Sunday, December 31, 2006

Reasons to be...

Optimistic: youthful creativity; inventive uses of new technology; increased networking across national boundaries; a growing awareness of environmental issues that reaches beyond political parties…there must be more…

Pessimistic: the unwelcome assumption that we in the UK are ‘reluctant global citizens’ (what is actually meant is that we love to be global if it involves profit, travel and consumer benefit but we are still a bunch of racists); the idea that the execution of a political figure is a ‘milestone in democracy’ rather than a manifestation of barbaric interventionism.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


Haliyana Khalid and Alan Dix at Lancaster University have developed this idea of photolurking to describe that addictive habit of looking through the pictorial ephemera of strangers’ lives which seems to go along with the more upfront social networking made possible by Flickr. It seems to add another dimension to the way in which we position ourselves in relation to others. I found this in the rather light-hearted exploration of ‘modern maladies’ in this article. Some of these maladies and the new coinages are quoted below:
Blog streaking - revealing secrets or personal information online, which for everybody's sake would be best kept private;
Crackberry - the curse of the modern executive, not being able to stop checking your BlackBerry even at you grandmother's funeral;
Cyberchondria - a headache and a particular rash at the same time? Extensive online research tells you it must be cancer;
Egosurfing - when "just checking" gets out of control;Infornography- you're beyond being a healthy "infovore": acquiring and sharing information has become an addiction for you;
You Tube narcissism - not even your closest family want to see hours of your holiday videos;
Google-stalking - snooping online on old friends, colleagues or first dates;
MySpace impersonation - many of us pretend to be someone we're not when we are online, but some will pretend to be a well-known figure;
Powerpointlessness - one too many flashy slides;
Photolurking - flicking through a photo album of someone you've never met;
Wikipediholism - excessive devotion to a certain online collaborative encyclopedia.'

Friday, December 22, 2006

Seasonal mist

Misty Peaks
If you lost that all important 25 item alphanumeric product key on Microsoft stuff, Produkey is the software you need. It seems just like cheating Bill Gates, but seeing as someone probably paid him in the first place I reckon it doesn’t count. Anyway, I used it and for the next ten minutes felt like a big time hacker. Yesterday, whilst mist hung over Derbyshire, Dr Joolz and I signed a contract and made plans for the next piece of work. Watch this space!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Over there

Petitioners continue to fight the stranglehold of No Child Left Behind legislation in the US. Interestingly, they pitch their resistance at the waste of resources and the misguided nature of reform rather than accountability measures, themselves. Susan Ohanian (a backer of the petition) got a standing ovation at NCTE in November - but will the petition draw the support it needs? Clearly, not from all quarters...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Web as resource

One of the beauties of the web is the way it can provide good resources for niche interests. The Resource Centre for Cyberculture Studies is a case in point. So, for example, this page provides a good archive of reviewed books – there’s some favourites (Kress, Sunden, Werry, are all here) as well as some less familiar authors. The reviews are decent and I love the idea of author response. This is definitely a valuable resource.

Monday, December 18, 2006


Colleagues have been busy on a number of projects at work this term. This resource to promote ICT in the early years is looking good, and has some useful case studies. We’ve also been working hard on our CPD pages…they’re still not complete, but they’re looking interesting – there’s some video material still to come, and a fair bit of polishing up. In this (as with the virtual world) I’m beginning to realize the time-consuming nature of developing ‘content’!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Unlocking the social

grounded tri-circle
Hannah tells me she has 185 friends on MySpace. She knows about 20 of those in Real Life; but they all count as friends which is interesting... There were just 3 of us in the virtual world today (all of us adult planners), where I'm pleased to say we now have a stone circle, a graveyard, housing of all kinds (including a Big Brother village), Roman ruins, and a medieval castle. With only 3 schools currently visiting, things have been quite controlled - quite teacher controlled - but after the holiday break the world will be more densely populated and I'm predicting that synchronous interaction across school sites will become more common place. Kids may have friends online, the world will become an arena for social-learning and the teachers' roles may have to adapt accordingly. Actually, I can't wait!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Brave new world

