Day 3: Barcelona
It is a joy to be close enough to walk and to prepare our own low carb breakfast: spinach, tomatoes and egg.
We head out along a series of tall streets to the edge of the park around Montjuic.
Museu National d’Art de Catalunya
Arriving soon after opening whilst there are a reasonable number of people outside taking shots of the view and selfies, there are few people inside. Skipping the 13th to 15th century church art entirely we opt to jump any chronology and go straight to the modern art.
For the first hour it feels like we are VIPs on a private viewing. This is ended by couple like us, the difference being the constant desire to be photographed in front of their favourite pieces.
Sculptures by Enrico Claraso
We marvel at sculptures where stone has the texture of skin and the muscles and skeleton are so apparent beneath the surface.
Other sculptures that caught my eye were Little Gypsy Girl by Joan Rebull and a cheeky bust of Picaso by Pablo Gargallo.
End-of-century styles thought of as too decorative, and lacking form and structure resulted in a return to classicism. At the same time urbanism and industrialism brought brutally realised in the First World War and resulting in experimentation and collage saw another shift with a return to traditional craft skills.
Too many people for my liking posed for selfies or posed in front of works. Am I being a hyporcrite? We took plenty of photos ourselves. It is permitted but perhaps people should be encouraged to turn off the shutter sound on their phones.
A game we played in the evening, as we meandered around the exhibitions, sometimes together, sometimes apart, was to play ‘snap’ with images we had both been drawn towards. This was one of them. It looks like Joan Miro. It is the same period. 1937.
I realise I am drawn to a common palette. Such as these:
We were on our way out. Two hours in one place appears to be enough for us. When we saw there was a temporary exhibition on a Spanish photographer.
The photo journalism shot of a model, legs akimbo, all 1960s reminded me of . What we got was a much more, a mixture of Don Mcullin and David Bailey with the humour of David Hockney thrown in.
Oriol Maspons. Contests in the 1950s. Against award seeking behaviour. Paris and the Club des 30 x 40. He also had to leave his job with an insurance company. The fifties saw Maspons’s developing interest in realistic and utilitarian photography. The Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya conserves over 6,500 photographs of Oriol Maspons, of which 503 are on display in this exhibition. Mostly original prints.
I was immediately struck by the quality of his compositions, the way he guides the eye to a specific part of the frame, also his wit and ability to observe and captures what matters in the moment whether a model, cattle, nuns, soldiers, or a family at a funeral.
His life was reproduced as a timeline.
Outside was bright and humid. We took a slight detour to walk across the park. On a less grand scale the water cascade reminded me of Alnwick Castle gardens some 1100 miles north of here.
Fundacio Joan Miro
Having visited at length six years ago I rather felt that I was seeing it all exactly as before, this time with the bustle of a busy August crowd. There are the Garden and terrace sculptures, the Mercury cascade and its bobbing movement, the eclectic Rope tapestry with beach bits and other collages and constructions. We were flagging from our morning’s exhibitions. We avoided the bright primary colour sculptures and prints. Maybe this is what you do on repeat visits, you start to look at the niche exhibits and to feed a curiosity for the particular, rather than trying to take it all in.
I spent longer in the underground cave with its rough earth and rock strewn ground and a mechanical seesaw sculpture and these tiny rods with flower like stems – which I have only figured out days later in close up.
When I was here last we walked off the hill to the nearest metro. That was six years ago. They have built a hillside funiciar which connnects with the Metro system. We opted for this rather than my prefered ride in a cable car down to the marina.
We had a series of long trecks courtesy of closed stations and lines, or simply getting fed up of being underground when on the surface you discover, rather as in London, that things are not that far apart on foot -0 necessarily.
We eventually made it to the seafront but disorientated by Google Maps we walked in the wrong direction for a while. We worried about not getting to our next vegetarian restaurant before it closed.
Pad Thai sweet potato rice noodles
Museu de Disseny de Barcelona
The Best of 2019 was a Design & Art Direction exhibition of the top three in a multitude of categories. The inventiveness of these always fascinates me, from a Nigerian school design to encourage a draft through the building as an inexpensive solution to the heat, a temporary event display made from paper and light to look like an a lava flow and knitted fashion styled around New Guinea tribal costumes and customs.
Intriguing practical designs from tongs to pick up ice-cubes to the usual variation on a chair, bicycle or cabinet.
