Popularity Or A Chance For More

In conjunction with the fast approaching ACEC2010 conference, (I have less than a week to get my presentations ready but who’s worried about that :), the organisers have initiated the ACCE Australasian Educational Media Awards. With sponsorship from Edsoft, the awards have been created to

…… acknowledge the contribution of Australasian educators who support the learning community through blogs, wikis, podcasts, forums, mailing lists, virtual communities and other internet resources.

Now I need to add a number of disclaimers here before I continue.

  1. This blog has been kindly nominated by one of my colleagues
  2. I also have nominated another exceptional blogger who’s pedigree in this area has stood the test of time
  3. I am not a great believer that the quality or efficacy of a blog, wiki or other social networking site can be reflected in a popular vote, (in this case a popular vote serves as only 20% of the final award criteria)
  4. There are numerous other bloggers etc whose work has been of high quality over an extended or short period of time whose spaces have not been nominated

Each of these caveats aside, these awards and others like them, do serve a number of important functions. In highlighting how readily educators are willing to share their expertise and findings and how powerful an influence this sharing has become, these and other spaces like them, raise really important questions about models of professional development that are traditionally supported and promoted by schools and educational authorities. Learning for teachers can now be truly incremental and centred around the teacher’s need. The greatest impediment to this style of learning are the demands of the system and or school to follow or complete traditional forms of PD. The breadth and number of nominations in this and other groups suggests the wheel may be turning.

Another positive from nominating spaces for these sort of awards is the opportunity to expand and explore. Even though learning networks are very much in vogue and many of the nominees are important nodes in the networks they inhabit, networks like schools can stagnate without renewal and participants moving in and out of the network. Checking through the list of nominees gives a chance for such renewal at the same time giving new entrants to the notion of networking a chance to vet and follow some practitioners with a proven track record.

The listings also highlight the many places along the continuum that make up the continuing development in the use of these spaces and associated technology. Even though there may be some common features to their work, very few of the nominees have begun their experiences in the same space nor have they nuanced them according to a set of guidelines. All speak with a voice that is identifiable and authentic.

So even if you don’t want to vote for any of the nominees, (and indeed in writing this post I am definitely NOT canvassing for votes for this blog), take some time to check through the other 42 nominees, you will definitely find more than the odd gem or three.

Update: Despite my suggestion that the use of social media and the like enables a whole new group of “experts” to share their work and findings, John Connell, one of the most authentic voices in this whole process, sounds a cautionary note in posing the question, Who are the Information Imposters? Though the context is slightly different, keynote presentations as opposed to blogging and notwithstanding that I would be extremely surprised if any of the ACCE Award nominations are information imposters, Alan Coady in commenting on John’s post makes a good point in stating….

……… we’ve probably all, at one time or another, been guilty of innocently giving the impression that we have a more complete handle on a given subject than eventually turns out to be the case.

But then again isn’t it the nub of all learning.

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5 Responses to Popularity Or A Chance For More

  1. cmelliott says:

    Hello John
    You have summed up the ACEC2010 Multimedia Awards well. Overwhelmingly, it’s an opportunity to share the virtual world of professional learning that has the flavour of this region of the world. Like yourself, I have made a number of new discoveries and I know of many others deserving of recognition that don’t appear in this list. Maybe next time.

    I won’t add to the discussion of the term ‘information imposters’ except to say that my experience of the people who contribute to these resources tells me they deserve better. Those I know personally don’t consider themselves as experts. They are individuals passionate about the potential for technology and the tools available to learning today to make schools a place where students are happy to be, are growing intellectually and emotionally and feel equipped to get on with life once they graduate from their senior years. Let’s just get on with the job. See you next week.

    • johnp says:

      Hi Camilla,
      Actually I think that many of those who make up lists such as the nominees for the ACEC awards can lay more claim to being an expertise than some of those who are promoted as experts by the media and others. The “information imposters” spoken of in John’s post

      “….. are persons within a small group that give the illusion of having knowledge. They jam the information social system with their own psuedo-information, shutting down the information seeking process. In effect, they claim to have given all the information that is necessary, telling members of the small world that they do not need to seek for any more information.”

      As far as I know none of the ACEC nominees fit this profile :).

      Looking forward to catching up with you and lots more next week.

  2. tsheko says:

    Thanks, John, I agree that the ‘expand and explore’ is the best part of bringing new and various bloggers to people’s attention. Reading outside of your own network is not only refreshing but it makes you realise what others are doing through the sharing of their knowledge and experiences. I appreciate building my Australian network, knowing that, although there are amazing people in all parts of the world, some of these are in our own backyard.

  3. John Connell says:

    Hi John,

    Thnaks for picking up on this issue. The description of the ‘information imposter’ chimed with me on various levels, although, as Alan Coady said – and I agree – I think that most information imposters are not necessarily indulging in any conscious bad faith.

    There are exceptions, though! 🙂


    ps My ancestors possibly had that ‘O’ in front of Connell, but my particular offshoot of the clan hasn’t used it for many generations 😉

  4. johnp says:

    Eeeek OMG Whoops sorry John, I knew that, must have been the hour of the day I was posting and the fact that I have a mate here downunder who bears the same given name but prefaces his Connell with the aforementioned O’. How embarrasmentalling :), the record has been suitably amended.

    On the score of the promoting postulation as information inadvertently I know there have been numerous times when I’ve intimated that something is “fact” when it really is more based in supposition or incomplete recollection. Often it isn’t until later in the wash up of the discussion that you get the chance to check facts and the reality dawns. Sometimes enthusiasm for the argument overrides clarity of thought. Ah but then again I am but a small pebble in the pond so my ripples will not spread very far :).

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