Posts Tagged ‘best laid plans’

The Final Word on Games

Posted 31 Oct 2010 — by cheersphilip
Category Rant, thought

Okay, so I totally backed out of the promise I made to myself of writing a little piece about how computer games might be useful or even good for you.

What happened was, I got too involved in playing damn games. I try not to beat myself up about this, but the fact is that I have now spent an amount of time playing games that, in retrospect, I would rather have spent doing something else.

I have nothing to show for my game playing other than tiredness and a nagging feeling that I will never get that time back.

I enjoy games while I’m playing them. I think. But there are other things that I enjoy more, surely?

Whilst writing the last post, Notes on Addiction, I got to the point of talking about making games, so that’s what I did – i downloaded a couple of games creators – - and they were good.

However, and this is really the crux of the matter, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with them.

I thought about doing something ‘educational’ or based around the school I work in, but that is just lazy thinking and does not stand up to scrutiny by the simple question ‘why?’ So I shelved that as well.

The final word is that, yes, games are interesting and, yes, they can be an amusing diversion for a while, but when you’ve got as many things to do as I have – and now that I look at them, I think ‘these are interesting, cool things that I’ve wanted to do for ages’ – then I’m probably best off doing them first.



Addicted to Trash

Posted 29 Aug 2010 — by cheersphilip
Category diary, thought

I have a confession to make – I am addicted to free online Flash games.

I can’t stop playing them, every moment I get. I love playing them, but when I finish playing them I feel somehow lessened and unfulfilled, as if I’d just been stuck in traffic for hours.

This has not gone unnoticed by my ever-loving wife, who has pointed out that this may be some sort of diversion strategy. In fact, she has wisely pointed out that I may find myself being more fulfilled by, perhaps, cleaning the house or, just maybe, cooking us our dinner, or even – who knows? – doing some shopping.

Now, a couple of days ago my wife and I were musing over the possibility that we don’t have anything that stimulates us mentally. Having just completed her degree, and not considering herself an intellectual, she was surprised to find herself enjoying her dissertation. We decided to do a little essay each over the next fortnight. We will choose a topic, research it and write up our findings. The results will be presented to each other one evening over a bottle of wine.

So, having found this quirk in my character that enables me to eschew my responsibilities and focus only a 17″ screen for hours on end, I’ve chosen to investigate the psycho-physiological effects of video gaming.

Results will be, undoubtedly be posted here in a fortnight.

Game on!

PS: God only knows what my life would be like if I’d ever ventured into serious MMRPG games such as Halo, World of Warcraft and others… you would literally never hear from me again!


Crikey, it’s interview fever!

Posted 26 May 2010 — by cheersphilip
Category diary, Rant

Okay, so I went to an interview on Monday – and I got the job!

Sweet – a part time design & technology teacher in a nice school in Norwich – exactly what i was looking for.

But then…

Then I heard back from the SSAT. They were looking for a National Network Coordinator on secondment, which on paper pretty much looked like my dream job – travel around the country talking to specialist D&T departments. Lovely.

Except now I already have a 0.5 appointment. I wouldn’t want to change that; they are extremely nice and I’m really looking forward to starting in September, it’s just that the SSAT job was the one that i originally wanted…

However, the SSAT have kept me waiting OVER TWO MONTHS after the application date to inform me of the shortlist. Okay, they were waiting for the election and some certainty about their funding. (goodbye BectaX – the right idea, just a little too late!).

So, what I am going to do is go to the interview (tomorrow – short notice!?) and see what happens. I think some negotiating is going to be called for.

But… if i get the secondment as well, what am I going to do about my RDTHSC training? I won’t have any time left to go and train teachers how to use their workshop machinery. Crikey.

Onwards and upwards. In other news, I’m still making oak boxes, fully mitred, for my wife’s degree show, selling our campervan, renovating my Vespa, moving house and progressing with the DVDs. Will this ever calm down? A part of me hopes not!




Another Lesson

Posted 23 May 2010 — by cheersphilip
Category diary

Hooray! Another interview tomorrow! And this time the mini lesson is everyone’s favourite – scales of production!! The one you’ve all been waiting for!!!!

Or perhaps not.

This is going to be a real challenge. There’s not much you can do in 25 minutes that engages students with the dull facts about one-off, batch and mass production. And tomorrow I will be demonstrating that fact.

What I’m thinking of at the moment is a brief intro to outline the different scales, pointing out that the students have already done one-offs. This will be followed by a ‘batch production’ exercise, where each table will try to produce as many of a given product (not sure about this – paper planes? Birthday cards?) in a given time. Each person on the table will have a different job, in a production line type set-up. Whoever produces the most (insert product here) wins!

We then round up by questioning what we would need to make our batch production line into a mass production one, with the likely answer being something like having a machine to do it all for you. Of course that means that most of the students on each table will lose their jobs, but that’s the way of the world, kids!

So far so nebulous, and I really need to pin down what we would make – my wife has a set of printing blocks and ink pads, so I’ll most likely take those along. What are we going to print? I don’t want paper planes flying around the room, and birthday cards don;t have enough challenge in them…

The search continues.




Today’s Lesson

Posted 13 May 2010 — by cheersphilip
Category diary

Well, this is a first.

Can you see what I'm doing wrong?

Looks like I’m using my blog to help me deliver a lesson in a ‘foreign’ school! This lesson will take place in Norwich, which I’ll have to get to by starting out at seven in the morning and travelling until eleven.

After that, I’ll be in interview mode. For a teacher this means doing a sample lesson, sort of like try before you buy. Its a funny old situation, as you have no idea about who the students are, where they’ve come from, what their day might have been like, or anything.

For the lesson I’ll be using eggtimer (thanks to @chrisleach78 for finding it).

The school gives you a topic in advance, and some basic information about the students i.e. how many there might be, and you have to come up with a lesson to fit the slot you’ve been given. In this case twenty minutes.

My worst fear is that another teacher, given the same broad topic (exam preparation), has chosen the exact same detail to focus on. Of course you don’t find out until afterwards, so i guess you can’t worry about it too much.

The reason I’m typing this up in the blog is simple. Going to a new school, with various different IT solutions is a tricky business. Will your powerpoint work? Will their computers recognise the file type? Its all a bit of a nightmare, so I thought ‘why not put it all on the internet?’ I know they have this, and have asked the head of department if they can see my blog, which they can, so all good.

The lesson is simple – the topic is exam preparation and the learning objective is to gain an understanding of what makes for an effective study environment.

  • Show the first picture (me in my untidy spare room) and ask for comments about what I’m doing wrong vis-a-vis study
  • then get students to write or draw in detail what their own study areas are like (with the timer),
  • share with a partner (timer again)
  • note down some comments for improvement that their partner suggests
  • round it up with some examples fromt he various people
  • finish off with the second picture, showing me putting into practise what it is that I’m preaching.

What have I changed?


Hope you enjoyed the lesson. Wish me luck!