History of female fashion 1550 to 2015
Used to the V&A, Museum of London and others, it was a pleasure to have a different take on the development of fashion of the centuries with a very clever use of mannequins with articulated sections that could be expended, extended or stretched to show how the female silhouette has changed.
There were entire floors also dedicated to ceramics and print publishing design.
Pea, coconut and mint gaspacho
Sweet potato taliatelli, cabbage, macadamia nuts and pine nuts
Goats cheese foam
Pizza cauliflower and chestnuts
Coconut yoghurt and mixed berries and dragon fruit
And home to our Air BnB apartment.
It’s only two flights up to our apartment, but the steps are narrow and steep. After a long day on our feet, walking between exhibitions and eateries (between 15-20km) this final stretch is a push.
Day 1 Barcelona Air BnB Trip
Deposited at terminal C and found ourselves wandering off towards a distant train station in a gradually dwindling group. Soon lost and in building works we shared views and I found myself leading the party the length of the airport from terminals C, through B towards A.
Starting to realise the length of the walk and realising that the bus parked by Terminal B was headed for Placa de Catalunya near to our final destination I opted for that. Having only ever got the train into town this was a departure for me, that left a few who were on my trail temporarily bewildered.
Having arrived 30 minutes late I now fear I have badly misjudged our arrival at our Air BnB. My phone plays up too, being full, apps don’t load, I miss messages and end up relying on phone calls. All calls from our host give no identity which starts to bug me. At last we speak and we get the full address. One letter error and we are delayed again and now someone else will meet us there. Once resolved we find ourselves at a door to a late 19th century or early 20th six storey mansion block. Reminiscent of Paris but corridors somewhat narrower and darker, winding steps up steeper and the paintwork more chipped.
The small flat is all that we expect and could wish for. Two bedrooms (double and single), a modest dining/sitting room area off a kitchenette and a bathroom with a large shower. We are two storeys up, on the corner with views up, down and along a typical Barcelona street.
Lonely Planet is our guide. That and Google Maps and happy that we can do most of our trips on foot we are quickly out of the door.
Centre d’Arta Santa Monica
The Arts Santa Monica presents itself as the entrance to an international corporation. It is both imposing, and deserted but for a couple of receptionists at different desks. We find ourselves under a collection of huge paper drapes hanging from the ceiling with haunting folk music playing in support of a video installation. Its an ominous start in an obscure gallery we stumbled across simply was we walked from the Rambla del Raval to the marina.
A parallel world of exhibitions exploiting Google Street View
Twelve artist/photographers are featured. One of the most engaging is by the Cuban artist and photographer Ruben Torras Llorca. In his series ‘Road Movie’ he revisits famous movie locations using Google Street view and superimposes a mashed-up shot from the film. Off hand I remember: Easy Rider, Paris Texas, Zardoz and James Bond.
The most relevant and practical series Beagle 2.0 by Roger Grasas took excerpts from ‘A Naturalist’s Voyage round the world’ by Charles Darwin and revisited the spots now urbanised and too often piled with litter.
I’ve been doing the same with the First World War and the Western Front using Google Street view for the three volume 1938 publication ‘Then and Now’ to revisit the original pilgrimage to the Western Front 1914-1918 to 1924-1928 with a visit made by ‘The Camera Returns’ between 1982 and the present day’ and Google Street View 2014-2018.
With some cajoling, rather than heading for any of our hit list visits on our first afternoon, I got us in to the Museu Marítim. The vast and empty hall and ticket office suggests it is not a visitor to Barcelona’s priority.
This 14th century shipyard, come armaments factory was brought back to life in the early 1970s with a modern refit in the last decade. It is an impressive space that blends the gothic architecture of the original shipyard with a 21st century museum space.
Various histories are told, from the development of the shipyard and maritime trade as part of the history of Barcelona. The most revealing and shocking is to contemplate the lot of a man shackled to a bench to work out his life as a galley-slave.
There are numerous cleverly designed and revealing interest points, multi-media stations and short drama-reconstruction films.
Tired from an early start in England we ate at a very British time at a vegan choice, Rasoterra, found in Lonely Planet
It was awkward to be put next to the only couple in the place, also English. We avoided any excuse to introduce ourselves. Efforts to have us go for the tasting menu fell on deaf ears.
It was a memorable, freshly prepared meal of lovely surprises, from Seaweed Tartare, to croquettes of spinach and bao with asparagus.
