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.

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Where will June go?

Laptop, garden and pond - early Sunday morning

Laptop, garden and pond - early Sunday morning

Sunday: I’m writing this in the garden, under the shade of our willow, listening to the calming sound of our (newly installed- last week) cascade of water. And it’s only 10.00am. Brilliant. Why can’t all work (half work, half play today) be like this? Because I’ve decided to learn how to properly use the Mac Book Pro before it becomes my main machine, I’m using the Vista jobbie today. Which was confusing to start with because the touch pad (like all touch pads before it and for the entirety of my laptop experience) needs to be ‘double-tapped’ to replicate the left-mouse-click. Because the Mac Book Pro has a sweet ‘click‘ feature, where the entire touch pad becomes a left-click, I’d forgotten to double-click and was (doh) confused when the pad wouldn’t depress (double doh!).  However, there are many ‘Apple’ idiosyncrasies I need to master too. Like – why is there no delete button (the forward-delete I mean, not the back-delete – which exists)? Only last Friday did I find the shortcut (Fn+backspace) to delete to the right one character at a time. Hey ho.

Another noticable feature of the Vista laptop today is just how tenuous its connection is to the WiFi. V. Slow, whereas the Mac ‘just does it’.

Tomorrow sees the beginning of a very hectic period for me. It starts tomorrow with a fairly long Skype meeting about material development and hopefully future work, then there’s the RSC Yorkshire and Humberside summer conferecne on Tuesday – where I’m helping Lilian to ‘man’ the ‘interactive corner’ (or something like that). We’re both working together then on the Wednesday (if that’s ever confirmed) and on Thursday I’m working at Ashton 6th Form College. Friday is a ‘phew, where did the week go?’ day. Next Sunday I begin my week-long European venture with Khawar Iqbal. That week fills me with some trepidation because I’ve never delivered to non-native English speakers before. Much of my delivery is based on anecdotal humour (along with sound common sense and good training techniques) and it’s a worry that I can’t easily fall back on that skill (?) But Khawar assures me that I will be fine. Watch this space.

The rest of the month would need me to look at my diary but I know that I am going to be at the RSC Northwest conferecne in Southport and at the RSC Southwest conference in Weston-Super-Mare, where I am working with Weston’s Super-James Clay!

Yesterday was a fabulous day too. Because the weather forcast had been so good we decided to invite the family round for a BBQ. Ben couldn’t make it because he was going to a stag party in Manchester but my mum and dad, Emma, Charlies and the girls and a couple of friends came along. We had a brilliant time.

Amy and Charlotte with their babies

Amy and Charlotte with their babies