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Saturday, September 16, 2006

The last post...

It's a sad, sad day. Today I say goodbye to Blogger after almost a year. I now have WordPress up and running on my own domain, so can once and for all say goodbye to my awful typo that I've had to live with all this time.

Onwards and upwards though. If you do subscribe to this feed, then please delete the subscription and add in the new one - you can find it at www.whereisab.co.uk by clicking the 'subscribe' button on the lovely animated glass bar at the top right of the screen.

Will I miss Blogger? I might. I won't miss the times it's busy (the curse of it's success, eh?) or the times it loses my post for completely no reason whatsoever. I will miss the working environment though, as there is something lovely about it's painlessly easy interface.

The new blog is, at the moment, boring vanilla WordPress (sorry, that should read 'Kubrick'), but over the next few weeks that will change completely to a Flash environment to match the new look homepage.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you continue to enjoy(?) my 'collected ramblings' in my new digital home.

Getting my digital act together

After much deliberation, I'm finally getting my digital act together.

Today I changed my host and the DNS transfer has all gone smoothly (thankfully!) This will allow me to now change over to WordPress and skin it all in Flash - something I've been wanting to do for ages. Maggie, Gary and I actually spent quite a bit of time before the summer holidays learning how to make a blogging application in .asp vbscript, but it seems futile to reinvent the wheel just for the sake of sticking with a language I know.

Bear with me over the next couple of weeks - blogging will continue here until I have the whole thing up and running. For quite some time I've wanted to change the look of the 'whereisab' site, and I've always wanted to solve my typo in the published feed from Blogger, so moving everything to the one domain will allow me to do this. I'll talk more about the changes in the future, but thought I'd better announce why things have changed!

Flash and web2.0

Kevin Lynch is talking on his blog about the integration of Flash and web2.0 technologies. To me this type of development is vital - ironically one of the major letdowns of web2.0 technology is the lack of artistic flare that the tools offer. Creativity is vital in creating a sense of ownership, and without the capacity that Flash offers to create a truly dynamic environment, sites will always be limited to the themes or static presentations provided by the creators or user communities. I'll watch the development of Flash 9 with great interest.

Getting your head around web2.0

Yesterday I had the opportunity to meet with John Connell to talk through some plans for further incorporating web2.0 technologies into the work of education centrally in Scotland. I've heard John speak at a number of events in the past, but it was good to meet him officially after reading him for so long. It was also good to put a face to another blogger, as I also met Nova for the first time yesterday too.

Not long now until I get to put other faces to online personalities, as we will meet at TeachMeet06 on Wednesday. I'm really looking forward to hearing the ideas that folks have to share.

Found this great site on digg this morning that presents web2.0 companies in a Flash format. Well worth a look if you want to find out more about what web2.0 covers.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Keeping up with the Mentors!

I check my aggregator on a regular basis. It is quite rare for a day to go by without me checking it at least twice. How lovely it was to see that since I last checked, 8 of our Glow Mentors have posted new entries.

The best way to keep on top of people posting is to use an online aggregator. There are many services out there, but if you use more than one computer, then it is probably best to use an online service to aggregate your blog, podcast and wiki feeds. A great one to use is bloglines.com It also lets you know how many other people subscribe to the feed using their service. I can't wait for the day when I look at bloglines for our Mentors and find that there are more people subscribe to them than the number in their group - there are 19 Mentors in A&B, so I can't wait to see the number of subscribers in bloglines reach the 20's!

Why use an aggregator? Quite simply, it does the hard work for you. Instead of having to go and check each website to see if someone has posted again, you can instantly see just from the aggregator. Therefore, you can go to your aggregator and instantly see what is happening on loads of sites!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Creating DV community?

I've just been listening to this brilliant interview with Lynda Weinman (of Lynda.com fame). One of my absolute heros in the Flash world, as her site features numerous online tutorials. Towards the end of the interview she was asked what she finds interesting and exciting online at the moment, and to no great surprise, she mentioned YouTube. The particular reference was to a Stephen Colbert 's green-screen challenge (sorry if you know about this already). How brilliant an introduction to school kids and chromakey would this be? Not only would they be learning about shooting and editing dv, but they would then be involved in community of learning, when they saw what others had done with the footage. This idea could easily be modified to other educational scenarios. Wow.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Driving Instructor or Tour Guide?

Well, our Glow Mentors are definitely getting into their blogging - today Graham Dickie has posted an interesting question about the role of a Mentor. I wonder what other people think?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

That 'Sunday Night' feeling

Those of you that are teachers - do you remember your first year of teaching? I remember the feeling of horror when I realised there were no more resources for my third year 'core RE' classes beyond the workbook I was nearing the end of in October. "What am I meant to do with them then?" I asked a bemused Assistant Principal Teacher. His reply went something along the lines of "You'll figure it out..."

I've been reading what some of our probationer teachers have to say as they practice their craft. My heart goes out to them - I remember what it was like!

Tonight Karen is talking about that 'Sunday Night' feeling, so familiar to all of us who have stood (or still stand) infront of a class of pupils. The great thing about writing it in a blog is that maybe readers can help you through difficult times, or maybe just share a funny story to lighten the mood. If I were a blogging probationer, I'd love to know that others thought the same as I did!

