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Thomas – IAIE
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Generating Content for your Blog


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Do you have a case of writer’s block? Check out our mini-elearning module for several techniques to get the blogging ideas flowing again. At the end, we’ll send you a free blog planner in Excel if you like. Test y yourself at the end (we know your privacy is important, so we never collect data in our elearning modules).  The whole module will take about 6 minutes. Click “Launch” and get started.

Spring Resource Roundup

What’s New in April at IAIE? 

If you have thought about starting your own blog, perhaps the first step is deciding where your blog is going to live in the blogosphere.  Find a list with some notes about several platforms here and here.

On Literacy Beat, SpaceX engineer Cal Anderson visits with teacher Joe Assof and Professor Cynthia H. Brock about the literacies and expectations of mechanical engineering.

Education Resource Roundup

Education Resource Roundup

Discover how MonkeyLearn can help improve the keywords you select to promote your online content in this review of the keyword comparison extractor tool that relies on machine learning to make your writing life easier.

Also on Literacy Beat, Don Leu of the University of Connecticut joins us as a technology and literacy influencer this month.

Finally, Dr. Karen E. Smith and Dr. Thomas DeVere Wolsey are pleased to announce that the Blog Stars workshop and community will soon be available in Webinar-on-demand format.

Correct all grammar errors with Grammarly!

Categories: What's New at IAIE?

Blogging Platforms

When you decide to get started with your blog, you will need to find a home for it. Here are several that I like:

Blog Platforms


Blogs and

You may wonder what the difference is between the .com and .org versions of WordPress. The folks at WordPress explain in this article. Mainly, the difference is that the .com version is hosted by WordPress while the .org version is available for you to use on on the host of your choice.  If you are just getting started with blogging, try; it is not as versatile as .org, but it is easy to use.


A Google product, Blogger is also a good choice for your blogging home. It is easy to use and has many features you can customize. The Writing Stars blog is hosted on the Blogger platform.


One of the newest blogging platforms that may help you reach a large audience. Medium includes a feature that allows other readers to edit and annotate your posts. It is the brainchild of the same folks who brought us the microblogging platform, Twitter.

LinkedIn Pulse

Connected with the business networking site, LinkedIn, Pulse offers yet another blogging platform you can explore. Here, you will also find prominent business influencers’ posts, as well.


Now owned by Yahoo!, Tumblr has a social media feel to it because other users can easily reblog your posts helping you build an audience in the process. It is also a good platform if your content includes many images.


Here are several other possibilities you can explore: 

This article is cross-posted on Writing Stars.

BigCommerce: The easiest way to sell online!

Keyword Comparison Extractor for SEO


By Thomas DeVere Wolsey 

After you type the final period of the final sentence on blog post or webpage, you may be ready to heave a sigh of relief.  Go ahead and grab some coffee, go for a walk, or watch some reruns of your favorite television series.

But you still have work to do once you have taken that break.  If people are going to find your words of wisdom, you have to do a few things to help them.  Search engine optimization (also known as SEO) requires that the keywords people might use to find you are the ones that will move your page to the top of Google’s (or any other engine’s) ranking.


MonkeyLearn’s Keyword Comparison Extractor

MonkeyLearn developed a module that will help you do exactly that.  Once you have posted your content, point your browser to MonkeyLearn’s SEO Demo:

Paste the URL to your content in the first field and the search query or phrase that you think will drive the crowds to your content.  MonkeyLearn’s crafty primates then use machine learning principles to extract the keywords from your page. Next, they call up the top ten results from one of several engines that use the same search query you did. Based on relevance on the pages (yours and the top ten), a score is generated.

In the example below, you can see that my post on argumentation resources (see ) showed that the term “argumentation” on my post was the most relevant on the page; however it didn’t rate among the other top ten websites using my search phrase, “argumentation, logical fallacies.” That’s good because in time my post will likely rise closer to the top if people search for “argumentation.”

I can also look through the keywords from top ten to see if there are other words I should feature more heavily in my post because they worked for the top ten.  It was interesting to me that my particular search string produced a top ten sites list only once.

Federico Pascual, the CEO of MonkeyLearn, elaborated on how the scores are derived in an email:

The score is a ponderation of the relevance and the number of sites found using that keyword in the top 10 results. The higher the relevance and/or the more sites using a particular keyword, the higher its score!

Keyword Comparison Extractor


Learn More About Keywords and Machine Learning

If you want to learn more about choosing keyword phrases for optimization, the For Dummies guide online can help you out. Doing your keyword research will give your post the boost it needs.

When your spam filter keeps email you don’t want to see out of your inbox, machine learning is working behind the scenes to make that happen. Your credit card company uses machine learning to notice possible cases of fraud.  You just saw an example of machine learning in action as we analyzed a post on Literacy Beat using MonkeyLearn’s SEO keyword extractor demo.

Want to know more about machine learning? The simian artificial intelligence gurus prepared a gentle introduction for you.   If you create an account on MonkeyLearn, you can join a whole troop of monkeys and create your own machine learning modules.

Free & Quick Proofreading from Grammarly!

St. Patrick’s Day Resource Roundup

St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick’s Day

What’s new in March at IAIE? 

Data Monsters is a new initiative based in Moscow, Russia. IAIE is providing editing services for their Monstragrams project.

Read Dr. Wolsey’s review of Grammarly.

Free & Quick Proofreading from Grammarly!

