We Are Here to Promote Education And Spread the News, Aren’t We?

the last cult of England

I want to extend an apology to the members of my Personal/Passionate Learning Network (PLN). I really meant to post my nominations for the Edublog Awards but I didn’t get around to doing this, because I was drowning in work and have been traveling. However, I have been posting to my various social networks to encourage voting and extend support for the Edublog Awards. The point isn’t whether I win or not because I am super thankful for the recognition of several of the projects I participate in but the award isn’t what matters.

I support the Edublog Awards

Yes, I am supporting this awards system and this is why and some points I like to make for some of you who may criticize/think less of me for this decision…

  • Every person, project, and nomination on the Edublog Awards deserves recognition and financial support. I wish I could give it to them. I dare you to mention to me what/who isn’t on that list worthy of recognition.
  • Spreading the word worldwide about the great things that are happening in education is a noble and great thing
  • I believe in public relations that spread the word worldwide of the positive things we are doing in education because so much media focuses on the bad. The Edublog Awards does spread this news to tens of thousands if not millions online
  • Several members of my PLN after winning such an award have been booked for conferences, had their projects sponsored, been published in the media, received funding for their projects and support from their schools/parents to continue integrating technology
  • Here’s one example- http://traveloteacher.blogspot.com/2010/11/my-capetown.html My friend, Arjana’s Edublog Award is what put her project in the paper in her country and now she has been able to present her project in China, South Africa and other places. Why aren’t we spending our time recognizing these projects rather than wasting our breath complaining that adults can’t handle awards?
  • In every other prominent field they recognize incredible work with awards like the Oscars, Golden Globes, Tonys, Heismann, Nobel Peace Prize, Pulitzer, etc.
  • Doing away with the Edublog Awards won’t shelter our kids from the numerous award systems they will encounter in life so why don’t we model for them what it means to lose yet win and feel good celebrating another’s achievement
  • Just because I support the Edublog Awards doesn’t mean I have to support awards/grades for students in schools. Yes, I have read Alfie Kohn’s books and I do adhere and support a lot of what he says about award systems for kids, including grades but I don’t see why this means I can’t/shouldn’t support awards for my colleagues
  • Edublogs is a great education organization and has done so much for the education community as well as Steve Hargadon and Sue Waters who have transformed education with their work. If there were Nobel Peace Prizes for educators, both would receive one.

I implore you to think about this:

  • How many of you who publicly complain about the Edublogs Awards have publicly called out your favorite sports team, player, actor, singer, or author for accepting an award, yet feel so strongly calling out educators and making them feel guilty about enjoying recognition for the great work they are doing?
  • Why aren’t we spending time congratulating and supporting each other in our grand endeavors to better education?
  • Why aren’t you spending the hour you chose to convince us these awards are evil, instead spreading the word about some of the work your colleagues have performed?
  • Why do you feel it is okay to rob another educator or student blogger about being proud of their accomplishments and the recognition?

What you could be voting for and supporting…

Many incredible projects, student blogs, and new bloggers are mentioned. Which of these projects or individuals should not be recognized for their hard work? We are adults and should be able to handle the recognition of others. If these awards are an ugly thing that is because human beings, other educators, have made the choice to turn it into that instead of being mature and celebrating great endeavors in our field. I choose to celebrate my colleagues. The winning isn’t the point, but recognizing and spreading the word about the great things that are noble and transformative in our profession and classrooms is the point. And before you go on your tirade about me winning one of those awards or two in the past, I have also lost tons of awards (trust me I’m so thankful to have lost a lot because it means my PLN recognized me for so many), including Edublog awards, and I didn’t feel bad because like I said being recognized by my colleagues is an award itself especially since they are the ones who have supported, participated, and took the time to spread the word about my projects. I am grateful for their nominations and I am grateful for them. Thank you!

Challenge:

BTW… don’t forget to vote for the Edublog Awards here and thanks to my dear friend, Steven Anderson, @Web20classroom, for this spreadsheet to easily see the nominees in each category.

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Which Edublog nominees are you excited about and please feel free to describe and tell us about your project if you were nominated?

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell is a teacher trainer, instructional designer, adjunct professor, and the author of The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers: Small Steps to Transform Your Teaching and Learning to Go: Lesson Ideas for Teaching with Mobile Devices, Cell Phones and BYOT. She has been recognized by the ELTon Awards, The New York Times, the Ministry of Education in Spain, and Microsoft’s Heroes for Education as an innovator in the movement of teacher-driven professional development and education technology. Recently, she was named Woman of the Year 2014 by Star Jone’s National Association of Professional Women and awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, the Twitter chat that spurred over 400 teacher chats. She has trained teachers and taught learners in over 25 countries and has consulted with organizations worldwide such as UNESCO Bangkok, The European Union aPLaNet Project, Cultura Iglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, and VenTESOL. She shares regularly via TeacherRebootCamp.com, Twitter (@ShellTerrell), and Facebook.com/shellyterrell. Her greatest joy is being the mother of Rosco the pug.