I can't believe I'm passing on a printing tip!

Printing is, as you probably already know, the bane of my life. If however you have a regular USB printer and an Apple Airport Extreme base station, then it turns out you could save a lot of money and not buy networked printers. Thanks to Susan for this top tip!

I've still not reached 118

With just a few weeks left now until SETT, I don't think I'm going to make it.

After the last scotedublogs meetup we had at eLive, I set myself a wee challenge - to convince 118 people in education to start a blog. Why 118? Well, there are 118 days inbetween the last meetup and the next one 'teachmeet06'

I started out really slowly, and then largely forgot about it over the holiday period, but came back to it recently. I had a couple of tricks up my sleeve that would net me quite a few in my counter, as I knew before the school holidays that out Mentors and our Probationers would all be set up with blogs, but this would still leave me short of my target.

As it stands today, I have still to convince 35 people. To some of you, that may not be many at all, but I don't think I'm going to make it. I'll keep trying though.

This has got me thinking about why I was doing it. It was just for fun, but there is a serious side to it. I am completely convinced of the merits of people in education keeping blogs. I've said this before, but if I could convince everyone that does the same job as me in Scotland to keep a blog, and then I subscribed to it, then I would be much better at my job. Why? Because I would have access to all of their research and findings, which would undoubtedly make me better at what I do.

It's not about achieveing a tally though. many of the people on the list have given up their blog, or post rarely. Most of the probationers are yet to make use of their blogs. So there is little point in acheiveing a number, unless they find it a worthwhile process.

There is some good news in all of this. Our Glow mentors are beginning to see the benefits of sharing their activities online. Some of our QIO (Quality Improvement Officers) have begun to see the benefits of using blogging. Matthew Boyle in particular was so taken with it as a communication tool, that he wanted all of our probationers to keep a blog over the coming session. Many of them will need support in this, and I'm sure many may not be interested in doing so (at the moment, but I am merciless in my campaigning! :-)) - what a brilliant tool for reflection though - imagine sharing how a lesson went with friends a colleagues at a time and place of their choosing - wouldn't it be great if the kids themselves would comment and give you their thoughts on how it went? What would they suggest to improve a lesson?

Redmond finally get it

It makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside when Microsoft realise the best way to communicate an idea is by using Flash. Altogether now, 'Ahh...!'

Friday, September 08, 2006

Anyone want to buy a flat?

Yesterday we visited our lawyer to work through the process of buying and selling. Nicola, with her stunning wit and comic timing, when asked by our lawyer if we had any final questions asked "erm... do you want to buy a flat?"

It always pays to advertise as much as possible, so does anyone want to buy a flat? I could say 'one careful owner', but as it's been standing since 1890, I suspect there have been several. Today's picture is the view from the sitting room window. You'll need to be quick though - I've had several viewers already, and it only went on the market today.

YouTube on your iPod

For those of you with a video iPod (which isn't me incidentally, if any generous soul out there is reading this...:-)), this has got to be a must have?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

teachmeet06 wifi

We have been frantically trying to get a sponsor for wifi for the 'teachmeet06' event at SETT this year. (If you don't know about this already, check out the wiki)

A thousand 'thankyou's to the wonderful people at Promethean Ltd who have offered sponsorship for some wifi at the event.

NQTs in Argyll & Bute

On Thursday of last week I had the opportunity to speak with all of the probationer teachers in Argyll & Bute. This year we have a group of around 50 - this is not far off double the numbers we had last session. I must admit, I dislike the word 'probationer' intensely. Matthew Boyle who coordinates this group of teachers greatly prefers the English description of 'Newly Qualified Teachers' which I totally agree with. Can someone please take this up with the GTC?

I digress. I was speaking with them about communication and making good use of emerging technologies both to keep in touch with each other, and to share ideas. We have set each of them up with a blog and a wiki for them to communicate on.

I hope they are going to make use of them. My timing to leave and go off and do something else for the next 18 months couldn't be worse, as I would have been encouraging them to make use of these facilities. Here's hoping they do.

Glow Mentors

Argyll & Bute have now appointed their (oops - 'our') Glow Mentors. To coordinate this, there is a website that will feature all the up and coming dates in their Glow Mentor diaries, and will aggregate their blogs. The diary and aggregator sections are works in progress at the moment, but by clicking on the Flash map on the homepage, you can visit each of their blogs.

Please check out the site by clicking here.

Thanks to each of the Mentors for starting their blogs - I hope all of you that read this will find what they have to say useful, thought-provoking and challenging. Please head on over to their blogs and leave a comment!

A web address that actually means something

It feels like it's been so long since I posted, I can barely remember how you do this. I mean, 'where is ab'? Never has my URL meant more - sorry to all of you that read this on a regular basis - I haven't been trying to give it up, honest!

The truth is I've been too busy to post - I don't usually divulge personal info on the blog, but suffice to say that I might be moving house quite soon. I now know for a fact that I'm not cut out for this property lark - Sarah Beeny and 'Phil and Kirstie' make it look so easy!

Anyway, apologies for the multi-posting, but quite a lot has happened since I've last been here.