Ditching Museum of Craft & Design is a gem. Its aesthetics, book choices and cake are amazing. It was worth joining simply to get the discount on all the books I bought.
As a budding local politician negotiating the slippery-slide of collaboration with other parties this is proving insightful. How do we get on as humans when our ideas might differ? How might we get on when our ideas overlap totally and we wish to avoid point-scoring and one up manship?
‘Cooperation is embedded in our genes, but cannot remain stuck in routine behaviour; it needs to be developed and deepened’ writes Richard Sennet in the Preface.
‘Cooperation is a craft.’ He continues, ‘It requires of people the skill and understanding and responding to another in order to act together, but this is a thorny process, full of difficulty and ambiguity and often leading to destructive consequences.’
He defines cooperation as ‘an exchange in which the participants benefit from the encounter’. He goes on to describe three types: cooperation in organise competition; cooperation in rituals spiritual and secular and cooperation that is both informal or formal.
Collusion is not cooperation.
The most important fact about cooperation is that is requires skill. Aristotle defined skill as techne, the technique of making something happen, doing it well.
Modern society, Sennett writes, is ‘de-skilling’ people in practising cooperation.
Sennett considers how the infant develops and learns to cooperate and to read its surroundings. These are life-lessons.
He uses music practice, rehearsal and performance as a metaphor. A talented musician he both played and conducted. He argues that homogeneity is dull.
Cooperation is built from the ground up.
Musicians with good rehearsal skills work forensically , investigating concrete problems.
The good listener detects common ground more in what another person assumes than says.
In everyday conversation, which is less easy to achieve online, ‘bouncing ideas off other people’; is where ‘these verbal balls land may surprise everyone’.
Curiosity figures strongly in empathy.
A delight to be back with Silvia MacRae Brown at Charleston – only 2 months short of three years since I last attended. And possibly as long since I did any life drawing, though I may have had a few sessions at Sussex Arts Club.
I got through 15 ‘cheap’ sheets and a few more expensive sheets. I enjoy the rapid fire drawings and the exercises, such as drawing with you eyes closed once you have the shape in your head. I had already been taking my glasses off to see and mark shadows before adding detail.
My Mum would be proud. I always hear her tips gently spoken over my shoulder. How to observe. How to make your marks. The importance of keeping everything you do.
(Response by Jonathan Vernon. Green Party Town Council Candidate, Castle Ward)
Lewes Cycle Planning
Bikes at the Prison Crossroads on the entry to Lewes. 5 Nov.
Leading up to 5 November parked motor vehicles disappear from the streets of Lewes and in the day during the afternoon all motor traffic clears. Imagine a Lewes like that all the year round. Imagine only pedestrians and cycle ways. Perhaps for a planned hour before the marching a parade of cyclists in fancy dress could take place to celebrate the freedom to move around the streets. Perhaps this could lead the way to changes to limit or restrict motor traffic in favour of pedestrians and cyclists.
Here we mean provision for cyclists age 8 to 80, upright on workaday bikes for shopping, going to school and commuting rather than helmeted, brightly clad racing cyclists.
To be successful a ‘Cycle City’, as they have come to be called in the Netherlands, requires a complete and comprehensive network that is both attractive and comfortable. Partial fixes, barriers and signage can just add to the clutter and confusion. Change needs to be more subtle with wider paths, cycle priority and trees as calming measures.
And some societal and cultural shift too is needed, from cafe culture to cycle culture, with shops reclaiming the streets where parking bays have been removed to allow them to create a terrace environment. The town should be one of 5 minute cycle rides, 20 minute walks and regular trains to other towns. It also needs to be a town centre that is attractive to people free of outsized motor vehicles, their noise, pollution and threat.
a) Hard measures (infrastructure: shared space, improved crossings, dedicated cycle paths removal of restrictions on cycling, traffic calming, new shared pedestrian/cycle routes, safe crossing points)
‘Every location is different, and it’s never as simple as copying and pasting their methods’, write Chris & Melissa Bruntlett in ‘Building the Cycling City’.
Lewes has many narrow, twisting streets and lanes, often with significant pinch points. Achieving the desired separation between motor vehicles and cyclists, and between cyclists and pedestrians will only be possible – some of the time, in some places by taking out parking or even reducing two-way traffic to one-way. This is the challenge for Lewes. Cyclists need a comfortable, safe journey the entire way from home to destination, not just here and there.
