In time for a new year — and indeed, a new start — our team decided to sift carefully through our website bookmarks and compile a list of our favourite, EdTech, innovation in education and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) blogs — and share which ones fascinated and inspired us in 2015.
Many times, we’ve been compelled to rethink our approach to teaching after reading these — and as a result, we spend far too much time trawling their archives. In fact, their collective wisdom and emphasis on truly innovative education helped us dream up the idea for our free worldwide STEAM competition for schools (designed for ages 11 to 16): competition.forensicoutreach.com.
We truly hope that they’re as useful to you as they’ve been to us. Here they are, in no particular order. A final word: if you find that your favourites have not been acknowledged this time, please do leave us your recommendations as comments below so that they may be reviewed at a later stage.
If you’ve been featured on this list and notice an error, please do comment and let us know so that we can address it as quickly as possible.
A big fish in the EdTech blogging pond, no list would be complete without Edutopia, which is curated by the George Lucas Educational Foundation. Edutopia’s content focuses on six core learning strategies. These are comprehensive assessment, integrated studies, project-based learning, social and emotional learning, teacher development and technology integration. Don’t miss the features that suggest some fantastic EdTech tools. A specific post that we frequently find ourselves revisiting is 14 Virtual Tools for the Math Classroom.
Richard Byrne recounts the very latest developments and free EdTech resources on this particularly insightful blog. Winner of eight Edublogs awards for his work, you certainly won’t be short of ideas in determining how to integrate technology into your own classrooms — even after the most cursory glance over these pages. Entries include incisive reviews of the newest utilities to ones that detail how to retool existing ones. Richard also has a YouTube channel where you’re sure to find intriguing demos when you require a respite from pre-lesson reading and prep work.
Kelly Walsh’s commitment to deploying EdTech in the classroom is documented in EmergingEdTech, where he describes the newest technology and resources (a recent post, for instance, focused on the use of tools that foster classroom collaboration), alongside suggestions for integration. A firm believer that good technology does not replace sound teaching, Kelly’s musings and updates are an invaluable resource for teachers hunting for ideas as well as solid advice on how to use technology in their classroom. In addition, Kelly provides an extension to his written work through his YouTube channel — where he runs a highly-compelling “3 Minute Teaching With Tech” feature.
Recognised as the best education blog in the UK by the UK Blog Awards, ICT Evangelist is penned by author and former teacher Mark Anderson. Here, he demonstrates how technology can be utilised in various contexts across subjects — it’s even what he refers to as the “modern educator’s toolkit”. This blog is a critical resource, particularly (we’d say), for educators attempting to navigate the relatively novel and often intimidating world of EdTech. As for us, we’re watching to see whether his predictions for #edtech in 2016 are dead-on.
Danny Nicholson’s White Board Blog is a nod to his fifteen-year background in science education. It’s packed with posts on EdTech that can be used as inspirational fodder to enhance the science classroom. From interactive anatomy apps to 3D printing, follow Danny as he explores some of the most innovative and exciting classroom technology out there. Some of our favourite posts are those counting down the top tools and tips for certain aspects of teaching — such as 4 Great Augmented Reality Apps for Teaching Science. In a word: brilliant.
Did you know Santa believes in problem-based learning? You’ll find the answer to this, and all sorts of other education technology questions you never thought to ask in this spirited blog. Winner of multiple teacher and educator of the year accolades, Michael Gorman can be found writing about all things web and EdTech at 21st Century Educational Technology and Learning. The blog reveals his imaginative insights into tech and teaching, and houses a carefully curated range of EdTech resources that are sure to enliven any classroom. This is definitely one that we have spent perhaps too much time scrolling through, discovering new content — and you should too.
Jamie Forshey, author of Edutech for Teachers, is an advocate for, in her words, creating a 21st century educational experience for all students through the use of technology and digital media. Regular features like “Tech It Up Tuesdays” and seasonal posts make Edutech for Teachers both a comprehensive and playful resource for EdTech teaching. Be sure to check out Jamie’s weekly “Diigo” bookmarks for suggestions on the newest technology that can be integrated into a variety of subject classrooms.
The integration of project-based learning and technology into the classroom is one, important key to enhancing a student’s learning experience, according to Erin Klein, author of Kleinspiration. This is a delightful trove of resources — including posts about specific technologies available, what they do and, even more valuably, how their use aligns to the current curriculum. You can also find her scribbling away on Scholastic’s Top Teaching blog. We can safely say that we’re Kleinspired.