‘With the threat of Alien Invasion growing ever closer and the distinct possibility that "they" are already here, it's about time we had a device to detect the humans from the human-oids.’ The Biohazard wrist scanner probes the immediate vicinity for Alien DNA and displays the results so that you can assess the threat level. Or is it simply a watch from Tokyoflash? ...and while we’re on Flash, here’s a new and free flash-based site streaming a playlist of music which visualises the content in terms of mood and genre. Finally Zudeo is a new place to share video - it’s better quality than YouTube, but can it capture some of the market share?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Pass the ink (I'm feeling low)

I read here about an independent school in Edinburgh that is championing the dying art of penmanship. They argue that ‘The pens improve the quality of work because they force the children to take care, and better work improves self-esteem.’ Of course, and quills are even better. Still it looks a nice place there…a safe sort of place. Meanwhile, I’ve been reading more on teacher identities. Cate Watson writes on ‘Narratives of practice and the construction of identity in teaching.’ She argues that ‘A traditional notion of identity is of something essential about ourselves, a fixed and stable core of ‘self’. More recently, however, identity has been seen as an ongoing and performative process in which individuals draw on diverse resources to construct selves. This process is seen as emerging in and through narratives of practice.’ Her paper looks at the development of teachers’ professional identities.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Digital learning

new bedroom 2
In ‘Confronting the challenges of participatory culture in the 21st Century’, Henry Jenkins sets an agenda for media education which includes something called ‘media literacy’. On page 19, he briefly explores this idea – his idea of textual literacy embraces visual, digital and audiovisual media, but he stresses the importance of written language in new online participatory environments. I’m heartened to read someone else arguing the case! He’s also suggesting a set of new skills – his list is: play, performance, simulation, appropriation, multi-tasking, distributive cognition, collective intelligence, judgement, transmedia navigation, networking, negotiation. I’m still mulling over this list, wondering to what extent they can be reduced to skills. Anyway this is the Digital Learning paper.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Work stuff
Here’s Sarah Lohnes on ‘blogging’ in the college classroom. It’s an engaging piece, and one that gives a good critique of the ‘authenticity’ question. I suppose that’s what I’d become a bit hung up on. It’s quite simple, there are different purposes in the sort of blogging we do in educational contexts - and a result a different genre (or is it a sub-genre?). Anyway that was the sort of thing I was trying to get at ‘here!’

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Moving image

I’m not a big fan of Philip K. Dick, but 'A Scanner Darkly' makes a brilliant movie. By using ‘rotoscope’ animation they’ve made real characters and settings look like a graphic novel - and that works really well and fits the story line. You can get a sense of what that’s like by visiting the Warner Brothers site. And whilst on this theme, here’s a couple of useful sources for moving image work. You can get a range of movie trailers here and some great black and white documentary clips here.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


teaching space
I've been a critic of the limited nature of the sort of pseudo-blogs you can run in VLEs. They're not the real thing. Well this term we've been experimenting using them on a course on reflective practice as an attempt to build up a community that reaches beyond the limited face-to-face interaction of the Masters classroom. I've been rethinking my views. These black-box blogs provide some security, allow for plenty of interaction and actually seem to work better than discussion forums. Perhaps this is because they provide a sense of personal space, and an invitation to visit. That's quite a bit more than what's suggested in the classroom set up in the picture, with its pulpit/lectern and its collection of boards to display and oppress with words. The blogs help us build a small temporary community - it's working - and so I'm rethinking my position. OK so you can't get feeds, find who's updating or customise your blogspace but they serve a function.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Stranger than fiction

New bedroom
Today is my blog’s 3rd anniversary. I’m not celebrating as such, but it was good to see this, which suggests that my celebrity status is growing (I hope my royalties grow accordingly):

Picture Books for The Literacy Hour (ISBN: 1853466271)
Merchant, Guy; Thomas, Huw
(Bolton, ., United Kingdom)
Price: £ 458.16
[Convert Currency]
Quantity: 1
Shipping within United Kingdom:
£ 2.95
[Rates & Speeds]

We went to see ‘Stranger than Fiction’ last night. Well it’s OK - like an attempt to make a film out of a post-modern novel – which doesn’t quite work I was reminded of the Paul Auster story where his character gets incarcerated in an underground chamber with no means of escape. There were also some echoes of ‘Groundhog Day’ – and I wondered whether there’s a need to retell the story of the post-modern American subject in search of agency and ethical sensibility.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Dance Dance

