Tag: travel

Weeknotes 32 & 33/2019

I’m composing this from Boston Logan airport before an overnight flight to Manchester, and a drive back home. Team Belshaw has been in New England on holiday for the past couple of weeks. In many ways it’s felt a lot longer than that.

Let’s deal with the positives first. Our experiences here have been the kind we’ll remember for the rest of our lives. The kids have got on well together โ€” gloriously screen-free, apart from the occasional movie on a TV in an Airbnb.

The weather has been exactly what we hoped for: hot without being scorching. We travelled clockwise from Boston, to Cape Cod, to Providence, Rhode Island. From there we went up to Vermont and then across to Maine. Finally, we drove back to Boston to fly home.

It’s the most expensive holiday we’ve ever been on for a couple of reasons. First, New England is an expensive place to take a vacation in there summer. We managed to score super-cheap flights thanks to Jack’s Flight Club, but the accommodation cost a lot more than we were expecting.

Second, it was announced a few days into our holiday that the British pound was the lowest it had been against the US dollar since 1985. In these kinds of situations, you can decide to economise as much as possible, or just enjoy your holiday and deal with the consequences when you get home. Unusually, we decided to do the latter.

Some of the many memories I’ll take back with me:

  • Going whale-watching off Cape Cod at the same time as starting to read Moby Dick for the first time.
  • Playing ‘baseball’ with a foam bat-and-ball pretty much everywhere we stayed.
  • Visiting, and photographing, beautiful old lighthouses along the coast of Maine and Cape Cod.
  • Kayaking near Cape Elizabeth (it was our daughter’s first time!)
  • Paddling in Queechee Gorge in Vermont and imagining what it must have been like hundreds of years ago.
  • Eating whole lobster and feeling like we were eating an alien!

We’d definitely come back, especially to Cape Cod which we absolutely loved.


Now then, while I was away, the plan was to uninstall all messaging and social media apps from my phone. It was supposed to be a break from what can feel very much like an always-on, hyperconnected lifestyle back home.

As I’ve already written, we stepped off the plane to some tragic news about my good friend Dai Barnes. Given that Twitter is the place many know him from, it was important to try and balance honouring his memory with being present for my family.

As a result of being on Twitter, I couldn’t help but become briefly embroiled in a debate which happened amongst educators in Twitter. I didn’t originally engage with it directly, but rather reminded white guys with a decent following that they have responsibilities via this tweet:

If you're a white male with a bunch of followers, it's probably worth:1. Telling people that you're anti-racist, anti-homophobic, and anti-transphobic (if, indeed, you are)2. Acting like it.#its2019people

(I delete my tweets every month, so this is a screenshot)

Unfortunately, instead of any kind of nuance or healthy debate, the whole thing descended into A Hashtag About Which People Should Take Sidesโ„ข. I’ve been a little skeptical when people have called Twitter a ‘rage machine’ because of the move they’ve made towards an algorithmic timeline. Well, I was wrong to be doubtful; this was that in action.

If you want to read more on the whole debacle, I’d recommend that you read Shame Cycles and Twitter Rage by Sherri Spelic, and Edutwitter, Witches, and Whiteness by Michael Cole.


Next week will be all about the jet lag and catching up with developments with MoodleNet while I’ve been away. I’ve been mostly Telegram-free all holiday, so I guess I should be thankful for small mercies.

Weeknote 34/2013

This week I’ve been:

  • Taking Monday off. I’ve found taking a few long weekends over the summer (giving me 3-day working weeks) has meant I’ve kept on top of stuff. It also means I keep more PTO/holiday days for later in the year when I really need them.
  • Meeting with UNESCO again, this time to talk specifically about the Web Literacy Standard.
  • Registering for the Scottish Learning Festival. I believe this will be my fifth year in a row (in four different jobs!)
  • Putting together my slides for the eAssessment Scotland conference.
  • Attending my first new calls/meetings since moving teams within Mozilla.
  • Meeting with various people interested in getting involved with Open Badges and/or the Web Literacy Standard.
  • Contributing to the Open Badges Community and Badge System Design community calls.
  • Clarifying (in my mind) the difference between Open Badges as credentials, rather than ‘qualifications’.
  • Meeting with Chris Lawrence to thrash out the first 100 days in my new role.
  • Travelling up to Dundee to present at eAssessment Scotland as part of MyKnowledgeMap‘s Open Badges session. My slides and an interview with Karen Strickland and me can be found in my write-up of the conference.

Next week I’ll be observing the Summer Bank Holiday – except for 4-5pm when I’ll be hosting the Web Literacy Standard community call. Other than that, it’s a pretty quiet week just getting ready for normality when everyone goes back to school in September!

Weeknote 30/2013

This week I’ve been:

I’ve also been planning, talking, drinking, dancing, playing, and sharing. I’m just getting over my jetlag as the only route that worked was NCL-AMS-DTW-PWM! Next week I’m putting the next phases of my work in Mozilla into motion before heading off for a long weekend to visit relatives and Legoland.