Gavin Smart is a science teacher that advocates the use of technology to radically transform both teaching and learning. In this blog, he shares his thoughts on apps and other EdTech that can be used in the classroom. Best of all, he’s walked the walk too: Gavin really does demonstrate his commitment to this approach by, for instance, finding remarkable ways to integrate iPads into everyday teaching at his current school. This is an exceptional resource for teachers looking for ways to innovate their science lessons, with a UK twist — which, of course, we love.
Claire Lotriet’s experience as a computing coordinator shines through on her blog Teaching, Tech and Reflections, as does her penchant for EdTech. What we adore most about this blog are the frequent posts about coding and programming — Claire has actually written a popular series of books on the subject called Learn to Code. Here, you’ll also find general insights related to the art of teaching and education as well as a healthy dose of posts about EdTech in the mathematics classroom — content that is often difficult to come by otherwise.
Innovation in education
11. The Learning Spy
David Didau has no doubt paved the way for teachers to think beyond their classroom — and this is probably just one of the reasons why The Learning Spy is cited as one of the most influential education blogs in the UK. Author of three famed books on the subject, David does not shy away from asking the difficult questions or addressing challenging issues in education. Amongst these entries, you’ll also find insightful posts that sample cognitive psychological principles as well as tested tips and tools of the trade to improve your teaching.
A community-driven blog, Innovate My School brings together some of the most forward-thinking minds in education to provide an invaluable resource for news and classroom inspiration. With a crucial focus on EdTech, Innovate My School is certainly a blog at the forefront of emerging trends in education in the UK. Here, you’ll discover precisely what other teachers are doing to push boundaries. This one is worth bookmarking if you’re looking to inject both seasoned advice and out-of-the-box, high-powered creativity into your teaching.
Ross McGill, author of @TeacherToolkit, has certainly captivated the imaginations of a loyal audience that has grown tremendously over the years. Although a wide range of topics are discussed — memory, marking and even the weather — every entry is thoroughly researched and skillfully written, such that they both resonate with and challenge educators. Resources such as Ross’ five-minute lesson plans are designed to empower teachers to transform the way they teach. Simply put, it’s frankly no wonder that @TeacherToolkit is one of the most influential education blogs in the world according to Teach100.
“To teach. To learn. To empower” are probably the first few words you see when you navigate to Nashworld, and this sentiment underlies this blog, written by Sean Nash. Personal recollections of moments in his life often create the framework for posts about Sean’s teaching philosophy. Case in point: his post entitled Aligning Philosophy and Practice is a stand-out for us. Sean’s current role is as an online learning coordinator so expect to find thoughts on and tips for using technology in the classroom as well.
Described by former students as a teacher that “makes learning ten times more fun than any other class” (high praise indeed), Paul Bogush, the teacher behind Blogush, has a teaching philosophy that revolves around his students and their individuality. 5 fabulous tools that will make your class immediately student centered sharing ways is a clear example. Here, you’ll unearth both tools and helpful advice that Paul himself applies this philosophy day to day. Also, discover imaginative lesson ideas and ways to use EdTech that will truly take your lessons to the next level.
It’s certainly easy to lose yourself on the TeachThought website for hours (we know we have!) This blog, written by Terry Heick, is overflowing with posts designed to support and guide teachers as they innovate learning for 21st century audience. Posts such as 10 Strategies to Make Learning Feel More Like a Game explore novel and innovative learning models (in this case, gamification) by providing educators with the tools and encouragement they need to get moving.
Motivated to revolutionise the learning experience after her own schooling left her uninspired, Lisa Nielsen started The Innovative Educator. Written in an easy, conversational-style, Lisa’s blog conveys her experiences and ideas on how to transform the learning experience — as though you’re sipping a coffee with a colleague in the teacher’s lounge. Arguably, no innovative education blog would be complete without EdTech — a box Lisa ticks with frequent, and often thought-provoking pieces such as When Tech Teaches, What Do Teachers Do?.
Headteacher Tom Sherrington is behind HeadGuruTeacher, a declaration to regain that “zest for learning”. Topics explored here range from light-hearted reasons to love teaching to more serious issues such as the influence of a pupil’s socioeconomic background on the complete learning experience. From the voodoo of marking to the rainforest of learning, Tom’s writing is colourful, witty and incisive.
