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Showing posts from September, 2011

An inspector calls (less as it costs money) ~

For those outside the UK what i am sharing may seem confusing at best, silly at worse. The schools inspection quango ofsted have announced a new regime to raise standards and reinvigorate the process.See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-15108865So, if you manage to get outstanding, which from personal experience is not as big a mystery as it may seem. You will not get inspected again unless your data slips or there are 'reported concerns'.If your centre is good, it will go from 3 year intervals to 5 years, those that are satisfactory get the normal three year cycle and those who are week get more visits (where the latter two are no different than before).With this in mind, i wonder what the incentives may be?Is the inspection body under pressure to adapt the metrics to ensure there are more grade 1, outstanding schools. This will reduce costs as well as show that during the term of this current government there is an overall increase in the number of schools getting better …

Who would 'credit' it ...

In one of the dumber moves i have seen recently, a player in the UK vendor education space (note: a player, not a vendor) decides today to send a mass mail to promote a programme they are part of.Apart from the hilarious self congratulatory style that would frankly be off putting at best, what tickled me was the fact that they did not check with care their mailing list.So, I get a copy of this email, sent directly. I am sure "so what" is going through your mind, as it would mine. The reality is that the senders of this email were making claims that were not only untrue, they were trying to associate our institution with their efforts as an attempted endorsement of their efforts. Not good. Worse still was some claim to self credit for work that I have done nationally. I would rather not take credit, in fact I would prefer some anonymity, due to the nature of the sector, but when others attempt to claim credit for something that they are not even close to is galling, where it …

Very impressed at the sweat and tears ...

For all my twitter followers, visit ... http://www.justgiving.com/teams/cycleforjustice
This was an excellent endeavour, where many friends participated in a gruelling three day ride down the grand union canal from Leicester to London. These were not a bunch of fitness freaks, some would happily admit that they were a little too fond of the pies. But with considerable preparation, pain and commitment they all participated in a 130+ cycle ride along the canal on what at times was a difficult journey.
Slavery is not the stuff of history and is a modern issue for the world, and whilst you would expect developed nations like the UK not to endure this problem it is here. From forced labour to the sex trade, slavery is more than an issue, its an offence to the humanity of others.
So, please they are pennies away from their target of £20,000 make it work for them, in fact push it over, if all my twitter follows have under a pound (sterling) they would easily beat the target and have much more.

a bit of a naff nemesis ...

As the general definitions of nemesis goes, this one is somewhat naff and in my view quite pathetic. I would not pay them much heed normally except they seem to be pursuing their silliness in a way that is still affecting others.For reasons too obvious i will remain cryptic, but those who know us, will know of an issue with a former employer of a family member. This lead to a successful pursuit through the tribunal system which is a matter of public record. Having bloodied their nose, in an entirely legal way, and seeing the case to its full conclusion, you would assume in these situations that you would see/hear/think no more of them.Yesterday, after the summer break, we could see in a public way in a local town that this individual is still playing silly games and affecting those who work for them.Sigh!!!!!With our experience of dealing with them, I can already see lies and half truths as well as publicly evidence on the net that would lead one to wonder if the public are being give…

No no no, Marketing is not to blame ...

After writing that, a shudder went down my spine, quick check, do i feel alright, temperature is ok, pulse fine, vision is not blurred.At this time of year, i get to speak with many centres, who are in the throes of student recruitment, its normal, its September, that is what happens. Many of the centres are reporting good/reasonable/excellent numbers. Which in the domain of further education is interesting as there is a chance that the higher education funding debacle has to spill out somewhere and encourage growth.So Computing and IT provision is not dead, and doing incredibly well in many pockets in the UK.So a little obvious you may think.Yet with one centre, from personal experience has been very successful and imaginative in how it recruits students i hear from multiple sources that numbers are down and marketing is to blame.Now lets pause for thought .... marketing presents an image and gives a broad message, sales gets the message to the customer?Simplistic i know, my knowledg…

Dear Facebook .... Major Privacy Fail ::::

Ok, i like social networking, it works for me, i am in touch with those i seldom see, i can use you to stay in touch with absent offspring and maintain an awareness of friends past and present.So, please tell me, why the hell do i need to see the replies by friends make to their friends statuses when i know not the original friend. Is this a privacy fail++ i do think so.If i want everyone to see what i have to say, i write it into a publicly available blog (ahem like this maybe). But i am sure there are many who dont feel this way and would like their statuses and the resulting conversations to remain within their community of friends.Sorry facebook, major fail

My business is a little cloak and dagger ...

