Huge thanks to everyone who helped make the fourth International Edublog Awards such a great success! This was our first attempt at using a Second Life location – the beautiful Island of Jokaydia – and Jeff Lebow did an amazing job of managing sound in and out world.
The glamorous Dave Cormier once again treated the assembly to his round up of the years top 10 edtech stories – don’t forget to check out the comments!
Anyway – the credit posts can follow – what you want are the winners right? 😉
Best educational use of a virtual world
Suffern middle school in Second Life (Second Life)
Ramapo Islands was a dream that started as just a “tip of a thought “when my daughter, Meghan, hounded me to enter Second Life and take a look around. After all – she was a Linden – and she was excited about this emerging Metaverse. I thought I had no time for a “Second Life” but succumbed, and seeing this new frontier through the eyes of a teacher – I was startled, and intrigued. After a very short time, I became determined to bring my students in world to be a part of it.
However, all of the determination in the universe was not going to make this happen without the support of a visionary administration, a community of believers in world, a solid staff of volunteers, and ultimately, a teacher who said yes. My teachers did say yes. Some said it tentatively, (“I don’t understand it, but I believe it is important for our students”) while others were eager and excited, (“I don’t care how deep the water is–I know how to swim!).
It was never going to happen without the help of people like Fred Fuchs of Firesabre who spearheaded the volunteer effort, and Barry Joseph of Global Kids, ushering the way – sharing hope and experience… All of you who wrote, or visited, or spoke to me at a conference and cheered us on — All of you who spread the word, and most importantly all of you who followed soon after – validating the work and extending the horizon. All of you share this award.
When I first began my “crusade”, shamelessly soliciting your help and your talent and energy I used the worn out adage, “It takes a village.” I am a dreamer – a visionary if you will–but first and foremost I am a teacher. So perhaps the old adage is still true, and those who object to its overuse may perhaps digest its latest incarnation a bit more easily. With that, I respectfully submit, “It takes a Metaverse.”
My students thank you.They are proud and excited!
My teachers thank you. They are renewed and energized.
I thank you, and I extend my hand.
Peggy Sheehy, Suffern Middle School, Ramapo Central School District.
Best educational wiki
Welker’s Wikinomics, Jason Welker (Wetpaint)
Welker’s Wikinomics started out as an experiment in collaborative learning less than one year ago. Thanks to my bright and enthusiastic students, it took off and quickly grew into a huge online resource for economics students and teachers, covering nearly every topic of the macro and microeconomics AP syllabus. As the months passed, more new features were dreamed up and added to the wiki, such as the “Student Thought Forum”, the “AP Econ in the News” pages, the “Test Review Center” (where we host live chats the nights before tests), and many other interactive and engaging features aimed at enhancing and extending the learning that goes on in the economics classroom at Shanghai American School.
In addition to my students, who of course deserve the greatest congratulations, I would also like to thank the folks at Wetpaint, most notably Michael Bolognino, for working with me and other educators to help develop Wetpaint into an unparalleled free (and ad-free) online resource for educators. My direct communication with Wetpaint’s programmers has helped develop this product into one of the best wiki options available for educators. Thanks to their commitment to education, Wetpaint has begun offering their product ad-free to teachers, which along with the customizability and user-friendly interface has made Wetpaint a powerful, unmatched tool for teachers who want to extend student learning beyond the realms of textbooks and into the world of Web 2.0.
I also owe a big thanks to Shanghai American School’s tech guru, Jeff Utecht, whose visionary understanding of technology in education inspired me to explore wikis and blogs in the first place. Again, congratulations and thanks to everyone who pitched in to help make Welker’s Wikinomics the best educational wiki in the world! Jason Welker.
Best educational use of audio
SMARTBoard Lessons Podcast (WordPress)
Thank you for the edublog award! What an honour!
The SMARTBoard Lessons Podcast is hosted and founded by Joan Badger and Ben Hazzard. We have posted the audio of our acceptance speech here: http://media.libsyn.com/media/pdtogo/smartboard_podcast_acceptance.mp3
Thanks again, Ben Hazzard
Best elearning / corporate education blog
eLearning Technology, Tony Karrer (Blogger)
Thank you for the edublog award. I want to especially thank my readers for voting for me, but I really want to thank everyone for all of the conversations we’ve had over the past two years. I really started my blog with the expectation that it would be similar to speaking engagements. What I’ve found is that it’s a truly extraordinary Learning and Networking Tool. Through blogging, I’ve accelerated my learning greatly, I’ve met too many interesting people to possibly name and thank, I’ve met up with many of them face-to-face at various events, and truly it’s become an integral part of my professional life. I look forward to continued conversation about the intersection of technology and learning.