As the blog name implies, The Creative Classroom is a minimally but beautifully-designed blog aimed at ensuring all students are provided the opportunity to embrace their creativity. Listicles — amongst other posts — outline inspirational ideas and creative concepts. John Spencer’s (the author) desire to help teachers transform the way they teach means that you will find an array of top-quality free teaching resources here. Never ones to skip the clips, we also recommend you have a gander at John’s YouTube channel as well for his wonderful videos.
A Middle School Survival Guide, authored by a middle school teacher known only as Courtney or Mrs W, is a nest of teaching ideas and classroom experiences. From the chemistry of Halloween candy to regular posts on Mrs W’s new favourite apps to use in the classroom, A Middle School Survival Guide adds a much-needed extra sense of fun (and just a bit of pizzazz) to the world of education blogging (as well as this list!)
Blogging on her experiences and ideas of teaching several school subjects, Ashleigh of Ashleigh’s Education Journey has been teaching for 11 years. This exceptionally well-crafted blog integrates science, social science and mathematics with inventive lesson ideas as well as tips specifically for teachers on how Ashleigh manages aspects of her job, including lesson planning and marking. Colourful and infographics are often included in posts — acting as handy reference guides and bringing her words to life.
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Chemistry teacher Andy Cummings spends his spare time creating remarkable infographics for his blog. Even a short consultation will leave you immersed in the chemistry of an electric guitar, or the use of poison gases employed during World War I. It also includes weekly round-ups of the latest news and discoveries in chemistry. In all cases, you’re sure to find something fascinating on Compound Interest. Best of all for teachers, the infographics are downloadable for educational purposes in the classroom.
23. Lab Out Loud
Hosted by science teachers Dale Basler and Brian Bartel, interviews with real-life scientists, writers and other distinguished professionals will bring the latest in science news and science education to you in this lively podcast and blog. Venture through topics such as seismology, microbiology and politics in science. This is one to listen to after the day is done — or when gearing up for lessons with your morning cuppa.
A blog filled with lesson plans and multimedia resources, Middle School Chemistry is a comprehensive resource for chemistry teachers. Follow Jim Kessler, Patti Galvan and Adam Boyd of the American Chemical Society (two of whom are former science teachers) as they provide tips, tricks and tools to teach some of the key principles in middle school chemistry. Stay tuned for blog posts from chemistry teachers on the front-line where they share their own approaches to teaching aspects of the subject.
If you’re looking for cutting-edge and creative chemistry class ideas, an app to elevate your lesson or you’re simply trying to digest changes in education policy, look no further. The Education in Chemistry Blog, hosted by the Royal Society of Chemistry, could be exactly what you’re searching for. This blog brings together teachers, authors and professional chemists to create a worthwhile blend of insight, ideas and innovation.
26. Science for All
According to Kirk Robbins, author of Science for All, his mission is to share “transformational science education resources” — and he certainly meets the mark. A firm advocate for the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), this blog reflects Kirk’s keen interest in innovating science education. Posts and resources such as Engineering Design Talk Moves delineate how to immerse students in the learning experience and encourage them to problem-solve instead of rehearsing and memorising content.
Simply put, Teaching of Science is not just for teachers. A wonderful mix of anecdotes, physics learning resources and lesson plans, Ian Horsewell has somehow managed to create a blog that strikes a chord with both teachers and students alike. For students, discover imaginative aids like career advice flashcards to help revise for upcoming exams. Teachers will enjoy, and probably relate to, many of Ian’s anecdotes and “take homes” as well as find great value in his science club lesson plans.
dy/dan is curated by formidable former high school mathematics teacher, Dan Meyer, who has been interviewed about his incredible commitment to teaching the subject on CNN, Good Morning America and TED. Motivated by a goal to inspire more students to embrace the somewhat mysterious art of mathematics, his blog provides suggestions that will allow mathematics teachers to breathe a breath of “tech” air into their classrooms. A favourite feature of ours is Great Classroom Action, which celebrates innovative teaching in the mathematics classroom by featuring specific lesson plans and practical ideas.
29. Let’s Play Math
According to Denise Gaskins of Let’s Play Math, mathematics is a game — and it shouldn’t be dismissed as a set of rules and numbers. Entries like the “Understanding Math” feature challenge the standard way of introducing concepts like formulae and definitions. Denise, for instance, champions teaching the concept of area using a relational approach (if this isn’t familiar territory, you can read more about this here). This is a unique example of the content that makes Let’s Play Math one of our recommendations.
