Monday, December 18, 2006

The Recognition of Your Peers

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Yesterday morning (in Winnipeg) EdTechTalk hosted the awards ceremonies for the 2006 EduBlog Awards. K12 Online 2006 won in the category of Best Post, Resource or Presentation. Sheryl, Wes and I have said to each other many times: "This is really a win for the broad cross section of the edublogging community that came together to make it such a success." -- Congratulations, and thank you.

I neglected to mention one person who worked tirelessly and quietly behind the scenes. Without her poise, charm, sensitivity and class, K12 Online would have been less than it was: Lani Ritter-Hall. Thanks Lani, this is as much your win as anyone else's; both as a presenter and a volunteer who gave unselfishly of your time and energy for the benefit of us all.

On another note I just finished reading Graham Wegner's reflection of the results of this year's Eddies. He's got mixed feelings after looking through the stats published on the Awards site.

Personally, I don't attach too much significance to these stats. The percentages would be a little more interesting if we also knew the total number of votes cast, but even then, I don't think it would be terribly relevant. The fact of a blog's nomination is the most significant datum here.

In order to be nominated your site must be blindly and consistently chosen by many different people as one of the best in a category. One email address, one nomination per category (I think). For me, the whole exercise could be concluded when the nominees are announced. The annual list of nominees is a significant contribution to my personal learning network.

The voting process is such that one person can vote many, many times as long as they do so from different computers. (How many computer labs are in your school?) As a matter of fact, a knowledgeable computer user could vote many times from the same computer. (What do you know about "cookies?")

Now it's possible that someone might use many different email addresses to skew the nominations in their favour but given the amount of time and effort required to do that I think it unlikely. The ease with which one person can cast multiple votes makes that a far more likely practice.

Are people actually doing these things? I don't know. And I don't really care. Look, it's nice to win. I would have been happy to win in my category but that I didn't doesn't really bother me. In my view, the fact of my nomination carries far greater significance. I think the same is true for all the nominees. I wish nothing but the best to all the winners ... and congratulations to everyone who was nominated! You've earned the recognition of your peers. Peers who really understand what it is you've been doing. Bravo!

The winners and nominees are, or rather, my reading list for next little while is:

Best Audio and/or Visual Blog
absolutely intercultural! Anne Fox (Denmark), Laurent Borgmann (Germany)

Best Group Blog:
Polar Science 2006 YES I Can! Science team, McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada Diane Hammond, Susan Stiff, and Dr. Tom Stiff (Canada)

Best Individual Blog:
Christopher D. Sessums :: Blog Christopher D. Sessums (USA)

Most Influential Post, Resource or Presentation:
K12 Online Conference 2006 Darren Kuropatwa (Canada), Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach (USA), Wes Fryer (USA)

Best Library/ Librarian Blog:
Hey Jude Judy O’Connell (Australia)

Best Newcomer: (joint winners)
Ed Tech Journeys Pete Reilly (USA)
tilt! Paz Peña (Chile)

Best Research Paper:
Nancy White: Blogs and Community Nancy White (USA)

Best Teacher Blog:
Have Fun with English! 2 Teresa Almeida d’Eça (Portugal)

Best Undergraduate Blog:
CILASS Student Blog University of Sheffield Student Ambassadors of the Centre for Inquiry-based Learning In the Arts and Social Sciences (England)

Best Wiki:
Flat Classroom Project Vicki Davis (USA), Julie Lindsay (Bangladesh)

Edublog Star Award (Convenors choice):
Duck Diaries Barbara Cohen (USA)

7 comments:

Graham Wegner said...
19/12/06 04:29  

Well put, Darren. There are so many variables to the voting process that the nomination status is all that is really needed. For awards that don't reward us with extra income or provide stepping stones to greater status, just recognition from the edublogging community (I just used that term community!) there really is no point to tampering with results!!

Mr. H said...
19/12/06 06:01  

Darren I think the point about adding these blogs to our personal learning networks is so valid. For someone just starting out in blogging this is a great set of blogs to read. I have added a bunch to my aggregator I hope that people find new voices to add to theirs.

The real benifit of being nominated. More people will know all the great things the nominee's do to make "a difference."

Chris

Darren said...
19/12/06 08:48  

>recognition from the edublogging
>community (I just used that term
>community!)

Graham, I knew you had it in you. ;-)

You said it Chris ... if I wasn't learning anything from blogging I wouldn't be blogging. Every year (month? day?) leads to new discoveries and new pedagogies. It makes what we do in the classroom every day more interesting and meaningful for us and our students.

Judy O'Connell said...
19/12/06 15:05  

Learning, sharing, communicating, collaborating, pushing the boundaries....that's what it is all about. I have found bloggers like yourself and Graham to be fantastic sources of inspiration and ideas. Blogging brings the best out of us and what we learn, we learn together. So really many of us are winners - and I know for sure that my badge is a badge of honour not just for me, but for my Blogroll and anyone who has worked tirelessly with me this year to promote good Web 2.0 learning. Cheers and Happy Christmas to you all.

Kelly Christopherson said...
20/12/06 19:51  

Darren, I've been visiting here for a few weeks and I really commend you on the work that you do. I just missed the conference but I will be watching for it next year. I am fascinated at how you use the technologies to enhance the students' understanding of concepts. I esepcially like to see that I am not the only one who runs into unmotivated students at times. My Communication Production Technology class is just not responding to the podcast assignment as I had hoped. I'm going to go with the rubric idea. Do you use a wiki? Again, congrats on your selection and all the fine work that you do.
Kelly

Darren said...
20/12/06 22:10  

Judy: I must admit I didn't know about your blog before the Eddies ... I'll be reading you now though. ;-) We've got a couple of weeks off coming up and I hope to update my blogroll and catch up on some long overdue reading.

Kelly: Thanks. Not all my students really take to digital learning. I have one that has refused to blog all semester ... got her on the blog only as of yesterday. It turned out to be mostly a shyness issue; she was afraid to ask for help.

I'm using Google Docs (free) to build the rubric with my students. We'll finish it this week. I'll publish a copy of it here shortly after it's completed.

Judy O'Connell said...
21/12/06 23:00  

Darren, I want to pursue the whole rubrics thing quite seriously in 2007, so will enjoy seeing what you do, and hopefully contribute to the discussion also. Let's keep the conversation happening! I am also keen to see how my other blog develops, as I have now got others involved in the sharing ideas to promote professional discussion. See you in the blogosphere in 2007. :-)

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