Best educational tech support blog
El tinglado, El tinglado bloggers
We the members of El tinglado and all the Spanish-speaking education blogosphere are very grateful to the Edublog Awards organization for giving us an award. We are a a bunch of Spanish teachers who live and work in Madrid and other Spanish towns, and we blog together on El tinglado, which is a lively experimental blog full of multimedia and interactive activities for those teachers and students who believe in a new kind of education.
Thank you all for your effort, Alejandro Valero.
Best teacher blog
The tempered radical, Bill Ferriter (Typepad)
Over the past four years, I’ve spent countless hours sitting behind my keyboard writing about education for myself, for my district, for The Teacher Leaders Network and for the National Staff Development Council. Often, I’ve doubted whether or not my investment of time was worth it. “Is anyone really listening?” I’ve wondered. “Is making our work transparent to the outside world through blogging really possible?”
Being recognized as the Best Teacher Blog in 2007 proves that my hours haven’t been wasted. Blogs really are the great equalizer, bringing educators to the table as partners in the constant debates surrounding our profession. Electronic connections between digital citizens happen thousands of times a day, creating a powerful and undeniable synergy that is improving teaching and learning on our planet.
The greatest reward, however, is the profound changes that the blogging community has had on who I am as a teacher. I wake up jazzed to sift through my feed reader each morning, knowing that I’m going to find something brilliant to spark my mind and challenge my practice—and I can only hope that my writing serves the same purpose for others. Thanks again, Bill.
Most influential blog post
Is It Okay To Be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher? – The Fischbowl, Karl Fisch (Blogger)
Best resource sharing blog
TipLine – Gates’ Computer Tips, Jim Gates (Blogger)
My sincere, heartfelt thank you goes out to the voters. This is absolutely incredible. When it was announced I was grinning so hard my cheeks hurt!
In 1994 (stay with me here – this will be brief) I began a user group for teachers who were using the Macs. As part of that, in the summers I began to compile lists of around 180 tips that were each about a sentence or two long – just long enough to fit one a day easily on the daily bulletins. Then, when I took my current job I continued the practice via email. That went on until 2005 when I decided that I needed a way to manage the archives. That’s when I moved it to the blog. Still, however, I send out the tips on a listserv mailing list to those who don’t yet know how to use RSS to collect their feeds.
I work for an agency that serves some 24 public schools in our area. My battle, as I’ve noted in my blog on many occassions, is one of trying to get the schools to stop fearing blogs and wikis and to start USING and promoting them. As I’ve often said, I consider my blogs (those I read) to be my personal professional development. Yet, only about a third (MAX!) of the districts will allow them past their filters. Instead of promoting them, they block them. It’s out of fear and ignorance, to be sure. They don’t read blogs so they don’t know the good that can come from them. They don’t hear the conversation. All they know about a wiki is that anyone can change it, so then they can’t control it, so it shall NOT be used in the school. I’m hopeful that this award will help to move them along in a positive direction to see that blogs and wikis are NOT necessarily bad things.
Thank you to all of you who worked so hard to make the awards possible. I still tell folks, “Get this.. it was done live in second life and streamed live over ustream.tv. How cool is THAT!”
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You’ve made an old man… well… 58 isn’t old, is it? … VERY happy.
Best group blog
I am honored to accept this award on behalf of all of the TechLearning bloggers, a group of the best thinkers in the educational technology community who share their ideas and start conversations with educators, administrators, policy makers, and others who are concerned with ed tech. The goal of the TechLearning blog is for all of us to think deeply about technology integration and other issues affecting schools and educators today. As the director of TechLearning.com, I find the TechLearning bloggers’ words and ideas meaningful and inspiring.
Thanks, Gwen Solomon
Congratulations to all this years winners! As always, winners are invited to mail in a short acceptance speech/couple of paragraphs about why their blog or project really deserved it’s prize.
Remember to check out all our excellent finalists (and if any finalists haven’t managed to get in their about paragraphs yet, please do so so that we can archive next year).
Pictures from last nights awards and after party are housed over at Flickr, if you took any pictures/screen shots please do add them to the pool.
Update: Winners badges can be found here… wear ’em with pride!