The Nessie Awards ’09 Edition

Hard as it is to believe, a year has gone by and it’s that time again, silly awards season, and so without further ado I bring you the 2009 Nessie Awards (with new improved award categories!)

Tweet that made me LMAO

In order to keep up with the Jones, we here at the Nessie Awards have introduced a whole set of new awards to acknowledge the profound wonder that is Twitter. The first, 140 characters that litertally caused me to fall to the floor, is this tweet from @dougsymington “A computer without a Microsoft operating system is like a dog without a bunch of bricks tied to its head.” Enuf said.

Tweet Containing Largest Amount of New (to me) Resources

If you are like me, you regularly find great tips and learn about new sites and services through tweets. But rarely have a received one like this award winning tweet from @BryanAlexander (“Wondering about schools using free semantic plug-ins and add-ons, like Tagaroo, Semanti, TrueKnowledge, Clearforest, Semantic MediaWiki.”) that alerted me to not 1 but 5(!!!) resources that were pretty much completely new to me. Bryan is also an exemplar of twitter use in general – modest in his volume but almost always with novel or high quality references, and a smattering of personal notes and responses that show him engaged as a person and with twitter as a network.

Most Valuable Twit Award

This is a tough one, there are so many people I value on twitter, but consistently and without fail D’Arcy Norman, @dlnorman, posts useful, informative tweets, details of his life as a Dad and a renegade biker combined with his unique blend of fracktarded sarcasm. D’Arcy, we never did manage to foment the twitter revolt and lead them to the promised land of Jaiku, but even if it had just been you and me, well that would have been fine. Ok, maybe not.

The “Blog whose Posts remain ‘Keep Unread’ in my Reader longest (and not because they are boring!)”

Hopefully people understand this award as a compliment – I keep things “unread” in my Google Reader to indicate I must come back to them, and will keep marking them “Unread” even after I’ve read them once to remind me to come back to them again. I was incredibly fortunate to get to work with this year’s award winner, David Wiley, author of the Open Content blog, in organizing the Open Education conference in Vancouver, and it represented for me a peak experience I am so grateful for. David represents one of those people from whom I have learned enough now that when he writes something I don’t understand or even initially think I disagree with, there is enough trust there for me that he *has* something for me to learn that I will come back to it, numerous times, make the effort to understand.

Blog I misunderstand the most but wish I didn’t

Which perhaps makes this next award bittersweet – for Dave Cormier’s blog is the one which I feel I have the most to possibly learn from but time and again find myself not “getting.” Maybe it’s the tone (which would be ironic, because while I don’t think I hold a candle to Dave, I do think we share a certain gadflyish quality) or the draftish nature of some of the posts, but I doubt it. I fear it’s me. All I can say, Dave, is I have not given up at all, meeting you this summer has made me much more committed to trying to understand what you are getting at, as I think there is something there even if I don’t really get it. Remember, I am a *slow* learner.

The “Makes my Jaw Drop and Scratch my Head Most Often” Award

So I pity anyone vying for this award, as last year’s winner, Tony Hirst, could likely be the lifetime recipient, but fairly consistently, not just this year but over the past decade, Scott Wilson’s work at CETIS which he often documents at Scott Wilson’s Workblog, disrupts my day with yet another breakthrough, new idea to pursue or code to play with. I believe work such as that on widgets and the wookie server will ultimately prove to be, if not the straw that breaks the LMS’ back, then at least the crack that lets the light in (and out). I still have Ensemble open in a browser window 6 weeks after he mentioned it to me on twitter (trying to figure out what to do with it). And his work on PLEs in general leads much of higher education’s thinking and work in this area.

The “Blog which Posts Least Often and Yet whose Every Post I Anxiously Await” Award

I should probably alter this blog award title a bit because really, Martin doesn’t post particularly infrequently, but I’ll keep it the same for consistency with last year. This year’s winner, Martin Weller of The Ed Techie, represents a very special combination for me – an ed tech academic who is able to bridge the worlds of academic respectability and the blogosphere, who walks the talk by constantly exploring new tools and techniques and who is also a great guy to banter with on twitter. As much as I admire David’s work on openness and Scott’s work on PLEs and widgets, I admire Martin’s work on academic recognition for non-traditional scholarly work for addressing yet another key piece in the puzzle for how to start overcoming the intertia of the academy.

The “Most Unsung EdTech Blogger” Award

And finally, these year’s “Most Unsung EdTech Blogger” award goes to…. Clint Lalonde. If you don’t follow Clint, I highly recommend that you do – his posts are always thoughtful and informative and low key, like Clint, but typically contain more than you first realize (or more that *I* first realize), also like Clint. I feel very fortunate to have Clint as a local colleague and friend, and Camosun is lucky to have him.


So that’s it for the 2009 Nessie Awards, but one last note. I am not totally oblivious to the absence of women from the awards. This absence represents all sorts of deficiencies, in ME, but what it doesn’t represent is an absence of women who make a big difference, both in our field and to me personally. I will not name them all here, I hope they know who they are, but I will promise to personally keep examing my own relationship to gender, to inclusivity, to technology, power and communication. I am a slow learner, but I refuse to stop trying. – SWL