Research: education bloggers

I’m currently working with colleagues at the OU’s Institute of Educational Technology on a small research project exploring communities of education blogging. It’s based on some work I did last year on brain bloggers (some early data on this, more developed publication soon). As with that project, I’m not going into it assuming I know what a brain blogger is, or even if such a thing even exists. Rather, I want to let the first stage of the research help me get a sense of who blogs about education, where, how and why.

So, do you blog about education? Would you fill in this survey? Do you know someone else who blogs about education? Will you tell them about it?

You can respond in comments here if you want, or it might be easier (and more private) to email edubloggingstudy@gmail.com. Or you can cut and paste it to post it on your blog, if you want to share your answers with your readers (although please drop me a line with the link so I can make sure I have a copy). I need to get responses by the 15th of June to take them to the next step of analysis.

Also, please do pass it on to anyone you think might count as a blogger about education.  Part of the point of setting this survey free on the same networks of social media it aims to study is to see where it ends up.

The idea of this survey is to get a better feel for the area than I can just by looking myself. I eventually want to do a small number of more detailed interviews with bloggers, informed by this survey. Depending on the results I get from this stage, I may also use aspects of the data in my final analysis. I shall be preparing a report for the Open University and, we hope, submit something to a peer reviewed journal.

If you want your answers to remain anonymous, that is fine, just let me know in the email. Otherwise I will assume it is ok to quote you (using your blog name as identifier, not necessarily your name, a point which might be important for pseudonymous bloggers).

Please email responses to edubloggingstudy@gmail.com by the 15th of June. You are welcome to post your response openly to your blog if you want, but please send me the link.

Please feel free to leave any questions blank if you feel it is intrusive or you simply don’t have anything to say on the subject. This will not invalidate the overall response.

 

Blog URL:

What do you blog about?

Are you paid to blog?

What do you do professionally (other than blog)?

How long have you been blogging at this site?

Do you write in other platforms? (e.g. in a print magazine?)

Can you remember why you started blogging?

What keeps you blogging?

Do you have any idea of the size or character if your audience? How?

What’s your attitude to/ relationship with people who comment on your blog?

Do you feel as if you fit into any particular community, network or genre of blogging? (e.g. schools, science, education, museums, technology)

If so, what does that community give you?

What do you think are the advantages of blogging? What are its disadvantages/ limitations?

Do you tell people you know offline that you’re a blogger? (e.g. your grandmother, your boss)

Is there anything else you want to tell me about I haven’t asked?

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49 thoughts on “Research: education bloggers

  1. Dave

    URL http://davemartin46.wordpress.com/

    The use of historical fiction in the history classroom.

    I am not paid although some publishers send me review copies of historical fiction published for children.

    History adviser and elearning associate lecturer for the Open University H800.

    Size of audience circa 400 hits a month so quite small, spread across the world according to the WordPress stats and maps.

    Very few replies although not really trying to get them. Purpose is more broadcast/ dissemination than discussion. Quite happy to allow comments.

    I fit into a history education/ teachers and into an historical fiction authors network – partly also through my Twitter account which I use to send traffic to my blog. This community gives me valuable input for use in my work including running eCPD for the Historical Association on the use of historical fiction in the classroom http://www.history.org.uk/resources/primary_news_1473.html . In this context my blog is also a teaching resource.

    My blog is a useful resource if I’m running face to face training in schools (increasingly rare in these tough financial times. I also use it to refine my own thinking.

    I tell anyone and everyone that I am a blogger.

    Reply
    1. Laura Gibbs

      You have gained a new blog follower! I teach Mythology & Folklore courses and am always glad when students choose historical legends as a topic for their class project (I had a wives of Henry VIII project last semester, for example), and I am an avid reader of historical fiction myself. Very glad to know about your blog. :-)

      Reply
  2. marcusmoore

    Blog URL: http://marcusmoore.wordpress.com/head/

    What do you blog about? Anything and everything

    Are you paid to blog? No

    What do you do professionally (other than blog)? Jobbing writer

    How long have you been blogging at this site? 13 months

    Do you write in other platforms? (e.g. in a print magazine?) Occasionally, when commissioned

    Can you remember why you started blogging? Yes

    What keeps you blogging? Habit

    Do you have any idea of the size or character if your audience? How? I check the stats every now and then. I suspect the readers are mainly friends and acquaintances

    What’s your attitude to/ relationship with people who comment on your blog? I welcome comments, usually leaving them to stand alone

    Do you feel as if you fit into any particular community, network or genre of blogging? (e.g. schools, science, education, museums, technology) No

    If so, what does that community give you?