15 thoughts on “We Are Here to Promote Education And Spread the News, Aren’t We?

  1. I enjoyed reading your perspective. Your optimism is a part of what makes your blog so fun to read.

    However, for me, the Edublog Awards have been really hard in the past. I got hyper-competitive, anxious about whether or not I would be at the top of the list (I knew I wouldn’t win, but I wanted to be on the top-hand side). I know that’s not the nature of the awards, but that’s what they stir up in me. I get really anxious. It’s not pretty.

    This year was the first time I wasn’t nominated. It has meant, on some level, that I haven’t been thinking about the competitive side. On the other hand, when I saw the list and I wasn’t there, it felt a bit like being the kid left over after the teams had been chosen for dodge ball. It hurt a little.

    In terms of the sports analogy, I’m not crazy about sports awards. I’m a 49ers fan, but when they win the Super Bowl this year (and beat the Packers to get there in the first place) the notion of choosing a Super Bowl MVP will seem a little strained and awkward. It’s the team that won it. And maybe that’s the real issue for me. We’re a team and awards create a competition. Whether we call it a competition or not, it’s still a competition.

  2. I offered to vote for anyone who asked me nicely. A bunch of people did, so I voted for them, some without ever even seeing their blogs. Do these people care about whether people like their blog or do they want to win at all costs?

    Is this really the best way to support all these great things you mention? I’ve had so many people message me on Twitter and Facebook asking for votes – many of whom don’t know me even in a virtual sense – that I just don’t see the value in winning.

    Why not write about other blogs and projects you like and celebrate them in that way? Instead of nominating, I wrote a blog post that was a shout out to the people whose work I like.

    1. Adam,
      just to say I asked you nicely…though I hadn’t taken your offer entirely seriously at the time and was really just playing along – you seem like a ‘fun guy’ … but if you hadn’t even looked at the blog, I don’t think you should have voted for us. That’s not what it’s about. Personally, I think if you (we, whoever) don’t win on merit alone, awards are worth nothing. Touting for votes and badgering people is not in my thinking and I’m actually LESS likely to vote for people who do that. The awards are supposed to be for the best nominee in each category and the badges will say (I guess) Best (eg) Individual Blog 2011 not ‘I bugged more people to vote for me than anyone else’. (Let it be said, no one has actually badgered me to vote for them, so if some people are out there being competitive, I don’t know them).
      Anyway, as Shelly says, whether we win or not doesn’t matter; when I heard the blog had been nominated – as well as the hashtag – it made me smile. For me, as it’s ‘my baby’, for the others who’ve been involved with it through guest posts and photos, and for the founders of the resource it’s based on/around and is a complement (and tribute) to. Just to be considered ‘among the best’ is award enough.
      Fiona

  3. I don’t need a badge (i.e., someone else) to tell me how good you are. People gravitate to substantive discussions from a variety of means (i.e., search, blog posts, recommendation, etc.), and yes, perhaps from a “pageantry symbol” as well. But it turns discourse into a popularity contest. If I were scouting conference speakers, I would not rely on a reward; I’m going to read the content/interaction that’s going on, get to know the person, etc.

    I’ve never felt compelled to offer a difference of opinion with regard to awarding blogs before, but that is precisely what makes blogs like yours good – sharing diverse perspectives. I congratulate anyone who decides to post any comment to any online space who speaks honestly. I realize that for some, that’s not enough…and that’s ok. :)

  4. ‘Which of these projects or individuals should not be recognized for their hard work?’

    All of these should be recognized, I’m just not sure that this is the best way to do it.

    As Shelly mentions in the post, people are obtaining funding and progressing their careers in other ways as a result of winning these awards. I’m sorry, but making that statement and then saying that it’s not the winning the counts just doesn’t make any sense.

    I made the decision to vote for anyone who asks me nicely as then I would have at least had contact with that person, which is probably more than most people have had with a lot of the candidates. I’ve enjoyed a nice chat with some and have genuinely felt like voting for them as a consequence.

