as being like attending a great party. You can’t join in to every conversation and even though you might be involved in something good in the front room, you might not hear about what’s going on in the garden until much later!
    Tim Rylands Blog http://www.timrylands.com is for me unmissable. He is forever finding new uses and sources of and on the net. Brilliant.
    The party analogy works for me, because just sometimes I feel like a quiet night in.

    Mr E
    Hawes

    1. Mrs Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      @ Mr E,

      Thanks so much for your kind words. I love your party analogy. I have thought the same thing about Twitter before. You certainly can’t hear all the conversations but you can mingle and hear lots of great things.

      Thanks for the link to Tim’s blog. I will have to check that out when I have some more time. Off to school now!

      Kathleen

      PS – quiet nights in are always great!

  10. Thanks for this great post. I hadn’t heard the term of vanity posts….I do use them but I didn’t know what they were called. I had never heard of IceRocket and I will definitely use that as new resource.

    In addition to tracking mentions of me (which I did to monitor my digital footprint), I used them monitor any mention that was made in the news about budget cutbacks and staff layoffs. It takes so long for the official channels to notify those us down in the trenches what is happening…and often the papers have the news long before we know. So I’ve used these to keep track of what decisions the school board has made or the legislature has considered that might affect my district. These are very useful tools.

    Mrs. R

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