Saturday, September 12

The Best EDU Blogs on the Planet!


As we move closer towards 2010, you will increasingly see new posts or articles screaming here are the top 8, 10, 20, 30, 50, 100, etc. blogs or sites of this and that. Most of them just vomit out lists, without putting much effort to justify their claims, or at least say why the selected blogs should be on the list. Actually, what I would want to see is simply what so special about the blog selected, and why should I follow it. Is that so hard to ask for?

If you first are going to claim that these are the top blogs at least tell us why they are selected, and what is so special about them. Let's face it; any idiot can create a top list copying a bit from here and there (or from their RSS reader!) within 10-15 minutes. I suppose we will get a lot of hits doing so, but we might also get into trouble...

Trust me, I have been there! Though, my first top list '10 Top ETL Blogs You Simply Don’t Want to Miss!' was a peaceful affair without much trouble. Probably because my blog at that time (2007) was rather unknown. In this list I shared my top 10 favorite ETL (Education + Technology = Learning) blogs. Yes, I did write why they are so special to my learning :)

Then in September (2008) I published another list entitled '25 EduBlogs You Simply Don’t Want to Miss!' on my blog, but this time around it turned into a battle of the sexes. Without me realizing it, or consciously thinking about the gender distribution of my selection, the list was...

Janet Clarey discovered this male dominated distribution, and it happened of course during a women blogging conference, and you can imagine what happened next. Also, I said some silly things in the online discussion that got them even more worked up (at least a few of them!). And then all hell broke loose (discussion here!).

Here, I was just sharing my favorite bloggers with ZaidLearn readers, and suddenly I have become famously infamous women bla, bla, bla. But the beauty of disasters and problems, is that they are actually opportunities to do something good and make a difference. Since I have been in such situations so many times in my life (probably my fault on many occasions!), I kind of dealt with it by going the extreme opposite (ego aside!).

A couple of weeks later, I published 27 Inspiring Women Edubloggers (and Karl Kapp! He was pretty surprised to be included!) on my blog, and within days I had become a hero. Even Stephen Downes and George Siemens noticed my effort to get myself out of trouble (besides learning a few lessons).

"Last month, Zaid compiled a list of top 25 edubloggers. The weighting was male-centric (22-3). He has now corrected the omission with a new list of top 27 female bloggers. Nicely done." - George Siemens

And Michelle Martin went even further, by saying,

"...Instead, he showed the courage of the true learner and used our observations as a springboard to expanding his own thinking--and ours as well. - Hat's off to Zaid on this one!"

The great thing about creating these lists, is that I have learnt a lot through discussions and reflections, and discovered many more interesting learning blogs (especially the female ones!), which I have added to my RSS reader. Click Here to see my updated collection of learning blogs that I really like.

In short, publishing your top something lists (especially involving people) can get you into trouble, or make you into a legend, or both if you are lucky. So, before creating a list, please think wisely :)

Also, besides gender distribution, you need to also consider racial breakdown, age range, religion, nationalities, etc. What was the purpose of the list again? Just be honest about what you like, and if people can't take that, then too bad!

The great thing about discovering new blog lists, is that we might discover new blogs that we can subscribe to via our RSS reader (please use one! I use Google Reader). My advice is to follow a few hundred learning blogs in scanning mode, and 5-15 exceptional ones in reading mode. So, where to find at least a hundred learning blogs to follow?

Here are four (4) blog lists too yummy to ignore (for learning professionals!):
  • 100 Featured Learning Professionals (Jane Hart)
    Jane Hart's personal selection of 100 learning professionals that will provide you with information, inspiration and/or interaction on a range of educational and workplace learning topics from around the world - via their blog, on Twitter or on other social networks.

  • ELearningLearning (Tony Karrer)
    It is not really a list, but an amazing aggregator of excellent workplace or corporate learning blogs and posts filtered out by Tony Karrer. Just subscribe to this one, and you are basically subscribing to tons of great corporate or workplace learning blogs. Actually, it is a blog post repository in itself, and you will find the indexing, Monthly top featured posts, best from.., etc. very exciting (Well at least I did!).

  • International Edubloggers Directory (Patricia Donaghy)
    Here you can find hundreds of learning bloggers from all over the world. An amazing resource to discover bloggers that might not make all these top of the pops lists.

  • Edublog Awards
    Here you will find some really excellent learning blogs. If you look closer, you will realize that most of the best blogs never won (according to my subjective opinion). But whether winners or not, there are some really excellent blogs to be discovered here.

Here are other useful blog lists:

Alright, I cannot resist! While we are at lists, here are a few sizzling and exceptional learning bloggers that I have to mention. And if they are not in your RSS reader, and you are in the learning business (sad for you!). Here we go (just numbering, not ranking!):
  1. OLDaily (Stephen Downes)
    If you are looking for the latest news, trends, reflections, etc. in the (online) learning world, Stephen Downes is the ultimate synthesizer (that I have come across) of what is going on. I love the way he reflects and extracts the essence (or what he finds interesting) of all the articles, sites, tools, resources, etc. he discovers in his daily online newsletter (excluding weekends!). You might also want to also check out his homepage to discover all the other stuff he is doing, including his other excellent reflective blog (Half an Hour) and video recordings of all his presentations.

  2. elearnspace (George Siemens)
    The mastermind (together with Stephen Downes) behind Connectivism, the only learning theory that makes sense in the online learning world. His reflections and ramblings will keep you updated with e-learning, knowledge management, networks, technology, community development, and corporate learning. Also, check out his Knowing Knowledge book (Free!), which reflects the future of knowledge and learning.