    Let’s face it, anyone who hasn’t had an in depth look at every single candidate in a category before voting is basically doing the same: They aren’t really choosing the best, rather they are voting according to who they’re friends with or who retweets them or who has left nice comments on their blog. If you haven’t looked at every candidate, you’re not voting for the best in that category. How could you be?

    A lot of people like these awards: good for them. To be fair, I’ve found some great new blogs and projects that I wouldn’t have heard of were it not for the contest, so it’s far from a bad thing. Nevertheless, you’d have to search long and hard to find anyone who has looked at every candidate before voting, so I question its validity as a measurement tool.

  5. I agree with Adam: what’s flawed about these awards is that they are so partisan. The intention is lovely but the application leaves a lot to be desired.

    You appeal to the professionalism of teachers but this is a very amateurish process. I would rather subject myself to a panel of ‘experts’ who were committed to reading every blog and applying an agreed set of criteria.

    The sheer number of nominees make it an impossible task for us to give all blogs the attention they deserve. I’ve tried reading a few of the many but really, who has time?

    I’ve been nominated in the best new blog category and am of course cuffed to bits about it. But I strongly suspect that my position so far down the alphabetical list will mean that very few people will get around to investigating let alone voting. Should I care? Maybe not but a level playing field would be nice.

  6. Dear Shelly,
    I couldn’t agree more with what you said. There’s the same discussion going on in the edu blogosphere every single year and I think I’ll never understand why the nominees should feel guilty for being nominated.

    Tow years ago, a blogger wrote in his post that he would decline his nomination for the Best individual blog because he knows the worth of his work.I’m the complete opposite. I don’t know that. I’m an ordinary teacher teaching ordinary students. I need nominations to show me which way to go. I deeply appreciate it when my colleagues tell me I’m doing my job well.

    Secondly and even more importantly, the Eddies are an invaluable source of ideas and isnpiration shared by passioante and dedicated educators from all parts of the world.

    Thank you so much for the wiki mention:-)

    All the best
    arjana

  7. Hi Shelly,
    For many educators who are just becoming familiar with new technologies, blog awards gives them a place to start, see what is available, provide them with ideas and links to further their knowledge of how to use blogs with their students.

    Awards are nice to have but the talent, interest in offering ideas to others is what really counts.

    I’ve enjoyed your blog and found ideas from others by reading it. What you share definitely helps other educators.

    Keep it up!
    Bev

  8. Recognition is fantastic, but what if you don’t get it through any nominations? Does that suggest you don’t deserve it as much as anyone who was? Possibly, but often not. Comments, posts inspired by yours, readership, RTing–recognition comes in many ways.

    I agree with some who’ve already pointed this out, but the process for voting is just flawed. How can one vote for the best individual blog, for example, when there are 20+ there? The difference between these awards and Oscars is in this regard. 5 final nominees might be more manageable to fairly evaluate. And someone asking for votes? Like a political campaign? Ridiculous.

  9. Shelly!

    I agree with you. Many great blogs are on the list and it is an opportunity to discover new posts. I have look at many categories and added to my RSS feed. And the discussions about the awards are interesting too. I’m very pleased to have made the nomination list, it is an incentive to continue working on my blog! And as a teacher it was even more rewarding to have a student nominated. The second time for me! That a school in Norway can make both best teacher and student blogs, shows how your voice can be heard internationally if you try! And I must admit I have asked some friends to vote for us, since they didn’t know about these awards! We will not win and that is quite alright! Fun to be part of this!

  10. Hi Ms. Terrell,

    I’m 6 now and I love that I can share some of the stuff I create on my blog. I like to blog. There’s other really good blogs too, and I really like yours.

    I learned about blogging because my mommy reads blogs, and I saw all the kids who got to make stuff for their blogs, and I wanted to do that so I asked my mom for one and she said yes. And she started reading blogs because she heard about the Edublog Awards last year. So, that’s really how I got my blog. I might not have a blog if my mom didn’t hear about the Edublog Awards. So, I’m glad they have the awards.

    Thanks for putting a link to my blog. That’s nice of you.

    From,
    Em

    1. Hi Em,

      I really like your blog and I wouldn’t have found it without the Edublog Awards. Also, I would have not been blessed to receive your comment on my blog. Thank you for your input and keep blogging. This is the first of the many recognitions you will achieve in your life. I have learned we don’t win many of them and that is a good thing because it means that different people get recognized for their work, too, and will be happy. I have also learned to feel blessed by those who cared enough and were touch by my words enough to take the time to leave a comment and nominate my blog for an award. This means that I have at least touched that one life. At 6, your voice is being heard by people around the country and your words inspire them. For me, this is the greatest award to be able to make a positive difference in people’s lives.

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