Gus Andrews writes an interesting piece on Dance Dance Revolution , which she describes as a ‘large-motor, rhythm-based video game’. She uses Actor-Network Theory to make sense of dance game machines , and of a specific discussion thread on There’s also an interesting mapping of the networks and distribution of discussion contributors. Her outline runs: ‘This paper traces successful and unsuccessful attempts to control the meanings of the game, specifically with reference to what dancing means in this context, as the game moves between various interested parties - game developers, players, Internet forum participants, and other media producers. Who decides how DDR players dance, and at what times? Are the decisions about play made in the development meeting, the arcade, competitions, online, or around the home console? Globally, how do some regions or groups emerge as experts or leaders in play style?’ You can find the paper (here) in the journal Fibreculture.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Yale (turquoise band)
I thought this was a pretty good picture, but now I’ve discovered Juliet Rose who makes these beautiful works out of everyday objects. Her work is ‘concerned with the mundane manufactured debris of what it is to be human.’ She explains how ‘I use objects that may easily be left behind or abandoned, but can equally become totems of emotional significance. Inspiration comes from testimonies, photographs and archival material from refugees, people who have had to leave their homes behind. These objects in some small way explain our individual 'human-ness' as well as our part in a larger society, the cement of our routine existence.’ She’ll be showing some of her work at the Air Gallery, Dover Street (Mayfair), 4th-9th December. I’m going to try to get along. And the link with yesterday’s post is….

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The violence of writing

Old one
Michel deCerteau describes the role of writing in the Christian West from the Puritans onwards. Writing becomes a kind of rewriting, a power of reform and repression. 'Writing acquires the right to reclaim, subdue or eradicate history. It becomes a power in the hands of a "bourgeoisie" that substitutes the instrumentality of the letter for the privilege of birth, a privilege linked to the hypothesis that the world as it is, is right. Writing becomes science and politics, with the assurance, soon transformed into an axiom of Enlightenment or revolution, that theory must transform nature by inscribing itself on it. It becomes violence, cutting its way through the irrationality of superstitious peoples or regions still under the spell of sorcery.' (deCerteau, 1988:144) I wonder what or who are the modern victims of the violence of writing?

Monday, November 27, 2006


I’m still a fan of the BBC. I think they’re always working to keep up with new innovation. Their comprehensive listen on demand service is impressive – that’s how I caught up with this fascinating piece of experimental radio based on the Alhambra tiles. You can see the tiles here, read about the programme and listen here. Great stuff! Then by chance, browsing around as you do, I found I was mentioned and quoted – did I say that? Wow!

Saturday, November 25, 2006


Double lock
The first free weekend for a long while, so I'm in the mood for something different. If I had time I'd do some moving image work (I keep on thinking about it), but for now here's someone else's. And then if you're into something with a gothic feel, try this - I really enjoyed it. Finally, you should visit Victoria at Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industry for something a bit different. This caught me at first, then intrigued me, and then I found that it just went on and on. In fact I didn't get to the end of it at all!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Hunting and gathering

Cherry picking

Here’s a collection of loosely related things. Loosely related, like Danah Boyd - defining social networking sites; some heavy number-crunching research on Facebook; and Clay Shirky on Social Software and the Politics of the Group. And then, guess what’s in Barbara Ganley’s bag? Travel Notes, of course!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tools for writing

Exchange rate
I spent most of today writing, and by that I don't mean 'writing' which is usually shorthand for something worthy and academic. I mean I did a diagram in Powerpoint, loads of emails, a table in Word, made some appointments on my Palm using the stylus and, later on, some notes (with a biro). I've just been annotating some student work (onscreen) and then I looked for more stuff on 'tools for writing' - an ongoing interest - and realised that 300 hundred years ago, maybe less, it was all so complicated, so special, so different.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


We knew a while back that the cost of Olympic developments in the East End was going to escalate, but now Tessa Jowell claims that ‘if you go into any primary school in the country’ you’ll find kids who can’t wait. A serious misjudgement, surely – I wonder how many kids know about the 2012 Olympics and how many kids really care? And, in case yesterday’s picture had you confused, it’s a sneak preview of the new Sheffield indoor bouldering facility, billed as the world’s biggest bouldering wall (it just has to be S10!). Climbingworks is featured here, and, guess what – they’ve got their very own blog. But I must say it’s not a patch on this blog!