Weeknote 24/2013

This week I’ve been:

  • Presenting and running workshops on Open Badges at a CRA seminar (Monday, Birmingham).
  • Meeting lots of people/organisations at the Mozilla London office to explore ways they can use badges. People like Creative Skillset, OCR, Livity and Inspir.ed.
  • Booking travel for the coming weeks.
  • Running a webinar on Open Badges for Learning Pool (slides here)
  • Ordering more business cards. The other ones didn’t turn up and, as 20th-century as they feel, I’m often in a position where I need to give them out.
  • Catching up with the audio from the Web Literacy Standard community call, hosted by Carla.
  • Hosting the Open Badges community call for the first time for a while.
  • Talking some more and reaching out to various people within Mozilla about Firecloud.
  • Writing a post for DMLcentral about the NSA, Mozilla and privacy that I hope will go live on Monday.
  • Claiming back expenses for speaking at recent events.
  • Meeting with my newest colleague Meg Cole via Skype.
  • Getting some training on interviews with the media from Erica Sackin.
  • Participating in a great day of networking, sharing and planning for a new city-wide learning co-operative (potentially powered by badges!) hosted by the University of Salford.

This week I’ve done loads of stuff myself, but my colleagues have been even busier. This week Mozilla has, well done pretty much everything:

Next week I’m presenting at the Learning and Skills Group (London, Tuesday) and moderating a session on ‘Digital Skills for Work and Learning’ at the EC Digital Agenda Assembly 2013 (Dublin, Wednesday). I’m also looking forward to working with the Mozilla comms team on next month’s beta release of the Web Literacy Standard.

Weeknote 12/2013

This week I’ve been:

  • Delayed coming back from the DML Conference in Chicago (my write-up of the conference is here). My flight was cancelled due to the First Officer being ‘sick’ on St. Patrick’s Day. ๐Ÿ˜‰ My subsequent flight was delayed meaning I didn’t get home until Tuesday lunchtime!
  • Taking a day off to spend with my family.
  • Working with Matt Thompson on a diagram to explain what Mozilla’s Web Literacy standard is for. It still needs some work before sharing more widely!
  • Summarising the previous week’s Web Literacy standard work.
  • Booking travel to OER13 and the PELeCON conference, both of which I’m keynoting. Also booked flights to the Mozilla All-Hands meeting in Toronto in May.
  • Planning out my OER13 keynote in Evernote. I’ll be talking about ambiguity, Open Badges and Web Literacy.
  • Talking to people who may want to align with the draft version of the Web Literacy standard being launched on April 26th.
  • Continuing to talk to people/organisations about Open Badges.
  • Writing an abstract for the PLE conference (with Tim Riches) and sending Brian Kelly a title and abstract for IWMW13.
  • Helping interview a potential new hire to our team.
  • Getting things sorted for Nesta’s One Day Digital event in Edinburgh next Saturday. I’m running a workshop on Mozilla’s Popcorn Maker and taking my family up for Friday/Saturday.

Next week I’ll be returning to the place of my birth (Nottingham) for the OER13 conference (Tuesday/Wednesday), continuing to work on the Web Literacy standard stuff and travelling up to Edinburgh on Good Friday with my family for the Nesta event mentioned above.

Things I Learned This Week – #12

Image CC BY-SA Ismail.alghussein

Another week, another country – I’m beginning to feel like Chris Guillebeau! I spent 24 hours in the UK after last week’s EUROCLIO workshop in Turkey, then headed to the UAE to see what the Specialist Schools & Academies Trust (SSAT) are doing out here. My Dad works for them as a Maths consultant. I’ve learned lots about Arabic customs and have committed more faux-pas than I can count. Still, everyone’s very friendly, approachable and everyone speaks English really well. Better than me in fact… :-p

http://delicious.com/dajbelshaw/TILTW12
(33 bookmarks)

I presented at both the schools my Dad works on the topic ofย Education 2.0, trying to explain how technology fits in with an overall shift in education. It seemed to go down pretty well and lots of people had questions. I’ll upload my slides and the video of me speaking when I return back to the UK. ๐Ÿ˜€

Tech.

  • Google Calendar Labs now has a feature calledย Smart Rescheduler that allows you to quickly find the best meeting time for all participants.
  • Got a multi-touch Mac? Want to be able to ‘middle-click’? Tryย this!
  • Google Apps now has a marketplace. Here’s Lifehacker’s Top 10 additional apps to try – some free, some paid-for.

Productivity & Inspiration

Education & Academic

  • I’m calling shenanigans on promises by all the main UK political parties to offer ‘pupil premiums’ to support poorer pupils. I would be surprised if anyone who’s worked in a UK school was taken in by this in the run-up to a General Election.
  • George Siemens has posted his TEDxNYED presentation entitled Collapsing to Connections. I’m hoping the video will be ready soon!
  • Will Richardson posted this week about a teacher who’s been experimenting in using social media with his classes. Going beyond the textbook that sort of things. Parents weren’t happy: “Our students don’t need to be part of a classroom experiment…” I echo Will’s <sigh> and raise him a <frown>. ๐Ÿ™
  • Smarthistory.org is a free, online art history ‘book’ with nifty visualization and timelines. Oh, and it looks like it will be *awesome* on the iPad… ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Will Richardson throws another great short blog post by quoting Clay Shirky, “Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.” What is the problem to which schools are the answer?

Data, Design & Infographics

Global Map of Social Media – December 2009

Misc.

  • Human babies can’t recognize themselves in the mirror until they’re at least 18 months old, according to QI.
  • Learn how to impress people with ninja-like origami skills!
  • Want to create an eBook that will look good and work on most devices?ย Here’s some great advice!
  • This should probably go in the previous section, but here’s some advice about password strength.
  • You know those times when you want to add a beard to someone’s photograph? You don’t? Oh well, there’s an app for that anyway… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Quotations

Dwelling on the negative simply contributes to its power. (Anon.)

Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life. (Wayne Dyer)

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. (Plato)

The flower that follows the sun does so even on cloudy days. (Robert Leighton)

The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind. (William James)

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