It really doesn’t seem like a year ago that I posted My digital reading workflow but the time had nevertheless come to sort out new workflows in a new environment. When you’re working online all day, every day, things work a little differently.
Regular readers will know how much of an influence Joss Winn’s post Working on the web had on me recently. It certainly motivated me into action regarding ‘clipping’ (and adding my thoughts) to stuff I come across. I’m now using Amplify for that. What I still need to sort out, however, are ways to ensure I own my own data – either via backing-up Delicious and the like or some other method.
I was in the shower yesterday when it struck me how the lowest points of my life have occurred during, or as a result of actions during, the months of November and December. I’m fine really, and it’s not in my best interests to go into details here, but suffice to say that whilst everything is OK on the family and work fronts, I really struggle internally at this time of the year. I’m convinced it’s got something to do with the lack of light – something that Josh Rouse sings of in Come Back (Light Therapy).
The Learning Without Frontiers Conference (London) in January is the only event I’m planning to attend between January and March, given the imminent arrival of Belshaw Junior #2. Even after that, given the huge disappointment of Online Educa Berlin (and general conference fatigue) I may cut things back to just those at which I’m presenting/facilitating/organising.
I was asked a few weeks ago to present at TeachMeet Oxfordshire by organiser Matt Lovegrove. Although I’m no longer in the classroom and couldn’t make it in person, I thought it was a great opportunity to share stuff I wish I’d known when I was still in schools. Below is my slightly-more-than-7-minute video on ‘models of learning’. Relevant links can be found underneath and it’s best viewed fullscreen! :-p
I’m part of the team putting the finishing touches to the Open Educational Resources infoKit. It’s going to be launched in a couple of weeks’ time at the Higher Education Academy conference so I needed to ensure I was doing thing properly at my end. I approached David Kernohan, JISC Programme Manager and all-round OER guru after a wider e-learning team meeting down in Bristol this week. When I asked if there was anything he wanted me to do with the OER infoKit before launch, he told me to “make it shiny”. 🙂
Re-considering my workwear
Up until a couple of months ago I worked in schools. Which have 6-week holidays. So it’s pretty easy to wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers all-year round. OK, so you might swelter for a couple of weeks, but it’s not worth buying whole new work outfits for such a short period of time.
It’s only really just hit me that I’ll be working all through the summer. Which is fine, but kind of means I should invest in some more workwear. And then there’s the whole roasting hot outside/air conditioning inside problem – but I’ll stop before I sound too metrosexual…
Buying (and almost buying) a new phone
I’d decided on the Nokia N900 as the replacement to my ageing iPhone 3G; I wanted something open and different. The trouble is, a crafty eBayer scammed me on Monday (I’ve since got my money back through Paypal) and then I managed to input my details incorrectly in my excitement at seeing that Carphone Warehouse had some reconditioned SIM-free N900s in stock for half their normal retail price. So I ended up N900-less.
In the end, I’m pleased I did have those problems, because the phone/tablet/slate/hybrid thing I bought yesterday really does seem to kick some ass. It’s a Dell Streak which sports a 5″ screen and runs Google’s Android operating system. I’m going to review it on Tuesday but suffice to say I feel very futuristic using it compared to my iPhone! :-p
Pulling out of the SHP Conference
I was due to speak with Nick Dennis at the annual Schools History Project Conference again this year, for the fourth year in a row. However, I’ve decided for a number of reasons, not least that I’m not currently in the classroom, to let Nick speak by himself at the conference this year. I’ll be helping out with the first-ever TeachMeet at the event virtually.
Getting excited about Google Teacher AcademyI’ve had a couple of conversations with the legendary Tom Barrett recently about the upcoming Google Teacher Academy on Thursday 29th July 2010. I’ll be running at least one of the sessions and am really looking forward to meeting innovative educators at the event!
I really would encourage you to apply to be one of the 50 at GTA UK. Everything you need to know is on this page and you need to apply by Thursday 17th June 2010. It involves both an online application and a 1-minute video. I know it’s a busy time of year and being held during the summer holidays, but you’ll definitely not be there if you don’t apply! 😀
I don’t often disagree with the conclusions Lifehacker comes to, but saying that “[Google] Chrome for OS X is still much too young for full-time adoption” whereas Firefox is great is not true in my opinion. One of the reasons I switched to Chrome (whilst still in Alpha!) was not only because of its speed but because Firefox was crashing several times a day, despite reinstalling, etc.
According to a 1984 paper cited by Nathan Yau at FlowingData, scatter charts are the easiest to decode in terms of representations of quantitative data. Bar charts and pie charts come next. Although probably not 3D ones produced by M$ PowerPoint… 😉
Right, I want you to recite Pi to 100 places. Oh, and balance 15 books on your head. Whilst solving a Rubik’s cube. What do you mean, No problem?! (my wife asked if she’s got a boyfriend – probably a fair observation…)
I’m delighted to announce on behalf of EdTechRoundUp that we’ll be having a (completely online) ‘TeachMeet’ on Sunday 6th December 2009. It’s called TeachMeet ETRU edition 09 and will hopefully be the first of many!
If you’re not too sure what a TeachMeet is, watch the excellent explanatory video by the BrainPOP team below:
Please do sign up to do a 7-minute ‘micro’ presentation, a 2-minute ‘nano’ presentation or to be an ‘enthusiastic lurker’. The idea is that we’ll be using Adobe Connect Pro for the TeachMeet. Presentations can be done live, but I for one will be pre-recording mine! 🙂
I noticed that TeachMeet Falkirk had a QR code* to make life a bit easier for those publicising the event. Here’s one containing the URL of TeachMeet ETRU edition 09
Finally, please remember to include the tag TMETRU09 when discussing the TeachMeet on Twitter, uploading Flickr photos, YouTube videos or blogging about it! 😀
* A QR code, for those who don’t know, is kind of a barcode that stores information – in this case the URL of the wiki page (more at Wikipedia). Try it by downloading the software from qrcode.kaywa.com.
There’s ways and means of getting to places you want to go. In the case of conferences and meetings a good ploy is usually to volunteer to do a presentation. In the past – with the BETT Show, for example – to get there I’ve either been asked to, or volunteered to speak. That’s allowed me to get there for the real reason I wanted to go. With the BETT Show it’s to attend TeachMeetBETT. 🙂
Today, however, is a bit different; I’m off to the Scottish Learning Festival for the first time. In a (slightly ironic) turn of events I’m being allowed to go by the Academy without having to speak, yet to secure my place at TeachMeetSLF this evening, I’m having to do a (very short) presentation!
The video above is a quick 2-minute overview of how we at The Northumberland Church of England Academy (at which I’m Director of E-Learning) have started to use Google Apps Education Edition. I’m hoping to inspire others to use it as I honestly believe that it can enhance communications – and therefore teaching and learning – within an educational organization. 😀