Edublogs Awards 2010

Firstly, thanks to all who have kindly nominated me in some way. It is incredibly humbling to think people take the time to read this stuff. Secondly, thanks again to some very special people in my metaverse – the #permalist – @jokay, @heyjudeonline @akpc @kerryjcom @bronst @middleclassgirl @teacherman79 – without whom I would have bailed so many things, so many times this year, if not every year. These people not only support me, but also have a huge impact on my amazing kids. I am not therefore nominating them – as they are just too awesome. I’d also like to make mention of Gary Stager and Lee Colbert – who always brighten my mornings, when they cross swords in Twitter.

Edublog Awards 2010

Best individual blogDwell on It – Because Tateru is such a brilliant writer, and notices the gaps that matter in virtual worlds and games.
Best individual tweeter - Ben Jones – Because he’s almost interesting enough to be a tank – or get fired whichever comes first.
Best group blogTELT UNSW – Because communication is about more than reporting or telling.
Best new blogBianca Hewes – Because Bianca tells it how it is, connects with kids and everything DET should hope to be in the next few years.
Best resource sharing blogAudrey Nay – It’s a typographic nightmare, but there’s stuff in here that I find interesting. I like eclectic.
Most influential blog post - Remembering – Tateru’s post about herself and her father – haunting and inspiring.
Best teacher blogOllie Bray – Proving one person can make a huge dint in the thinking of systems – Game Based Learning Leader
Best educational tech support blogWe Fly Spitfires – I know its about gaming, but that is what it’s all about – a great, first person read about a guy and a helluva lot of toons.
Best educational podcastEd Tech Crew – if I have to listen to people talking edu on the radio – these guys do it brilliantly.
Best educational use of a virtual world - Begonia Island – Lucy represents everything I could hope to see in a creative teacher.
Best use of a PLN – No such thing (apparently).
Lifetime achievementGrahame Wegner – one of the first blogs I ever read, and still asking great questions, with open, honest reflection.

There are many more – that I like, read and love that simply don’t fit the categories … but all these to me are selling more than the expected.

Teen Second Classroom Nomination

Wow, I was amazed to see Teen Second Classroom, get nominated for an Eddie.

Given the amount of social networks out there, getting noiced is one thing, getting kids to use it another – but to get nominated, just fantastic. Judy O’Connell and I created the space last year, together with Second Classroom. The later, we hoped to gather 100 members by the end of the year, which I noticed we achieved this week. The aim was initially to just connect educators who are looking at virtual worlds, MUVES and games.

Teen Second Classroom we thought would be a place for students involved with this in classrooms, could come to connect and reflect on what they were doing, in an authentic and informal way. One challenge in introducing virtual worlds into a school time-table, is that it has to be accountable.

This is hard to do in Skoolaborate, given that adults can’t go and have a look around.

We felt that reflecting on the experiences was important and develop their fluent use of ‘making and collaborating’ in TSL and reflecting in a blog. A place for students to share development tips as they saw them, and to reflect on their own work.

Consider that students only had 1 hour a week in class, all 9th graders, and apart from being given the ‘problem’, had to work out just how to go about using second life to create a 2 minute Machinima film, based on a Shakespeare play. So this was a huge challenge for them, how to go about doing everything.

The students did spent more time in world, at home, at lunch etc., – and it was interesting to see how their need to ‘learn how’ led them to collaborating with other Skoolaborate avatars. This I guess was a kind of experiment on my part. They knew other people were in there … would they turn to ‘network knowledge’ as a solution – is that how they learn? – and yes, that is exactly what they did. The need to learn, make and do led them to forming relationships with others in Skoolaborate, but wasn’t explictly outlined.

In doing that, they needed to solve a number of problems – how to screen shot, how to write reflectively – what kind of writing would show their progress etc., So the work in there is all self-directed. We purposely keep well out of they way, and it was interesting to see how they started to use it. In the classroom, students worked in-world, but also checked the community for video clips and what others were doing.

The future of it? Well I really hope that some of the educators in Second Classroom, will form student groups in the Teen community – and that students will work to mentor and help each other in these environments.

As I’m not in the school now, Lucy Gresser will pass on my congratulations and continue to work with the students.

At the end of the day, the site is not mine, or Judy’s, but belongs to the students. Its important in all out ‘love’ of SL, that we hear students reflect on what they do, not just report on it as teachers.

Click here to vote if you feel so inclined.