Anyhow getting back to reality, for me it's not, but this is a fantastic lyric from "I walk the line" by Alien Sex Fiend. With great thanks and respect to Simon Langley who introduced me to this punk/rock/blues/grunge/goth classic.

Yet, I do find that in my work in education, at a national level it bemuses me how I must tell one version of the truth to one party, and a different version to others and so on.

No lies are told, but if you shared the exact reality with some protagonists I do wonder if they will implode in a puff of confusion.

So cloak and dagger no, smoke and mirrors maybe or more often it's telling that emperor their new clothes are wonderful as no truth from any little boys is going to make any difference.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Now are you telling me you can't teach this?

One of the fave queries is "how can I teach this" ... Once the spasm of idiot induced tourettes subsides I will provide an answer (in spite of myself). But deep inside I do wonder about the calibre of those teaching computing to our youth.Worse, I am sure they possess the required teaching qualification.Rant over ....Andrew Smith
Sent from my iPhone

Please note ... Google is not broken ....

Occasionally i think that a few of the dumb queries I get are based on the inability of some, to use Google ... why use a search engine when you can ask a dumb question.So please note dearest dimwit enquirer, Google is not broken and anyone with any wit or intelligence can use it. I am a somewhat expensive replacement for a search engine and happy to charge thus.My rant is over now, the universe may continue expanding unabated.

Diversify me ....

Is diversification the key to survival those with an evolutionary mindset would think so.

Maybe I agree.

I am not thinking about anything theological, nor am I attempting a scientific debate. Not that either are beyond my capacity, one is simply not interested today.

My career in education has, compared to many others been short, yet I have seen an experienced a cornucopia of opportunities over this time. Moving between spheres, seeing the microcosm as well as the macrocosm.

In my alleged short journey, one thread reoccurs ...

If you don't diversify, both personally, academic and educationally you will not survive. Long gone are the one trick ponies of education, long gone is the reliance on one product, one discipline or area of merit.

Yet so many clutch onto this.

The real irony is the past, and how I see different educators clutch onto this. They are sentient, so know that the past can never be revisited, yet somewhere in their consciousness and cognisance they wish for a time long lo…

So, please tell me, why the exotic and strange foods ...

Have you ever found yourself committed to a game where the stakes only increase, but instead of wanting to leave, you are one of the willing protagonists upping the ante.Yep thats me.I do love food, especially good food, which is somewhat cliche in this time of ours.Good food, may be good value, it may be what it says on the tin, it can be simple, but not processed (but here i have some affectionate weaknesses). It has to taste good, and not any old good and being different is part of the pleasure. Why have something else everyone else has eaten when you can try it before others and enjoy the epicurean delight.To understand my mindset, you need to take on board the case of chilli chocolate, one time it was rare, you had to hunt for it and buy large quantitites. And boy was it good, really enjoyable and a talking point. Now alas everywhere sells it, great for everyone, now of limited pleasure for oneself. Understand this and you understand my mindset.I like to try, i love to share and …

Aggravating RSS ...

Hmm listening to a presentation on RSS where I wonder if the academic understands the scope of the technology.Andrew Smith
Sent from my iPhone

So far, so good, at #altc2011

Being a random blogger, with no clear agenda, or idea about what one intends to write about, i have to share my first two thoughts from ALT-C 2011.
The first keynote, wow, a whole nation is using a Linux based operating system to educate their primary and secondary education children. Consider both the impact and the reduction in cost as well as the access to information technology and learning for this generation.The session i am in (room 8.62 http://altc2011.alt.ac.uk/talks/22225), the idea of rethinking the instructional design of distance learning. Working in an organisation obsessed with the perception of the quality of its own content, the planned used of other resources.
Must look more at Jorum.

Getting excited about #ALTC2011 ....

> Ok, maybe one is over egging the anticipation, having heard good vibes about ALTC in the past there an element of child like excitement at the moment.
>
> There a small number of presentations that have already garnered my interest, namely ... http://altc2011.alt.ac.uk/talks/22275 andhttp://altc2011.alt.ac.uk/talks/22209.
>
> With both Twitter and Employer Engagement being much vaunted subjects, often i sigh a cynical wheeze when i see or hear more verbal garb on either topic. Lets see what these presenters have to offer, as the over view is at least promising.