Education Blog Reviews: Livia Chan, Rachelle Dene Poth, and More

In this unique episode, education bloggers and writers were invited to share their blogs for a free and LIVE review. Many responded – so much so that it will take an additional one or two shows to finish this round of reviews. The collaborative learning was rich as host Tim Cavey analyzed 12 different education blogs for content, design, navigation, stickiness, and the About Page.

  • Content: What does your site offer?
  • Design: Is the site appealing and easily accessible?
  • Navigation: Is it easy to get around?
  • Stickiness: Is it easy to subscribe, connect, and follow?
  • The About Page: Does it properly represent the creator in Google-friendly language?

Blogs Featured in This Show

  • 1:13​ – EduCalc Learning by Nora Wall
  • 7:20​ – Chromebook Classroom by John Sowash
  • 13:57​ – Mike Washburn by Mike Washburn
  • 20:50​ – Diving Deep EDU by Matthew Downing
  • 28:58​ – Learning as I Go by Rachelle Dene Poth
  • 34:51​ – Livia Chan by Livia Chan
  • 41:01​ – Authenticity in EDU by Karen Caswell
  • 48:28​ – Nicole Biscotti by Nicole Biscotti
  • 54:55​ – Saved by the Beldin by Allie Beldin
  • 1:05:08​ – RockNTheBoat by Laura Ingalls Steinbrink
  • 1:12:43​ – He Gave Me A Melody by Melody McAllister
  • 1:18:24​ – Grow Creative Thinkers by Jason Blair

Catch the Next Teachers on Fire Roundtable LIVE

As of this post, I’m still appearing weekly on YouTubeFacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Twitch at 8:00 a.m. Pacific Time/11:00 a.m. Eastern Time. I’d love to see you join us and would be happy to feature your questions and comments on the show!

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How can your website help your podcast?

Each month, I connect with other education podcasters in a mastermind group of sorts. We compare notes, talk about our work, share best practices, and wrestle with current challenges.

On the agenda for this month’s conversation: websites. How can we design our websites to better support our podcasts?

Questions That Guided Our Discussion

  • 1:12 – Who are you, and what is the NAME of your education podcast?
  • 7:23 – How does your WEBSITE figure into your PODCAST publishing strategy?
  • 17:42 – Who are your top website REFERRERS? (Where does most of your website traffic come from?)
  • 24:35 – Pav from the StaffRoom podcast shares how she and Chey are thinking about in terms of STARTING to build a website platform.
  • 25:30 – Which PAGES on your website get the most traffic?
  • 42:17 – Should podcast episodes be published at the same time as SHOW NOTES?
  • 50:49 – What piece of content do you look forward to publishing next?

Meet the Edupodcaster Panelists and Visit Their Podcast Websites

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Subscribe to the Teachers on Fire Podcast on Your Mobile Device

Roundtable: Meet the Human Restoration Project

In this edition of the Teachers on Fire Roundtable, I chat with three of the four members of the Human Restoration Project team: Nick Covington, Chris McNutt, and Thomas White.

Questions That Guided Our Discussion

  • 1:12 – Who are you and what is your current context in education?
  • 3:10 – What is the history of Human Restoration Project? Where did it begin, and what is your mission and vision?
  • 4:54 – What are some of the systems and mindsets that need to change in education today?
  • 5:33 – How does your work express itself?
  • 8:03 – Where else does Human Restoration Project show up online?
  • 10:37 – What is your vision for assessment, and what does it have to do with restoring humanity to education?
  • 16:28 – How have traditional assessment models suppressed humanity?
  • 18:28 – If we remove grades from assessment, won’t students lose their motivation to learn?
  • 21:26 – In what kind of education system would students not want to cheat, where they are actually interested in their own learning and growth?
  • 24:58 – From viewer Sybil Priebe: What do you say to those teachers who martyr themselves with all the grading they take on?
  • 35:29 – How can we restore humanity to education in the distance/hybrid learning spaces?
  • 44:01 – How are you finding self-care during these times of stress and uncertainty?
  • 50:10 – What are the best ways to connect with you and your learning?

Guests Featured in This Roundtable

Looking to learn more? Visit the Human Restoration Project.

Thanks to These Audience Members for Adding to Our Discussion

Catch the Next Teachers on Fire Roundtable LIVE

As of this post, I’m still appearing weekly on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter at 8:00 a.m. Pacific Time/11:00 a.m. Eastern Time. I’d love to see you join us and would be happy to feature your questions and comments on the show!

Roundtable: Education Bloggers and Writers

This edition of the Teachers on Fire Roundtable featured writers on the Teachers on Fire Magazine publication on Medium, including Heather Edick, Debbie Tannenbaum, Kelly Christopherson, Tammy Breitweiser, and Jamie Brown.

