Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Edublog Awards 2010

The Edublog Awards 2010 are now open for nomination!

As the site says, "This is our chance to nominate and celebrate "the achievements of edubloggers, twitterers, podcasters, video makers, online communities, wiki hosts and other web based users of educational technology."

Here are my nominations (I have decided just to nominate in categories that were very clear for me) and some of the reasons why I chose them:
Best individual blog : I think there are few people who do so much to encourage blogging in ELT (indeed in education itself) more than Karenne Sylvester. Her posts are often provocative, always thoughtful, and never boring. She deserves to win this award for services above and beyond the call of duty to educational blogging.
Best individual tweeter : Shelly is a dynamo of positivity who energises everything she gets involved with. She's very generous with her time and does so much to promote the idea of using Twitter and establishing a PLN for teacher development. I can think of nobody more worthy of this award.
Best group blog : I'm nominating this site, which is more than a blog, but contains at least two very influential blogs (Alex Case's TEFLtastic and TEFL guest with Tara Benwell, which I think makes it viable for this category. The site has become essential reading for teachers of English and a great source of information as well as being a thought-provoking blog.
Best new blog : I work with Paul in Barcelona, at the British Council Young Learner Centre. This year I saw an amazing transformation take place in his online activity after he attended the IATEFL conference in Harrogate. He returned transformed and convinced about the power and value of connecting to people online, and plunged into Twitter, started wikis with his classes and set up this blog. His blog is fast becoming a testimony to his passion for teacher development through reflective practice and his faith in the learner-centred classroom. It deserves wider recognition. 
Best resource sharing blog I am always amazed at the resources that Nik finds and his enthusiasm for sharing his findings and helping teachers with ideas on how they can be used in the classroom is admirable. His blog is a great one-stop-shop for teachers interested in using technology in class, and one of the things that makes it great is that it's never simply a collection of links, but always has well-thought out ideas of how the resources can be used in practice.
Most influential blog post : I'm nominating Gavin Dudeney's post 'Second Life: The Long Goodbye' because behind it was a brave and well thought out decision/position and it really did shake the SL educational community that someone as influential as Gavin, who had done so much to promote this virtual world (and created a number of very useful artefacts), had been a spokesperson (sometimes even evangelist) for it, had established a strong reputation, and who was behind the most important event for language educators (SLanguages), would decide to throw in the towel. IT made all of us involved in SL rethink our position and has opened up a reflection on the value of using the platform which is still in progress. A truly influential post.
Most influential series of tweets : I'm nominating this more for its potential than for the influence it's had, as it is very new, but deserves to be more widely recognised. IT shows how a hash tag can be utilised to engage a community of educators on Twitter and get them to collaborate in helping to build a valuable resource for the educational community (in this case a libnrary of pictures that can be used in ELT) - an initiative (I think) of Victoria, a teacher in Hanoi, who uploads the pics to
Best teacher blog : This was a difficult decision to make. I've decided to nominate Ian James's excellent blog as I think it is full of very useful, well-thought-out and practical ideas for teachers. I also think that this blog needs wider recognition, as many teachers would benefit from reading it on a regular basis.
Best educational tech support blog : Ozge's blog is a treasure trove of resources and help for anyone interested in educational technology. And not only that, through her posts she makes it easy for other teachers to follow in her footsteps. Particularly interesting for teachers of young learners, and she is one of the few people out there who concentrates on primary level learners and ed-tech too, which means this blog is a highly valuable resource for the ELT community. Ozge is also a wonderful example of how the ELT ed-tech blogging community has been re-energised in recent years by a large group of very dynamic (mostly female) bloggers, who are leading the way and making it easy ofr others to follow in their footsteps.
Best elearning / corporate education blog thanks to MacMillan's One Stop English, the ELT community has a great way of discovering new bloggers and existing bloggers are encouraged to do more for the community through the monthly stats overview of Top Bloggers. It's great for blogging motivation and I know the ELT blogging community appreciates their work.
Best educational wiki : Kyle's wiki is full of lesson plans for computer games and links to the best ones to use in class. I also work with Kyle in the British Council's Young Learner Centre, and we collaborate on the Digital Play blog together. Before the blog, Kyle enthusiastically started to compile the best ideas for exploiting online games with learners and he's continued to do so here. If there's an online game that is good to use with English learners, you can be sure to find it on this wiki, and it'll probably have a walkthrough and ideas how to use it in class too. A wonderful resource that deserves wider recognition.

Best educational podcast : I know of no better podcast for elementary students. It is a magazine format, and one of the wonderful things about it is that can be enjoyed to in so many different ways. In its entirety, or in sections; with or without transcript/exercises; on the iPod/iPhone using a new app.; online through the computer; through iTunes; on an mp3 player. It's become a very popular podcast and certainly one to recommend to your English language students. 
Best educational webinar series : This totally online conference (twice yearly) is fast-becoming a vital date in the diary for educators. Not only is it an incredibly well-organised event with something for everyone, but the fact that everything is recorded and made available means that the webinars provide a rich resource of artefacts that can be enjoyed by a very large number of people for a very long time  after the event has happened.
Best educational use of a social network : I usually can't make this, but it's always useful to look back on the transcripts of the Twitter-based chat and to listen to the podcasts. I'm voting for this to be nominated in this category because it's an excellent example of how the dynamism of a social network such as Twitter, which is usually of an ephemeral nature, can be reined in to provide longer lasting value for educators. I think it provides a fabulous model that can be followed by lots of other educational areas. 
Best educational use of a virtual world : When Gavin Dudeney and Howard Vickers announced they were not going to hold another SLanguages conference, there was a virtual wave of disappointment among the ELT community in Second Life. In four years, the conference had grown to become the event of the year for the languages community in Second Life. They had also done such a good job of it, that there were doubts that anyone could take over. However, SLanguages 2010 was a great success. I also think that if SLanguages wins this award, then it is only fair the praise be heaped on Gavin and Howard for the work they started 4 years ago. It is also testimony to their help, support, and encouragement of the new conference organisers that SLanguages 2010 was such a success.
Best use of a PLN : Twitter has become such an important cornerstone for any educator's PLN, but it is also a difficult place to know where to start. Barbara Sakamoto had the brilliant idea of building a list of newbie-friendly Twitter educators for teachers who wanted to begin with Twitter, but who also need encouragement, could follow. A wonderful idea, which has been used by many teachers and is worth wider recognition.
Lifetime achievement : The Edu blogosphere. I'm not nominating any one person here, but everyone who has a blog and who shares their thoughts, ideas and reflections with other educators all over the world. Taken as a whole, the edu blogosphere makes up the greatest educational force on the Internet. It is also global, multi-lingual, multi-cultural, and probably acts as a strong force in favour of greater communication, understanding and peace worldwide. Long may it last!