Ian O’Byrne, an Assistant Professor of Literacy Education interviewed Kurt Becker, a Professor in the Department of Engineering Education (ENE) at Utah State University contributed a podcast about topics from engineering, engineering education, STEM, design, and cognition to the Literacy in the Disciplines Interview Project. Click the link and listen to the podcast on Literacy Beat.

Education Resource Roundup

Education Resource Roundup

Also on Literacy Beat, check out this compilation of resources for teaching argumentation.

There are many Learning Management Systems (LMS) from which to choose. What features should decision-makers look at most closely? Read this post on LinkedIn Pulse for some ideas that might be useful to instructors and learners.

Categories: What's New at IAIE?

Read Across America 2016


March 2 is Read Across America Day. Want to get involved? It’s easy!


Find resources, teaching ideas, and event planning tips on the NEA website and pledge to sponsor an event. Don’t forget to take a look at some photos from last year’s event.

To keep the momentum going, March 3 is World Book Day. The World Book Day website if filled with great resources and toolkits.

Free Standard Shipping for all Book Orders Over $35 at The Scholastic Store Online! Shop now!

Writer’s Tool Review: Grammarly

1 Comment

By Thomas DeVere Wolsey

It never fails. After I spend hours writing a blog post and hit publish, I find a grammatical error.  Even though I wrote the post in Microsoft Word and ran all the spelling and grammar tools, some error or poor word choice worms its way into my text.

In a perfect world, I would have a professional editor or critical friend standing by to check everything I write. Nice but not practical!  Fortunately, there is Grammarly, an essential writer’s tool. The Grammarly apps are ready to assist whenever I need them.

Grammarly offers a plugin, so it works seamlessly with Chrome or in Word.  Since I almost always use a word processor instead of typing directly into the text field of my blogs, the plugins are very helpful.  The plagiarism detection feature is very useful. Even though I wouldn’t deliberately use someone else’s words, at times some phrases that others have used creep into my writing. Grammarly helps me find such instances.  Depending on how the phrase crept into my writing, I can either change the wording or cite the course.  For novice writers who are not used to attributing sources, this can be a very helpful feature, as well.

Take a look at Grammarly’s suggestions for this blog post, below.



Grammarly notes repetitive words, clichés, and wordy phrases, too.  I found that being able to make changes in the Grammarly app to be very useful, and then I can download the edited document to my computer. 

Want to stay current on trends in writing in the United States and around the world? Check out these free reports from the Grammarly team. 

If you would like to try Grammarly, just click the banner below to give it a try for free or to purchase a premium subscription.

Presidents’ Day Resource Roundup

By Thomas DeVere Wolsey

Education Resource Roundup

Education Resource Roundup

Several new education resources for parents and teachers made their appearance in January and February this year.

On Literacy Beat, I posted a collection of links with descriptions for several online dictionaries and glossaries. If the language and acronyms of special education, teaching strategies, technology education and other specialized fields seems bewildering, start here.

Some of Literacy Beat’s most popular posts last year dealt with using cognates for vocabulary building, the vocabulary self-collection strategy plus technique, and differentiation with technology. Catch up on these popular posts.

The SOLOM or Student Oral Language Observation Matrix has been around for quite a while. Now, it is available as a spreadsheet that automatically calculates scores for teachers. Read about it and download your own copy:

With so many good books available, parents and teachers need a kick start to find just the right book on just the right topic. Fortunately, there is an app for that from BYU’s Creative Works.  Read more about Kids’ Book Finder and get the app for iPhone and iPad (Android version is in the works).

To round out this roundup, IAIE has begun a series of Parents’ Guides. The first explains ideas and teaching techniques teachers use in many classrooms, often as part of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.  Get your paper copy on CreateSpace (An Amazon Company) or on Kindle or paper directly from Amazon.


SOLOM Excel;

The Student Oral Language Observation Matrix, also known as the SOLOM, is a useful, open source tool for teachers who work with English language learners. According to the developers at the San Jose Bilingual Consortium, the matrix serves these three purposes:

It fixes teachers’ attention on language-development goals;
It keeps them aware of how their students are progressing in relation to those goals; and
It reminds them to set up oral-language-use situations that allow them to observe the student, as well as provide the students with language-development activities.

Previous version required teachers to print out a copy from a Word document or on PDF, a cumbersome process.

IAIE re-created SOLOM in Excel. Multiple sheets allow teachers to keep all student observations in one document, and Excel does all the calculations. Download your free copy of SOLOM Excel. 

Read more about SOLOM Excel on Literacy Beat as well.


Create a Radio Show and Reach Millions.

Categories: English Language Learners


Social Media Day


By Thomas DeVere Wolsey

Recently, I attended Social Media Day San Diego. Pat Flynn, one of many great speakers, addressed the topic of future proofing your brand. His presentation and the ideas that support them are worth a brief recap.  I’ll try to do justice to them in the next few paragraphs.

Back to the Future

Back to the Future

Pat identified three basic principles looking through the lens of the movie Back to the Future. The three principles, drawn from examples from the past, present, and into the future include:

  • People want convenience
  • People want to be heard
  • People want to be loved

Pat’s presentation was entertaining, but it also led to the point that the principles he believes lead to future-proofing one’s brand can be found in the past, the present, and the future. If your business is oriented to serve customers who crave convenience, who have something to say, and who want to be loved and recognized by the brands they value, we can go back to the future by looking to the past, at the present, and into the future.

Pat notes: “Your earnings are a byproduct of how well you serve your audience.” That seems worth remembering to me.

You can learn more about Pat here.