Up Peel Monument

View of Peel Monument
View of Peel Monument

Hello, it’s been a long time since I posted a new missive on this blog! All of you who subscribe via feed readers etc must be shocked to see me posting again. Well, what have I been doing over the last few months? It seems like not a lot! Actually, I’ve been trying to keep fairly fit and healthy, doing a lot of walking – mainly taking Paul up to Peel Monument (see the photo – it’s near Ramsbottom, Greater Manchester). It’s an old folly on top of a hill, 1100 feet above sea level, and a very steep climb. I’ve also been taking the dog for a walk, about 2.5 miles, three or four times a week in the evenings. It feels like I’ve lost some weight around my middle, so it’s doing something!

I’ve also been trying to get some new tunes written, but severely lacking some inspiration. I’ve got some ideas in my head, proper ideas, rather than just fiddling with loops from a cover disc. I’ve been using a vst host called Minihost, which loads a vst plugin and lets you use your computer keyboard to place the vst instrument. It’s got a built in chord maker, arpeggiator, and sequencer, which is great for fiddling around with. My 5 y.o. also likes playing with it – saying he’s playing Kraftwerk’s Man Machine, and the Dr Who theme tune! Expect some new tunes soon…from him, not me! Only kidding….

The Rude Mechanicals remix I did for NZ band Pitch Black is still around on the web and on the band’s remix CD, Rhythm, Sound and Movement. The remix is also going to be used to promote a big music and arts festival in New Zealand, called Splore. More news to follow soon. I’m also going to meet Paddy and Mike from Pitch Black at the end of October when they play their only UK gig in London. I’m also supposed to be getting the stems to remix a track by International Observer.

Other stuff….been doing a lot of Moodle stuff at work – very busy these days. I’ve also made a website for Paul’s dad and his painting and decorating business, D and S Decorators.  Oh, and I’m now on Facebook, and Twitter, so follow me on there if you’re on there….

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Jorum Forum E-Learning workshop

In my role as E-Learning Developer at The Manchester College, I visited the “Jorum Forum” the other day. The Jorum Forum was an event to showcase the latest developments of the body known as Jorum. If you don’t know them, they’re there to develop and promote an online repository of learning objects and materials that can be shared by all HE (and some FE) institutions in the UK. So far, it’s been all about contributing and freely distributing materials that institutions have developed themselves, eg a video, or an interactive quiz, stuff like that. Now they’re looking at using Creative Commons licences for sharing materials, which means that you have some control over what users can do with them. Up till now, all the objects have been available as being reusable.

Jorum has been getting a bit of a bad press recently at our place, along with the NLN materials, so it was good to hear how other colleges in universities were using and promoting them. It’s something I haven’t really pushed as much as I should here, but all that should change soon as a result of the event the other day. One of the main things I could show our staff is that you can knock up a really quick Powerpoint slideshow using some of the videos on Jorum. Steve Smith, who seems to get everywhere these days (!!!) did one in about 10 minutes – ideal for when you’re in a hurry! I think people like Steve really enthuse teachers and e-learning practitioners, and bridge the gap between the techie-folk and non-techie ones. Something I’d really like to be able to do myself…I probably do that a little bit, but I need the right tools and oomph (I’m quite shy and retiring really….).

Anyway, I’m doing a presentation about Moodle on Monday, to some of our staff, so maybe it’s time to get some oomph going!!!!”