    What do you think are the advantages of blogging? What are its disadvantages/ limitations? Reaching a wider audience; having stuff uploaded I can link to; some sort of legacy perhaps. I don’t perceive any disadvantages or limitations.

    Do you tell people you know offline that you’re a blogger? (e.g. your grandmother, your boss) Yes

    Is there anything else you want to tell me about I haven’t asked? I am a former teacher and have worked freelance as an education consultant. ABout one in ten of the pieces I write has some connection with education

    Reply
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  4. VanessaVaile

    I couldn’t decide which blog to write about so tried writing about my three primary blogs, two all ed all the time and one periodically pedagogic. That’s not working too so I pick just one. In the meantime, I sent the link around to the Change 11 group on Fb… just about all of them blog. I’ll be back….

    Reply
  5. Music for Deckchairs

    Hi Alice

    I’ve emailed a response to your survey questions, but I wanted to comment here that I’ve often noticed an assumption attached to the idea that “to blog” is “to write in public”. (I don’t mean that this is your assumption, so much as it’s the common sense understanding of the activity described by the term.)

    For me, its value is a bit different. I’ve found blogging to be primarily a practice of social curation. That is, most of the time that I’m “blogging” I’m reading what’s come in through RSS feeds, going through links, browsing about, and adding the odd comment to other people’s writing on their blogs. It’s about meeting people, reading their ideas, and occasionally patching things together to see what they look like.

    Best of luck with your study,
    Kate (Music for Deckchairs)

    Reply
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  7. Teresa

    Blog URL: my blog : http://www.t-textura.blogspot.com.br/
    students blog : http://www.st-folio-ead.blogspot.com.br/

    What you write about? About my professional area and in another blog I help my students to be authors and publishers of blogs, they will be future teachers.
    You paid to blog? not
    What do you do professionally (except blog)? I am a teacher in a distance course
    How long have you blogging on this site? My first blog will complete the 05 years of my students started in January.
    You write on other platforms? (for example, printed in a magazine?) not
    Can you remember why you started blogging? because I like technology and education
    What keeps you blogging? Blogs are pets!
    Do you have any idea of the size or character, if your audience? How? yes, statistically blogspot!
    What is your attitude toward / relationship with the people who comment on your blog? I love
    You feel like you fit into any particular network, community, or kind of blogs? (eg schools, science, education, museums, technology) not thought about it.
    If so, which means that the community give? I teach my students the process of sharing and connections.
    What do you think are the advantages of blogging? blogs are democratic!
    What are the disadvantages or limitations? not think of disadvantages. Learning is always good
    You tell people you know offline that you are a blogger? (for example, your grandmother, your boss) not
    Is there something you want to tell me I did not ask? not

    Reply
  8. Eugene O'Loughlin (@eoloughlin)

    Blog URL:
    http://www.eugeneoloughlin.com
    (hosted on Blogger).

    What do you blog about?
    Almost anything (family, politics, sport, reviews, technology, travel, and motorcycles) I can think of, but my main focus is on Education Technology – especially the use of YouTube for education.

    Are you paid to blog?
    No – who would pay for my rantings?

    What do you do professionally (other than blog)?
    I am a Lecturer in Computing.

    How long have you been blogging at this site?
    Since November 2006.

    Do you write in other platforms? (e.g. in a print magazine?)
    Not very often – just the odd newspaper item.

    Can you remember why you started blogging?
    It was part of a Learning Technology class I was teaching – we were discussing the role of blogs in education and I decided to practice what I preach.

    What keeps you blogging?
    The freedom to say what I want. I post almost every day, and while I often have to really think hard about writing something new – I usually find something in the education blogosphere that I can comment on.

    Do you have any idea of the size or character if your audience? How?
    About 250 page views per day (via Blogger Analytics).