FThere are measures though:
Enforcement of 20 mph with roundels on the road and signage.
A significant volume of large vehicles in the 20 mph zone is a deterrent to cyclists. Lorries need to do their deliveries before 7:30am, not parking up on the kerb on the High Street throughout the morning from 8:30am. Buses are a problem and a solution. Cyclists and buses should be kept apart.
Traffic can be tamed with traffic calming to make sure it travels at under 20 mph.
If there’s any major difference in speed (anything over 20 mph), then full separation is required with concrete barriers, a grass median, planter boxes, or bollards.
As we know, the 20 mph speed limit is often broke. Living in the Winterbourne too often vehicles using the rat run between Brighton Road and Bell Lane think they can finally pick up speed along Winterbourne Lane which is already home to closely parked parked vehicles.
This ‘rat run’ down Montacute Road, along Barons Down Rd, Delaware Rd and Winterbourne Lane is circumvented in part by cyclists using the path between Delaware Rd and Valley Rd, just as they will use the pedestrian path through Bell Lane to St Pancras Gardens – with good reason. It isn’t only more direct, it also avoids the dangers of the mini roundabout at The Swan Inn and at the weekend the vehicles parked up on the kerb along Southover High Street.
Here, like so often in Lewes, a narrow road, with a narrow footpath, with parking bays and cars parking up over night and through the day on the single yellow lines at weekends and bank holidays, becomes quickly clogged at various points, made far worse when there are multiple double-decker replacement buses from the station trying to get along here too.
There will be similar stories right across Lewes.
Too many vehicles, large and small, pedestrians and cyclists, mixed with residential street parking and deliveries creating an environment that can be unpleasant for pedestrians, let alone cyclists trying to use the road.
Another ‘rat run’ to avoid the frequently jammed High Street is off Nevill Rd, down Prince Edward’s Rd, then dogleg down Park Rd and The Avenue onto the A2029 into the centre of town. Where else is the quality of the environment and safety for cyclists and pedestrians in residential areas being compromised because of the atrocious state of traffic on the High Street?
All opportunities to improve pedestrian as well as cycle access to the centre of town need to be explored, including a foot and cycle bridge from South Street.
Motor vehicles can be banned from overtaking cycles though signage has to be clear and can be difficult to enforce legally.
Restrictions to casual parking on single yellow line kerbs especially at weekends.
Potentially reduce some street parking to make cycling safer in the already narrow roads.
If feasible limiting access by lorries to hours where cyclists are less prevalent.
The physical size, speed and frequent stopping makes it a problem for cyclists to share the road with buses.
Shared space is a last resort, ideally pedestrians, cyclists and motor vehicles should each have their own routes.
In France there is often a two way cycle lane on one way streets so that cyclists do not have to go the long way round.
Parts of Lewes appear suitable for mixed use where road-markings are removed and pedestrians and slow moving vehicles mixed. However it is often here that faster cyclists need a dedicated lane.
The pedestrian bridge at the Pells to be wide enough for cyclists and a second pedestrian and cycle bridge from South street across the Ouse.
Better, bolder end to end cycle parking where it is most needed. Close to amenities.
The Dutch model is for cycle tracks that are paved with an easily identified inch-thick top coat of dyed red asphalt. It’s everywhere throughout the Netherlands — you know when you’re on a cycle track. But does Lewes have the space for this? Not without restricting parking and two-way flow of traffic.
On busier roads the cycle ways need to be completely separated – anywhere the speed of motor-vehicles is over 20 mph.
The Dutch have taken the concept of the protected bike lane and carried it through the intersection. More often than not, there is physical protection on the corners where there’s cars turning right or left. There’s are often mid-block protection provided as well, so that you don’t feel exposed. The raised cycle track is also carried through the intersection. Through design, they’ve made the cycle track a priority — visually and physically. (John Parking, Designing for Cycle Traffic).
To achieve this at junctions in Lewes significant investment, even compulsory purchase orders would be required to remove walls, even buildings. This is unrealistic, therefore restricting speeds, and restricting access by certain kinds of larger vehicles is required.
Creation of clearer routes to Priory School so students can feel they can cycle from the key residential areas.
Give way junctions, roundabouts, signals and crossings all need thought.
b) Soft measures (promotion of cycling and education, driver education)
Parental support for children learning to cycle with group based support.
