Gateshead Induction

It’s been another busy week. I’d reached a stage in April, where I thought all my busy weeks had disappeared along with government interest in post 16 CPD, but since returning from France [link] I’ve been rock-on.

On Monday I was up and out of the house by 5.40am, to catch the early train to Newcastle. I’d been asked by the JISC RSC- Northern, to deliver two half day workshops for them on Mobile Learning. It didn’t start well because of assumptions I’d made. I’d assumed there would be computers available at the venue and had therefore not asked for any. No matter how foolish we think the question, we must never assume that it doesn’t need asking! So finding a room set out cabaret style, with no computers came as a shock.

The wonderful RSC team sorted this out, but it did lead to some uncertainties and some changes to the planned programme. Luckily, those attending seemed to remain engaged and were able to participate in a number of active learning activities. I arrived home about 7.30pm – and I’m still tired.

Then on Tuesday and Wednesday I completed the work I’d been doing with Nigel Davies on behalf of another JISC RSC; South East this time. I’d spend much of the previous week on this too. We’d been asked to research and develop a Moodle site that RSC clients could use on the subject of Induction. It took the two of us quite a while to track down everything we could on the subject from relevant web sites. We collaborated initially on an iEtherpad and then organised our findings by using a Mind42 mind map. We also spoke every day via Skype, which allowed us to share screens and re-organise the mind map on the fly.

We then agreed which section each of us would develop. I concentrated on the Generic aspects whilst Nigel concentrated on Learner specific and Staff specific inductions. The course is HUGE. We could not use Moodle-Book, so the ten topics take up a lot of space. However, we were also asked to present the course via Web 2.0 and for this we used Bitly (see my earlier notes regarding Bitly), which we believe worked just fine.

If you are registered with the RSC-SE, you can access the Induction course here: http://moodle-rsc.ukc.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=130

On Thursday I began planning for next week, when I will be working for most of the week with Di Dawson and James Clay at Gloucestershire College, and I attended a training session at RM’s Salford TEN centre, on their re-vamped VLE.

On Friday I travelled to Leeds, to work on the new Leeds College of Music learning platform. This is part of the work I’m doing for Lilian Soon, who is project managing this massive project. After a few visits and only making baby steps, I feel that we made great strides yesterday and that things are beginning to take shape.

Sharon met me off the train and we had a few beers, a curry and caught the 8.00pm bus home. Sorted!

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I resign (as mayor)

It would seem that I am now the mayor of:

And yet, I’ve had enough.

Is it the glory of it all? The weight of the bling? (hardly). 

No, it’s much more mundane than that. I’m fed up with it all. Gowalla too – I’ve already deleted them both from my iPad and will soon delete them from my iPhone too.

I wrote about my experiment with situational social applications last month – https://eduvel.wordpress.com/2011/05/20/gowalla-and-foursquare/ – and wondered then just how worthwhile they would turn out to be. Well, for me, they have not turned out to be worthwhile at all and have been constantly frustrating.

My main problem is that I cannot register my presence at every place I want to. Foursquare constantly tells me that there’s something wrong with my connection to the internet – yet everything else still works (even Gowalla, which was at first just as erratic). I find this very frustrating.

It’s even more frustrating when the only reason I can see for using the App is the competitive element of it. I’m always just in front of, or just behind John Popham and Alison Lones but never in the lead because James Clay seems to register every step he takes 🙂

The other day, I was in Slaithwaite post office and noted that it wasn’t registered, so I set out to do so but the App refused to let me because (I assume) ‘post office’ was already registered (although nowhere to be seen on the system). It has also been know to tell me that I’m too far away from the point I’m trying to register my presence at e.g. Clacket Lane Services, even when I’m stood in the car park!

Enough. I resign.

Ensuing discussions:

http://elearningstuff.net/2011/06/19/e-learning-stuff-podcast-077-i-resign-as-mayor/
http://tech.jamesclay.net/?p=2011&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook

Other views:

http://www.dontwasteyourtime.co.uk/technology/foursquare-getting-the-students-to-go-outside/

IfL – again

I’ve recently received an email from IfL.

It’s wordy, but the crux of the content is that they have reduced their grotesquely inflated subscription for the year ahead. I will have to pay for two years in advance to receive the best discount but even yearly, the price is significantly reduced. It’s higher than last year, but that’s probably to be expected.

So what happens after two years?

Who knows, but IfL will certainly have to pull their socks up if they are not to receive the disdain and criticism hurled at them this year. The wordy email does acknowledge this, but we need to see immediate changes if anyone is to feel comforted by paying the new subscription.

They say:

“In the discussions and agreements reached with trade unions, employers and IfL, the following shared principles are supported by all parties:

  • A commitment to a professional, high status, qualified and regulated teaching workforce, recognising its importance for consistent quality of service to learners and employers, and for the good reputation of the sector.
  • The recognition of the value of having a flourishing, independent, professional membership body that is both accountable and relevant to its members.
  • The recognition of the importance of retaining a flexible and diverse workforce.
  • Fee policies need to ‘feel fair’ as well as being as clear and simple as possible.”

But that doesn’t tell me anything. Or am I being obtuse?

What would I like to see? Off the top of my head …

  • A monthly newsletter. NOT just an email, but a LINK in an email to a simple web page or .PDF document that has been thoughtfully laid out, is colourful, varied in content and relevant to the readership. It doesn’t have to all be about quality and ofsted. Perhaps a few guest contributors discussing current issues?
  • Nationwide and/or regional meetings for members to attend. It may be that members have to pay a small fee, but the meeting facilitators should deliver an inclusive programme that ‘involves’, ‘interests’, and ‘enthuses’ the attendees, is relevant to their needs and has elements of CPD that can be recorded.
  • A change to the way in which CPD recording is expected by IfL. Reflect works for many I know, but I suspect, not for most. If it’s a costly provision IfL – lose it and come up with a way of allowing members to record their training and personal development. Ask around, there are plenty of alternatives for blogging and hosting of sundry evidence
  • And that they use their ‘fellows’ more. I’ve had several phone calls from (I assume) consultants employed by IfL to find out if and if not, why not, I’d be renewing my membership and one even promised to ring me back (didn’t happen) – but no one has rung to ask what I can offer in the way of CPD input, either voluntarily or paid.

So, a cautious well done IfL, I suspect that when this very busy week is over, I will reconsider my intention not to renew. We’ll see.

I previously wrote about IfL elsewhere – see: http://saturdaywalks.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/ifl/.

June

It’s been a while since I wrote anything here; sorry if anyone missed me. I’ve still been writing, just not here.

I’ve written on my Saturday Walks page (link), which I tend to use as a non-work, social-ish, ranting blog.

And I’ve written a holiday blog (link) during the time we were in France recently.

I’ve also managed to make an addition to my Blogger blog (link), which is mainly about the books I’ve read – not all of them, but many/most.

I also have a ‘House for Sale‘ blog at: http://sharehill.wordpress.com/one day I will get around to putting the address in big city newspapers. Surely I can’t do worse than the estate agents!

I do have things to say, but I’m still arranging them in my mind – mainly situational awareness stuff and 3G. In the meantime, thank goodness, I’ve got busy again. I’m just coming to the end of a period of marking for City and Guilds – made more intense by coming towards the end of my holiday in France. But – phew, I’ve not let anyone down yet …

I’m also currently working with friends/colleagues on a couple of urgent jobs and trying to get my head around another ‘really urgent‘ job! I also have jobs booked in June and early July for other friends and colleagues, so things are good again, for a while.

So thank you for your patience. 🙂