Reading progress… update #1

Novels:

  • Dexter, Colin: The Dead of Jericho
  • Dexter, Colin: The Riddle of the Third Mile

Morning reading:

  • Aurelius, Marcus: Meditations – Book 1
  • The Bible: Romans – Chapters 1-4
  • King, Stephen: On Writing – Forewards 1, 2 and 3
  • Russell, Bertrand: History of Western Philosophy – Preface and Introduction
  • Seneca: Dialogues and Essays – Introduction and Note on the Text

Reclaiming My Domain (since August 2016)

This is a post that I started writing back in 2017. I thought I should finish it off and post it for posterity. Some of these details have also been added to my about page.

rh make some noise gif

Reclaim Hosting

Back in August 2016, I moved my domain from Bluehost to Reclaim Hosting, which was co-founded by Jim Groom and Tim Owens. It grew out of the Domain of One’s Own project at The University of Mary Washington; providing space for students and educators to take control of their web presence. The migration was efficient and hassle free. A couple of issues arose as these things do and the support Reclaim provided was unparalleled.

Jim and Tim are legends and I am very happy to support their work. The ethics and aesthetics of the company chime with my own; not least due to a youth spent listening to punk and new wave. Two years on, I remain more than satisfied. Auto-updates; easy back-up and detailed documentation have allowed me to keep my various sites running with ease.

German Server

When I first signed up to Reclaim Hosting all of their servers were based in the US. As someone one who cares about privacy, I was ecstatic when I read Jim’s post: ‘Reclaiming Europe’. Jim and Tim’s success meant that they had to keep adding server space and this included the addition of their first European server in March 2017. I immediately made contact and took them up on the offer to move my domain to a Euorpean server. The server is called Kraftwerk and has been reliably serving my domain ever since.

Kraftwerk

On making this move, I realised that it had been quite some time since I had listened to everyone’s favourite German synth pioneers. I put all of their records on rotation and even made a playlist of their best material. This quickly began to punctuate my Saturday morning runs and the walk home from work.

Long Live RSS

Finally, like many of my web peers, I value open web standards; particularly RSS. In May 2017 Manton Reece and Brent Simmons released a feed format similar to RSS and Atom called JSON Feed. Based on the “developer’s choice for APIs” it “is much simpler to read and write” than XML, “and it’s less prone to bugs”.

This has been added to my blog using the WordPress Plugin giving readers an additional way to subscribe alongside the built in XML feed that comes as standard in WordPress. If you want to know more about why they created it, Manton and Brent discussed it on The Talk Show with John Gruber.

“We’re functioning automatic / And we are dancing mechanic / We are the robots”

~ Hütter, Ralf, The Robots (1978)

Make Some Noise Gif CC: Bryan Mathers (2017)

Blog Feed Update

Those of you who subscribe to this blog’s RSS feed may have noticed some strange chemistry related posts appearing in the feed. These posts were not written by me and if you navigate to jamesmichie.com/blog via the web you will not find them. I became aware of the problem a few weeks ago and have been trying to rectify it. However, this has not proved successful.

What does this mean? It means that I wil be deleting my FeedBurner feed shortly. If you wish to continue subscribing to this blog you can do so by resubscribing to the following feed address: http://jamesmichie.com/blog/feed; or you can follow me via Twitter where posts are pushed automatically.

Unfortunately, for the small number of you who subscribe via Email, I will be unable to offer this form of subscription for the foreseeable future.

[Update: 03.01.13] Email subscriptions are back up and running thanks to MailChimp’s RSS to Email feature. Click on the following link to subscribe: http://eepurl.com/tAnET.

#mainedu: An update

Having just received the marks for Module 1: School-based Enquiry (Merit) and Module 3: Developing eLearning (Distinction) of the Masters in Education I am studying towards, I felt that it was time to post an update.

Module 1: School-based Enquiry

A long and thin module that began in September and finished in June, it afforded me the opportunity to conduct a detailed classroom-based investigation. I found writing the essay to be quite difficult. With far too much to say, I felt that the resulting essay was some what disjointed. As such I feel that the garde I achieved was more a reflection of that than the actual research that I conducted. Moreover, on reflection the focus I chose for the module was perhaps too broad.

Researching into the impact Google Docs can have on formative assessment was, however, thoroughly enjoyable. It has left me convinced that Google Docs is a perfect tool to develop meaningful AfL practices with students in the Secondary English and Media Studies classrooms. Furthermore, it added validation to a number of conclusions I had already begun to make.

While the grade I achieved does not measure up to the high standards I set in Module 2 or Module 3, this unit taught me more about how to conduct effective classroom-based research and collect data than either of the other two. I believe that this learning process will stand me in good stead as I begin the preparations towards my thesis later in the year.

You can read the assignment here: Does the collaborative functionality of Google Docs allow educators to better put formative assessment at the heart of their students’ learning?

Further information about the module is available here.

Module 3: Developing eLearning

This was (perhaps unsurprisingly) the most enjoyable module of the three I undertook. It certainly played to my strengths, exploring a significant amount of material that I was already well versed in. While this could have negatively impacted on my enjoyment, it actually resulted in providing me with an opportunity to debate and test ideas that I have held for some time.

Like Module 2: Assessment for Learning, this unit ended up being quite personal, giving me the opportunity to evaluate existing practices and to challenge myself to put my money where my mouth is – considering the real benefits of using technology in the classroom. I set my stall out to challenge myself to develop a ReLP that incorporated technologies, enhancing the learning/progress of my students.

The project incorporated iPads + Garageband, Moodle and Google Docs. Writing the essay was far easier, the process of reflection and evaluation in this case was more straightforward. Moreover, learning from the School-based Enquiry, I did a better job of collating and selecting evidence to analyse.

The assignment is available to read here: Design, construct and evaluate a re-usable learning object or process that fulfils a relevant curriculum objective and responds to the learning needs of your pupils. Include a commentary to provide context and explanation of the considerations that you took into account, including relevant points from the literature. References and appendices are here.

More information about the module is available here.

Should you wish to discuss any aspect of the research that I undertook in any of the Modules I have completed, please don’t hesitate to comment below. Alternatively, you can get in touch via email or Twitter.

In the wild and extended!

Brett and David (Elastic Threads) have just released nvALT 2.1, the latest version of their Notational Velocity fork. A number of updates have been included. A particularly  useful addition is the auto-pairing of matched characters. David has also developed extensions for Chrome and Safari, enabling you to create notes from a snippet of text or a whole page.

If you’ve already been using nvALT 2.0 you can up date from within the app, if not get it here. You can read more about the updates here: nvALT 2.1 in the wild, and here: nvIt – Chrome and Safari extensions for nvALT.

If you want to know why you should be using nvALT, read this: Perfect ‘Simple’ Note Making, and this: Notational Velocity – Freedom To Write!