Visitors to eSchool News Online are privy to a very special society. The Ed-Tech Insider is an educator blog community dedicated to putting the promise of technology into practice. The site features more than a dozen ed-tech professionals so passionate about enhancing learning through technology that they’ve agreed to share their expertise in a dialogue with eSN Online readers.

Here’s a sampling of some of the best Ed-Tech Insider posts in recent weeks. All of these posts are still active, so if you want to comment on any of them, simply visit the site to do so.

From “House Appropriations Committee Zeros Out EETT Funding for 2007”

“… Regardless of what you might think about school districts’ dependency upon federal dollars for important programs, the sad truth is that many districts rely almost exclusively on this money to fund technology initiatives. I find myself wondering how we expect schools to prepare students to compete in a 21st-century workplace using tools from the 19th and 20th centuries.”

–Susan Brooks-Young

From “More on the So-Called Safety Issue of Social Networking Sites”

“My ‘real’ issue has to do with why the debate about social networking sites is wrong-headed from the outset … It doesn’t make any sense to label them safe or unsafe. The issue is about education, educators, and how the sites are used. I think it goes pretty much without saying that just about every SN (social networking) site can be used safely or unsafely … the central and only addressable issue is one of trust. How can we teach and trust our students to use the internet safely and wisely? That is, of course, why we need educated educators and knowledgeable tech coordinators who’d rather avoid blocking sites and … focus their efforts on genuinely teaching students how to use these tools.”

–Steve Burt

From “Make Blog: Homemade Quadrifiliar Helicoidal Antenna”

“If you’re a science teacher, you’ve got to be reading the Make Blog (http://www.makezine.com), which is a limitless source of cutting-edge science projects, like the homemade quadrifiliar helicoidal antenna, which you can use to pull down raw images directly from weather satellites. If I [were] designing a high school today, I would call it ‘Make High’ …”

–Tom Hoffman

From “Flock” “… Flock (http://www.flock.com) is my new browser of choice, and that just after a few hours of playing. It took me absolutely zero time to configure it so I can blog right to my Word Press site, save bookmarks in del.icio.us, upload pictures to Flickr, and (thunder and lightning) read my feeds all in the same space … for the first time, I am seriously thinking of retiring my Bloglines account. Whoa! I mean, the aggregator alone is worth the switch. It makes saving posts easy, gives you all sorts of options for reading what’s new (like creating your own columned newspaper interface), allows you to bookmark and blog with one easy click (which I know Bloglines has, but without this elegant workflow), and just feels so integrated with the whole package … The blog interface has a spellcheck, lets me add tags really easily, and has a spellcheck. (Did I mention that?) It’s also got a cool little clipboard/web snippet tool that I can dump stuff into for later use. My goodness … I’m sure I’ll be posting more as I play, but I have to say at first blush, this is a very, very cool tool.”

–Will Richardson