Open Thinkering


Weeknote 46/2019

Parking Pizza

This week my main, and to some extent, only focus has been on preparing for next week. I’m writing this on the flight to Barcelona, where I’ll be spending the next week in management meetings, at the first-ever Global MoodleMoot, and at the inaugural Open EdTech conference. It’s going to be pretty intense.

On Tuesday, I’ll presenting on-stage the beta demo of MoodleNet, which is something I’ve been working on at Moodle for the past couple of years. The reason it’s taken so long? Well, a combination of going through several research and design phases, and having a very small, part-time team. It’s an innovation project, but one I envisage having a high impact.

Consequently, and as always happens before something like this, the MoodleNet team has been all hands on deck getting things ready. The team, who all contracted for 2.5 days per week, have shifted their days to ‘front-load’ November. I’m ever so grateful, and very much appreciate them working this weekend too.

On Tuesday, Mayel and I showed Martin Dougiamas (Moodle’s Founder and CEO) the current status of MoodleNet. He asked lots of pertinent questions, and was overall impressed, calling MoodleNet ‘great’. I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

I had an unforgettable Friday, where I lost my passport for a good few hours. Given I go through periods of regular travel, I ensure it’s always in the same place. But it wasn’t there when I went for it on Friday afternoon which, on top of everything else, stressed me out quite a lot. I was on the phone with the UK Passport Office, who told me I wouldn’t be able to get a new one for at least seven days.

Eventually, my wife found it in a place both of us had already looked several times previously. It’s an object lesson in what stress can do to your perception. Right after that, I went out for dinner with the family, and my heart rate returned to a normal level.

Then, on Friday evening, Bryan Alexander got in touch, asking if I’d like to go to NYC at the beginning of December to speak about digital literacies. I instantly replied “YES” in all-caps, and told my wife, who’s always wanted to go to New York – especially at Christmas shopping time!

It’s amazing how you can read as much Stoic philosophy as you want, but controlling one’s emotions remains a lifelong project. This week, I’ve been getting out of bed at 06:00 to spend half an hour reading Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, and Baltasar Gracian’s The Pocket Oracle and Art of Prudence. I’ve also been throwing The Oxford Book of Aphorisms into the mix this week, which I found particularly useful. I shudder to think how I would have reacted to the ups-and-downs of this week without a combination of early-morning reading, cups of tea, and L-Theanine.

Finally, as I’ve already said where I’ll be and what I’m doing next week, just a quick reflection on remote working. I received the results of my 360-degree feedback recently, which scored me as either ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’ across all 25 categories other than the couple that involved dealing with conflict in the workplace. It’s human nature to focus on the negatives, so instead, and especially this week, I’m just going to celebrate the fact that my colleagues rate me highly for ‘visionary leadership’!

Photo of black truffle pizza taken in Parking Pizza, Barcelona when out for dinner with Noel De Martin (who’s joining Moodle next week!)

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