bluefluff's blue fluff

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Quiet anniversary...

Actually I missed it altogether! Last Sunday (22nd April) was the 10th anniversary of my life online. I knew it was April or May 1997, but only just got round to looking up the exact date. My goodness, what a decade!!


Wednesday, April 25, 2007


One of life's great mysteries, isn't it? How can somebody reach such a level of decibels, with vibrations for good measure, & not disturb themselves? Yet wake, complaining, at the tip-toe dropping of a silent garment or a mere breath?
It says a great deal for the sleeping brain's ability to filter data.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

How gross am I?

Oh dear. I probably shouldn't have done this. It's all TRT's fault...

You Are 80% Gross

You're pretty dirty, and there's a good change you're living in a total dump.

And your body? Not too clean either. Watch out for killer bacteria, Pig Pen!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Words & Pictures

Some of my colleagues have been getting excited about this recent report that casts doubt on the efficacity of Powerpoint presentations as a learning aid.
According to Australian Professor John Sweller:
"It is effective to speak to a diagram, because it presents information in a different form. But it is not effective to speak the same words that are written, because it is putting too much load on the mind and decreases your ability to understand what is being presented."
This really intrigued me, not because I have anything against Powerpoint as such, but because it confirmed one of my major reservations about Learning Styles theory. There are various reasons I don't get on with Learning Styles, some of which I ranted ahout last year in my H806 blog. But my dislike was first stirred up back in 2001 when I was writing materials about online learning for the OU's COROUS division. As a newcomer to the theoretical side of online learning, I was deeply sceptical of an approach that discriminated only between visual, auditory & kinaesthetic (VAK) learning styles, lumping together visual learning from words & visual learning from pictures. To my mind these were crucially distinct ways of learning, & I found it difficult to respect a theory that failed to acknowledge this. I actually devised a self-diagnostic activity to enable learners to sort out whether they were primarily 'words people' or 'pictures people' but it was dropped from the final material.

So for me the most interesting part of this latest research is the distinction it draws between 'speaking to words' & 'speaking to diagrams'. If VAK was the whole story, it wouldn't matter what mix of V+A was used, would it?

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Out & about

We have a few plans lined up.

25 April another gig at Nottingham Rescue Rooms, where we enjoyed Ginger a year ago. This time it's another of our regulars, Duluth band Low, promoting their latest album Drums and Guns. A sample track on MySpace captures their sparse yet provocative sound.
"Our bodies break. And the blood just spills and spills. But here we sit debating math."

30 April OU HQ to collect a teaching award. It still feels odd being "honoured" for just doing the job that I love doing, but I'll not say no to a nice Monetary Token (even if it does come to me via payroll so the govt creams off its portion before I get to play with it).

8 May Springtime in Paris :-)
First time I've been to Paris (or been in a plane, for that matter) since the 70s. I'm going with Haze of Pink & Daydreamer. They'll do the hand-holding & gallery-ID, while I do the lingo. Scary, but exciting, & a neat marriage between my first degree (French) & my OU existence. I met these two friends online during a course that was responsible for so much: their interest in Art History, my professional commitment to online learning (therefore indirectly to the award), our friendship that involves UK gallery visits & gig experiences, & then it was my degree that got me the OU job in the first place, so it all comes together :-)