Monday, November 20, 2006


Well, they finally arrived
As entertainment goes OK Go was pretty funny when I showed it to friends here. We creased up! Last week Dr J and I were talking about YouTube and whether it’s within the scope of the new book. Probably not…but anyway, here’s Henry Jenkins with some reflections on the Vaudeville Aesthetic in YouTube. Entertaining, at least....

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Break out

Break out
I've been reading something different. It's called 'Teacher identity discourses: negotiating personal and professional spaces.' - that's right, it's got all my favourite concepts all in one title (identity, discourse, space)! Alsup's book looks at the narratives of identity constructed by 6 pre-service teachers in the US. She traces the discourses against which these emerging professional identities are played out, looking at discourses of tension, embodiment, networks (friends and family) and what she calls 'borderland discourses'. Some of her research techniques, such as students assignments involving role-play, visual metaphors and identity discourse mapping are fascinating. Amongst other things she argues that teacher educators should involve trainees in overt exploration of professional identity issues. Not a particularly demanding read, but nonetheless very interesting and carefully grounded in theory and first hand experience.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Clarence shouted

'YES!' so loud it rocked the City Hall when Shirley walked the stage at Conferment. She was one of six international students to get their Masters degrees today. She'd brought Clarence on his first visit to England. It was cold and grey, threatening rain all day, but he thinks it's a great place!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Future realities

Woods End
I forgot to post about how this article blew me away. Keith Stuart talks about the coming together of CCTV and robots as the next generation of gaming: ‘When surveillance and robotics collide, you pretty much have the future of gaming - a hyper-reality where android beings are sent out into the real world, viewed and controlled remotely, interacting with each other and us. The Sims, but real. It's going to happen.’ I was 50% excited and 50% scared. I comforted myself by reading Bruner – I know the connection is tenuous - ‘I have argued that it is through narrative that we create and re-create selfhood, that self is a product of our telling and not some essence to be delved for in the recesses of subjectivity. There is now evidence that if we lacked the capacity to make stories about ourselves, there would be know such thing as selfhood’ (2002: 85-86). I told myself that it was safe. That it was OK.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Digital times

This is Sciadas’s paper called ‘Our Lives in Digital Times’ from Statistics Canada. The paperless office is, as we know, a myth as more and more paper is printed off. New technology just shifts the cost of publication around. OK, this is fairly obvious, but I like the way the changes in communication are summarised: ‘The reality is that people are talking to other people – whether to the person next door or to someone thousands of miles and time zones away. …People make the choice to expand their associations and move from geographically defined communities to communities of interest. As well, they are willing to pay for their choices. ICT spending is on the rise and, within this higher spending, substitutions take place in favour of newer ICTs, such as the Internet, and against older ones, such as the telephone. The willingness of people to pay can also be seen by the fact that many low income households choose to spend a relatively higher proportion of their income on ICTs.’ This is consistent with other sources which document the thickening of existing social ties, supplemented by the development of distributed networked individuals in affinity spaces.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


So a new book project on digital literacy and social networking is slowly coming together in what promises to be an exciting development. During the day I changed my mind and now want to add music-sharing and have an idea of how to go about it! I was also interested to come across this software which works alongside your existing i-Tunes library - a nice idea. Later I decided to check out administrator privileges in the virtual world only to meet up with a former student in Trinity's cafe! That was a pleasant surprise, just a little strange because I'm better at faces than names, and all I had to go on was a test avatar. My name tag gave away my identity straight away!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Strange days