    What’s your attitude to/ relationship with people who comment on your blog?
    I do know that a lot of my page views are from family. But I also note that many of my students read my blog. Outside of these two groups I have almost no relationship with viewers.

    Do you feel as if you fit into any particular community, network or genre of blogging? (e.g. schools, science, education, museums, technology)
    While my blog is a personal one, I do feel part of the education community.

    If so, what does that community give you?
    I get a lot of ideas for class and on-line teaching from the many education bloggers that share their ideas. I don’t always agree with what they say – but it is a great way to share ideas. Sometimes the Community even comment on my blog!

    What do you think are the advantages of blogging? What are its disadvantages/ limitations?
    I think a blog like my own where I post about anything does not have any specific advantage. I can see great advantages for the use of blogging for a class (greater communication, collaboration, sharing). A limitation is that it is not for everybody – while students can participate by reading other’s posts, they may be unwilling to post themselves.

    Do you tell people you know offline that you’re a blogger? (e.g. your grandmother, your boss)
    All the time!

    Is there anything else you want to tell me about I haven’t asked?
    Nope – good luck with the research.

    I will also post my answers on my own blog.

    Reply
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  11. rowellc

    What do you blog about? So far, education and technology, staff training and TEL and cycling

    Are you paid to blog? No

    What do you do professionally (other than blog)? work as a Technology Enhanced Learning Advisor

    How long have you been blogging at this site? just 3 months

    Do you write in other platforms? (e.g. in a print magazine?) No not really, just done a few Journal articles and book reviews

    Can you remember why you started blogging? Yes just wanted somewhere I could ‘put my ideas down’ and hopefully get a reaction from other people who do similar work to me

    What keeps you blogging? Its early days yet but have been pleased that I’m getting some comments on my Blog

    Do you have any idea of the size or character if your audience? How? Just from the WordPress Stats…i’ve had 410 hits so far….didn’t have any idea how many I was expecting but this seems like a good start

    What’s your attitude to/ relationship with people who comment on your blog? Some colleagues at work and some people in SEDA (who I am a member of)….none who I didn’t know

    Do you feel as if you fit into any particular community, network or genre of blogging? (e.g. schools, science, education, museums, technology) its early days yet but a ‘learning Technology’ community….but I don’t think I’m fully tapped into it yet….also those interested in TEL at my workplace (Regent’s College)

    If so, what does that community give you? not fully sure yet but at work I had some great suggestions for future training sessions

    What do you think are the advantages of blogging? What are its disadvantages/ limitations? advs: for ‘Recording my ideas’ is a major thing and providing a space where i can ideas from my colleagues at work. Disadv’s: …..not joking but none so far…but give me time:)

    Do you tell people you know offline that you’re a blogger? (e.g. your grandmother, your boss) told a couple of people at work, told my Dad who smiled and changed the subject…..Oh well…

    Is there anything else you want to tell me about I haven’t asked?….. would like to see the results of the whole survey

    I’ve also put these comments on my Blog…http://totallyrewired.wordpress.com

    Cheers

    Chris Rowell

    Reply
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  18. ifitsgreenitsbiology

    Science Education (mainly biology) and thoughts/experiences that arise from my MSc

    No

    I’m a teacher

    Less than a year

    No

    I felt like it was something I should do to record my experiences on my MSc and might help me professionally.

    It’s a space where I can put my thoughts, maybe get some feedback, maybe help other teachers out.

    Small I guess 200-300 views a month on average, probably other teachers, maybe some people interested in educational research. I look at the stats that WordPress produces.

    I’ve had very few comments, I reply to anyone who does comment.

    Science Education

    An opportunity to share my thoughts with others

    It gives me a space to organise my thoughts and maybe help others out. It takes up a lot of time but I only wrote a post if I feel like I want to write one.

    I don’t got out of my way to talk about it but it if it comes up in conversation then I’ll mention it.

    Can’t think of anything right now

    Reply
  19. Paul Murray

    Blog URL:a) http://paul-murray.org/pond
    b) http://paul-murray.org/infografical/

    What do you blog about?
    a) Web resources and apps for education
    b) Infographics and critical thinking

    Are you paid to blog? No

    What do you do professionally (other than blog)? Teacher, Consultant

    How long have you been blogging at this site? 2 months

    Do you write in other platforms? (e.g. in a print magazine?) Tumblr

    Can you remember why you started blogging? As an archive for my newsletter

    What keeps you blogging? It’s getting more interesting

    Do you have any idea of the size or character if your audience? How? Haven’t checked yet. Will soon

    What’s your attitude to/ relationship with people who comment on your blog?

