Money, Money, Money

This article is not about education technology or related matters as such; it's more about my experience of attitudes to paying for work. It's worth reading, I think, if any of the following applies to you:


  • you're thinking of asking a consultant to do some work
  • you have some students who are running a business of some kind
  • you are thinking of moving into consulting yourself.
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The hidden messages behind the launch of the Year of Code

I had the pleasure of attending a summit at the Royal Society of Arts last week. Entitled Skills for the 21st Century Summit, the event was designed to launch the “Year of Code” with as much razzmatazz as could be mustered.

And it worked. There was a great buzz throughout the day, and I came away buzzing and full of enthusiasm – though I suspect not for reasons that the organisers had in mind.

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Competing with World of Warcraft

World Of Warcraft DVD + ManualI’ve just started reading Focus, by Daniel Coleman. If a book may be judged by the degree and speed with which it raises one’s blood pressure, I have to say this is pretty good value. I’m only 3% in, according to my Kindle status bar, and already I’ve found three things to disagree with. And let’s not forget that that 3% includes all the “prelims”, i.e. title and copyright pages, table of contents, and so on. 
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British Gas and the Internet of Things

Andrew Brem HiveBritish Gas and I go back a long way. For years they have provided me with heating and hot water, and until relatively recently with energy for cooking too. I won’t say it’s all been smooth running. For example, there was the time when they threatened to get the bailiffs round to my flat in order to read the meter that they had removed the week before. But on the whole they’ve been alright. I daresay were it not for the customary British reserve we’d be on first name terms by now. I’d write letters beginning,

“Dear British”

and go on to say how pleased I am to receive the latest bill and how much pleasure I have in enclosing payment.

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Teens and social media

Texting in the ParkThere was an interesting article in the UK’s Daily Telegraph about the film The Bling Ring. Entitled “Is the Facebook generation anti-social?”, the article presents what I think is a fairly balanced view of how teens seem obsessed with recording every moment of their lives. Well, balanced in the sense that the writer, Tim Stanley, attempts to present it as something we have always done. He cites the example of people in years gone by insisting on showing their (boring) holiday snaps to their friends and family. Now they upload them to Facebook instead (thank goodness!).
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We need ICT teachers, not facilitators

Teaching the youngster to feedWhen did ICT teachers stop becoming teachers and become ‘facilitators’ instead? I’ve largely managed to ignore this sort of nonsense but now it’s getting out of hand. The other day someone said on Twitter or Facebook that he is an ‘active facilitator’, while someone else shared a sign which read “I am not a teacher; I am an activator.”
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What is Both good and original in the world of educational technology?

... No!NO!NOOOO!When a young man with dreams of becoming a writer sent a manuscript to Samuel Johnson for his opinion, Dr Johnson is reputed to have replied:

“My congratulations to you, Sir. Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good.”

I thought it might be interesting to look at 10 ideas that have gained popularity in the world of educational technology and ICT in recent years, to see if they meet the “good and original" test”. Here are my considered, though possibly opinionated, views.

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Typewriters? No thanks!

Royal portable typewriterThere is something romantic about an old manual typewriter. The clattering of the keys sounds somewhat industrial, which connotes “industrious”. Bashing away at a typewriter is what real writers do. No spellchecker, no thesaurus, no internet, and no forgiveness if you make a mistake. So typing something that looked reasonable, and which didn’t involve too much correction fluid, gave one a sense of achievement.

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iPads, tablets and learning

TabletI’ve seen a lot of great practice with iPads and other tablets in schools. The students are engaged in what they’re doing, teachers are excited by the learning taking place, and there’s a good, collaborative atmosphere.

So why do I have the feeling that there is something – a quite fundamental “something” – missing?

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You must be joking, right?

fp80108-04I don’t know if many people ever look at the categories that blog posts have been assigned to. I know I do sometimes, especially if I’m looking for a particular article or type of article. But, in the interests of making people’s lives as easy as possible as far as finding articles on the ICT in Education website is concerned, I not only assign articles to categories but sometimes make up new categories in order to be even more specific. Thus it was that I recently created a new category called Really?

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Further thoughts on the flipped classroom

DSC_0078.JPGAround a year ago I wrote an article entitled 8 Observations on flipping the classroom, in which I put forward the reasons I thought it not a great idea. I still stand by those arguments, although my attitude towards flipping the classroom as a general idea has mellowed somewhat. Let me explain.

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