Category Archives: Conferences

My #eddies13 champions and why the Edublog Awards matter

My heart in your hands

Image cc license by Aussiegal on Flickr

Is it that time already? The nominations for the tenth Edublog Awards are here. I know. 10!! It seems like just yesterday that we were all geekily setting up our first ‘web logs’.

Why the Edublog Awards matter

The Edublog Awards are organized annually by the good people at Edublogs and fondly known as the “eddies”. Although I agree with some of the critics that it can be a bit of a popularity contest and it doesn’t have the geographical and network spread we might want, I still wholeheartedly support the “eddies” for a few reasons.

1. Transferrable recognition

For people who are doing work out on the edges, early adopters, it can often be difficult to find recognition within their organization. Although they are appreciated by their online peers, those metrics (comments, tweets, etc) rarely translate back into their organization. However, getting an award does. It is a concept that has value in both of the organizational and the networked world of an educator’s practice.

And that effect spreads. Even those who aren’t nominated can benefit when an expert they follow, a community they participate in, a tool they use, an unconference they attend or a practice they practice, is publicly recognized.

2. Don’t underestimate the effect of an Edublog Award on a recipient or their audience

Many early adopters work in isolation and against the grain in their organization. This can be lonely, even when you have networked support from other bloggers and tweeters at a distance. For me, getting the award for the Moodle Tool Guide for Teachers encouraged me to tell myself: “See, I’m not crazy. I’ll just keep going.” And going back to point 1, it was at that point that my organization included my work for our marketing materials and pushed me at local press. I also started to be invited to international conferences which in the end even resulted in my moving countries.

3. A crowd curated uber-FollowFriday

Each year’s list of nominees and winners forms a great jumping off point for discovering new colleagues, new projects and new ideas. Curated, distilled and endorsed by the educational crowd, you know that you won’t be wasting your time delving into any of their work.

4. The timing is perfect.

It’s the end of the year, whether you’re in the Northern hemisphere and breaking for the holidays, or in the Southern hemisphere and breaking for the holidays and summer and getting ready for a new academic year. That means you are realizing that some of those things on your to-do-list will simply not get done, and that frees up space in your head. I’m sure you’ll start feeling the creativity bubble very soon. That is the perfect time to jump into the treasure trove of new ideas, cognitive tools and practice examples that you can find in the nominations. Open up your notebook or Evernote and start plotting for next year, filled with fresh inspiration.

5. A retrospective of our practice

We all know our work practice has changed dramatically but going back through the lists of previous years finalists really brings it home. Unfortunately the blog posts don’t go back before 2006, but remember 2006? Pre-tablets, pre-Twitter, pre-Instagram? We couldn’t stop talking about wikis…

My Edublogs daydream

Having said that, I would like to think that after 10 years the time is ripe for the Edublog Awards to take the next step and truly become global, recognizing emerging practice in education around the world. To do so, we would need:

  • More descriptive criteria for each category.
  • Simpler nomination and voting systems that have a social layer.
  • The Edublog Awards should totally be awarded as open badges (this one is easy and can still be done this year!)
  • I’d love to see a Curator and Curation board category
  • Wider participation, including the addition of regional nominations. I for one would love to see the nominees from Africa and South America.
  • The addition of sponsored awards in specialized categories. I’m sure there are vendors out there who could provide an educator or organization with a small grant or donation, in return for the exposure.
  • Collaboration with larger global organizations (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation? Mozilla?)
  • And to formalize and achieve the above goals, the organizers could put together a Board of Advisors made up of past award recipients.

Just my daydream…

My #eddies13 nominations

Until then, here are my 2013 champions among the many champions that I follow and read and share with every day. Much love from me to all of you!

Best group blog: The ThesisWhisperer blog.

Dr. Inger Mewburn‘s blog has supported and encouraged thousands of PhD students. She writes prolifically on the blog, but also uses it as a platform for other voices and the comments sections frequently turn into lively debate halls. It is everything a blog can be, a focal point for a community.


Best open PD/unconference/webinar: the iMoot conference.

