Have You Heard About the Teach 100?

September 5th, 2013 | by Stephan Maldonado

Educational Blogs

Blogging has transformed the way we think about education. While technology in general has done great things to expand and improve upon the education students receive inside and out of the classroom, blogging in particular has demonstrated tremendous potential. Teachers and students alike are empowered through blogging to make their voices heard, and communities of bloggers connect over great distances to create global educational networks. The possibilities for educational blogging are about as limitless as the number of blogs, and there’s one resource that has emerged to showcase some of the most popular and influential: the Teach 100.

The Teach 100

The Teach 100 was created by the folks at Teach.com, in collaboration with USC Rossier Online, as a tool to score and rank the best educational blogs on the web. Their system takes into account several criteria to provide a well-rounded score for each blog:

  • Google Authority: Google’s way of indicating a website’s level of value and influence
  • Activity: how often the blog is updated
  • Social Networks: how many times the blog is shared by Facebook and Twitter users
  • Teach.com Score: a score assigned by Teach.com staffmembers based on their assessment of the website.

The Teach 100 has more than 400 blogs in their system. We first discovered them back in June and decided to submit TeacherTube. Even though our site wasn’t a traditional “blog,” we believed the content generated by our amazing users makes us a valuable resource with which educators should be familiar. Luckily, Teach.com felt the same way, and accepted us into the ranking. We’re proud to say that as of this post (the ranking updates daily), we are maintaining our position at #5. We’ve kept an eye on the Teach 100 since then and found that it’s taught us a lot about the value of blogging. The Teach 100 covers an entire spectrum of sites, from big names like The New York Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education, to individual teacher and classroom blogs. Each site, regardless of size or position, adds something to the conversation, and it’s a conversation everybody should be a part of.

The Power of Blogging

There are a number of reasons why teachers chose to keep a blog, both personal and professional. Personal blogs, while also valuable, should be used responsibly and avoid overlap with your classroom, students, and colleagues. Some great uses of professional educational blogs include:

  • A classroom blog where you post updates for your school and community about some of the exciting things your students are doing. You can share lesson plans, inspirational stories, helpful resources, and even important announcements. Some teachers highlight student projects on their blog, or use it to post assignments. A classroom blog can increase visibility and help with things like fundraising or networking. The internet has even made school fundraising more innovative, with websites like DonorsChoose.org, where teachers showcase projects for which they’d like to raise funds and users donate to the project.

  • An online curriculum vitae, where you showcase your own achievements as an educator. This is an excellent opportunity to highlight your experience, post your resume, share any published works or academic research, and build your personal brand. While many teachers use sites like ePortfolio or LinkedIn for this kind of professional networking, a blog allows you more freedom to present yourself in the way you want to be presented.

  • You can use your blog as a venue to join an educational discussion that moves you. What’s your passion? Education reform? The Common Core Standards? Special education, or a particular academic subject? Most of the blogs we’ve encountered on the Teach 100 are those where the educator voices their opinions, reports on news, and debates other bloggers on a particular topic. Many of these bloggers, such as Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D., of User Generated Education (who blogs about passion-based education, in particularly the flipped classroom approach), have become prominent voices in the discussion. Their blogs have substantial followings and their insight is valued by those who are passionate about the same topic.

  • A way to share interesting things with others. Blogging about your passion doesn’t necessarily require active participation in a debate or reporting of educational news. Many teacher bloggers simply like to share with their colleagues and readers things that interest them. Mobile technology in education has exploded in recent years, with a number of BYOD (bring your own device) initiatives in schools across the country, and a plethora of educational apps and games available at little-to-no cost. Sometimes, a blog can become popular simply by reviewing new innovations. Teacher bloggers can review books, sample new products, and even showcase other valuable blogs. If educational video games are what excite you, then by all means, blog about them!

  • Connect with other teachers through blogs. Be voracious in your reading of blogs–don’t just follow as many as you can, but become an active participant. Comment on posts so that you can join the discussion, share blogs on your social media networks to encourage colleagues to join the discussion as well. Find the educators who are blogging about what moves you and get to know them. You’ll find that many teacher bloggers are friendly, receptive of constructive criticism, and eager to connect. Networking with teachers across the world through blogs will create numerous opportunities for you to learn and expand your own parameters as an educator. You’ll become well versed in a number of different topics in education, schools of thought, and teaching methods. Learning about how a high school biology teacher in Germany teaches the metabolic cycle to her students can change the way you think about teaching the same thing in your own classroom. Hearing a Korean teacher talk about daily life in the Korean education system can give you unparalleled insight into another culture.

Lesson ideas, experiences, opinions, triumphs and failures–these already exist within all of you. Blogging doesn’t create innovation in teachers, it simply enables them to optimize the impact of their teaching by sharing these things with a wider audience, building communities, and making effective use of technology. Keeping a blog expands your parameters beyond the walls of the classroom and helps you become an active participant in a larger educational discussion that is continually empowering teachers to be great.

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