    Do you feel as if you fit into any particular community, network or genre of blogging? (e.g. schools, science, education, museums, technology) See above

    If so, what does that community give you? Inspiration

    What do you think are the advantages of blogging? Keeps me interested in what I’m doing for a living. Pushes me to be innovative and efficient / What are its disadvantages/ limitations? It tends to be time consuming, hence the efficient part.

    Do you tell people you know offline that you’re a blogger? (e.g. your grandmother, your boss) Yes

    Is there anything else you want to tell me about I haven’t asked?

    Reply
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  21. mister

    Blog URL:
    alowercaselife.wordpress.com

    What do you blog about?
    Sadly, at the moment, it’s a list of frustrations that pooped up during the last few months of this last school year. I’d like it to become a list of successes and pages of everything wondetrful my students have accomplished.

    Are you paid to blog?
    Nope.

    What do you do professionally (other than blog)?
    Teach 8th grade Language Arts.

    How long have you been blogging at this site?
    Only for a few months. I took a veeeeery long hiatus from blogging; my former online persona was “The Reflective Teacher” at thereflectiveteacher.wordpress.com, but I shut that down because I began focusing more on blogging than on teaching. Wasn’t a good place to sit.

    Do you write in other platforms? (e.g. in a print magazine?)
    Nope.

    Can you remember why you started blogging?
    I began it as my reflections for education courses, and carried it through my student teaching and into my first three years of teaching.

    What keeps you blogging?
    The need to think more about education and to reflect more on my practice. I feel as though, in the past few years, I’ve again lost my way among all the practice and policy changes at school. Felt as though I’d become too comfortable in doing just enough to get by. Again, not a good place to sit, and it certainly doesn’t make me feel like much of a teacher. Time to return to my roots.

    Do you have any idea of the size or character if your audience? How?
    I think I have three followers. :)

    What’s your attitude to/ relationship with people who comment on your blog?
    Check the comments — you’ll see.

    Do you feel as if you fit into any particular community, network or genre of blogging? (e.g. schools, science, education, museums, technology)
    Education, Language Arts, and soon there will be a strong technology bent to the whole thing.
    You might also see a music video or two, ’cause sometimes I need a good song to get me through the day.

    If so, what does that community give you?
    n/a

    What do you think are the advantages of blogging? What are its disadvantages/ limitations?
    Advantages? Reflection on practice is very important. Personal education is very important. Working through ideas with others is important. And getting it all out on the page is important.

    Disadvantages? Anonymity.

    Do you tell people you know offline that you’re a blogger? (e.g. your grandmother, your boss)
    Nope. And it was very difficult to keep it a secret when my previous blog was nominated for what I thought were very cool awards.

    Reply
  22. J. D. Wilson, Jr.

    Blog URL: http://christophernorthjr.edublogs.org/
    What do you blog about? Literature, art, education, music, stories, English Literature type stuff.
    Are you paid to blog? No
    What do you do professionally (other than blog)? I am a high school English teacher
    How long have you been blogging at this site? I have just concluded my fourth year.
    Do you write in other platforms? (e.g. in a print magazine?) I did a posterous blog this year chronicling an iPad in the classroom project, but that is another blog (http://wilsonjr.posterous.com/ is the blog site if this is relevant). Other than this no.
    Can you remember why you started blogging? I was taking a course on web 2.0 tools and we were to start a blog as part of an assignment and I just kept going.
    What keeps you blogging? I enjoy reflecting on what I do and writing about it. I also use the blog as part of my classroom and a way of introducing students to blogging and what they can do with a blog.
    Do you have any idea of the size or character if your audience? How? I do not believe I have an audience. I get a response to post from time to time but rarely.
    What’s your attitude to/ relationship with people who comment on your blog?
    Do you feel as if you fit into any particular community, network or genre of blogging? (e.g. schools, science, education, museums, technology) Education, perhaps technology on occasion
    If so, what does that community give you? I belong to a group, engishcompanion.ning and they look at my blog from time to time and are encouraging, other than that I do not really have contact with a group. English Teacher Websites (http://www.englishteacherwebsites.com/teacherblogs.html) has started “hosting” my blog, or featuring it anyway, but I have not received any responses to my blog posts from anyone there.
    What do you think are the advantages of blogging? What are its disadvantages/ limitations? It keeps me thinking about things I do in the classroom and why I do it. The biggest problem I have is finding the time. I started by blogging once a week, now I blog once a month (the posts are rather longer than normal, about 2000 words) so it does take some time to do.
    Do you tell people you know offline that you’re a blogger? (e.g. your grandmother, your boss) Yes, colleagues mostly.
    Is there anything else you want to tell me about I haven’t asked? I think blogging is a valuable thing for teachers to do because it is an effective forum for reflecting on practice and the content of the discipline. It also keeps me in touch with the struggles students have to confront with writing papers for class.

