Monthly Archives: March 2011

All Change

It is not often that a change in something really makes me sad but this week there has been a change to EduGeek.net.

It was wonderful to finally hear, last month, the announcement that Shaun (Zerohour) had become a full time partner in EduGeek and I know it will help Chris take EduGeek forward. Shaun has played a huge roll over the last few years to help make EduGeek what it is, from helping to make it a world class forum with all the right tools, through to being the translator of ideas into actions. $Deity knows he has had some strange ideas thrown at him.

However, it was a sad day too. A great friend has decided to step down from involvement in running EduGeek as he takes on a new job. Russell Dyas was one of the first people to step up to the plate and get things done shortly after EduGeek was created. Whether as a moderator, writing news articles, organising meetings with suppliers and vendors, changing what was a simple get together into the first EduGeek conference … all the way through to managing to secure EduGeek a regular spot at BETT, Russell has been a key person in making EduGeek what it is today.

Let’s take a step back and have a look at him though … Not long after EduGeek started he turned up, a veteran contributor and moderator on the RM forum, and started being helpful … nothing more than that really. Welcoming new members (we would joke about being sad enough to watch the membership roll grow each day, commenting about people we recognised from various places, often other mailing lists, forums or newsgroups), putting events onto the calendar, collating news items … you just couldn’t help but like the bloke. That was until he turned nasty …

A few of us thought it would be nice to get together one half-term (Oct 2005) … I offered my then school as a base … next thing we have a speaker … and then another … and eventually we have the first EduGeek.net Conference. From that day there was no getting out of the fact that when Russ pushes you, you eventually get things done.

EduGeek and ICT Register at BETT 2006

The following January Russ and I agreed to run a small survey on IT Support Staff whilst at BETT, and the kind folk at the ICT Register (who had already supported the first conference) let us hang around their stand. It was even better when Chris turned up to chat as well… and with inspiration from Drew Buddie & co with the ‘Help Us Get To BETT’ stand for Moodlers, Russ made it his goal to have an EduGeek presence. After much wheeling and dealing with EMAP Russ organised a prime spot in the National Hall Gallery … but the opportunity came up for a smaller slot in the Grand Hall, but downstairs, next to one of the cafés. An inspired man, he grabbed it as soon as he could and EduGeek have had the Technical Help Point there ever since. That’s not to say that the work was finished there … oh no! Someone had to organise sponsorship to cover the costs of electrics, insurance, furniture, IT kit … and then someone had to organise it all. Yeah … thanks Russ. I had a full head of hair in the photo from 2005 … by the time I retired in 2009 I was the baldy bloke we all know and, hopefully, love.

So, we have established that Russ is a person with ideas, can get people motivated to do things and is experienced at delegating things down to others. I think we should all worry on the day we receive a parcel with a return to sender address with Impero on it … if you get one, just make a cup of tea and wonder what Russ has gotten you involved in now.

So, a short salute to Russ Dyas … retiring from EduGeek on 31st March, but still around, giving advice, helping people out and creating work for others.

Purpos/ed

What is the purpose of education?

I would say my main thought on the purpose of education is that it should inspire the new, allow us to cherish the old, to help develop the understanding of the difference and the ability to make choices about the appropriateness of both. This will start from the choices your parents make for you as a child, helping you to make your own choices as you grow, but the key is understanding how to make choices, choices that affect you, people around you, how they affect society and the world at large.

Part of this is also learning to accept that some choices are not the end of the world. It used to be that you chose your trade (or it was chosen for you) and that was it … if you tried to resist or rebel, that was it … you were outcast. There was the goal of a job for life, a trade, a profession …

I was lucky enough to be on a bursary at my secondary school (what was a lovely independent school in Wirral) which would happily meet all the present criteria for a DoE sanctioned school. The structure and discipline did me very well but whilst being intelligent I was rarely engaged enough to put the effort in. This led me to loose focus on what I wanted on a number of occasions, resulting in poor decisions being made, not getting all the qualifications I should have or having the focus needed to complete university.

I did learn one very important skill, partly from family life and partly from school. Adaptability.

With the growing numbers of future jobs outside of the traditional realms of ‘jobs for life’, we already know that students will have had a number of different jobs by the time they at 35. As a sports coach, labourer, soldier, policeman, technician, network manager, school leader, LA advisor, project manager … I can’t shout it out loud enough … Adaptability is the key for both now & the future.

People who change jobs, trades or vocations are no longer just indecisive, but part of the flexible society, ready to change to meet their needs and to fill gaps.

This is what we need to continue to breed into education. The ability to choose and constructively make those choices, the ability to adapt and to learn how to focus on changing goals.

TeachMeet Midlands

I was unable to make Teachmeet Midlands due to the intervention of Real Life, but I do like to make sure that they are supported, have a good enough contribution from a wide range of people and so on …

As a result I have decided to do a number of short video clips (nothing on the scale or expertise of Kevin McLaughlin – @kvnmcl) and the first one was shown at TeachMeet Midlands.

I’ll be putting together a few more over the year, some will be from previous things I have spoken on (where I still have the presentations and recordings), but if there is anything people want to see please let me know. In the meantime … enjoy.