Five Guys That I Love Learning Alongside

One of the questions that I’m often asked is, “What blogs do you think are worth following?  If I wanted to start learning right away, what should I be reading?”

That question is REALLY hard to answer simply because there are SO many people who are sharing ideas in online spaces that you can literally find TONS of content on any topic that motivates you.  No single list of “blogs worth following” will ever accurately represent the wonderful diversity of thought and voices available to today’s motivated learners.

That being said, here are five guys who have had a sustained impact on my thinking over the years:

Dean Shareski – Dean is constantly pushing notions around just what teaching and learning should look like in a world where connections are the norm rather than the exception to the rule.  What’s more, he’s constantly emphasizing that connections — regardless of where they happen — depend on humanity.  Need an example of Dean’s impact on my work?  Then check out this post:  @shareski’s Right – My Students CAN Assess Themselves.

George Couros – What I love about George is that he is constantly taking difficult concepts about modern learning spaces and making them practical and approachable.  Every time I read his blog, I feel challenged — but I also leave convinced that I really CAN drive change.  That sense of “you can do this” is often missing in conversations about teaching and learning in today’s world.  Need an example of George’s impact on my thinking?  Then check out this post:  Simply Having Good Ideas Isn’t Enough.

Chris Wejr – In a lot of ways, Chris is the moral compass in my learning network.  He reminds me that taking a stand to protect students IS my responsibility.  He openly questions things like the impact that honor assemblies and student testing have on student motivation.  Need an example of Chris’s impact on my work?  Then check out this post: Shameless Self-Promotion in Social Spaces.

Scott McLeod – Scott is where I turn for provocative takes on literally everything connected to teaching and learning.  If he’s not eviscerating crappy educational policies, he’s pushing school leaders to think about the differences between schooling and learning.  Scott doesn’t just challenge my thinking.  He often points me to current research that proves my thinking needs to be challenged.  Need an example of Scott’s impact on my work?  Then check out this post:  The Straw Breaking My Professional Back.

John Spencer – John might just be the single most important voice in my learning network.  As an accomplished teacher willing to write about instruction, he regularly pushes my classroom practice.  Just as importantly, he often writes about the impact that educational policies have on classroom teachers.  Those pieces resonate — reminding me that I’m not alone even when I’m exhausted.  Need an example of John’s impact on my work?  Then check out this post: What DO You Want from Me?

Can I guarantee that Dean, George, Chris, Scott and John will change your practice in deep and meaningful ways? 

Nope.  If you have different interests or passions or needs than I do, my recommendations will be meaningless.

But I CAN guarantee you that investing time into finding bloggers who challenge you matters.  The simple truth is that adding voices to your learning network is essential to sustaining your growth as a professional no matter what role you are filling in our schools and systems.



Related Radical Reads:

Three Blogs You Should Start Reading Right Now

12 Remix Masters Who Have Changed Me

So Much More than a Professional Learning Network


4 thoughts on “Five Guys That I Love Learning Alongside

  1. Chris Wejr

    Hey buddy – what an honour to be mentioned by you. You have been such an important critical friend to me as you continually challenge me to make learning real to the students. Thanks for all the gentle nudges and hopefully we can meet up to see each other again! Keep sharing the photos of you and that beautiful daughter… they always bring a smile.

  2. Carla Bach

    Your posts inspire and inform me, and I’m sure that these references will, too, but even before I check them out I simply wanted to note my disappointment that incidentally, there were no women noted. Is there a dearth of key women educators who do blogs? or a dearth of key women educators on your list? or a dearth of key women educators? (the last question was rhetorical;) )

    1. Bill Ferriter Post author

      Hey Carla,

      First, thanks for the kind words about my blog. I’m jazzed that the content that I share resonates.

      And as for the lack of women on my list of people who influence me, I get what you are saying — and I thought the same thing when I originally wrote the post. Actually — I worried that people would be mad that I didn’t include any women!

      The truth is that there are tons of influential women who challenge my thinking: Pernille Ripp, Michelle Baldwin, Jenna Shaw, Krissy Venosdale, Vicki Davis, Sylvia Tolisano, Dina Strasser, Diana Williams, and Kristen Goggin have all changed my thinking over time.

      But when I go back to the people who have had the biggest impact over the longest period of time, it’s the five guys that I’ve listed. Maybe that’s because there were more male voices early in the ed blog world. Maybe it’s because I talk smack with John and Dean and Chris and George and Scott in ways that make our relationship stronger.

      In the end, though, I decided to post the list as is simply because I think it is important to recognize that individuals have the right to build their own networks of influencers — and the people who influence us is a deeply personal thing that shouldn’t be influenced (for lack of a better word) by anything other than our own opinions. The goal of my post wasn’t to make a social statement about the role that men/women play in online spaces. It was just to share people who have had the biggest impact on who I am as a thinker and a learner — and that happened to be five guys.

      Does that make sense?


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