Home » Mind Bursts
Category Archives: Mind Bursts
Bamburgh Castle in the late December Northumbrian sunshine
Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland
TWO Bamburgh Castle, Northumbeland.
What will you look like twenty years from now? Try the App.
Fig.1 JV 2013-2033 – from one niece’s wedding.
We’ll see. My father died young age 71 so I’m less sure I’ll make it to 73. Then again my grandfather made it to 96 … the other to 61 or something.
I stumbled upon this link courtesy of a fellow OU Student on my very first MAODE module way back in 2010. We’re still in touch. It’s a fun App from Orange. Take a current grab using a webcam or use an old photo. It generates an Avatar that will then respond to your talking to texting it. Weird.
I’ve found that if it ‘grabs’ the image first time it works. What does not work is massively adjusting the settings with an image that gave a bad fit in the first place.
Fig.2. JFV 2014 – 2013 from another niece’s wedding.
And yes, I’ve already tried old photos of me in my twenties to see how accurate it is and put in friends to see what it does to them. I’ve had me speaking fluent French too – easier than continuing with L120.
Sunrise over the North Sea
ONE: Sunrise across the North Sea from the Point, Beadnell
I’m up before dawn. There are stars still in the sky as I head from Beadnell Village along the sea wall road to the fishermen’s harbour. I clamber over the rocks onto the Point to catch the sun as it appears around 8H25.
TWO: The 18th century lime kilns and the harbour, medieval in origin and heightened in the late 19th century.
THREE: Hard to pick out using a fish-eye lens across Beadnell Bay to the immediate south, but that is Dunstanburgh Castle in the distance.
FOUR: Dunstanburgh Castle
Why is the way the sun starts and ends the day such a special moment? This last week, wherever I have been up and down and across England the sunrise and sunsets have been fabulous. From the point on Beadnell Bay on the northern edge of the Northumberland coast, to the Cotswolds and home on the south Sussex coast.
The Point was used for Bronze Age burials and also for early Christian worship. Is the clear view of the sun from rise to fall part of the reason for this?
Searching for treasure on the rocks at Beadnell
Fig.1 The pebbles on the rock beach, Beadnell, Northumberland
Head down to watch you step on slippery rocks gives you the chance to hunt for treasure. As a boy I returned home with interesting stones and fossils. Forty years on I see what could be a piece of ripening fruit, an ammonite and a stone covered in tiny balls of frozen water which won’t last ten minutes in the late December son.
The perils of the Beadnell Rocks
Fig.1 The sea racing in along rock fissures on the easterly facing pebble and rock beaches of Beadnell
This fingers of seaweed covered rock are a short walk from the cottage where we stayed every Easter and Summer from as early as I can remember. Age seven or eight I was usually off on my own or with friends to hunt through the rock pools at low tide or to fish. I lost a rod around here and had to make a snap decision: enter the weed to try and retrieve it, or accept the lost. I accepted the loss. A boy growing up around here has considerable respect for the evil of the sea, its depth and desire to cling you in.
More to remember about Beadnell …
Fig.1 Dunstanburgh Castle from Beadnell Bay at dusk this morning
Fig.2 The tide coming in across The Point, Beadnell at sun up.
Fig.3 Something I never knew about The Point where I played as a child.
Fig.4 The sea pushing in through fissures between the rocks and pools
Fig.5. The low cliffs, fingers of rock and pools where I scrambled.
Fig.6 A drain that intrigued me age 5, or 6 or 7. In a storm the waves came up through it.
This was my playground until the age of 11 or 12. Easter, Summer and even half-term and weekends were spent here. Just two walks forty years later and the smell of wet sand in the dunes takes me back to being a boy – easy to scrambled around the dunes when you are seven. The rocks, the different textures under foot, the mesmerising waves that approached closer along the rocks as the tide came in, the birds and occasional seal, the Longstone Lighthouse always flashing its presence in the distance.
The foghorn lulled me to sleep. The noise of waves constantly crashing on the rocks changes from the loud chatting of people before the curtain goes up, to a jet coming into land … it rumbles gently, or angrily according to its mood (and yours).
Yesterday I had the briefest of conversations with someone who had a deep Northumbrian accent that sounds like Norweigian spoken with an English accent.
Somehow had left two unfinished cups of coffee and a big of a burger on the stonewall above the rocks. I carried it for 15 minutes until I found a bin. The flotsam is different to forty years ago: red bull and a body board.
Mork and me
|From Profile Photos|
Fig.1 Mork and me
Promoted to being a ‘school prefect’ in my late teens at the RGS, Newcastle and required to keep a line of 11 year olds in order during morning assembly I would repeatedly hear mutterings and giggles of the line “Nanno Nanno” behind my back: ‘Mork and Mindy’ was on TV at the time and I supposedly looked like the main character played by Robin Williams. Only by doing that thing that Robin Williams did with his fingers when greeting Ork would this lot be satisfied. That was 1979.