    Reply
  23. Mike Thayer (@gfrblxt)

    Here you go – hope it is useful!

    Blog URL: http://hyperbolicguitars.blogspot.com

    What do you blog about? Mathematics, music, quantitative & qualitative thinking

    Are you paid to blog? No.

    What do you do professionally (other than blog)? I am a high school teacher.

    How long have you been blogging at this site? A little more than 1 year.

    Do you write in other platforms? (e.g. in a print magazine?) Other than the occasional book review for NCTM, no.

    Can you remember why you started blogging? Because I had things I wanted to get down on paper, and I thought some of them would be worth sharing, so virtual paper seemed like the best idea!

    What keeps you blogging? Lack of any other venue to “say my piece”.

    Do you have any idea of the size or character if your audience? How? It’s small. I’ve probably had < 5000 hits in a year, so I can't imagine more than a couple dozen people (math teachers, most likely) read it with any regularity. I'd like to be more interesting, so more people would stop by!

    What’s your attitude to/ relationship with people who comment on your blog? I love comments – it means that I wrote something that made somebody think, which is all I can ask for.

    Do you feel as if you fit into any particular community, network or genre of blogging? (e.g. schools, science, education, museums, technology) My community is mathematics education, tangentially science education, but I'm not sure I fit anywhere.

    If so, what does that community give you? A sense of community, which is what all of us need.

    What do you think are the advantages of blogging? What are its disadvantages/ limitations? Advantages: I can say what I am thinking, I can practice my writing, and always try to get better. It gives me an opportunity to think more deeply about issues that engage me.
    Disadvantages: Not a disadvantage, so much, but just more "too bad" – when I write, it just kind of goes out there into the ether, and I am rarely made aware whether or not it's reached anyone. That's what I wish I had more of – more feedback.

    Do you tell people you know offline that you’re a blogger? (e.g. your grandmother, your boss)
    Some yes, some maybe (not sure), some no. To me it doesn't particularly matter who knows or not.

    Is there anything else you want to tell me about I haven’t asked? No, but thank you for the opportunity to participate!

    Reply
  24. Mark Crotty

    Blog URL: http://www.tokeepthingswhole.blogspot.com/

    What do you blog about? Anything that I want and about which I see educational relevance.

    Are you paid to blog? No

    What do you do professionally (other than blog)? I am Head of School at St. John’s Episcopal School, a prek-8th grade school of 500 in Dallas, TX.

    How long have you been blogging at this site? Just under two years

    Do you write in other platforms? (e.g. in a print magazine?) Not currently, although I have.

    Can you remember why you started blogging? Director of Communications suggested it as a way for my new community to get to know me. Plays to my strengths.

    What keeps you blogging? I enjoy it. It forces reflection. There is an expectation.

    Do you have any idea of the size or character if your audience? How? Not really sure. I seem to average around 1000 views a month.

    What’s your attitude to/ relationship with people who comment on your blog? Extreme gratitude…both for their engagement and because almost no one does.

    Do you feel as if you fit into any particular community, network or genre of blogging? (e.g. schools, science, education, museums, technology) Education, particularly independent schools in US.

    If so, what does that community give you? Support, encouragement, ideas.

    What do you think are the advantages of blogging? What are its disadvantages/ limitations? A forum which I control.

