- Best individual blog: I have come to look forward to Audrey Watter’s Hack Education (http://www.hackeducation.com/) posts. They are long, and deep, and I often need to allocate more than a quick read. I appreciate that she doesn’t need to shorten or dumb down her ideas around education. While some of the focus seems to be on higher education, her unflinching look at trends and ways to push traditional education in new directions is a delight.
- Best individual tweeter: Pam Moran (http://twitter.com/pammoran) is one of my favorite tweeters. Her insights into education as an educator, writer and administrator show a myriad of thinking paths, and she is responsive to others and as likely to share an idea as she is to ask for help. You can find her at Twitter at @pammoran
- Best group blog: The Cooperative Catalyst (http://coopcatalyst.wordpress.com/) is an interesting stew of ideas that really pushes up against many topics and ideas. What I love about the various writers at the Coop is how they are fearless in the things they believe in and yet, they open invite opposing views. Unlike some group sites, the Coop doesn’t ever feel insular in nature.
- Best new blog: Jeremy Hyler (http://jeremyhyler40.wordpress.com/) Jeremy is middle school teacher who tells it like it is,a and yet, even when he is being critical of himself or the system or even his students, he ends his writing on a positive note that indicates his blog-based thinking is leading to action and change. He’s also a fellow National Writing Project teacher.
- Best class blog: I am biased here, but I still look forward to the posts by a kindergarten teacher in my school — Gail Poulin — who chronicles her year with her young students in many ways. Her classroom blog – http://poulingail.edublogs.org/ – showcases the various elements of literacy learning, community service, inquiry projects and technology integration. As her colleague on the other side of the school, I am honored to share the same building as Gail. Plus, I get to see my future students in the early stages of their development as learners. Pretty neat.
- Best student blog: I am not sure this is a classroom project. It probably isn’t. But I love the book reviews that Corey gives at his Book Talk blog — http://coreysbooktalk.blogspot.com/ — and the more insights I have into what kids are reading, the more I can steer my students towards books that will interest them. I like how Corey has a book of the month and asks questions to consider about the books he is reading.
- Best ed tech / resource sharing blog: So many resource blogs have sprung up in recent years. But I still rely heavily on Richard Byrne’s Free Tech for Teachers (http://www.freetech4teachers.com/) for not only sharing his discoveries, but also for the way he frames the technology tools as a way for learning. His writing is as rich as the tools.
- Most influential blog post: I found Will Richardson’s blog post — My Teacher is an App (http://willrichardson.com/post/12686013800/my-teacher-is-an-app) — to be thoughtful and thought-provoking in the way he framed the discussion around online education and the possibilities and the dangers of that shift. What makes it influential to me is that it made me think of the issue in a new light, with the app metaphor … well, apt.
- Best Twitter hashtag: I loved this year’s Day on Writing’s #whyiwrite hashtag (http://twitter.com/#!/search?q=%23whyiwrite). The posts and the tweets over the course of the day were just wonderful examples of how we write and why we write. The hashtag collection was overflowing that day, reminding us of the importance of writing in our lives.
- Best teacher blog: I enjoy the posts coming out of Jeremy Kaiser’s Web 2.0 Edu blog (http://web20edu.com/). It may be that our interests intersect a lot (stopmotion video, etc.) but I also find his thinking helps my thinking, and isn’t that the beauty of collecting RSS feeds from blogs?
- Best librarian / library blog: A Year of Reading (http://readingyear.blogspot.com/) with Mary Lee and Franki is such an insightful breath of fresh air, as they move between book recommendations and how to revamp a school library with technology and clusters of activity. They have created spaces, and this online space, that is informative and enriching.
- Best School Administrator blog: I think The Principal’s Page (http://www.principalspage.com/theblog/) is a good inside look into the world of the administrator. I suspect that many of us teachers don’t quite get the stress and pressure our principals are under these days as jobs are looked upon through the scope of data and graphs. This blog reminds us that there are struggled aplenty when you are in the front office.
- Best free web tool: I have to admit, I love Cinch (http://cinch.fm/) for its ease of use for podcasting for myself and with my students. With options for browser-based recording, mobile device apps and even via a cell phone, Cinch really is a great resource for finding your voice and adding it to the world.
- Best educational use of audio / video / visual / podcast: Teachers Teaching Teachers (http://teachersteachingteachers.org/) continues to be one of the best conversations around, and the step into using Google Video Hangouts added a new dimension this year. With topics right off the headlines (such as Occupy and more), TTT is a place to go for great conversations around teaching.
- Best educational wiki: The Cool Tools for Schools (http://cooltoolsforschools.wikispaces.com/) is a great resource, chock full of interesting links grouped by topic.
- Best open PD / unconference / webinar series: I took a course at P2PU (http://p2pu.org/en/) with Bud Hunt around the writing components of the Common Core. It was my first foray into an open online course, and I have to say, it was wonderful. There was an interesting flow to the discussions and the platform made it easy to follow along and jump into conversations.
- Best educational use of a social network: Youth Voices (http://youthvoices.net/) continues to be a model for students coming together to write and to share and to explore. This year, organizers Paul Allison and Chris Sloan have made a concerted push to add an elementary/middle school element to the site, expanding the possibilities even further.
- Lifetime achievement: Bud Hunt (http://budtheteacher.com/blog/) continues to get me thinking with his sharp posts, and inspiring me with his reflective practice. I just hope a lifetime achievement award doesn’t stop the person from continuing to share their best practices with us.
Peace (in the sharing of resources),