35 years later I’m in the Senior Common Room at the University of Birmingham and a fellow graduate student asks “Do you know who you look like?” (we’d obviously got bored with talking about the First World War). I tell the above story. Whether or not hair or glasses or smirk are similar, I am a) not as hairy b) not funny c) six inches taller d) manic, but never depressed e) can’t grow a beard f) ten years younger and g) English.
The contents of my brian
Fig. 1. A moment to reflect
This by the by was the title of a TV screenplay I submitted to the BBC – rejected otherwise you might have seen it on the box by now and I wouldn’t be sitting here.
As the round up to my final, final MA ODE module H818: The Networked Practitioner it is suggested that we prepare a timeline drawing on possible blog entries, as well as ‘appearances’ in the OpenStudio platform we’ve been using.
I’ve posted some 80 times since H818 began. I’ve posted some, I don’t know, 1000 times here since February 2010?
The surprise is to find a dozen references to H818 from 2012 and when contemplating how I got to the ideas that I delivered for H818 where these may have emerged from. This in turn takes me as far back as a visit to the Science Museum in 2010. Then all manner of things, from the launch of Martin Weller’s book ‘The Digital Scholar’ and attending seminars in Bristol on ‘curation’ and earliest indicators that I may take an MA in First World War studies having tried to write on the subject for … well, 22 years ago another failed TV play optioned by Tyne Tees Television called ‘That’s Nothing Compared to Passchendaele’ – which is what my late grandfather said to me while we watched the local news featuring a private in the Durham Light Infantry out in Saudi Arabia. He was 96 in 1992 and had joined the DLI in his teens in late 1915.
And all of this for my very, very, very last EMA ever.
And what did I just jot down
‘Word counts in an EMA are anathema to the culture of open education’
My first draft, I haven’t ever dared look, will run to anything between 6,000 and 12,000 words.
Talking of writing … never one to say never, I have committed to a week long ‘retreat’ with a dear friend and writing tutor. My goal is to work on … ‘The Angel of the North’ a story set in the era of the First World War about a woman who flies over the Western Front.
(Actually, I’ve just thought of that. She does fly with an RFC pilot/instructor … and in the final pages is about to set off to attempt to fly the Atlantic for the first time in the wrong direction. She does, as a couple of women did, impersonate a soldier to get herself into the Front Line …)
Oh boy. And I thought I was done with writing. Thought that getting 5,000 words finished was a challenge. It is, but the OU provides the parameters and schedules, the kick up the arse and the carrot that no other kind of writing has yet provided. Except for once.
Meanwhile I must get the kids to school, must walk the dog and must prepare for an online conference I madly volunteered to do a few weeks ago as if I didn’t have enough on … which will include sitting with a veteran of the Second World War this weekend, he was in the Polish Resistance during the Warsaw Uprising. I have a Sony Flip camera and digital sound recorder in my pocket determined to interview him as I did my grandfather …
Onwards to … more of the same I should think
p.s. yes, it is my ‘brian’ – the idea of the brain is so ridiculous.
Positive and negative feedback, especially if constructive, sends a shiver through my bones.
Just ten minutes. A live online presentation. Why for me should it be such a big deal?
I said to my wife that I have not problems delivering other people’s words (acting) and I have no trouble writing words for others to speak (speech writer, script writer), but what I loathe and struggle with is delivering my own words on any kind of platform.
Big fails on this count, emotionally at least would include:
- My grandfather’s funeral
- My groom’s wedding speech (I was pants at proposing too)
- My father’s funeral
- My mother’s funeral
Because it matters to me far too much when, and only when, the words that I give seem to emanate from my soul.
Let me blog, let me write letters, let me smoulder from my ears into the atmosphere with no expectation of feedback.
Both positive and negative feedback, especially if constructive, sends a shiver through my bones. Why is it that I crave confrontation, that I want to be mentally smacked around the head, then kicked up the arse and sent back into the fray to deliver some amazing show of ability?
We are all so, so, so very different, yet how we are taught, or expected to learn seems so very contrived, so set by context and numerous parameters.
I would prefer to be stuck in a cabin for a couple of weeks with an educator who hasn’t a clue about the subject, but is a natural educator, than someone who has ticked a collection of boxes in order to obtain their position. The natural educator can teach anything. The subject matter expert thinks they know everything.
eLearning can be the subject matter expect – ‘IT’ (literally) thinks it knows it all.
So, connect me, and for me connect students and educators – worry only about the desire and ability to teach or transmit and mange those hungry to gain knowledge, and for students concentrate almost entirely on motivation. If they want to learn pores will open up in their skull so that you can pour in the information and they’ll never be satiated.