    Do you tell people you know offline that you’re a blogger? (e.g. your grandmother, your boss) Sure, although i don’t use that term. Instead, I just say that I publish a blog. For some reason the term annoys me.

    Is there anything else you want to tell me about I haven’t asked?

    Reply
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  26. Heather

    Blog URL: I have two blogs:

    Teach Less Learn More – http://teachlesslearnmore.edublogs.org
    - This is my professional blog
    Life With Heather – http://lifewithheather.wordpress.com
    - this is my personal blog

    What do you blog about? On my professional blog I write about things that I am learning and also what is happening in my classroom. On my personal one I write about my life living and working in China.

    Are you paid to blog? – No

    What do you do professionally (other than blog)? – I am an elementary school teacher. For the past eight years I have been working internationally.

    How long have you been blogging at this site? – about 4 years on both

    Do you write in other platforms? (e.g. in a print magazine?) I have written articles for a few print magazines.

    Can you remember why you started blogging? – I had discovered other bloggers and felt that I needed to start to use this platform

    What keeps you blogging? – sometimes guilt that I need to be sharing my journey :), sometimes because I want to share what my students have done or something that I have learned. On occasion, I blog because I really feel I have something important to say about a topic.

    Do you have any idea of the size or character if your audience? How? Very low – professional blog – other educators and friends
    personal blog – family and friends

    What’s your attitude to/ relationship with people who comment on your blog? – I love them and feel honoured that they took the time to respond to something I wrote.

    Do you feel as if you fit into any particular community, network or genre of blogging? (e.g. schools, science, education, museums, technology)
    - I would classify myself as an education blogger with a focus on how I integrate technology into my classroom

    If so, what does that community give you? – this community is where I get most of my information about what is happening in the integrating technology into education world.

    What do you think are the advantages of blogging? What are its disadvantages/ limitations?

    Do you tell people you know offline that you’re a blogger? (e.g. your grandmother, your boss) – My family knows I blog and my education
    friends know also but I have not shared it with the people in my present job as it is not something I am comfortable with. It is a difficult situation and I would never want to share something they might find unacceptable. At the moment my blogging world and my real life don’t really intersect.

    Is there anything else you want to tell me about I haven’t asked? I know that many people mention that they are not getting their information from blogs as much anymore as they have moved to Twitter but there are many international people who live in countries where Twitter is blocked (like me in China) and so we depend upon blogs.

    Also, I think that there are two difficult things with blogging: 1) believing that I have something to say that is of value and 2) finding my own voice in my blog and not copying someone else.

    Reply
  27. Doug Holton

    Blog URL:
    http://edtechdev.wordpress.com/

    What do you blog about?
    educational technology research, development, theory

    Are you paid to blog?
    no

    What do you do professionally (other than blog)?
    work in academia, doing research, development

    How long have you been blogging at this site?
    10 years (originally at blogspot, then edtechdev.org, then blogspot again, then wordpress)

    Do you write in other platforms? (e.g. in a print magazine?)
    journals, books

    Can you remember why you started blogging?
    taking and sharing notes while working on a major area paper in graduate school

    What keeps you blogging?
    helps me collect and remember resources and thoughts, and provides a resource to googlers and other educators

    Do you have any idea of the size or character if your audience? How?
    no, but a 100-200 stumble across it via google most days

    What’s your attitude to/ relationship with people who comment on your blog?
    helps others see additional thoughts/resources, other perspectives

    Do you feel as if you fit into any particular community, network or genre of blogging? (e.g. schools, science, education, museums, technology)
    not particularly, there are not that many in my field that actually blog or use twitter or facebook professionally, they mostly publish in closed access journals

    If so, what does that community give you?

    What do you think are the advantages of blogging? What are its disadvantages/ limitations?
    helps you remember resources and ideas, and share them with others. For students or young or old professionals, it gives them a voice and an audience and helps them with professional development.

    Do you tell people you know offline that you’re a blogger? (e.g. your grandmother, your boss)
    No, but I don’t hide it (my blog is not anonymous)

    Is there anything else you want to tell me about I haven’t asked?
    There are some great education & ed tech wikis and twitter accounts and so forth out there, too. Such as EduTechWiki.

    Reply
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