Looking back on 2012

Tray of brussels sproutsOnce again, it’s time to round up the year’s events: to clear away the past to prepare for a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

It’s been a strange year work-wise with little in the way of continuity. Without work from LSIS, JISC TechDis and the JISC RSC-SE, the year would have been very bleak indeed.

I started the blogging year with a rant about Michael Gove’s well-publicised wish to turn all school children into computer programmers.  However, in the speech he used to announce his programming initiative he also said: “As online materials grow and flourish, we all need to think about how we can guide students through the wealth of information and techniques freely available and accessible online.” … a statement that I heartily agree with and something that is still sadly lacking in everyday teaching and learning environments.

Learners need to check the validity and veracity of the information they find on the Internet and to evaluate its worth for their purpose.

Quite a number of teachers spent their own ‘learning’ years, studying worthy tomes without any thought of the way that contradictory, conflicting and simply inaccurate information might ‘one day’ be easily found ‘online’. They were not brought up to undertake research in the manner that today’s information sources demand; the ways that their charges need to employ.

Moodle training has been a great feature of my work this year and will hopefully continue to be something that draws interest from customers. My first Moodle training event was in January at Pontefract Sixth Form College, arranged by the Yorkshire and Humberside RSC. The most recent was for Berkshire College of Agriculture (BCA) in December. I spent a week at the college, close to Maidenhead, towards the end of November, delivering training to Moodle Champions in VLE use and then again just last week, I delivered a short online course to the same team – about features of Moodle Admin.

Ambassador logo

During the summer months, I was employed by TechDis to be their RSC-Conference Trolly Dolly.  In this role, I promoted the newly launched ‘TechDis Voices’ and ‘TechDis Toolbox’; two of the most significant and exciting initiatives of the year.

I continue to work with TechDis over the winter 2012/13 as part of the Ambassador programme. I’ve already travelled widely in the south east of England as part of this face-to-face TechDis Accredited Trainer role, visiting Lingfield, Weybridge, Margate and Aylesbury.

During December, I decided to deliver a series of #Advent #SugSnips#SugSnips. This revived a very successful delivery of #SugSnips during 2011.

I’m not convinced that this current short series of posts, delivered in a completely different way to before and copied to Facebook, has been quite as successful. Time will tell (I haven’t checked the individual logs yet). However, re-tweets and shares have been non-existent. Maybe it’s time to re-think the #SugSnips idea?

Finally, back in August 2011 I asked why does Flickr not have a belting App? Well, it does now – having released a new (and absolutely ‘belting’ App) during the latter months of 2012.  Well done Flickr. Here it is.

Anyway, if you’re still reading this, may I wish you a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year?

Happy New Year.


World Book Night

World Book Night 2012 logoTomorrow, Monday 23rd April 2012, is World Book Night.

World Book Night is a celebration of reading and books which sees tens of thousands of passionate volunteers gift books in their communities to share their love of reading. 1,000,000 books are given out in total – half of these are donated directly to hospitals, prisons and care homes, and the other half go to the Givers to distribute amongst individuals in their communities.

I’d never heard of this event until last year, when Karen Ford presented me with a book for World Book Night 2011. [See]. Then, I’d thought that I had to buy the books to distribute, but no, the books are supplied for me to distribute.

I therefore have 24 copies of Misery by Stephen King to distribute.

Picture of books taken from web site.

I can’t remember exactly how the selection of books went but I think I was given the list of books to be given away (see picture on left) and asked to pick my top five (may have been ten). I then had to say why I liked the book and why I would want to give that particular one away to friends.

I think Misery was my third or fourth choice. It has been a while since I read it, but I do remember it being more gripping than the film (which starred Kathey Bates and James Caan.

I suspect that I had also chosen The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, a book that I loved reading; Small Island by Andrea Levy, which an interesting read; Sleepyhead by Mark Billingham and A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Not because I didn’t like the others, but because I could remember enough about these choices to write a short review 🙂

Anyway, watch the news tomorrow and the World  Book Night web site for the launch and look out for friends wanting to give you a book. Enjoy reading!