Have spaces where children can learn to cycle safely.
Promoting cycling in schools.
The concept of cycling starts getting introduced to a lot of kids in preschool. They’ll run around on these push bikes. But the biggest education — while it’s not mandatory throughout the country, it’s done by most schools — is students around grade four or five, in the 10 and 11 age range, start taking cycling skills courses.
Between the ages of 11 and 12 they have to take a written exam to show that they understand the rules of the road. They also do a practical exam. So, every year, dozens or hundreds of Dutch students go out onto the street and travel on their routes to get to school, on a designated pathway. The Fietsersbond, which is their national cycling advocacy group, puts the kids right in real life situations, navigating their streets, knowing when to turn, how to signal, where to stop. (John Parkin, Designing for Cycle Traffic).
Known for closing the centre of town temporarily for marches could this be done to celebrate cycling and have a cycle route circuit.
PR and Social Media Campaign, and online education.
Initiatives such as ‘Car Free Sunday’, even ‘Car Free Sunday Mornings’ would be a start.
Also ideas promoted such as ‘Bike to Shop Day’, ‘Bike to School Day’ and ‘Bike to Work Day’.
c) Current reality – speeding traffic (above 20mph), increase in vehicles using Lewes as a through route and increases in traffic from new developments in town, inappropriate and dangerous parking and close passing often result in dangers to cyclists (and pedestrians)
This reality needs to be tackled firmly. Only at 20mph or less does it feel safe for cyclists to share the road. Though this doesn’t feel any safer where there are a lot of larger vans, lorries and buses. The real need is for a Rapid Transit System linking up Lewes and Ringmer to Brighton. ‘Cars parked here will be removed’ is a sign I have come across that needs to be used around Lewes.
All roads that are one way for motor vehicle traffic should be two way for cyclists.
d) Perceptions that roads are unsafe is one of the main barriers to cycling
The perceptions are real. Unfortunately Lewes suffers from too much traffic, including large vehicles and narrow streets made worse for dual used because of parking provision. Do away with all street parking and a cycle lane could go in – but that would surely prove unpopular and impossible to enact. The incessant replacement bus services has double decker buses forever on Southover High Street and Bell Lane. Vehicles of this size, like the vast freight lorries that sometimes end up in the wrong place, are unsuitable for Lewes Roads.
Convenient, easy and attractive cycleways from somewhere to somewhere – not tokenism. They must be relevant to real travel needs. From homes to schools, to stations, bus stops, shops, the Leisure Centre, Pells Pool and cinema.
With secure parking and signage.
e) Would you campaign for greater investment in cycling to ensure that 10% of the transport budget was spent on cycling?
It has required ‘courageous political leadership’ elsewhere to overturn urban planning of the 60s and 70s and since that has favoured the motorcar. Lewes was saved from having its centre carved out to make way for a wider through road down the High Street. Even the bypass is a comprise too close to town that blights us with noise pollution. Something has to be done to reduce single occupant vehicle use clogging the streets, not least the vehicles coming in to the ESCC buildings as well as measures to dissuade so many parents from driving their children to our local schools that are a short cycle or walk away.
Include pedestrians as well as cycling as two valuable alternatives to the motor vehicle which both ideally requiring separate paths and cycle ways.
f) How would you support the building and maintenance of dedicated cycle infrastructure, reallocate space, redesign of existing road and paths suitable for cyclists of all ages and abilities.
This is a very tall order for Lewes. We are not designing on a flat greenfield site. The challenges in Lewes are considerable because of its history and infrastructure and too much planning in the 1960s and since that put the motor vehicle first.
Getting the volume of traffic down is key, and getting fewer large vehicles too when cyclists want to be out. Seeing the ESCC move to Polegate might reduce incoming traffic to an in town car park … or site this on the edge of town and have a park and walk/cycle scheme at both ends of town.
g) What local action would you support?
The issues with motor vehicles are multifarious : speeds, pollution, volume, size, parking …
Dutch experience: We make a differentiation between the hunched-and-helmeted cyclist and the upright, bare-headed cyclist. Upright, everyday cycling, a form of walking-with-wheels, is far more broad, inclusive, accessible, and appealing to people of all ages and fitness levels. It isn’t just about getting from A to B as quickly as possible, it’s about enjoying the ride.
h) How should the Councils use the experience of cyclists when designing cycle facilities?
