Drafts

This is the first Saturday for many weeks where I’ve had no work to do. At all. But it all starts again tomorrow.

The Advanced e-Guide/PDA programme kicked off last month with the first face to face meetings last week (in the middle of my Leeds-European week). The participants were reminded that (to get the two pronged funding) they should have submitted ‘action plans’ by 20th November. Which sort of gave us two weeks to get draft action plans read and returned before the finals had to be in. The 20th is an important date because if we (Sally, Nigel and me) don’t get them by then the Advanced e-Guide/PDA won’t get their £1,200 bursary or £1,500 capital funding. So – next weekend and Monday, we (I) will be reading action plans and (hopefully) signing them off in time for the money to be released. But this week it’s been one for chasing up drafts, reading drafts and commenting on drafts. This has been appreciated by those that submitted them but that is less than half the group I have to support. So tomorrow and Monday I will have to be chasing up those that haven’t sent in drafts.

There’s still no news of my ‘lost’ camera from the Thistle Hotel in Birmingham. I wonder what I have to do to get a manger to talk to me?

On Thursday all the MoLeNET Mentors met in London as part of this years (round 3) programme. Once again it was great to be there with everyone – all gurus to me and all considered good friends. But I do wonder why we were there in the afternoon. Some of us I understand – because the LSN sales team had to be informed about MoLeNET life and mobile learning generally, but Elaine, James, Mick and I were not involved and were only listening to what we already (mainly) knew. I suspect that if the four of us had been asked to leave and work in a different room for 2 hours, the product of that meeting would have been far more useful that the 2 hours we did spend.

Then Lilian, Ron and I went to Nottingham to join the Becta-supported (delivered by ALT) Sucessful Deployment of networked hand-held devices workshop at the National College for School Leadership. This was a vibrant meeting with lots of different input and cross-sector talk about the pedagogies of mobile learning. We three had been asked to come along and foster discussion by delivering our cool wall idea. I think it took a while for delegates to ‘get it’ but eventually they did (I think). Out point had been to begin the thinking around the use uses (video, photography, text, search, memo, reflection etc) rather than the kit itself – also, what tool might the learner own that could enable these uses?  A great day (Friday) – really enjoyed it.

Got home as quick as I could because Karen and David were coming up for the weekend. Karen is at TechDis today (Saturday) but Dave and I are shortly going to the pub!

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Leeds 2

Cold Turkey.

I’m now at the end of a rock and roll week with only one more day to go before I can put my feet up for a short while [I wrote this on Saturday – I’m now on my ‘feet-up’ day]. I’ve booked myself a day off on Monday [today – yippee] but have already committed to make many phone calls and ‘quick’ replies before it starts again in earnest on Tuesday.

Since Saturday last, Sharon and I have been in Leeds working with a large group of adult learners, here to improve their language, understanding of British culture and ICT. Also see https://eduvel.wordpress.com/2009/11/02/leeds-1/ Through Monday to Wednesday, we were joined by Lilian (@xlearn : www.xlearn.co.uk).

Advanced e-Guides and PDAs
Late on Monday afternoon, I had to leave the group and go to London where I worked with other colleagues to deliver the Advanced PDA/e-Guides course. Sally Betts, Nigel Davies and I worked through the day to deliver this course for the first time. We’d spent Monday night having dinner at a place on Tabernacle Street, just behind the hotel on City Road. Apparently, the restaurant was a member’s club but really – you had to be a member to find it. The only recognition that it existed at all was a small plaque above a buzzer, by the side of an innocuous door. Inside it looked great and the food was good – what we could see of it. The light was so dim, we each had to use our mobile phones (or iTouch in my case) to read the menu. We shared the most wonderful and most green bowl of olives I’ve ever seen.  On Tuesday, we repeated the course again in Birmingham but without the excellent food.

And then it was back to the Europeans.

Back again
It sounded like they had had a great time in Bradford on Tuesday, where they had gone to explore the Pakistani culture living within the British culture. For many, this was the first time they had witnessed women wearing the burkha outside of television news and made them stop and think. They also visited a Mosque and were given a talk about Islamic tradition and culture. The National Media Museum also provided them with a two-hour workshop, where they learned the tips and techniques of television. http://www.nationalmediamuseum.org.uk/ Their enjoyment of this day was reflected in their blogs (read on)…

Lilian had introduced blogs on Wednesday, so my plan on Thursday was for them to continue with blogs for a while and to move back onto their Bonfire Night web quest before lunch.  Which is what we did, but there was such a lot of questions about blogging that many neglected the web quest. Although Blogger is remarkably simple to set up and use (and links directly to all the other iGoogle tools) it was not the best choice within the University.

Techie Stuff
Each room we used represented the interface differently. The Thursday room even had different versions of IE – which the techies told me was impossible. But IE 7 has tabs and prior to that there were no tabs: Our room had a mixture of tabbed IE browsers and non-tabbed! Then some machines needed Flash updating, or Java updating or simply updating. WHY oh why can’t this be done automatically? Why do learners have to suffer because the technology is bollocks? On Friday, Internet Explorer simply would not show the normal Blogger interface. Learners could not ‘add’ pictures or videos because the buttons were simply missing. I eventually got most of them onto Firefox – but then Blogger had updated itself since Thursday (it probably hadn’t, and probably has a slightly different interface for Firefox) and the video button was missing until you went to settings and asked it to revert to the ‘older version’ – which caused huge amusement amongst the older participants (all except two were over forty and many fifty plus – one was 21 on Thursday).

Reflection
It has been the most wonderful, entertaining, wet, though-provoking, funny, rewarding and exhausting experience. The group; from Germany, Turkey, Bulgaria, Latvia, Italy and England have worked together well this week and to say that they had not met each other before last Sunday, they have made remarkable progress.

Outcomes include the sharing of experiences and of each other’s cultures. Both of these were addressed in abundance. It became very clear to everyone that when national boundaries and prejudices are set apart – we are all the same. We share the same concerns and the same pleasures. This has been a wonderful week.

The group had said during their first day (last week) that they wanted to be bloggers – let them tell the story:

(Please note the use of videos, pictures they have edited and pictures made into movies too)

Our blog addresses:

http://leedsexp.blogspot.com Roberto

http://unver64.blogspot.com Fahrettin

http://vonweitzel.blogspot.com/ Christoph

http://eduwholearning.blogspot.com Eduardo

http://jnmarin.blogspot.com Javier

http://guntistravel.blogspot.com/ Guntis

http://secretary-fall-secretary.blogspot.com/ Mairita

http://learningwithpeople.blogspot.com Angus

http://mpwbauhuette.blogspot.com/ Edith

http://annavuerich.blogspot.com Anna

http://leedsandbradfordexperience.blogspot.com/ Gabrielle

http://siegfrieddierl.blogspot.com/ Siegfreied

http://vivianapurina.blogspot.com Viviana

http://cristinadelfabbro.blogspot.com/ Cristina

http://atanurcaglayan.blogspot.com/ Atanur

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http://xlearn.co.uk/blogger.html Lilian’s blog

http://sharonsugden.blogspot.com Sharon’s blog