When a Hadron Collider breaks, says Colin, you call a quantum mechanic. When you’re having a mathematical crisis — the answer is simple: see Colin. Regular entries here are mixed with creative features like “Ask Uncle Colin” which sees Colin address mathematics and education related questions and “TMTOWTDI” (there’s more than one way to do it) where he suggests alternative methods to common calculations. This is one of our top picks for students of all ages as a rare clear and straightforward resource for understanding mathematics. Three words: Flying Colours soars.
31. Magical Maths
“Mathematics is just like magic, but without the lies” — declares this blog — so it’s amply clear that Magical Maths is a blog that approaches mathematics from a unique angle. One of our favourite features on the blog is the Maths Toolkit which adds a dash of humour, a sprinkle of real-world context and a hearty cup of good teaching to explain and explore mathematical concepts and questions. A fun website that will inspire teachers and even transform students’ perception of the discipline.
Mr Reddy Maths Blog is a blog curated by — you guessed it — Mr Reddy. Former mathematics teacher, Bruno Reddy is all about getting students enthusiastic about mathematics. A quick read of his welcome statement is perhaps all you need for a bit of new perspective: “maths… should be taught with colour, movement and relevance”. We couldn’t agree more. His associated website, simply mrreddy.com, is rich with web resources that any mathematics teacher would love.
With one of the more fitting blog titles we’ve seen, school mathematics teacher Kate Nowak has maintained f(t) for the majority of her teaching career — and we’re so glad she has. A firm believer that technology can play a crucial role in helping students finally comprehend the foundations of mathematics, Kate often curates some of the best EdTech resources of the week in her Friday Favourites. Anecdotes serve as the framework for her advice, and there are truly some brilliant nuggets of advice served up here.
Amphi High School’s Calculus and Geometry teacher Jason Dyer is The Number Warrior, and has a background in both mathematics and fine art. As the title implies, this blog is a teacher’s call to arms to liven up their lessons — so whether you are looking for information on theories, policies or are interested in hearing the insights of a mathematics teacher with a fresh perspective, you’ll certainly find it here.
35. Geeky Mom Blog
Computer Science teacher and self-professed geek, Laura Blankenship’s Geeky Mom is a refreshing mix of teaching experiences, thoughts on developing a curriculum, personal stories and current issues. An example of an intriguing recent entry? A post on Video Games and Depression: it examines the role that technology can play in mental health. This is one of several shining examples of Laura using her real-life experiences to create a framework for her posts, whether related to her work or personal life.
36. Teach Computing
Teaching Computing is written by Alan O’Donohue, a veteran with over 20 years of computer science teaching experience. A blog that is filled to the brim with fascinating content, our favourite posts are Alan’s recollections of his personal experiences and thoughts of women and girls in computer science and coding — and what he’s done to change these perceptions. Founder of the Raspberry Jam community and named one a BBC Make It Digital One To Watch digital influencer, Alan is making waves — and so his blog is worth having a look at.
Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Mark Guzdial explores teaching, learning and understanding computing in his in-depth Computing Education Blog. The blog focuses on issues surrounding computing in the USA’s education system such as gender inequality, legislation/policy-making and curriculum. You’ll also spot posts detailing Mark’s responses to articles running in popular media. Here’s one response to an article asserting that you don’t need an understanding of mathematics to code. It’s short, sweet and insightful.
38. An Open Mind
Miles Berry is a principal lecturer in computing education at the University of Roehampton and his blog An Open Mind provides compelling insights into his thoughts and opinions on computer science in education in the UK. Miles provides thought-provoking commentary on a range of issues from curriculum changes, paradigms in creativity and computing to education policy. An Open Mind is a recommended read for anyone interested in computer science education — beyond teaching it.
Inspired by her son, Liam, Sarah McClelland created Little Bins for Little Hands as a way to share her hands-on learning ideas and experiments with the world. The activities are aimed at younger children (hence “little hands”) and each one nurtures an understanding of the basic principles underlying various STEM concepts. A recent favourite of ours was the creation of Christmas decorations using beads to represent different letters of the binary alphabet, as used in computer programming. Find it here.
