The characters Ada and Elsie were stars of Australian live radio in the 1940s. 'Live radio' played to two audiences - those out in radio land and those gathered together at a live venue. In Wacko-the-Diddle-oh the live audience gets to experience what it was like to help create the atmosphere for the radio audience. And what a hoot it is. You're encouraged to cheer and stomp as these two prissy ladies deliver their saucy humour. And it seems that sponsors insisting on naming rights is not a modern phenomenon. Then, as now, they need to be kept happy - not that easy in the 40s if you were 1) female and 2) wanting to push the boundaries. And then there's the sound effects: marvel at the ingenuity of a lost trade. Really strong performances from the three person cast, and a fascinating, instructive journey into a genre that has faded into the past.
Saturday, March 01, 2014
It's 1830 in Dickensian London, so it's the language, manners, and humour of another time. And that is a large part of the appeal of this production. How often do you hear such quaint phrases as 'a token of outward satisfaction' or 'murmured a bashful acceptance'? If as a contemporary citizen you can cope with utterances of more than 140 characters (!) you'll appreciate the richness of the vocabulary used here. Nigel Nevinson delivers a deft portrayal of multiple characters that is polished and entertaining. OK - some of the jokes which may have been very funny nearly 200 years ago now seem a bit twee, but there's a charm at work here that tells an interesting moral tale, and also has something to say about the slippery nature of lawyers - not everything's changed! A wonderful way of becoming familiar with the background to a classic of English literature. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Siem Reap could easily be a terrible place but it's not. So many thousands of visitors pour through each week en route to the ancient temples of Angkor Wat and surrounds that it could easily cave in to tourist tack and sell its soul, but so far its soul is intact. There are some tacky parts to Siem Reap, notably the loud and gaudy Pub Street, but for the rest it retains some integrity with a balance of fine cafes and classy guesthouses and hotels. The Siem Reap river winds its way through the town and if you follow it far enough at either end, provides easy release to the fringes of town and the countryside beyond.
But the reason for being in Siem Reap is of course the superb World Heritage listed sites of Angkor Wat. The name Angkor Wat is used to refer to both the mother temple of the region - which is Angkor Wat, and the region that contains a series of other temples for several kilometres around - like Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm. I visited 5 different temples, and they are all magnificent, but Angkor Wat itself stands alone as the highlight. About 1.5 kilometres in length it is believed to be the largest religious structure ever built. Its location in deep forest, the majesty of its design, and the endless detail of the thousands of bas-reliefs and countless carvings on walls and roofs takes your breath away, keeps you entertained, and in a constant state of wonder.
There were a lot of people there the day I visited, and I imagine that is the same every day of the year, and herein lies a potential problem. The temple itself is big enough to absorb the crowds, but not so other smaller temples. (The lovely Bayon was a nightmare.) The Angkor Wat complex must be a vast earner of foreign currency - every foreigner pays $20 a day to enter the complex. And now Cambodia is largely at peace with itself and the word is out that it is a superb place to visit, the world will continue to visit in droves and this is going to place a lot of pressure on the infrastructure around Siem Reap, and create growing congestion around the smaller temples.
I am not going to attempt to describe the temples in any detail here. Photos do a much better job of that. As in other places in Cambodia be prepared for constant requests to take a tuk-tuk or buy stuff you don't want. And if you say no try and be gracious about it.
When you're tired of the temples, and you still have the time, take a trip to the floating village of Chong Kneas about 15 kilometres away. It's one of those things you're never going to see in the average run of daily life, and it feels like a privilege to witness the intimate life of a community on water.
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
In an interview with Leesa Wheelahan in the Australian TAFE Teacher magazine this month she stresses the importance of TAFE as an institution, and how this is being neglected in the rush to reduce TAFE to just another competitor in the Australian Vocational and Education Training (VET) sector. When you work or study at TAFE you typically come to a large campus with impressive buildings and well-kept grounds that signify value. A student may well feel that they have come to a place of importance because obviously a lot of money has been spent on substantial infrastructure. I imagine that it is an easy jump for a student to conclude that what they have signed up to do - a course of study at TAFE - is a worthwhile pursuit because the scale of the organisation and the quality and variety of facilities on offer signal its importance.
Even on the mundane level the idea of having a canteen or cafeteria that is relatively cheap and comfortable and that caters to basic human needs conveys subliminal messages that TAFE matters, and so therefore does the course you're doing. And in the canteens and corridors of TAFE campuses you can't help but notice the diverse range of people that TAFE attracts - migrants, women, tradies, quasi-academics, etc and I'd argue that this incidental contact with a broad spectrum of society provides a valuable and vicarious experience of the pluralist society we live in.
All TAFE campuses typically have a reception area that is central and hints at an institution that is organised. You can always go to this main area if you're lost or for all manner of general enquiries. That is, there is a central area that is staffed with people who are there to support you. And over time you might get to know the staff who work in the reception area and acknowledge them as you walk past each day.
All TAFE campuses have a library. It contains resources to help you with your study, and staff whose job it is to find suitable resources and advise you how to use them. You can work on any of the many banks of computers available, and as with the canteen, you can't help that notice the diverse cross-section of people who share the library with you.. And if you're a regular visitor to your campus library staff can become members of your regular support team, or even friends. These kinds of encounters might give students the chance to develop the soft skills of communication, negotiation, and problem solving.
