Edublog Awards Nominations 2012

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 (  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 ( 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 ( 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. (  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 ( 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 ( 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.

A Confluence of Influence

You may think it a little indulgent, but every year the Edublog Awards are held to recognise those educators who have somehow managed to use blogs in a way that might be worthy of some acknowledgment.  Whilst there will always be those who criticise awards programs as being too elitist, too self-promotional, too biased or too just plain wanky, I think it’s great that there is this opportunity for those who are using blogging for educational purposes to get some sort of recognition for it, and also to uncover a whole lot of new blogs and bloggers that may not have been in your feeds.  Thankfully, the nomination and voting procedures got a complete overhaul this year that will hopefully see them be a lot fairer and less open to manipulation than in past years.

At the risk of sounding self-promotional and wanky, I just wanted to say how surprised I am to have not one, but two nominations this year in the Most Influential Blogpost category.  To the folks that proposed the two nominations, thanks, I really appreciate it.

The first post, The New Digital Divide, was about change and how the divide between those who “get” technology and those who don’t seems to be getting bigger.  It focused on the development of personal learning networks and online communities as ways for education leaders to connect and stay ahead of the curve…

A new Digital Divide is emerging as the connected educators find each other. A few years ago, these bleeding edge edutechies were the exception. They were isolated in their schools. They did great things with kids but worked mostly in a vacuum because they were so rare that there was usually no one in the school to share their craziness with. But the rise of networked intelligence has changed that. These people are finding each other and forming alliances. They are conversing and sharing with each other. Their networks are amplifying their voices, and allowing them to connect in ways that their less connected colleagues don’t really understand, and through this connected amplification, they are starting to have a real voice.

The second post, The Truth Is Out There, started off talking about the use of mobile phones for learning at my own school, and then spread into a wider discussion of where the boundaries lie with regard to the use of portable devices and how schools define curriculum…

It doesn’t matter what field of endeavour you think about, from archeologists to zoologists the real measure is not how many marks they got in a test of rote memory, but in how well they are able to use the resources at their disposal to solve the problems in front of them. If that means they need to Google for an answer, call someone for a second opinion, or grab the manual to look something up, then that ought to be ok. It’s about getting the problem solved and if they need to use their resourcefulness or contacts or tools to solve the problem then so be it.

It’s quite an honour to think that someone else thought these posts were somehow “influential”.  I am unashamedly proud of my blog and it has certainly helped me shape my own thinking, but the idea that it might also somehow help others shape their thinking is always nice to hear…  I guess that’s one of the definitions of “influence”?

If you wanted to cast a vote my way, I wouldn’t knock it back.  🙂

There are, of course, many, many other worthwhile nominations in this years Edublog Awards.  Take the time to have a browse through them, vote for your favourites. and I’m sure you’ll uncover plenty of interesting ideas among them.

Tags: , ,