Meet Erin Klein from Kleinspiration – A 2011 Really Good Blog Winner
Erin has created a fantastic resource for educators in her blog Kleinspiration, showcasing rich web 2.0 resources that can be used as tools to enhance teaching and learning. Kleinspiration, a newly created educational blog, brings readers technology treasures for today’s teachers.
Tell us a little bit about your blog and why you started it.
I started my blog to share information with friends about great technology tips I was using with my own students. As my blog began to grow in followers, I started receiving questions and ideas from other teachers. Through collaboration and networking, I started posting more about what my reading audience was most interested in learning about.
Oftentimes, the Internet can become cumbersome for those who only have a brief moment to utilize its full potential. Though most of us would love to include more technology into our lesson planning, we find that we simply run out of time. We run out of time when planning (as there are so many sites to choose from), and we run out of time covering content within the classroom (as there are so many weekly disruptions). Kleinspiration provides a spot where teachers can browse the newest technology finds, while still being reminded of quality sites that have been around, read comments/reviews other professionals/parents have made about a particular site, and peek directly into my middle school classroom as I share my own lessons and student product examples. Furthermore, I have a contact page where I welcome questions and opportunities to work together through conferences and workshops.
Tell us about yourself and your teaching career.
I am a middle school teacher in southern Michigan with my Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. I has extensive training in reading intervention programs and root my style in Dr. Spencer Kagan’s Cooperative Learning Structures to infuse natural collaboration within my classroom and increase active engagement so that all students’ learning potential is maximized.
I decided to pursue my passion for technology integration when I realized how much my own children were becoming acclimated to technology, and learning so much from it, all at such a young developmental and cognitive learning age. I knew this was their world, and I should embrace it. Times have changed; sadly, classrooms haven’t. Thus, I began networking with other teachers and developed ways to comfortably embrace technology.
What do you think makes your blog different from others?
Kleinspiration is unique to some blogs because there are not many resources available that transcend across a Pre-K – High School audience. Though I teach middle school, many of my resources have been used by my two children: Riley, a second grader and Jacob, three years old. Additionally, I use many of the resources in my professional life, too. The wonderful aspect about technology is that it translates to a universal and global audience… there’s always something for everyone.
What advice would you give to a new blogger?
As a new blogger, I recommend having a central theme for your site. Personally, most of the blogs I use often are ones that I know what to expect. For example, I have a purpose for visiting their site, knowing that I’ll probably find exactly what I’m looking for. I enjoy the inspiration I gain from not only gaining a good idea but also seeing how others have taken that idea and personally used it.
I also believe in the networking opportunities that blogging has to offer. As a community of virtual friends, it is truly wonderful celebrating creative classroom ideas with others. However, in doing so, it is important to always give credit to those who inspired you. Bloggers love being highlighted on other sites and seeing how others are benefiting from their shared ideas.
What advice would you give to a new teacher?
Being a new teacher is one of the most precious times of your life. There will be hugs, tears, and smiles. Always be true to yourself and honest with others. Stay current on best-practices and always keep strong pedagogy in mind. Remember that technology is not about bells and whistles but rather a tool to enhance the learning objective. Remember to stay organized and do not become overwhelmed with the ‘little stuff.’ Enjoy every moment and stay grounded in your purpose for your profession.
How do you plan to spend your $75 gift certificate?
As a winner of the recent Really Good Stuff Classroom Blog Contest, one of the gifts was a $75 gift certificate to their wonderful store. I’d like to offer one of my followers the $75 gift certificate as a token of my appreciation for supporting Kleinspiration. I truly am thankful for your support and blogging friendship! I’ve grown so very much from having you all as a part of my network. Go to my blog and find out how to submit your entry. It’s super simple, and I’d love to have you become a part of my network. The give-away ends this Thursday, July 21, 2011.