This post is cross-posted here.
This is both a big moment and a small blip, a tongue-tied mixed-feeling overture. It reassures me that I have done something important, but I that can never rest on my laurels. I will never stop being passionate about learning, nor will I cease to use collaborative tools in the classroom. This is who I am now, and apparently, that makes me a Totally Wired Teacher according to Edutopia, Yahoo Teachers, and Ypulse.
Steve Hargadon nominated me for this award about a month ago and I really didn’t think much of it. It seemed like the Edublog Awards, something way out of my reach. But, about a week and a half ago Anastasia Goodstein e-mailed me saying that I was one of two finalists, and that the interview for the final decision would take place later in the week. I was flabbergasted . I have never presented at a major conference. I have never met the likes of David Warlick or Stephen Downes. Surely, I could not be The Totally Wired Teacher of 2007.
After many nervous moments before the interview, I had the chance to talk to Karon Weber (this isn’t her site, but it does say that she used to work at pixar and that she created the gobbler feature for yahoo teachers), Jim Daly, Derek Baird, Anastasia Goodstein, and Nicol Addison (I couldn’t find a relevant site for her). I really enjoyed the interview, a half hour of talking about how my classroom has changed and how I have dealt with the unchanging traditions of schools.
Then, last Saturday I received this e-mail:
Hi Ben. I’m thrilled to let you know that you have been selected to be receive the first Totally Wired Teacher Award at the Ypulse Mashup in San Francisco! We were all incredibly impressed with the trailblazing work you’ve done with your students.
I have always wanted to do something that I love, and teaching and learning is as good as it gets for me. That is why this award comes as such a wonderful surprise. I have found fulfillment in creating authentic learning environments for others. But, if this award is a symbol of that fulfillment, it is only the most concrete symbol.
If I have learned anything from the past few weeks, it is that we need to recognize those around us that are doing great work, and not just with words. We need to value them with the actions of collaboration and respect. So, instead of using this blog post to gloat about doing such great things in my classroom, I would like to take a moment to recognize those who have inspired me, who have led to this achievement:
- Bud Hunt – He is one blogger who I have followed for a long time, but only recently met. His words of struggle and success keep me going. His ability to also have a young family and do what he loves is evidence that it is possible.
- Karl Fisch – When I stumbled upon his professional development blog a little over a year ago, I read everything. I think his blog is the only one that I can honestly say that I have read every word of. I would just sit there nodding my head at his ideas, and each one of them has challenged me to be a better teacher.
- Vicki Davis (the other finalist for Totally Wired Teacher, incidentally) – Her observations on how blogging and wiki creation can change the classroom are wonderful. Her work with constantly expanding the boundaries of school mean that it is easier for me to try it.
- Paul Allison – His forward thinking and questioning never get old. His voice of struggle is sometimes the only one that resonates with my experience. He is doing great things, even if he isn’t always convinced of it.
- Clarence Fischer – I always want to hear what he has to say on an issue. He has a way of distilling his ideas into easily thought-through chunks. I also like building off of all of the observations he has of the edublogosphere and his classroom. I also appreciate that he is never too tired to reflect upon his practice.
To all of you, Thanks. I hope that this informal award means something to you.