Sunday, November 25, 2012

2012 Edublog Award Nominations

It is Edublog Award nomination time again! I participated in the nomination process last year, and really enjoyed getting to give shout-outs to some of my favorite resources. So, here I go again!

It's always hard to narrow down the best of anyone or anything, so I choose to focus on resources that have been valuable to me recently or have been resources I return to again and again over time. Which is why a couple of my nominations are repeats from last year. After reading my nominations, you may be inspired to make some of your own in as few or as many categories as you want. Be quick about it, though, because the nominations are due by Monday, November 26th.

My 2012 Edublog Award Nominations Are:

Best Individual Blog: Cool Cat Teacher by Vicki Davis
Vicki not only blogs about education and educational technology, but she also shares her personal struggles balancing family and professional life. She is a refreshing, honest voice in the blogosphere, and I continuously benefit from her reflection and sharing both personally and professionally.

Best Administrator Blog: The Principal of Change by George Couros
Writing from his experience as Division Principal of Innovative Teaching and Learning for Parkland School Division in Alberta, Canada, George's reflections on education, teaching, and learning are amazing resources for the education community. George practices what he preaches. As a huge proponent of teaching students to produce positive digital footprints, George can point to his own blog as an example of what it means to contribute positively to the greater education community.

Best Individual Tweeter: George Couros (@gcouros)
George Couros shares a wide variety of information on Twitter, from practical tool tips to informative articles on the art of teaching and learning. When George puts "Read This" in front of a Tweet, I know the information he's sending out is going to be valuable! I appreciate George's contributions to my learning.

Best Twitter Hashtag: #txed
Educators across Texas are sharing resources for teaching and learning and sharing political insights as our biennial legislative season ramps up in 2013. The hashtag is used throughout the week, and Wednesday nights at 8:30 CST Texas educators can be found chatting on the topic of the week. I believe #txed is a great model for teachers in all states to emulate, as it allows discussion in the context of what is unique about the needs and conditions of education in our state.

Best Free Web Tool: Socrative
We are launching iPads in limited settings in my school district, and our teachers were extremely excited when we introduced the Socrative student response platform to them. Accounts are easy to set up and quizzes are easy to create. Formative assessment using "on the fly" questions is also possible. The beauty of Socrative is it can be used via the web or via an app on iOS or Android, so even in a BYOD environment where you have a mixture of devices, as long as they can download an app or hit a website, all students in your class can participate. Great tool for promoting student engagement!

Best Educational Use of Audio/Video/Visual /Podcast: 
Teacher Training Videos by Russell Stannard
If you haven't stumbled upon this website containing numerous professional quality training videos that are provided free of charge, you've missed a gem! These are the "missing manuals" on Web 2.0 tools such as Edmodo, Skype, Twitter, and Second Life. Not to mention software tutorials on programs such as iTunes and Camtasia. And these topics don't even scratch the surface. There are advertisements on the site, but when you are accessing a training video, you no longer see the ads. Through my job, I have accessed video tutorials that had subscription fees attached, and I can confidently say that Russell's videos equal and in some cases are better than the videos we paid for.

Best Mobile App: Socrative
See all my reasons for nominating this resource in my Best Free Web Tool nomination above! Having mobile apps developed for both iOS and Android makes this tool invaluable in environments where any number of mobile devices are being used.

Lifetime Achievement: Wesley Fryer
I have been following Wes's work and using his resources since my early days as an instructional technology facilitator. I first discovered him through his Tools for the TEKS website (no longer maintained), and in recent years I have been fortunate to continue to benefit from his ideas and resources via Twitter (@wfryer was one of the first people I looked for and followed when I joined Twitter) and his Moving at the Speed of Creativity blog. I could continue the list but Wes's CV speaks for itself. You might expect someone with so much experience and so many credentials to be arrogant or unapproachable, but in all of his online interactions and the few in-person presentations of his I have been fortunate enough to attend, Wes is kind and down-to-earth. He has consistently advocated for the advancement of educational technology integration by sharing the facts and benefits with authoritativeness that is respectful. I can think of no one more deserving of a Lifetime Achievement recognition than Wesley Fryer.

Full Disclosure: Because my reasons for nominating Wes have not changed, I copied and pasted them from last year's nomination post