  3. Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day (Jane Hart)
    If you are looking for the latest e-learning (or 'learning') tools and resources, Jane Hart's blog is simply 'Toolicious'! Also, check out Jane Hart's amazing directory of 3000+ learning tools. In addition, I love the fact that she provides us with a weekly round-up of the new learning tools added to the tools directory. Her blog posts are concise, attractive, and juicy. Besides that you just have to check out her Social Media in Learning guide, which is simply a goldmine for anyone who is clueless, or wants to learn how to implement social learning, or web 2.0 tools in their teaching and learning environments.

  4. The Rapid eLearning Blog (Tom Kuhlmann)
    When you think about improving your rapid e-Learning, instructional design, PowerPoint or graphic creation skills, Tom Kuhlmann's Rapid eLearning blog provides you with a lot of great advice, tips, examples and short-cuts (One word = Amazing!). Also, don't forget to get his free elearning ebook while you’re there. In short, this blog is my favourite 'Rapid e-Learning' learning blog!

  5. Clive on Learning (Clive Shepherd)
    If you are looking for reflections from an experienced expert on instructional design and insights on educational trends, I believe Clive Shepherd's excellent blog will nourish you well. He is also the man behind the 30-minute and 60-minute Masters in Instructional Design (or rapid e-learning design). Also, check out Clive's 33 Columns! Although, he does not post as often as some of the other super learning bloggers, his reflections and insights into education, instructional design, online learning, etc. is worth the wait.

  6. Online Learning Update (Ray Schroeder)
    Ray Schroeder's Online learning blog is a great learning place to discover research articles related to online learning being published all over the world (Europe, Middle-East, Asia, Australia, US, Canada, Africa, etc.). This amazing dude publishes 3 new posts (linking to articles and papers) every single working day (as if his life depends upon it!), and this has to be a compulsive disorder that we all can live with. Also, check out his Educational Technology blog, too. I love his dedication, consistency and passion to share.

  7. Mission to Learn (Jeff Cobb)
    Jeff Cobb is certainly living up to his mission. In addition, to all his great blog posts, you got to subscribe to his Free Learning Monitor Newsletter, which will bombard you with the most amazing free learning resources you can imagine. Besides these two gems, he also does podcasts in which he interviews thinkers and doers in the world of lifelong learning (Subscribe via RSS or with iTunes). Finally, you might just want to follow his continuous Twitter stream of lifelong learning resources and updates. My kind of learning dude!

  8. Using ICT in Further Education (Patricia Donaghy)
    If it wasn't for Patricia's persuasion to join the Twitter world, I suppose I would still only be blogging (Thanks for the push!). I always seem to discover some new learning or graphic tool, or resource every time I visit her blog. Besides her wonderful blog, we just got to take our hats off to her exceptional work developing and nurturing the
    International Edubloggers Directory and Free Resources for Education blogs. WOW!

  9. Random Stuff that Matters (Stian Haklev)
    I have predicted big things for this Norwegian Viking (to him personally a year back). And his contribution to conceptualizing and setting up the Peer 2 Peer University is just the beginning. I love his energy, talent, inter-cultural intelligence and passion to change the learning world for the better (whatever that means!). Stian your the MAN!

  10. Singapore Educational Consultants (Amran Noordin)
    If you want to know how crap the Singapore schooling system is (according to him in his own words), then you just have to visit this blog. Besides the bashing, you will also discover a lot of useful ideas on how schools ought to nurture 21 century learning and so on.

In addition, I would like to mention and promote Sathish (E-Learning Planet), Ismael Peña-López (ICTlogy), Jamie Littlefield (Self Made Scholar), Dr. Neelesh Bhandari (Digital Medicine), Manish Mohan (Learn and Lead), and Vanessa Ruiz (Street Anatomy), as these excellent learning bloggers have not been mentioned before in my previous lists.

I know the male-female distribution of learning bloggers just mentioned is 12-4 (please don't ask about the racial breakdown!), but these are those blogs that I would like to appreciate with a 'Special Mention' (whatever that means!). If you are looking for other great learning blogs, please check out my previous lists (above), and all the other great lists I have shared in this post. I am pretty sure you will discover a few interesting blogs to add to your RSS reader.

Let's just enjoy blogging brilliance beyond gender, race, age, religion, and whatever. Is that so difficult :)


Manish Mohan said...

Thanks for the mention Zaid. You're doing a great job with your lists.

nstone said...

Thanks, that's a lot of lists, I just need to find a time to read them all!

Unknown said...

I am honoured to be included in your list, Zaid. Thank you for promoting my Website. Much appreciated :)


Anonymous said...

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Jeff Cobb said...

Thanks for the mention, Zaid! Yet another valuable resource from Zaidlearn. -


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the sharing...

sharnon007 said...

I love this blog. Always has some of the newest links.
Yours, Mission to Learn, Jane Knight's and ilearnteachnology are at the VERY top of my list.

Thanx~~~~~~~~ sharnon007

ZaidLearn said...

Dear sharnon007,

Thanks for being on your list :)

Also, thanks for sharing the excellent blog. I did come across it sometime back, but then lost track.

Now, that you have enlightened me with it again, for sure I will add it to my Google Reader :)

Excellent stuff :)

Thanks and Warm Regards,


dekhome said...

Thanks for the mention Zaid.

Suvetha said...

Thanks for the great list of EDU Blogs.

Educational Consultants Chennai

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