Every year, participating in the Edublogs Awards is a “time-out” for me to seriously consider sites or online conferences that are influencing my thinking, are influential in our field, are inspiring my own ideas, or are blogs I wish I read more because of their quality. As always, it reminds me of the depth and breadth of quality blogs that exist, written by colleagues around the world who are serious about their thinking and contributions back to their field. So these are my “fireworks”–and thanks for the inspiration!
Best individual blog– Wow, this is a toughie for me. So many blogs where educators are pouring their hearts into their work and reflecting their dedication to their students or their profession. But I’d like to honor my colleague, Carl Hooker’s blog, Hooked on Innovation, for the way his blog has grown, and his creative writing style and clever use of visuals.
Best individual tweeter–@shareski Dean Shareski uses Twitter to share pride in his students and solicit assistance on their behalf, but also he’s willing to be real, to share pithy observations on daily life, to ask for help and to shoot the breeze. The perfect blend, just like the perfect donut with a great cup of coffee and some good meaty conversation.
Best group blog–In the Library With a Lead Pipe
A thoughtful group blog that deeply explores issues of concerns to librarians of all stripes. For example, check out this post–Occupy Librarianship: 5 Variations on a Theme
Best new blog — Virtual Dave: Real Blog
Dave Lankes’ blog (or vlog) pushes our thinking about libraries with his “traveling road show” video series that helps us explore what new librarianship is all about.
Best student blog– Lakin’s Blog
Lakin is a new blogger whose creative story writing moved me, and I want to recognize and encourage it. Keep at it, Lakin!
Best ed tech / resource sharing blog Free Techology for Teachers
Of course. Best resource sharing site around.
Most influential blog post — Expeditions
This video blog by David Lankes on the libraries as community has influenced my thinking about libraries all fall. Well worth reading/viewing.
Best twitter hashtag–#txlege
As educators kept a close eye on the proceedings of the Texas legislature this spring, this hashtag became an essential way of keeping up with budget cuts to education and keeping educators informed.
(My runner up is #mbteamS
Where else could a group of educators be tweeted on to winning two brand new Mercedes but Twitter using the power of their social networks?)
Best librarian / library blog — Unquiet Librarian
Buffy Hamilton’s blog is a must-read for in depth, reflective thinking on the library profession.
Best School Administrator blog–Burlington High School Principal’s blog
Great example of how an administrator can blend blogging about their own school with blogging about what inspires them at the same time.
Best free web tool–TodaysMeet.com
Today’s Meet is an easy to use backchannel or collaboration tool that takes two minutes to set up; very user friendly. This is a tough category though. I also want to mention Scoop.it or Livebinder or Simplemeet.Me as well–all helpful, easy to use tools.
(closely related is best app–another category which I think is needed)
Best educational use of audio / video / visual / podcast — The Blackline Mystery (K12 Online Conference Session)
Jess McCulloch’s wildly creative use of video and audio at the K12 Online conference is a must-watch for its sheer freshness and creativity.
Best educational wiki– Joyce Valenza Springfield Township Virtual Library
simply the best “go-to” resource for tools, copyright free resources, research and more
Best open PD / unconference / webinar series Global Education Conference (organizers Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon)
a insanely ambitious global conference that showcased educators from around the world beautifully.
Best use of a social network– Teacher Librarian Virtual Cafe
What if a group of library geeks got together and created a virtual space for their own professional development? That’s what the Virtual Cafe is–a generous group of sharing individuals who have built a community. (spearheaded by the indomitable Daring Librarian among others.)
Lifetime achievement – Will Richardson. Whose ideas I always pay attention to even if I’m not reading blogs sometimes.
I’d like to propose two more category–
1. Best use of Facebook posts.(or Google +)
My nominee is Gary Stager. Always interesting mix of education posts, jazz music, travel, and pop culture.
Second runner up–Buffy Hamilton. By sharing blog posts and interesting articles she mines on Twitter, she keeps me informed.
2. Interesting posts on school design
My nominee would be David Jakes, for his interesting ponderings on re-envisioning school spaces. As we move forward in our conversations, school design is a critical piece of school change that should be recognized.
Lastly, Katy Perry sings about the inspiration that lives in all of us, about realizing that what we do counts. So this is a shout out to all those of you who write, podcast, video blog, tweet, and share your passion about education. It matters. And baby, you’re my fireworks. Thank you.