Ok this is one I didn’t actually attend this year, but I heard SO much about it after the fact that I am going to nominate it anyway. The iMoot Conference about everything Moodle has been organized for the last few years by the lovely Pukunui people. I have attended and been a speaker in the past, and right from the first one it has been a marvel.

The conference is fully online and goes around the clock and around the globe for 3-5 days. The speakers come from the incredibly engaged Moodle community and the program is put together and facilitated by ringmaster Julian ‘the Moodleman’ Ridden. All sessions run twice in different time brackets to account for timezones. Held over a weekend, I’ve always been impressed with how much it feels like a real conference. You attend the sessions you are interested in, and in between you talk to people in the ‘virtual hallways’, on Skype, on Twitter and in the Moodle forums provided.

However the one thing every one kept buzzing about this year is how successfully the conference used ‘open badges‘. This function had only just been released in Moodle, but at every event or conference I’ve attended since, participants keep mentioning how much they learned and engaged with others because of this. Bravo Pukunui!

Best free web tool: Mozilla’s Open Badges

I have already mentioned the Open Badges a few times but I cannot get over the truly revolutionary and far reaching the work that the small Open Badges team at Mozilla are doing. And it’s all out there for anyone to engage with and build on it further. I won’t go into all the details why I love this project. I’ll just share two artefacts from two of the inspiring team members I’ve had the privilege to meet and learn from this year.

Carla Casilli’s blog post on badge pathways really stretched my brain and brought home to me the effect open badges can have in personalizing lifelong learning.

And the clarity of Doug Belshaw‘s presentations has been indispensable in talking to others about badges.


Best mobile app: Evernote

Evernote is the most versatile notetaking tool out there, it syncs across all platforms, accommodates all media and has great extensions, made by the company itself and by third parties, letting you scan business cards to your contacts and handdraw notes. And now they have just gone and made it collaborative.

Evernote can go from small to big. Use it on your smartphone during your tram ride, use it on your tablet for writing, use it for an impromptu presentation at a meeting from any pc by accessing it in the cloud. Whether you are a teacher, a researcher, a librarian, an edtech or a manager, if you are not using Evernote yet, you are depriving yourself.

Give some love

Those are my nominations for this year. All nominations need to be in on Sunday 1 December 2013, so you’ve still got time to give some love to those who have brightened your educational year. And did I mention you can also nominate individual tweeters…

I dipped my toe in the Digital Humanities #dhdeakin

Facebook Friends NetworkI was very happy to be selected to attend the Dipping A Toe In The Digital Humanities symposium that was held at Deakin yesterday. It was an initiative from the Humanities Networked Infrastructure (HuNI) virtual laboratory project,  led by Prof Deb Verhoeven our Chair, Media and Communication, who you may know as @bestqualitycrab on Twitter.

All the speakers were incredibly knowledgeable and I think all of us Continue reading

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When Educators Become Curators – keynote slides from #moothr12

Educators need to become digital curators
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of being the virtual keynote speaker at the Croation MoodleMoot. Thanks to Sandra Kucina and Jasmin Klindžić for inviting me, and making everything happen so smoothly.

We agreed that, in line with my PhD topic, I would focus not on Moodle, but on the new digital curation skills being required of all teachers. So it began as an introduction to digital curation and then looked at how educators can curate inside or outside of an LMS. Thanks to those Croatian Moodlers in the Twitter stream for engaging with me afterwards. More feedback is welcome. I look forward to developing my ideas further…

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Why you should go to the PLE Conference – a flashback to 2010 #pleconf

PLE Conference #pleconfI’m really looking forward to the PLE Conference 11-13 July 2012. The conference continues to innovate in many ways. Organisationally we’ve expanded the conference to two locations, Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia and Universidade de Aveiro in Portugal, spreading the opportunity for sharing scholarship around the PLN and PLE topics and effectively making this a blended conference. How neat! (Of course, one of the venue organisers for Melbourne is yours truly  so I’m a little bias…;-))

The two locations have a joint Call for Papers out with the closing date for abstracts on 16 March 2012, and the deadline for final papers on 13 May 2012. I’m hoping to encourage you all to write an abstract, submit it and join us!

