The Edublog Award nominations are out, and with them, a flurry of blog posts and tweets making the social media universe aware that voting has begun, and addressing the pros/cons. In the process of scanning some of these posts, I ran across a piece by Josh Stumpenhorst, that (along with accompanying comments) struck a chord. In Complaining and Campaigning, Josh emphasized that the Edublog Awards should not be about “winning,” but he pointed out that they are a great venue for sharing work and that they provide an outstanding opportunity to expand our personal learning networks.
Those who read my blog know that I am a strong advocate of both Twitter, and blogging, as professional development tools. I can not overstate the degree to which interactions via these social media venues have provided professional connections and shaped my thinking about a wide variety of educational topics. On a DAILY basis I utilize social media to expand my professional interactions well beyond the walls of my school – gaining access to current events, innovative practices, and encouragement from people (many of whom I have never met face to face) who I consider colleagues. Without a doubt, blogging and tweeting allow educators to develop a diverse professional learning network and participate in ongoing and dynamic professional development.
These tools also provide opportunities for perhaps the most important practice in education: reflection. I can not begin to tell you how many times my beliefs about educational practice have been challenged by what I have read in a blog, or on Twitter. Over the past couple of years, my concept of what is possible in education has been stretched. When I hear that something can not be done, I often know of a teacher, administrator or school that has done it. I have learned to question my daily practice, never settle for the status quo, and consistently be asking if there is a better way. Writing this blog provides me an opportunity to organize my thoughts, and reflect out loud — so to speak — with the added benefit of receiving diverse feedback.
So back to those Edublog Awards. Like Josh, I am honored to have been nominated for an Edublog Award — primarily because of the high esteem in which I hold those by whom I was nominated. That, in itself is the honor. The truth of the matter is, when it comes to recognizing those who contribute to the discussion of improving education in this world, there are thousands (perhaps even millions) deserving of the honor. As partial evidence, check out this collection of education blogs created by Clive Elsmore (@clivesir).
As I was thinking about it last night, I sent out a few tweets with the tag #feedyourreader (as in RSS feed reader), providing a few names of bloggers/tweeters that are a part of my professional learning network and who regularly inspire and challenge my thinking. I could have gone on for hours.
If you are a tweeting regular, I would encourage you to send out your own #feedyourreader tweet and recognize colleagues who have inspired, challenged, and stretched your thinking. It could be a long list!