I had to escape from the virtual world today, as I was in danger of being seen! I was invisible, hiding behind a wall, but still the AWEDU browser shows my name tag…I didn’t want to blow my cover: strange. And another strange thing is that I discovered about my daughter’s new tattoo on a blog comment (here)…now that’s strange, and the way she links from the bumfight comment is also interesting. Following on from yesterday’s topic, I’ve posted a picture of ‘my learning space’ – teaching space to follow.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Fishtank blogs

my mate
The reflective practice masters course I’m teaching seems to have a lot of potential. (I forgot to take my camera so I can’t show a picture of the group - so you'll have to make do with Prescott-in-Marmite). On Saturday we introduced blogging as a way of recording ‘reflection-in-action’ field notes. Probably most of the blogs will be fishtank blogs, published within our VLE and only accessible to that particular community. I’m slowly coming round to the idea that that’s OK – it’s not really dumbing down blogging, it’s just narrowing the one-to-many dimension to one-to-some, and doing that for a particular purpose. I’m interested in the take-up. Of course doing this means that I’ve had to open another blog. Hey Ho! We’ve also got a use for another piece of software (I can’t publish the details yet) – but the inter-sessional task is to post a picture of one’s own teaching/learning space. I can’t wait for the final results!

Friday, November 10, 2006


I'd define a tag as a way in which objects are categorised by one or more people. Then a folksonomy is something that is constructed out of aggregated tags. So you can have personal or individual tags, but they only develop into a folksonomy through social networking. That was my contribution to this discussion which, for some reason or other wouldn’t accept my post!

Thursday, November 09, 2006


I don’t really go for modifying my photographs in any way, but somehow I got carried away this time and like the result – kinda sci-fi! Anyway, in the spirit of further dissemination, here’s a link to my research review on digital writing (out early next year). Soon I’ll get round to updating papers and chapters on the sidebar – it’s on my ‘to do’ list (honest). Also, here’s a link to the fabulous Comic Book Creator.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Just another day

Writing this morning was like trying to pick up water with a fork. I went back over some stuff and remembered Jen Jensen’s game ‘Contagion’. There’s a press release that serves as an introduction and then you can see the game yourself here. This afternoon I worked on the TDA Impact Report, a rather tedious task, but it’s OK when served up with the originators of Radio mash-up, Negativland. I listened to All Art Radio (from June 23, 2005) available on this site.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I was surprised to find that I could spend so much time getting this strange animated figure to move around! I spent more time on this than on the more sophisticated human face. Both are featured on Ken Perlin's wonderful site. Even more surprising might be to learn that you regularly drive your tractor over the biggest cavern in the country! That's a story from the Guardian which is accompanied by one of their jaw-dropping 'eyewitness' photographs. Here's some more specialist information on the Titan Cave, on a spot previously known to locals as 'The Devil's Arsehole' - charming, but that's Derbyshire for you!

Monday, November 06, 2006


Autumn lane
I must have been out and so I missed this: ‘Meet the Bloggers’ (anyway you can listen again). And then I promised a group of students some blogging links, so here we go! This is Will Richardson’s Weblogg-ed, Ken Stein’s Teacher Blog. And then there’s Edublogs, and Sandaig Primary. You could also look at Barbara Ganley’s and many others. (Here’s a Flickr-based discussion group, from Dr Joolz.) And, here’s our very own Andy, and also his travel blog. At the end of the day, let’s campaign to keep blogging pleasurable, purposeful and powerful. So it’s always good to read Colin and Michele’s chapter, first: 'Weblog Worlds and Effective and Powerful Writing' (in Travel Notes). Worra lorra links!!!

Saturday, November 04, 2006



Thinking about the multiplicity and complexity of contemporary social and informational environments, you can’t help noticing how popularity (ie Google searches or category-tags) can highlight the trivial. Much criticism of the most popular YouTube topics or the large audiences that bum-fights attract has been voiced. There are clearly as many affinity spaces for frivolous as there are for ‘worthwhile’ interests. Is this is a problem? Probably not, but it does raise the question of where we might find or develop an ethical and/or critical perspective in media, communication and information. New ways of knowledge-building and sharing call old ways into question. Pre-existing continuities of discourse are disrupted….. ‘The tranquility with which they are accepted must be disturbed’ (Foucault,1989:25). Popularity-ranked searching, reputation building and the creation of folksonomies seem to do just that.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Riya is a photo sharing and search site that will tag and index your photos automatically using intelligent recognition (there's the Riya blog). Riya recognizes faces in photos, you tag them - it sorts them. There's lots of comment here. You might say this is the ultimate in social networking. It’s in Beta at the moment, but looks pretty impressive. I’m wondering whether this feature would make me abandon Flickr. I think not - after all I was frustrated by the difficulty of getting category-tagging on Blogger, but now it’s here…and all I need is the time to transfer my blog.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Mobile presence