The behaviours of cyclists even where they are ignoring restrictions, like pedestrians taking shortcuts indicate a potential solution to a problem rather than something to police and punish.
There are lessons to be learnt from around the UK, but also in Denmark and the Netherlands. New housing and work spaces need to be designed with pedestrians and cycle use prioritized over the motor vehicle.
As well as cyclists, we need to talk to pedestrians as those on foot, on bikes or in motor vehicles need to be given separate provision and as often as possible kept apart.
I recently took a class of 12 PGCE Level Two Teacher Trainees on a tour of Planet eStream.
It was a class on elearning tools, so they got some mind mapping with SimpleMinds, the 360 tour creator ThingLink and WordPress blogging too. They were jsut as insterested in these so more sessions are needed.
Becoming a champion for this TV, Video, multi-media educational platform I found I could introduce, demonstrate, elaborate, answer problems and queries and even get them signed in. The hope is to achieve the same with current tutors and educators so that the amount of elearning were provide increases greatly.
A number of things have got me here:
- Having the time to push the boundaries of the different parts of the Planet eStream platform with close to authentic learning challenges, rather than some random ‘giving it a go’.
- Having colleagues and friendly teachers to practice on in small groups until I was ready for something bigger.
- Taking ownership of the class. Therefore having my own ‘session plan’ and the means to follow this.
There is a lot to get through simply to promote the variety of things the platform can do to support teaching, in particular to create a ‘flipped classroom’.
I began with a story. How I got out of corporate training and information films and started at a web agency trying and failing to get broadcast TV content online for Ragdoll.
Finding out what subjects the trainee teachers would be teaching I also wondered where they saw themselves on this spectrum and explained a little about ‘Diffusion of Innovation Theory’ in relation to constant change and attitudes to new technology, software, applications and upgrades and how this manifests itself in the classroom as people who embrace the new and others who reject it all.
I like these simple, bold images, charts or mindmaps to cue an item I want to talk about. In the shorter lesson I skipped much of my introduction and this and got straight into Planet eStream. I think it works better with the context.
The demos I have created included taking an episode of Sheldon, lifting out the long commercial break in the middle and ‘topping and tailing’ either end. I then ‘cut’ it into 7 ‘chapters’ that isolated Sheldon’s story from the other characters. Each ‘sketch’ runs for less than a minute. I find these micro-experiences are ideal tasters rather than dissecting a 48 minute Horizon documentary.
I also used a less than 2 minute long clip from a 1981 edition of Tomorrow’s World where the Carry On comedian Kenneth Williams presented. Once again, the demonstration is short and memorable. I ought to find others for a younger audience. Does Oli Murs do a demonstration? What about a clip from Blue Peter 2019?
Other examples of how Planet eStream works included ‘grabbing’ the radio series ‘The Secret History of a School’ in ten parts. each under 15 minutes. Here I created an added a suitable ‘Thumbnail’ for each episode to distinguish each visually.
What I could not do in either session. This we need a morning, afternoon or evening workshop, was to do something in real time, not just find a programme or upload from YouTube, but then edit this piece, create a playlist or make an interactive quiz. These are all straightforward to learn skills.
I’m writing this is part of my habitual reflection. Just as I kept a diary here almost every day of my MAODE plus the two further modules that I did, I have now kept a diary for most working days of the 12 months I have been here are GB MET.
Taking these classes I finally feel a ‘change career’ I began in 2000 is going in the right direction. Back then it was from corporate training and information films to online. Then with my MAODE 2010 to 2013 it temporarily went into tertiary education with the OU but in a communications rather than a learning role. Since then there has been more corporate e-learning, even a further history degree and a digital editor’s role, but it is this., however modest, like a private in the army, like a private in the Labour Corps even, I am working with students and teachers.
Sitting in a class assessing where technology has a role is interesting too. More on this in my next post.
A third MA completed and within a month I am taking two MOOCs with FutureLearn, giving an hour a day to fixing my inadequate written French, once again contemplating a PhD and progressing with an MEd module through Coursera on Instructional Design.
If my day jobs were suitably stimulating I suppose I’d need none of the above.
Asked by my wife if I could be doing any paid job in the world right now what would it be I said directing a musical featuring kids or teeanagers. A sort of Cirque de Soleil science-fantasy set to music.
