Finding blogs written by leading researchers or practitioners in a field (Joyce Valenza comes to mind) and adding them to a blog aggregator is an effective way of enhancing professional development. Reading an article in a professional journal is valuable but interacting on a blog by responding and reading responses to that article enhances understanding. Reading the latest reflections of bloggers like Valenza, Warlick and Richardson not only keeps me current but gives me the opportunity to actually connect with these “big thinkers” by responding to their posts. Also, being able to follow links from a blog makes the learning a richer experience. Often books (for further professional development) are featured on blogs and can be easily ordered.
Blogs that include videos of conferences and ask follow-up questions (like the TLDL blog) can bring communities of professionals together to discuss research findings and new ideas related to their practice. It is even possible to participate in an entire conference on a blog like the K12 Online Conference 2007.
The quality of professional development delivered by a blog aggregator is only as good as the quality and relevance of its blogs and the degree to which one participates in those blogs. In addition to those mentioned above, some blogs I have included in my aggregator are:
Moving at the Speed of Creativity
Teachers Teaching Teachers
Bud the Teacher
The Committed Sardine
Infinite Thinking Machine
Strength of Weak Ties
Alan November Weblog
To look for other blogs that might enhance professional development, consider visiting blog indexing sites like Technorati, where you can create a “watchlist” for your topic of interest. Will Richardson’s wiki of Blogs on Educational Blogging is another list of blogs for educators.