On page 76 of ‘Travel Notes’, Colin and Michele present a typology of blogs. I notice that this blog is classed under Wunderkammer/ curio cabinets. That made me wonder whether a blog was necessarily that fixed, and whether indeed this blog would still fit there as it ages and changes. It seems to change its character and focus, but then maybe I’m the last person to really know… Anyway in the spirit of Wunderkammer, here’s an article about the development of a mobile phone with ‘presence’, that can learn about its user’s context. I quote: ‘The system will combine knowledge about where someone’s phone is with his calendar schedule so, for example, it can send incoming calls to voice mail when she’s in a conference. Eventually, the system may turn up her home heating system 10 minutes before arrival.’ (full reference, here).

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Padlock on green

padlock on green
At the recent SSHRC/CSSE conference in Newfoundland I used a Flickr slide to make a few points about digital literacy and social networking. By a sort of organic process this has turned into a short paper. Here's a bit from the abstract: '..using the idea of ‘affinity spaces’ (Gee, 2004) this paper shows how tagging within the Flickr photo-sharing community can lead to learning and knowing, and new ways of seeing. Through a narrative account of my involvement in an affinity space, I develop a model to explore the processes at work in this instance of socially-situated learning. This is used to suggest the educational potential of online social-networking environments.' You can beta-read the paper here. Any comments or feedback would be much appreciated.

Monday, October 30, 2006


lip balm front
Today, I closely examined a belated birthday gift from Ruth. Lip balm. But, packaging is everything and this really does take the biscuit. Peppermint Schnapps flavoured Mullet lip balm... (you can order it online). I took a photograph of it and then finished off 'Padlocking Literacies' which I'll put up a link to in the next xouple of days. Then I wrote up the review of Travel Notes. I concluded that: 'Pahl and Rowsell’s book is certainly value for money and provides a good introduction to some of the key themes and debates in literacy and literacy education. It is unlikely to attract the attention of many teachers, because of the way in which it foregrounds the theoretical, but it will be most useful to research students and those on Masters programmes. More than anything else it will provide a way of navigating the complex terrain of contemporary thinking in literacy at a time when that is certainly needed.' That'll be in English in Education - probably the Spring edition.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The information

I was down in London yesterday for this and after I met up with Ruth. I like the picture I took, it looks like she’s wearing a mask! We had coffee in a place near Bond Street. During the day we heard a lot about information literacy. Kathy Lemair of SLA was talking about it, I’d been reading about it on the train journey and can refer you to work here and here and in Sheffield (partly). These kind folk define it as: ‘the ability to know when there is a need for information, to be able to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively use that information for the issue or problem at hand.’ So that’s literacy isn’t it?

Also in the literacy field its worth looking closely at the new Primary National Strategy. In Year 2 we have: ‘Wordprocess short narrative and non-narrative texts’ – that’s under Presentation. Under Creating and Shaping Texts in year 5 we have ‘Create multi-layered texts, including use of hyperlinks and linked web pages’ and ‘Use a range of ICT programs to present texts, making informed choices about which electronic tools to use for different purposes’ also under Presentation. There’s more there, too but how will it be interpreted? And finally for today, I’m keeping a close eye on the campaigning here where a local group is trying to oppose exploitative mining in the Peak District.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Looking back

old post office with hookah
Looking back , this used to be the post office on the corner. It's a sign of the times that its changed to an internet cafe, and next day delivery won't be a problem any longer. Looking back on this (which was a long and serious post), I found the discussion quite interesting. The network metaphor is worthy of analysis, but I’m not so sure I’m so concerned about the ‘dark matter’ between nodes. There’s some interesting comment on the emptying of space (Giddens makes a similar observation) and I do think it’s worth thinking about the institutions, technologies and spaces that support and facilitate networking, but I don’t see Networked Individualism as anti-social, just more fluid than earlier social systems. If, however, Networked Individualism is our future then there are implications for civic participation and political engagement that will result from a new sense of belonging which may not necessarily be anchored to the nation or state.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Dogs/writing 2

