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This is just a short post – we’re busy getting ready for France.  We fly out on Saturday morning from Leeds Bradford Airport to Nice.  We’re catching the train to Agay down the coast from Cannes. We’ll be there for three days walking in the  Esterel region which is by the coast.  Then on the Tuesday we’re heading back to Nice to catch the Chemin de Fer du Provence which is a narrow gauge railway up to Digne Les Bains.  There we’re picking up a hire car and driving down to Castellane – for the rest of the week.  We’re going to do some walking down, in and around the Gorge Du Verdon which is the biggest canyon in Europe.  I’m really looking forward to a good break and some interesting walking.  I don’t think it will be much warmer than here and some of it is quite high so we’re taking lots of warm clothes.

On a separate note, the first Conference Post is on Inclusive Learning.  We have a twitter stream and hash-tag for the event – #jiscrscnw09.

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After a break of nearly five months I’ve eventually come to a decision regarding this blog and the way forward.   I am going to continue to post on here but for personal stuff.  I’ve started a new work based blog on Inclusive Learning which is also on WordPress.  I discussed the separation of work and home identities on a recent podcast with James Clay on eLearningstuff.

On a personal note, now living in Leeds is great and I’m really looking forward to a walking holiday in France at the beginning of April.  The maps arrived today – St Raphael, Cannes/Grasse among others.   We’ve got the cats sorted – with a very fussy lady coming to feed them while we are away.

The second of the panel podcasts has been published – called ‘It’s because he’s from Sheffield’.  Poor Nick Jeans, we do give him a hard time but there are some very funny moments courtesy of a dodgy Skype connection.  Again it features, Dave Sugden, Dave Foord, James and Nick and has an interesting discussion about the LLW projects in the North West and Yorkshire and Humber.

Enjoy.

I spent an interesting and useful hour this morning on a Skype conference call with colleagues from all over the country.  The idea which we had initially discussed at the JISC conference in March was for an eLearning podcast but a very informal and chatty one.  It was all hosted and co-ordinated by non other than James Clay who is pretty well known on the eLearning scene and featured in an earlier post with his video from ALT-C. He did all the techy recording stuff and five of us just chatted – though apparently I need to work on my levels!  Hopefully, we’ll get a couple of 15 minutes sessions which we can publish.  We chatted briefly about the Learning for Living and Work projects which have been going on in the North West and Yorkshire and Humber and on the ‘Digital Native, Digital Immigrant’ debate which is covered in just about everybody’s blogs – see links below.  We’re hoping to do this on a weekly basis and to bring in lots of other eLearning folks also.  For those who cannot see any use for Jaiku, this was arranged and organised on there.  The final thing will be published on James’ blog – eLearning Stuff. The five of us were, as well as me and James,  Dave Sugden elearning consultant and general good chap, based in Huddersfield, Dave Foord another eLearning consultant from Loughborough (I think),  and Nick Jeans an eLearning professional from Sheffield – no online presence yet but wait for it.  Thanks guys – as the saying goes – I think it’s got legs.

I’ve just come back from a fantastic few days in Nice in the South of France (more later) and while I was away it was the ALT-C 2008 – Association of Learning Technologists Conference in Leeds.  As well as the usual conference keynotes and break out sessions, they hold workshops where you actually have to do stuff.  James Clay is a pal of mine and with a couple of colleagues produced this video looking at the ‘digital divide’. Oh and it was scripted, recorded and all techie stuff done within 30 minutes – impressive.


I’d say a homage to Life of Brian, Smith and Jones and Pete and Dud with the expletives removed.  Well done guys.

The whole team are running about doing last minute preparations for our annual conference on Friday this week.  It will take place at Aintree Racecourse and has the title ‘The eLearning Effect – Enhance, Enlighten, Engage’.  We have put together some web 2.0 features to gather feedback from the event.  Firstly a flickr and blog tag – RSCNW08 to group photos from the day and the preparations – I’ve put a few up there in advance of the team.  We also have a gabcast channel – which I’m going to use to record audio feedback during the day and beforehand.  I have managed to organise a demo account with an SMS company txttools, so will be asking delegates to sms questions or feedback during the day and finally we have a virtual conference on Facebook.  Please come along and leave a comment or just say hello.

Lee and Sachi LeFever at Commoncraft have produced another cracking video explaining how social media works.  As part of our job we spend a lot of time trying explaining to people how and why Web 2.0 works and there you go –  they’ve done it in all of 4 minutes. Watch and enjoy – or you can download it here.

I had to travel to Liverpool for a meeting yesterday. As usual, I drove as far as Preston and parked at the station to get the train. As I approached the train, the guard or train manager or whatever they are called, was standing by the door. I checked with him -‘ Is this the Liverpool train?’. I was a little puzzled by his smirk as he assured me that it was. As I stepped on board and turned into the carriage I stopped abruptly. The whole train was full – full of people dressed up to the nines. Above every other seat back I could see wisps of feathers in every colour imaginable. All the men were in very smart very sharp suits. I think I did actually reel and had to hold onto the door frame. What the hell was going on. Disorientating? I should say so. Was this a wedding party and they had taken over the whole train? I gave up and stepped back into the door space giving the guard an quizzical look. Then it dawned on me – it’s the Grand National Festival, they were all on their way to Aintree. I looked back down the carriage and yes almost every man had a copy of the Racing Post somewhere about his person. Apparently it was Ladies Day and my goodness they made the most of it. As I got into the city centre there were more everywhere and every woman there had some sort of fascinator in her hair.

The back end of Word Press has changed and I now seem unable to upload a photo but the BBC have captured the atmosphere here.

I’ve just found a brilliant blog from a couple from America who are having the honeymoon to beat all honeymoons.  Steve and Christy McCrosky married in California in June last year and have since been travelling all over Europe, Africa, South East Asia and Fiji.  They planned to be away for seven months so must be nearing the end shortly.  They have an amazing photo site here.  The reason I found it was they spent part of their time camping at Emau Hill and talking to Steve and Pia.  The camp site sounds great – it wasn’t finished when I was there but the fully erect and equipped tents sound good.  Have a read for yourself here.  And yes Steve and Pia are some pretty amazing people.  Oh and congratulations Steve and Christy  I’ve added your blog to the blogroll on here.

I’ve just discovered this site – yes yes another social networking site but with a difference. EQ connect is a network for those who are ‘passionate about ecological and economic sustainability – and music’. It already has music videos and documentaries embedded and there are scheduled live shows – though they will probably be at Oregon time so in the middle of the night in the UK.

It’s based on the Ning networking facility, something that is used extensively in education circles but they’ve really customised it. It has far more functionality than Facebook and as far as I can see no-one has yet tried to send me a tin of cat food, or Zombie bite or asked me to see which Teletubby I resemble. I have all of 3 friends on there so far, my pal Kev who found it in the first place, 1giantleap who have their own network and of course the founder of the network – quelle surprise. So if you care to join me I’m LisaValentine and my homepage is here.

Further news – Jamie and Duncan who did the first 1GiantLeap project have posted that they have been scheduled on Channel 4 television from 23 April for 7 weeks.  The new project is called ‘What About Me?’ and it’s about how insane we all are, needy in relationships, insatiable in desire, wounded by birth, avoiding all pain with happy pills, and unable to stop thinking.  And of course next Friday (29 Feb) is One Giant Leap Day.

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