It’s that time of year again. Time to submit nominations for the 2012 Edublog Awards.
There are those who criticise the idea of giving out awards for educational blogs as being a bit silly, or a bit unnecessary, or a bit selfserving, or a bit self-indulgent. They complain that the voting process is flawed, or that it’s just a popularity contest, or that it promotes the wrong kinds of values. Some complain that it’s just a chance for gratuitous self promotion, both for the bloggers themselves and for the companies that promote educational blogging.
I’m not one of those people. I think anything that supports, encourages and promotes the use of blogs in education is a good thing. Blogs are all about writing, sharing, thinking, pondering. Writing a blog forces you to clarify your thinking, state your position, defend your point of view. Blogging is a way to connect with others, debate ideas that matter to you, build a community of learners and be part of a bigger conversation.
Some say that blogs are not really needed any more now that we have so many other outlets. Yes, social networks are wonderful forums for sharing, but blogs are different. Facebook and Google+ have taken over many of the sharing functions that blogs originally had, and for simple sharing of links, videos and pictures, they probably do a better job. Twitter might be a quick, easy and more conversational way to share stuff, but it’s highly ephemeral and can lack depth because of the 140 character limit. A good blog can go deeper, have greater substance, more permanence, and better reflect the personality of the blogger.
Speaking personally, a large part of the connection, camaraderie and community that I experience every day from my network of friends and colleagues originated from my blog. So many of the opportunities I’ve had to meet, talk, share and even travel, have come from the connections I’ve made here. Don’t underestimate the value of blogging. But blogging takes work. It takes a degree of dedication and commitment to stick with it, to keep producing posts that push your thinking a little bit further each time. It takes a degree of bravery to commit ideas to print for the world to see, and to be willing to both stand by your beliefs, to be willing to have them challenged, and sometimes changed. Sure, blogging is about writing, but it’s about so much more than just writing. Blogging is personal growth in a public forum. And that takes courage.
So I don’t think the idea of having Edublog Awards is silly at all. If people are willing to put their ideas out there and engage in conversation with others, they deserve every bit of encouragement and recognition they can get.
So, it is with pleasure that I present my nominations for the 2012 Edublog Awards…
Best Individual Blog
Jabiz Raisdana (http://www.jabizraisdana.com/blog/) Jabiz is a thinker… always challenging, always thoughtful, always pushing the boundaries. He shares openly and freely, he understands what it means to be a node in a network, and he is never afraid to explore his ideas in public. He writes with passion and insight and deserves to be read widely.
Best Teacher Blog
Rebekah Madrid (http://rebekahmadrid.wordpress.com/) Rebekah defines what it means for a teacher to have heart and soul. She cares so deeply about what she does and the students she teaches, and her blog puts it all out there for the world. She is a teacher who shares what goes on in her classroom, and in sharing her thinking with the world she strives to make it better all the time.
Best Teacher Blog
Zoe Page (http://blogs.yis.ac.jp/pagez/) Zoe is a kindergarten teacher who discovered the value of connectedness a couple of years ago and fully embraced it. She’s not a techie, just a passionate and committed educator who cares enormously about being the best teacher she can be. Her blog shares what she does with her kids and documents a personal journey of enormous growth.
Most Influential Blogpost
Everything you know about curriculum may be wrong. Really. (http://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/everything-you-know-about-curriculum-may-be-wrong-really/) Easily the best blog post I’ve read this year. Maybe ever. It deserves all the attention it gets.
Best Library Blog
PLC Junior School Library (http://blogs.ludus.me/jlibrary/) Sandra McMullan is the librarian who publishes this blog. Although I was the person who introduced her blogging in the first place, I think she deserves recognition for the way she has embraced the idea and evolved her blog into a really vibrant online resource of links, book reviews, photos, and news.
Best educational use of audio/video/visual/podcast
The Google Educast (http://edreach.us/channel/googleeducast/) Ok, full disclaimer, I sometimes get to be part of this video podcast on the Edreach network, but since I’m not personally responsible for it, I’m nominating it anyway. The Google Educast is a weekly video podcast hosted by an amazing group of Google Certified Teachers that share news, tips and ideas for teaching with Google tools. It was one of the first podcasts to adopt the use of Google+ Hangouts on Air.