fish 'n' chips
If you can't see the detail on the shutter picture, it's a classic of marker-pen annotation that says: "Please open all the time - thank you. You do the best chips". And here’s a PDF of the “Dogs and writing” piece that I promised earlier in the week. I’m now onto “Padlocking Literacies” which looks at digital literacy, Flickr and social networking. Then I’m going to revise the paper from my Canada presentation…and then there’s a book proposal to put together. Work hard get reward is a very basic Pavlovian-consumerist drive, but nonetheless I’ve decided I want one of these. Of course a way of subverting consumerism is to play – if you can’t afford your favourite i-Pod make one out of paper at this site.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tops on them towers

An old man stopped me when I was photographing the new mosque. “See they got tops on them towers.” He commented. “Looks a lot better.” I replied. There was an awkward silence. “Well.” He said, with a rising intonation. I was left wondering whether this was local ambivalence or a sign of hardening attitudes. I suspect the latter. To make matters worse we now seem to be embroiled in an unholy row over niqabs and hijabs and how they might or might not interfere with teaching and learning. I ask you! Banning has to be the worst approach, but here goes an HE institutions banning the niqab. Thank goodness there’s still the voice of reason. I don’t mind admitting I wear weird clothes…and at last we have a decent pair of minarets in Sheffield.

Monday, October 23, 2006


I always like reading Ideant, but you know what, I think my attention span is shrinking. I’ve been doing quite a lot of thinking and writing about social networks recently, so this seemed really interesting: The tyranny of nodes: Towards a critique of social network theories (link). Maybe I’m just tired, but I found the post too long to hold my attention. I’ll come back to it tomorrow when I may have something more intelligent to say. Meanwhile, any striking thoughts anyone?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Dogs or writing?

At last the article “Do you like dogs or writing” (Merchant, Dickinson, Burnett and Myers) is published in English in Education. As Dr Joolz observes this is not available electronically. I’ll put a link to the PDF in the next couple of days. Also the subtitle: children’s digital message exchange has a glaringly bad typo (childens*). OMG! I think I’ll become an avatar to hide any embarrassment – here’s the place to do just that. And if you like full on rock or grungy blues look out for Joe Bonamassa. It’s a bit of a retro sound, but if you’re in the mood, then why not.

Friday, October 20, 2006


I had a great time in St Johns, and yesterday I uploaded my photos. I was particuarly pleased with the sunsets from Signal Hill. The one above is not photoshopped - it's just as it was, wine-coloured water - awesome! (You can see the set here). I missed National Blog Day because I was away, but I did think it was a jolly good idea. That's history, geotagging is there no end? Finally, I'm introducing Zoya at Princess-la-la, what a great blog!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Safely back home...

I’m just back from this in Canada, which was a really interesting event. It was good to be working with blogger friends as well as unblogger friends. It was probably a good idea not to go iceberg-hunting. Talking about Flickr stuff helped me develop a new angle on seeing and tagging which I need to write out in more detail soon. And on the topic I’ve just found out that Flickr introduced geotagging in August this year. How cool is that? It’s so simple, you just drag and drop pictures onto a map, satellite or hybrid. I started doing this with my Newfoundland set and then realized that that was pretty pointless – but there are lots of other contexts in which this could be really useful (padlocks for example!).

Saturday, October 14, 2006

On the road

Elephants .

Getting to East London was quite a mission. We took the North Circular because of big delays on the M25 Eastbound only to discover that was down to one lane, too. Mama flies in from Casablanca this afternoon and come sundown we’ll have a big feast! Hannah visited this afternoon and showed me her new MySpace site and also gave me the address of Ruth’s music page.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

As they say...

Birthday card
Today is my birthday, so I thought I’d show my favourite birthday card. Tomorrow I’m on my way down to London, and will stay with my daughters. On Sunday I’ll be flying out to Canada and, if all goes according to plan, I’ll be here on Sunday evenin, in the company of good friends! I’m pretty much prepared (although I haven’t packed yet) – not sure when I’ll next be posting again here, we’ll see…