Open Thinkering


Weeknote 46/2015

Selfie with Graham Brown-Martin

This week I’ve been:

  • Spending two days working in London, and one from home for City & Guilds. The rest was made up of meeting with people and preparing for a busy week next week.
  • Sending out Issue #193 of my newsletter, Doug Belshaw’s Thought Shrapnel. It featured links about, amongst other things, ad-blocking, podcasts, and… sausages! This month’s newsletters are in association with Dynamic Skillset.
  • Releasing Episode 30 (‘Private Badges’) of the Today In Digital Education podcast, my weekly podcast with co-host Dai Barnes. In this episode we discuss security and privacy on Android devices, the axing of ICT examinations in England, recent updates around Open Badges, and social media vs. reality!
  • Attempting to get into a state of nutritional ketosis after listening to this long (but life-changing) Tim Ferriss podcast. The initial plan was for my wife and I to fast from Friday lunchtime until Sunday dinner, while taking MCT powder. In the end, I managed to get to about 1.5 mmol/L in less than 24 hours but it was pretty hard and I didn’t get there by fasting!
  • Teaching this week’s session of Computing Club at my kids’ school. We continued with some Mozilla Thimble but I want to get them onto the Star Wars resources!
  • Pleased with an interview for AACE around digital literacies that came out when I was away.
  • Successfully taking a potentially-big City & Guilds project through pre-acceptance without any pushback. I was ably helped in this enterprise by Anup Chudasama, Harry Kinloch, Steven Rick, and Bryan Mathers.
  • Purchasing a lifetime subscription to (via a now-expired AppSumo deal). It claims to be ‘audio brainwave training to tangibly improve focus, relaxation & sleep’.
  • Speaking to around two hundred Year 10 (i.e. 14/15 year-old) pupils at a school on behalf of Dynamo North East. The focus was on careers in IT and, despite Ofsted being in and an inevitable tech fail, it went pretty well.
  • Trying to improve my operational security (‘opsec’) after reading this article. I’d already flashed my smartphone with CyanogenMod, turned on all the privacy settings, and removed all Google services/apps. You don’t have to go as far as me, but you should definitely read the Basic Android Security Setup guide.
  • Meeting with:
    • several people at Newcastle University’s SOLE Centre. They’re interested in finding ways to badge the outcomes of self-organised learning environments, and more.
    • various people at City & Guilds about badges.
    • Graham Brown-Martin, for whom I always have a lot of time. He was kind enough to give me a copy of his excellent book, Learning {RE}imagined and took this great selfie of us at Shoreditch House.
    • Eric Stoller, who only come onto my radar last year when he moved to the UK. We had an interesting conversation along with Bryan Mathers.
    • Hung Lee from, a great tech recruiting platform I’ve been telling everyone about.
    • Harry Kinloch from City & Guilds. We went out for dinner and talked about life, the world, and everything.
    • Craig Reid from North Tyneside Council about alternative routes into employment.
    • Chris Stone who I bumped into yet again on the train home this week. He’s a great guy and I enjoy our conversations, despite only meeting a few weeks ago.
  • Going to Pilates again. I hadn’t been for a while and forgot how hard it is on your core muscles!
  • Confirming details around a (free!) workshop I’m running for EdLab on December 2nd in Manchester. It’s around digital skills and working openly with more information here.
  • Inaugurating ‘Slacking off’, a new Friday thing where some of us from my super-secret Slack channel hang out via to mark the end of the week. This week I hung out with Dai Barnes, Laura Hilliger, and Eylan Ezekiel for a bit and it was great!
  • Writing:

Tomorrow (Sunday) I’m making the long journey on the train down to Worcester, where I’m speaking and running a workshop on digital literacies on Monday. Then I’m heading to London (via Birmingham). I’ll pop down to an event in Eastbourne with Bryan Mathers, go back to London, and then come home.

I’m looking forward to the work (as it’s interesting) but definite #sadface that I’m spending almost a whole week away from home.

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