One of the comfortable traditions that I’ve gotten into over the last few years is spending time over the Thanksgiving break thinking about the people in my PLN who have changed who I am as a professional.

And no joke: I’m thankful for a TON of people.

Folks like Scott McLeod and Dean Shareski have been influencing my thinking about #allthingseducation and #allthingstech for years now.  They’re literally my professional heroes — guys who have had a profound impact on me.

Folks like Steven Anderson, Tom Whitby, Kyle Pace, and Nick Provenzano are my digital homeboys, pushing me to think differently about the tools and practices that I’m integrating into my instruction.

Folks like Russ Goerend, Matt Townsely and Paul Cancellieri push my #assessment buttons, folks like Eric Sheninger, Jeff Delp and Lyn Hilt push my #leadership buttons, and folks like Nancy Flanagan push my #edpolicy buttons.

The list is almost never-ending, y’all.  I learn from George Couros.  I learn from Justin Tarte.  I learn from Derek Hatcherelli.  I learn from Bo Adams. I learn from Renee Moore.  I learn from Ariel Sacks.

That’s what makes nominating people for the annual Edublogs Awards so stinking difficult.

I want to nominate EVERYONE!

Knowing that I’ve got to be home in an hour, though, I’m going to keep my list of nominees for this year’s awards short and sweet.

Here they are:

Best New Blog: The Learning Nation by Cale Birk 

I suppose the real challenge of choosing the “best new blog” is defining “new” — and then figuring out exactly when someone started writing.  From the best I can tell, Cale Birk — a high school principal in Western Canada — has been writing for just over a year.

Regardless of how “new” Cale’s blog is, it deserves a spot in your RSS reader.  Cale is constantly writing interesting bits about school leadership.  I think my favorite bit of late was this piece where Cale details the tinkering his building is doing with professional learning communities.

You can follow Cale on Twitter here.


Most Influential Blog Post: The Death of the Awards Ceremony by Chris Wejr

So I’m probably cheating by nominating The Death of the Awards Ceremony here — it was written in June of 2010 — but I don’t care.  It’s literally the most influential post that I read this year.

Who cares if I didn’t find it in time for this year’s Eddies.

In it, Chris Wejr — another principal from Western Canada — explains the reasons that Honors Assemblies make no sense in schools that care about every kid.

As a guy who emcees a mean Honors Assembly, Chris’s piece has challenged me to think differently about student recognition — or the lack thereof.  It’s a bit that sticks in my intellectual craw — one I return to four times every year. #thatscool

You can follow Chris on Twitter here.


Best Group Blog: Voices from the Learning Revolution

A confession: I’m WAY biased towards full-time practicing classroom teachers, y’all.

After all, I’m still in the classroom full-time, so I understand better than most the sacrifices that we make when we choose to teach.  I also understand just how risky it can be to make our practice transparent in such a public way by choosing to blog.

That’s why the Voices from the Learning Revolution blog — a PLP Network project — means so much to me.  It’s chock-a-block FULL of real-live classroom teachers writing with great detail about their instructional practices — and it changes what I do in my own classroom almost every time that I stop by.


Best Free Web Tool: Tripline

This is easily the hardest category to come up with ONE nomination for simply because there are SO many tools and services that have chosen to offer educators free accounts — Diigo, Voicethread, Animoto etc — and I honestly believe that we should be thankful for ALL of them.

I decided to nominate Tripline this year, though, because it is a startup that I think has huge potential. Designed to allow users to create interactive photo enhanced maps, Tripline is just plain cool.

I reviewed it recently here — and I’d encourage everyone to give it a spin. ANY service that can make maps cool is all right in my book.

There you have it, y’all. My list of nominees for this year — but more importantly, my nod to my PLN.

Whether I’ve listed you or not, I learn from you EVERY day — and for that, I’m thankful.


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