Friday, 22 August 2014

Fear of Flying

Flying - one of the things I am truly scared about. Yes, I know the logic, more likely to get killed by a bolt of lightening while sitting on the loo, but logic doesn't figure with a fear.

I need to fly in my job, here, there, everywhere, and have learned to manage the fear, but the fear is still there. When I get on a plane I repeat to myself during the journey, " the worst thing that can happen is that I will die," and that gives me a certain amount of comfort. I don't like being completely out of control. Not that I am a control freak on the ground, or at least I don't think I am, I suppose no control freak actually realises that they are one.

The book, by Erica de Jong, I read a long time ago. Not likely to join the Mile High Club where I cannot bear to unlock my seat belt unless in dire need of toilet (where I am probably likely to be struck by that bolt of lightening while flying - a real double whammy!).

So I carry on. If I want to get anywhere, I know I have to control the fear. Things I have tried include

  1. Taking valium

  2. Drinking on international flights

  3. Rescue remedy

  4. Fear of flying online course

  5. Books on anxiety

  6. "Travel Calm" tablets

and each of these have helped in their own special way.  Would love to "get the cure", at least before I hop on that plane that does the MH370 trick

Monday, 18 August 2014

Why do people blog?

Blogging is in the news!  
What a storm over the weekend following the release of Nicky Hagar's book.  After a conversation with a colleague about blogging last week, I had a few thoughts.  The conversation was around why she kept her blog private.  I was thinking that blogs should be about putting yourself out there.            

  • Expressing who you are and what you think.  
  • Putting your personality into print, and pictures, and videos and as Allanah King  says it, putting Bling in Your Blog so people will know what identifies you from others.  
  • Connecting with the world.  
  • Putting your opinions on the line.  
  • Putting yourself up for critiquing.  
  • Not being aftraid of making mistakes.  
  • Learning from your mistakes. 
  • Asking for feedback from the world.  
  • Blogging is kind of like the news with your opinion attached. (I suppose all news is really just that, with someones opinion attached.)  
  • A blog can get you feedback.  
  • It can help you learn - how to read and write are just two of the ways.  
  • It can help you formulate your opinions.  
  • It can help you change your mind.

Over the weekend I began to think there were a number of occasions when it would be good to keep your blog private.
Firstly for privacy reasons.  No, I mean that, maybe you dont want people to recognise you and come and hunt you down or stalk you for anything you might have said that they disagree with.
Secondly for reason of private reflection.  Reflection is how we learn from our experiences and also sometimes we want to keep those experiences (and reflections) private.  For example, maybe someone has been an a...hole at work.  And you just need reflection time and thought to get over it.  Or you may want to take it further and you dont want to prejudice your options.
Thirdly, maybe you are trying to grow an idea or a community, and you don't want people to see the tender seedling of your idea/ community at its young and vulnerable stage, before it has grown into a massive oak tree of an idea.
Fourthly, blogging can be just like an eportfolio which can be a showcase, process or accountability.  Maybe you just show the bits of it that you want to, to the relevant people.
Fifthly, I guess that blogging can be like a private journal - but does that make it a blog?  Stephen Downes says that a blog has always been more than just a online version of a private journal.  Blogging is after all short for Weblogging.  So shouldn't it be out there, on the web?

Once again, I ask you graciously for feedback.

Downes, S. (2004) Educational Blogging

Monday, 4 August 2014

Inserting links into a part of an image

Today, I revised the skill of inserting a link into a part of an image using Google.  I have been unable to insert the image with the link into Google blogger but it does work well embedding into a Google site, and is updated as you make any changes to the original drawing.

 I used "Google Draw" polyline to draw a shape around myself, make it transparent, and then inserted a link to my Google+ profile.  This image can then be "published to the web" to be placed in your site.  This could be useful at schools so that students could just click on parts of images to take them to another website that you wish them to work with. For example, a picture of a number of books with each book spearately linked. Here is a screencast of how to do this.

Managing Change In Your School - What is Missing?

I am sharing an image with you which reflects five essential elements of change: - vision, skills, incentives, resources and action plan. If you look at the descriptors at the top of the image, it reflects what many teachers are feeling right now.  Confusion, anxiety, resistance, frustration and treadmill feelings.  This is because all five elements of change need to be in place at any one time.  Take any one of them away and you can see the result.

So it is very important to make sure that all five elements are clearly communicated to all on your team.  It may be that some of the elements are a work in progress, but if you outline all elements to your teachers, and make them part of the process in developing the elements and making them their own school-wide property, you will get change.  It is called ownership, but means a lot more than just that - it is a way of being.
Image Source: The Managing Complex Change Model is credited to Dr. Mary Lippit:

Here is also a super slideshow which can help everyone understand the need to change.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Green screening

I made this little youtube clip about one way of using Google to flip your class for a specific purpose, but the reason I want to tell you about it, was that it was my first attempt at green screening. The green blob behind my head is in fact the shadow cast from the light in the lounge. The shadow was slightly different green to the green that I removed. However, it generally came out better than I had hoped otherwise. I whipped down to the lake and took a short video of the lake and superimposed myself on top of that after I removed the green background. I might try to experiment a bit more on this. I read somewhere that blue screening works just as well. Has anyone tried that?  Would love to hear more.