Tag Archives: Grumbledook

Can you ever have too much of a good thing?

Well, it looks like you can.

I’ve recently been tracking down a number of web 2.0 tools to ensure I register / protect my online identity. I am known as Tony Sheppard and as GrumbleDook with such equality online that it is hard to separate the two. However, since there is a rather good Jazz musician called Tony Sheppard I have opted to protect my identity as GrumbleDook.


Most people recognise my avatar or variations of it and I am always looking for ways to tweak it a little, make it more interesting or relevant, but without losing the importance of this being my online representation.

However (and there is always a however), I am not the only GrumbleDook out there … and I was recently castigated via email for some comments which had been made by someone else. At this point I had to spend some time explaining that I am not an online poker player, I am not an urban photographer / artist, I am not American, I do not live in Brighton / Watford / Washington / Phoenix / Sydney / Hong Kong, and I have never played in a brass band.

The fact that all of the above can be found to be linked to 7 separate individuals and I am not any of them made me wonder that because I do have a goodly number of the related domain names, I have registered accounts for a large number of web 1.0/2.0 accounts under the name of GrumbleDook and I am more often than not the person who appears in searches for GrumbleDook in the search engine of your choices … it is not surprising that someone might presume that all GrumbleDooks are actually me … especially as some are pretty techie related too!

I have spoken with people before about protecting your online identity (having had a student in an earlier school once register an account with an online service as they knew my online nickname … and having to deal with the fall out) and I still believe that it is important. The idea of a person as a brand has been spoken about by people far more knowledgeable and eloquent than me … but if I ever want to operate as a business, or ensure that anything I publish to the ‘net is recognisable as mine then it is something I have to keep up with.

I have come to the conclusion that although we may put a lot of time and effort in establishing our presence online, there are limited ways you can do this and there will always be confusion. I would also recommend that, where possible, you identify where the other people are who may share some aspects of your identity and if you can come to some sort of arrangement then it makes it better.

Will the world end if I don’t manage to ensure that *I* am GrumbleDook on particular services? No … I missed out on Facebook, there are many forums out there with GrumbleDooks on, I don’t have all the domains registered … yet … and I also have to remember that I have taken the name based on a character in a popular comedy (though not many people like the first series … some the joke is lost on many) … and so I do not have an exclusive right to the use of it.

There are examples of parents trying to do similar as I have done from when their children are born … and whilst I can understand this, I also have to point out that part of establishing an online presence is also about the social aspect of life. Many people will grow and change over the years … a number of friends and colleagues have changed their online presence over the years, rebuilding their identity. For me, I would find this difficult as my personal and professional identities are closely linked. I also believe that trying to change a personal identity is difficult but can understand the need at times to do so.

Where does this leave me now? I have a number of business tools I am starting to evaluate (including Office365 and Google Apps), and for me to continue with the professional brand of GrumbleDook, then I have to ensure that I get in there first with such tools. The grey areas come when we look at Social Networking tools … as I would consider many of these as professional tools, but others might consider them as personal tools.

Over the coming weeks I am going to be updating part of my blog to incorporate other tools I am trying to I will start using my ‘About’ page to say what is me … and even create a page to say when it is not me.

I would be interested in how others have approached some of these issues (even from fellow GrumbleDooks), with both the good and the bad in life.


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.

Usernames – Should they identify a pupil?

Completely forget about this post over on my blog on EduGeek. Thankfully, this site now this pulls in all my posts from any possible blog I use so I thought I would send this one out anyway … from November 2009.

In a discussion about student IDs I got a tad frustrated by the take some people have about Becta guidance and that it is given from a point of not really understanding how the real world works or giving examples …

Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook
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With all respect to DB and AT … B*11*cks

Becta put out the recommendation based on data protection guidance and esafety guidance from a heap of places and just collate it. Having a go at them for doing this is pretty pointless and hiding your head in the sands about wider issues.

1 – a kid emails a mate about something, who then replies but includes a mate outside of the school. The person outside of the school is an adult, and then now might have name, approx age (cause they understand that 09 at the beginning of the userid in the email means they started at the school in 2009) the surname or forename (so many schools have it as jbloggs or janetb) and they are also likely to get the forename from the email too. It is not about a single piece of data that makes it dangerous but when you string it together.

2 – People hate giving real, flesh and blood people a number as their identity. “I’m not a number, I am a free man!” I hear you cry … well, how many of use know our NI number off the top of our head. I am pretty sure that ex-forces / police / etc can remember their numbers too! There is nothing wrong with introducing this to the kids as long as it is done in a timely, professional and sensible fashion. Roll numbers from MIS are fine … if your school uses ID cards then get this number onto the ID card. If someone wants a password reseting then just ask for their card. Job done … simples!

3 – When Becta (and others) give guidance or a framework too many people say “this is the way we have now been told to do it!” so they don’t give too many examples anymore because people don’t think for themselves and just point the finger if it is not right for their school. They just can’t win. Before you have a go at the lack of examples about it why not say … “hey, let’s think of some ways to improve this!”

I bet that if I was to suggest we do this though we will get a slack handful that say something, but people are more than happy to jump on the bandwagon about BSF, job applications, salary scales … I guess we all have different priorities.