Would it surprise readers to learn that in 2002 I was diagnosed as ADHD?
I don’t resist it, I run with it. Result? A jack of all trades? Though evidentially I am a Master of some, though never enough. An MA in Fine Art calls my name still, as does playing the guitar and sailing well enough to be in the top three in a race rather than the final three or DNC.
How and why educators and learning institutions need to move more rapidly towards putting the student, not their practices and egos, first.
(These reflections are based on a re-reading of a 2008 article by Grainne Conole)
There is an inherent tension between the rhetoric of Web 2.0 and current educational practices.
Expectations in the first decade of the 21st century have barely been realised in the second decade, despite educational tools and platforms vying for space. The surprise is the consolidation evidenced by the likes of G Suite for Education and Google Classroom, the rise of the educator as celebrity, for example the presenter and co-creator of the Coursera MOOC Barbara Oakley and the slow transcendence from the dross of some highly effective learning Apps, such as the very different LingVist and Tandem for language learning.
The human brain and how we learn must be better understood and applied in e-learning design. Speed, immediacy, volume and complementarity which make up much of what is digital needs to accommodate a human learning process that is slow, cumulative, experimental, experiential and organic.
At a time when educators (teachers, lectures, coaches and tutors) require more time to consider the opportunities and challenges of education 2.0 their hours are being curtailed. Instead of participating in the choice of platforms, tools and pedagogies, teachers are being told what tools and platforms to use, with decisions taken by non-teaching IT and managers. If mismanaged, the autonomy and choices which give the teacher ownership of their teaching environment is being eroded especially if they find themselves leaning on IT and learning technologist. This relationship and approach to the creation of course content needs to become a collaborative rather than an individual one. However across education this requires a significant culture shift.
Whilst a decade ago there was a plethora of newly emerging tools and platforms these are consolidating through ownership and a tendency towards duplication of best practices. Certain platforms have come to dominate, what is more, to keep things simple, manageable and affordable, institutions pick and choose between a consolidating field of tools and platforms. In turn, the student experience far from being expansive is limited, albeit with platforms and tools that share familiar and transferable digital methods.
It is sensationalist to suggest there is any ‘peril’, rather there are lost opportunities that other cultures and societies may be quicker to adopt and take advantage of such as in South Korea, Singapore and even India, rather than in the West, in Britain in particular, where the educational models and institutions are wedded to the Victorian era.
The greatest challenge is not a digital one, but a human one. New roles for teachers and new roles entirely and how these morph and coalesce into a new more collaborative working environment is the challenge. Just as disruptive technologies in retail and music put the client experience first, so too must the student/client experience be put first and systems created and adjusted around their needs, rather than both students and teachers having to accommodate themselves to the systems they are told to adopt.
These interactive images look appealing as a learning tool. They pull together a series of short, quirky videos and animations that provide the low down on a collection of human organs. To what end? To some degree a Dorling Kindersley annotated book did this in the past. Stick it on an interactive screen and click on each in front of a class to fill 45 minutes. What is really required as a learning experience is to have students learn the skills to create these themselves, then research and add the links (or to shoot their own pieces). All of the above came from YouTube.
Here’s the link: https://www.thinglink.com/scene/880832510185963521
We use ThingLink.
The difference is that I am using 360 images that can be viewed through a VR headset, or desktop or touchscreen.
Here is my ThingLink VR Tour of Northbrook Theatre: https://www.thinglink.com/mediacard/1073243716732321794
I am working with the College team here to create an immersive experience for induction. Do we add multiple hotspots of information, like this Human Body above, and follow this up with a detailed quiz, or do we clone the tour and get students to add the information themselves? Should we give them the skills to use the 360 camera and get them to annotate it? OFSTED would like us to be developing their Digital Skills and using English.
The VR Tours I have so far initiated include the following. These are being used for marketing purposes so are in the public domain. If you get sent down a ‘blind alley’ or a link is missing or obscure please let me know and I’ll fix it 🙂
To get the education right I need to go back through some of the MAODE modules I did, for example, H818 ‘The Networked Practitioner’.
With my MA in British History of the First World War complete (the dissertation went off on 9 July) I am seriously contemplating the next piece of learning which includes adding to two 30 credit ‘spare’ modules I did having completed the MAODE in 2013 that I could potentially build into an MEd.
That or hunker down and specialise on Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality in learning.