1. listening to Radio 4 on Weds afternoon (Thinking Allowed, Laurie Taylor) about ill health and redundancy. It made me realise how the fear of redundancy is so debilitating too. This is something that afflicts the flexible worker as much as anyone else. Ironically I spent 10 years working freelance in various aspects of teaching and consultancy and rejoined the salaried masses because I thought I would be more secure (lol*).... in the last 8 years I have been made redundant twice and on fixed term contracts for over 5 years.
Then this morning I was chatting to a colleague who, like me, has been facing the end of a "fixed term" contract for several gloomy and unsettling months. (Joyfully my colleague has just been offered a new post with the same employer! Yay!!) But this is about the third or fourth person I have spoken to recently facing such uncertainty and one has to question how this affects productivity and creativity.
For some it's a question of going into lockdown, hiding under the duvet or infecting everyone around with a slightly depressed and anxious air (me). For others it's about going into overdrive to impress your current or potential new employers that you are a good team player, reliable and productive (er, this is me too) .... either way, I don't think its a situation that is good for the soul. So I'll end this section with an uplifting Tweet from His Holiness the Dalai Lama (Oh yes, he's on Twitter too, you unbelievers!)
2. the power of the wiki is incredible: I am working on three simultaneously - using one as a personal learning portfolio to present my teaching log for a PGCE in Higher Education, a second as a staff development and networking site for academics new to e-learning and the third as an induction programme for new students on an e-learning programme. Interestingly, I am not deliberately using them to try to develop collaborative working or encourage any contribution from other members (other than discussion threads and member profiles) - simply as informal websites I can edit, add content too, and present in an attractive and interesting way (I am using Wetpaint.com by the way - not least because they will get rid of ads for free if its a site for educational purposes).
However, I was really struck by this use of a wiki in Australia to deal with the ongoing crisis caused by the recent fires. (Interesting aside too that the wiki's fame was spread further by use of Twitter...and, yes, I am virtually proselytizing now!)
3. Somebody (@Onenterframe) sent out a random tweet this week asking for one word that summed up the reason for your success in life. I couldn't do it in one word, but it is about passion for learning (as someone else - @dreig - noted to me in another Tweet today!)
So my personal learning this week - a tad on the geeky side - has been about creating video tutorials for e-learning students. I have discovered two exciting things recently: I can create a powerpoint preso, save all the slides as JPG files then drop them into Movie Maker so I can add audio, upload to YouTube. Yes I KNOW I could use Articulate, but at the moment I can't seem to make it work for me, I find the audio recording tedious and difficult to edit, and then I have to host it somewhere......
Second new thingummybob - Camstudio. I like Jing a lot for capturing what I am doing on screen, with a voice over, so I can show students how to do it (how to use a blog or a wiki, how to get to their student emails for the first time...). Its quick and free and looks great when its done. But I can't edit it in Movie Maker and I only get 5 mins recording time etc. So Yesterday I switched to Camstudio (also free) which creates avi files of indefinite length that are editable in MovieMaker, uploadable to Youtube and so can be cut, interspersed with slides, have music added... you name it.
I am of course hoping for an Oscar next year or at least some sort of geekgirl award.....
*(I only ever use "lol" for sardonic impact)