Though it seems TAFE in South Australia is determined to remove the Student Services part of the organisation, this arm of the organisation was another level of support beyond the classroom teacher who could offer you extra support with your studies, provide counselling on personal issues, and even help you find work.
These kinds of services - canteen, reception, library, and student support - are the services that are often associated with institutions. And they are there to not only offer support in a student's studies, but to also ensure that a TAFE student's basic needs are met, and show that the organisation cares about you as individual and will provide all the resources necessary for you to succeed. And it is these same kinds of services that are being slowly eroded in the new TAFE where the focus is only on a student coming to class and passing as quickly and cheaply as possible.
So the trappings of TAFE as an institution - a place that offers multiple levels of support and has as part of its mission a commitment to providing an enriching study environment that is not solely focused on the classroom - seem to have gone. And as Leesa Wheelahan notes, this would never be tolerated in the schools or Higher Ed sectors because those sectors produce social elites that will defend the integrity of a fully supported and enriching study environment. TAFE is not in the business of creating social elites so there are no such champions willing to defend it from becoming a place where people are pumped in and pumped out as quickly as possible, and where market forces and reduced funding are at the root of EVERY decision.
"...since the 1980's we've had the transformation of society from a society in which the market supported the broader society, to a society where the point of society is to be a market. And so the point of education is to produce people who can operate in the market, and we've had a narrowing of what education should be about because we've had a narrowing of what society should be about. And that has led to a narrowing of what TAFE should be about."
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Mark Pesce - the Network Takes Over
- computer = connection
- new gens embrace connectivity (of devices/people/knowledge)
- librarians have won - knowledge is everywhere
- $79 Target tablet Indian
- dept of Ed sells tablets to students for $29 (Aakash)
- we will (ALL) be soon connected;what will we produce?? (Wikipedia +)
- knowledge = transforming facts > knowledge networks = capacity amplifiers
- at what age do we connect kids? (danger of obsession/distraction)
SHARE THE LOVE (and assessment)
- children need to be educated into the culture of shared knowledge > digital literacy/netiquette, etc
- HOW DOES ASSESSMENT WORK IN A WORLD OF SHARED KNOWLEDGE?? currently assessment involves separating student from the tools of knowledge construction
- "assessment is intrinsic to the act of sharing"
- how well do you relate? share? mentor? ie collaborate
- students will be members of peer networks based around history eg, Or Maths...; they may or may not be part of a 'class'
- repeat: "the culture of shared knowledge"
THE NETWORK TAKES CONTROL
- connect, share, learn... 38% of schools now allow BYOD (which means BYO network) BUT sharing = cheating!!!!
- Future: lease/license instead of copyright/ownership dissonance betw classroom and outside world (which is connected); so classrooms just need to catch up with current reality
- people need to be scaffolded into networks
- Embedding Innovation - the tech does not make it innovative; it's about what you're doing with them
- Makey Makey
- kids reading from a script about the wonderful things they do - meh; but now they show vid they have made - yeh!
- Skype conferences betw local schools on deforestation project. (One of the schools was Dallas Brooks PS in Melbourne)
Dror Ben -Naim - the Personalised Learning Future (Smart Sparrow)
- adaptive intelligence/tutors; adaptive learning: the new breed of ed tech tools?
- AI = artificial or adaptive intelligence; governs feedback and sequence
- B 2 B - brain to brain! In the neuro - electric - friendship dept
- future: everyone has an individually tailored course (with the help of intelligent courseware) ??
- 1-1 has always been the best way of teaching; we can now scale it with technology
Mark O'Rourke (Vic Uni) - Education and Training Games
NBN funded: the White Card Game - no dig literacy skills needed; a familiar environment (workplaces)
Mark Dreschler - The Vendor Perspective
- "All of us are teachers/students in a collaborative environment." (Moodle.org)
- talking about Moodle as the product of collaborative endeavour
- "vision of success - with flexibility on the specifics"
Keynote: NELSON GONGALEZ (Declara - an intelligent social learning platform)
automated knowledge work projected to be #2 disruptive tech
which 6 of my my network can help me with this task?
1) we're living in perpetual now "neuronification of the web"
2) "the intersection of neuroscience and social collaboration"
Declara does the analytics (searching) for you...so you can start work with the data you need without having to look for it. What is the effect on us when we are now slaves to the analytics - ie not involved in the search?
RAJU VARANASI (ESA) Digital Learning- Platform Thinking Disruption
2 types of platforms:
1) content intensive (eg YT, Amazon)
2) communication intensive (FB)
pipe thinking (pre-Internet) v platform thinking (post-Internet)
3 industries that survive via copyright: books, music, film; these are the 3 areas most experiencing disruption
CONTENT CREATION > CURATION
- What's Driving VET Content?
- VET Commons not yet available; may promote/enable community creation?
Andrew Hiskens (State Lib, VIC)
- curate became a verb in the 1980's in music festival context
- (good speaker but ignoring topic - why???)
Steve Midgley (keynote) Making Education Internet Compatible
- Big Data....
- Air BnB implements changes every day!! This is a contemporary trend in software. (Why?)
- YouTube: now 100 hrs/min;
- 2013: 40% mobile Twitter: 75% mobile
- You need concept thinking + mechanics (ie understand why you do things like quadratic equations)
Monday, October 21, 2013
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
HERE. (About 1 hour)