Follow Brian Crosby as he details some engaging and original practical lesson activities he has devised to teach STEM subjects. Among these detailed personal accounts of how his lessons worked, and commentary about key issues in STEM education — from the lack of women in STEM to how the “T” in STEM is often neglected. As an advocate for EdTech, Brian often discusses how to optimise the use of technology in teaching.
Delve into the psychology of teaching and learning with this intriguing blog written by Marc Smith, A-Level Psychology teacher and psychologist. Here are entries that explore everything from the psychology of detention to evidence-based teaching — alongside honest accounts of Marc’s experiences as a teacher, especially with regard to teacher observations. Having written for the Guardian, Huffington Post and TES, Psych(ed) is expertly written and worth a read.
Tinkerlab is perhaps the ultimate blog destination for STEAM — and with such stiff competition, that’s saying something. With “creative experiments for mini makers” as a tagline, Rachelle Dorsey’s blog runs over with art projects that necessitate critical thinking as well as science projects that inspire creativity. Tinkerlab’s projects encourage children, or young makers (as she calls them), to think beyond the materials and methods provided to generate exciting, novel ideas. This blog is a must visit for anyone looking for innovative ideas to immerse children in science and art.
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Deep Space Sparkle is a blog so rich with resources and ideas for art projects, you’ll struggle to know where to slip down the rabbit hole. Can we also mention how much we love the blog’s colourful design? Patty Palmer, art teacher and author of Deep Space Sparkle, draws inspiration from popular culture, the world around her, other artists and her personal experiences for these activities making this blog a treasure chest of creative ideas – from one-off lessons to longer, more extensive projects. This one is truly exceptional.
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A group effort, The Art of Education brings together art teachers who are described as some of the USA’s most innovative educators. Frequent posts cover every topic that might be relevant to an art teacher — from how to use certain unconventional materials to professional development. If you’re an art teacher looking for a community online, this blog is sure to be the place to visit — especially with the added perks of online classes and an annual virtual conference.
45. Dryden Art
From animating her students’ physical paintings using an iPad to the application of coding in the art classroom, Dryden Art is another stellar example of how seamlessly technology can be integrated into art education. Tricia Fuglestad showcases her exceptional ideas for the art classroom and the results produced by her own students on this incredible blog that champions STEAM education throughout. Note: this is not only one for the art teachers — we have no doubt that STEM teachers will find incredible value in it as a teaching resource too.
46. Art Junction
Craig Roland, professor of Art Education, describes Art Junction as being “at the cross roads of art, technology and pedagogy”. Craig brings together two unexpected companions, art and technology, seamlessly with posts such as this one detailing digital tools that can (and should) be used in the art classroom. Non-digital resources and thoughts on how art is taught are woven together to make this a truly comprehensive and insightful blog.
Started back in 2012 as a way to challenge herself, Colleen Rose’s Northern Art Teacher blog has grown into an excellent example of how art meets technology in a real art classroom. This one is a bit different, though — with over 3,000 posts, it’s really the photographs from Colleen’s Instagram that bring her blog posts to life as she records explains her experiences, teaching methods and all the lessons learnt from her classroom.
48. East Art Room
Walk into East Art Room for thought-provoking posts like Social Issues with Silhouette, that intermingle with more light-hearted lesson ideas — like underwater photoshoots. His “Artwork of the Week” feature celebrates his own students’ work and creativity — and this, incidentally, is one of our favourite aspects of the blog. In addition, be sure to have a listen to his podcast (you can find this using the navigation at the top of his page).
49. Cassie Stephens
Fashion, DIY and the art classroom come together in a burst of vibrant colour on Nashville-based Cassie Stephen’s blog. Written so you can almost hear the twang, Cassie shares some of her art project ideas as well as some of her students’ fantastic works of art. Cassie injects an extra dose of creativity into her blog by sharing some of her DIY fashion and craft ideas — some of which we can’t wait to try ourselves.
50. Arte a Scuola
Miriam Paternoster is an North Italy-based art teacher and the author of Arte a Scuola. The blog is a repository of lesson ideas and art technique tips that focus on a variety different mediums like drawing, painting, clay and even EdTech (all carefully organised in a top bar). Another award-winning blog, Arte a Scuola is hardly short of excellent resources and project plans to spice up your own art lessons.
Your Turn: have a STEAM, EdTech or innovation in education blog that you would like to share? Do you think we may have overlooked your favourite resource? Do let us know. We’d love to hear from you.