So why should you go to the PLE Conference?

I was very lucky to attend the first PLE Conference in Barcelona and some firsts are simply things which cannot be guaranteed for subsequent events. This first iteration was a veritable who’s who of networked learning with Alec Couros, Steve Wheeler, Graham Atwell, Ilona Buchem and many others in the field attending. Besides the excitement of this, it being the first conference, it also meant that much of the PLE work presented, was completely new to the other attendees. So it was like finding a treasure trove of PLE/PLN research. Also Ricardo Torres Kompen was just the best venue organiser/host, his attention to detail and calmness without peer.

So what are elements of the PLE Conference that continue to make it THE event for any networked scholar/educator to attend? Continue reading

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#eLearnconf in Hawaii – covering it live

Well this is the first day at the eLearn 2011 conference in Hawaii. It’s a large conference with a very full program. So I thought I’d set up a CoverItLive event to try to capture as much as I can. It’s capturing tweets with the hashtag #elearnconf and #elearn11.


Project: What My PLN Means To Me – now at #PLE_BCN!

Hola! I’d love your help in explaining the use of a Personal Learning Network (PLN) for an educator – whether you’re a teacher, librarian, manager or educational technologist.

What is this project about?

This project started last year when we combined our annual e-learning conference eFest with the recently established teaching & learning conference. One of the themes was the changing role of the teacher in the 21st century and us education technologists were eager to show that e-learning is all about teaching & learning, just with technology & access to the web. Of course this can be daunting, overwhelming, scary, uncomfortable, risky…. So we wanted to let educators new to these exciting possibilities, know that they’re not alone. That others have gone before them and are willing to help. Besides introducing the audience to various existing communities of practice out there (like Classroom2.0), I also introduced the Personal Learning Network concept to them.

This project was inspired by Alan Levine’s Amazing Stories of Openness for #OpenEd09, but my project is on a much smaller scale.

I’m asking you to answer the question: “What does my PLN mean to me?” and share your thoughts in a short video/animation/slidecast, about 2-3 minutes. If you work in education, I’d love to hear from you – teachers, librarians, educational technologists and managers. Feel free to answer as you will. However if you get stuck, here are some suggestions to include (use these as guidelines only – remember this has got to be personal!!!):

  • Who you are, where you are & what you do
  • How your PLN has affected your own learning?
  • How your PLN has affected your practice?
  • Something really neat you learned through your PLN recently
  • Which tools you use in your PLN?
  • How you use technology in your teaching or educational practice
  • How you’re adapting your teaching or practice for the 21st century?
  • Your most ‘fruitful’ connection made through your PLN
  • Any words of encouragement for educators new to this 21st century, ‘techie’ way of teaching & learning

After you’ve posted your video/animation/slidecast somewhere on the web, please also embed it on the What My PLN Means – wiki here. And send me (@catspyjamasnz) a tweet to let me know – include the hashtag #mypln. That way I can thank you.

Your task

1. Think about your PLN/PLE and what it means to you. Work together in group of 3-5 to have brief discussion about this.

2. Record your video/screencast. You can do this alone, but probably handier in a group. Use Flip videos available (3), the iMacs provided by Citilab, your own recording devices (iPhones, Flips, digital camera’s) or…. go to the professional Citilab recording studio where Jordi will be operating the professional equipment!

Citilab Video Studio

3. Upload your video to YouTube. Use a title like this: What My PLN Means To Me – @twittername or real name – #PLE_BCN.

4. Link on What My PLN Means To Me wiki

5. Send me a tweet @catspyjamasnz with a link so that I can thank you, moltas gracies con petons (thanks v much with kisses ;-))

Why participate in this project?

  • For you individually, it’s good practice to reflect on your PLN/PLE
  • For our PLE/PLN community, these videos can act as resources, evidence showing this new personal learning in action
  • For teachers new to technology, these videos can act as encouragement
  • A cross-section of these videos, will be mixed together to create an overview resource
  • The videos will be harvested for themes & ideas to prompt further research into the PLN/PLE concept

Thanks for your help, PLN_BCN people! Moltas gracies!

Here’s my video about what my PLN means to me.

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