Talking About Writing in Education

🔥 What does education writing look like for you?
🔥 WHY do you write about education?
🔥 How does it affect your professional practice?
🔥 What is your favorite time of the day to write?
🔥 What is your go-to writing beverage?
🔥 What is your go-to background sound?
🔥 Where and how do you complete your rough compositions?
🔥 How do you collect future blog topics and headlines?
🔥 Who is a current education blogger that you admire?
🔥 What is one book that inspired you to write?
🔥 What are some tools and strategies that you use to share your content?

If you’d like to join a growing community of education writers that are passionate about growth and change in education, join us on Medium today! Comment below or DM me @TeachersOnFire on any social media platform for more details.

Just Start: Get on the Track of Improvement

By settling for safety, we miss out on certain growth and learning.

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

“Fear is always triggered by creativity, because creativity asks you to enter into realms of uncertain outcome. This is nothing to be ashamed of. It is, however, something to be dealt with.” — Elizabeth Gilbert

At the outset of the new year, AJ Juliani issued a challenge to the education world: blog — or engage in blogging activities — for thirty days.

His call was a welcome one. Research has long been telling us that our students learn best when they are given the time, tools, and opportunity to reflect thoughtfully on their own learning journeys. In Leaders of Their Own Learning, Ron Berger calls this sort of metacognitive activity “writing to learn.”

The same principle applies for educators.

Writing to Learn and Learning to Write

The more we speak, write, tweet, vlog, and publish about our learning and professional practice, the more we will learn, grow, and develop as educators. And as we make our own learning visible, others benefit and grow as well.

John Hattie talks about the power of collective efficacy. Stephen Covey calls it win-win. Simply put, we’re better together.

Our professional growth isn’t just about reading and listening to the established voices in education. It’s also about sharing and contributing our own experiences.

So, as passionate educators, why don’t we participate in the global conversation more than we do?

It’s Not Really About Time

The typical response says we don’t have enough time in the week. But for most, that’s not actually the case. As Laura Vanderkam demonstrates convincingly in 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, most of us actually do have the time.

When you get right down to it, most of us aren’t hitting ‘Publish’ for one reason: fear.

We fear embarrassment. Rejection. Crickets.

We assume that our voice doesn’t matter. That no one will pay attention. Or worse yet, that we’ll be exposed as an imposter.

As Elizabeth Gilbert points out, most of us don’t publish creatively because the outcome is uncertain. There’s just no guarantee of success — whatever success means.

So we take the safe option.

The Power of Practice

But people who aren’t publishing are overlooking an absolute guarantee: improvement.

That’s right, I said it. When you create content consistently over time, your growth and improvement is guaranteed. You can’t help but get better.

In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell makes the case that repetition is highly underrated. He tells story after story of individuals who simply put in the time on their craft to gradually become an expert in their space.

Marques Brownlee

Earlier this year, I listened to a podcast featuring YouTuber Marques Brownlee, a soft-spoken, thoughtful, and charismatic tech reviewer. He talked about how he began publishing YouTube videos back in high school simply because he loved the medium and enjoyed the process. As he describes it, his first 100 videos were viewed by audiences of around 100 people.

Today, Brownlee’s videos earn millions of views apiece. He has 7.7M subscribers.

It’s not all about growing an audience. That’s not really my point, although the size of his growing viewership does speak to the value of his work.

What I’m more interested in is those first 100 videos. Just think about the sort of headspace he was in to continue creating.

As he puts it, he created content simply because he enjoyed it. The views and reactions were secondary.

And because he stuck with it, he’s obviously eclipsed Gladwell’s 10,000 hours. He’s become a master at his craft.

The Teachers on Fire Podcast

In March of 2018, I realized a long-held dream by launching a podcast for educators, Teachers on Fire. I didn’t really know what I was doing, and I had questions about everything from applications to equipment to guests.

It took a lot of work to get started, and it definitely wasn’t easy. My sound quality was awful at the beginning, and I made a ton of unfortunate mistakes that made the process even more painful.

The interview for my very first episode took forever to complete because the recording app I was using crashed at least six times. It was a frustrating first experience.

Almost a year later, I still don’t have it all figured out. But I’m learning. I’m growing. I’m improving my craft. I’m miles and miles from where I started, and my conversations with education leaders are inspiring listeners around the world.

Consistent Content Creation is a Direct Line to Improvement

I don’t consider myself a skilled artist. But I have zero doubt in my mind that if I set aside three hours a weekend to learn and practice pencil drawing for 52 weeks, I would be a much better artist by year’s end.

Absolutely no doubt in my mind.

I’m convinced that the same holds true for any kind of creative publishing. Once we embark on the commitment of regular creation, improvement isn’t a question. It’s an absolute certainty.

And as we hone our creative skills, our contributions to the world around us become more valuable.

This is what I want my stepsons to know. My students to know. And you, fellow educator, to know.

We can lament our lack of creative skills. Or we can take action.

Just start.