The #deanies

The #deanies

What are the #deanies? Simple. They are a prestigious award designed to recognize the very best in education. Or maybe not.

As with much of my goofiness on twitter, this started on an impulse. I’m not 100% sure what triggered it but I think I was reading my stream and someone posting about an award they won. There is lots of controversy out there about the need and purpose of awards. Frankly, I’m not that invested in the conversation. However, I think, for the most part, they don’t mean a lot other than someone thinks you deserve some recognition, which is a good thing. But the reality is, most awards are given by small groups of people with little or no authority. Again, that’s not a big deal but then I wondered, what’s stopping me from giving out awards? And the first #deanie was born.

Since then, I’ve given out more than 100 #deanies. You can view them here or here or even here (be sure to filter by twitter). My criteria follow strict guidelines of whim and a questionable and spotty memory. Essentially it’s looking at my twitter stream and thinking about how I know someone and what memory or characteristic immediately comes to mind. The more specific the better. In some cases, there’s a back story that you’ll never know but I share with the recipient. In other cases I wanted to acknowledge a trait that is more obvious and evident to the public. Mostly it’s about a fun way to say thank you to people for how they’ve connected and supported me over the years. I wrote this post about gratitude a few years back and it remains a big part of who I am.

I share this reflection from Rose, not to boast but to show that although much of my actions online appear to be trivial, it’s done with intent and most of the recipients of this meaningless award understand that.

And then a few couple of weeks ago this December, I received an unexpected but much appreciated mention:

Before Dean’s #deanie tweet to me, I would direct message this to him: “So I am reading the #deanie as you award them and I am blown away by all the personal (& humourous) connections you have made. You are living such a beautiful life of gratitude. Human Connections. Love it. Live it. Today was my Ma’s 67 birthday and it has now been 14 months since she died. Celebrating her life from this side of heaven. She lived her life making people know how special each one was to her. She lived 24/7 awarding her own version of #deanies to everyone. Thank you for reminding me what it means to truly be a connected educator.

I’m committed to live a life of gratitude. Essentially that’s what the #deanie’s represent. Of course, I know I did not acknowledge everyone I should but the good news is that this award is so meaningless, it doesn’t really matter. That said, if you’re reading this, give yourself a #deanie! And if you like you can use this image as your badge to prove it.

Photo by Matt Miller

cross-posted at

Dean Shareski is a Digital Learning Consultant with the Prairie South School Division in Moose Jaw, SK, Canada, specializing in the use of technology in the classroom. He lectures for the University of Regina and is the Community Manager of the Canadian DEN or Discovery Educators Network. Read more at