Monday, December 11, 2006

"Edublogging" and a Short History of the Edublog Awards

James Farmer started the community-based Edublog Awards three years ago, and sixteen months ago started an educational blogging site called Edublogs, which gives free blogs for educators, librarians, and students (over 30,000 so far!). Edublogs is a labor of love for James, who wanted to give educators a way to express themselves and communicate on the web. He doesn't really think of Edublogs (which runs on the multi-user version of the Open Source software WordPress) as a blogging site--to him, it's more like a website tool to allow educators and students to create "tons" of pages to host podcasts or videos, to provide websites for student resources, or just to communicate with each other. His day job is the "Online Community Editor" for The Age in Australia. Visit Edublogs for a free blogging account, and listen to James talk about the service and how to get started here.

Josie Fraser, who now runs the Edublog Awards from the other side of the world (she took over from James after the first year), is getting very little sleep these days. She, too, holds a day job--one that has a serious commute--so running the awards is taking up any free time she used to have.

Josie talks about her background and the awards in a short (ten minute) interview here, discussing how the awards have been, and are, a way of showcasing the benefits of blogging technology in the face of educational filtering solutions, since these filters often block blog sites altogether. (This is very similar to the impetus behind the SupportBlogging wiki--which, by the way, has also been nominated for an Edublog award this year). Her passion for educational blogging becomes more and more evident as the interview goes on. The awards are also intended to be a resource for educators to draw on for inspiration, to bring educators and students together on a global level, and to help build a feeling of community amongst educational bloggers (there is an online party on the night of the announcement of the winners that Josie says is really fun).

It's well worth looking at the list of nominees for great blogging (and wiki) inspiration. The two previous years' nominees and winners are also posted at the official site. Anyone can vote (so call your "nana," as Josie says). Vote for here and SupportBlogging here.