So my New Years Resolution was to write on here each week and last week I broke it, but I had a good reason; after what seems like an age I suddenly found myself with two job interviews within a week.
Sunday was an evening spent in preparation having only got a break down of the sample lesson to teach and the order of the day late on Friday.
Taking an objective straight from the Draft PoS for ICT my lesson was to ‘Reflect on personal, social, economic and ethical impact of technology’, the lesson was really just to get the pupils to graffiti down their own thoughts on various topics and then to share ideas and opinions. The Year 7s loved it and their responses, from all, were wildly thought out and gave a good account of their opinions.
Thats the good part of the day, the rest didn’t really go anywhere and despite some positive comments I found myself, along with four others, not being short listed at lunch, extremely interesting as technically if was for my job in a different school.
Thursday was a totally different kettle of fish and was thoroughly enjoyable, which is mad really as the day was taken up with four separate interviews, a data exercise and a presentation.
Again at lunch short listing took place, and again I found myself and another candidate being taken to a different room, immediately thinking we were about to be told to leave we were both amazed to find out that the pair of us would make it through to the next state.
Although the other candidate ended up getting it it was fantastic to get that far, it was the first time I’d been on a Assistant Principal/Headteacher interview, and it’s certainly put me in the right frame of mind to get on a find something.
So a busy week, which looks like it could get busier next weekend.
…even after all these years.
It’s been a relatively slow week this week, snow has all but gone now and the nursery is virtually finished so just waiting for the arrival.
Today we’ve been to the cinema to see Les Misérables, I’m not going to write about that but suffice to say it is a masterpiece and one that certainly needs to be seen on the big screen in all its grandness.
What I am going to talk about is the visit to the cinema; there is still something I find really special about going there to see a film. I can’t really put my finger on it I just love the whole experience.
My first ever visit was to see Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark back in 1981. I was 6 years old and it was an exceptionally unusual day as my dad was home from work and he was taking me out. This never happened unless I was being taken along to see Port Vale play football or being dragged along to the pub/club while he played bingo.
This was different; this was special
The cinema was the old ABC in Hanley (if you are really interested in the cinemas of Stoke you might want to try my Uncles book Lost Empire: Picture Houses of the Potteries and Newcastle-under-Lyme by Barry Blaize), I can remember seeing the poster for the film al over the front and inside the cinema and having seen a brief trailer at home I was really excited.
As we entered I began nagging my dad to sit on the front row so we could see the film, which he reluctantly agreed to but he drew the line at letting me have an ice cream from the seller at the front.
Once the film started that was it, I was hooked, engrossed, catapulted to somewhere else.
Watching the film recently I’m shocked at how mature, story driven and violent it actually is; I’m sure my parents didn’t realise especially with the whole face melting scene at the end.
From that first visit I was just hooked on going the cinema whether it be with friends, family or by myself; I don’t sit on the front row anymore and my desire for ice cream has been surpassed with wanting nachos but each time I go I still get a genuine buzz of the whole experience.
And now with the added 3D element of the movies the cinema experience is magical in a completely different way.
I’ve already taken the little man to the cinema, we went to see The Muppets a while back, and I hope he develops a love for going there as I did.
I can’t wait to see another film on the big screen.
Four letters to strike fear, it would seem, into almost every human being.
For me, thank god it came otherwise my New Years resolution of writing something on here weekly would have been broken.
I like the snow, it doesn’t offend me in any way.
Yes it’s cold, yes it’s wet and soaks you right through, and yes dirty snow looks just plain wrong, but when you are sitting in your nice warm house with a drink, whatever your tipple, and you look out at the snow falling and decorating the hedges and trees outside there is something just very special about it.
Even on Friday when I travelled to work in it and then took an almost 3 hour journey back in the snow, the pic is the traffic I was in, I was still never frustrated or angry with the snow, I just wanted to get back and go straight out in it, which is what I did.
So my weekend has consisted of snowball fights, sledging and snow man building and to be fair I’m still not bored of the snow.
Roll on more of the white stuff I say.
So during Christmas I imposed a ban on my social feeds just to give me a break from it; generally it was quite good, still managed to stalk people just to see what was going on. But now it’s over it’s time to write about Christmas for me and what to expect in the New Year.
Both Christmas and New Year were relatively quiet this year with the Wife being 8 months pregnant, we can’t really party like we used to and with having a 3 year old bouncing around the place for Santa, Christmas is all about the kids.
For a gamer Christmas is a great time to not only receive some pretty decent high profile games but to also pick up a few in the sales.
For me this year, with my limited gaming time, I’ve been surprised and impressed by Hitman Absolution and FarCry 3.
At the moment Hitman seems to be the game that is taking up all of my time, not necessarily rushing to complete it been taking my time and enjoying the game and I’ve not really done that since Batman Akham City.
FarCry 3 has only really been on once as it seems to require a mammoth about of time to explore and invest in upgrades so ill wait for a bit before moving on to it.
Films are also high on anyone’s list at Christmas, and especially for me with my B’Day being just 10 days after, so during the period managed to fit in Ted and The Dark Knight Rises and still have the Indiana Jones box set to start on.
For the New Year obviously it’s going to be all about the new baby; finally pulled my finger out today and got paint to make a start on the Nursery, with only 7 weeks to go its all getting a bit urgent now.
Finally, I do need to make an effort to blog more this year, at least once a week, so that’s my New Years Resolution. Whether its just a few rambling sentences or a coherent dissection of life – once a week it is.
Until next week.
In the past I’ve debated on here whether to buy an iPad or not, I didn’t in the end I bought a new mountain bike, but I’m still using the schools iPad.
I’ve always wondered if an iPad would be a a benefit to teaching or not. I couldn’t really imagine a class of pupils using iPads during a lesson just because of the restrictions of software but for the teacher I also wondered if it could be useful.
Just after the Easter break I got an Apple Digital AV Adapter which allowed me to display the iPad screen through the projector in my room. It was great and gave an idea of the possibilities. The downside was that it was only a few inches long which meant I was still stuck at the front of the classroom.
I wanted something more, I wanted to be able to walk around the classroom and share the iPad with the pupils without being restricted to being at my desk. I always knew it was possible to AirPlay some parts of the iPad through an Apple TV but didn’t really know if I could do the whole thing. Quick search on Google and Apple gave me the answer that it could.
I’ve had the Apple TV now for around two weeks and it’s great. Luckily my projector has a HDMI port so it was ridiculously simple to set up. Quick plug in, cycle through the set up options and there it was within minutes, the ability to AirPlay the iPad, and my iPhone, on the projector.
The more I use the iPad and the Apple TV together the more I’m really discovering what to do with it. Initially I was using it just to demonstrate work set using our VLE, such things as what the task was, course specifications; all good and I could do it from anywhere in the room, to be fair I could do it from anywhere within the school as long as I got a signal.
I’ve branched out a bit by taking screenshots of task or specifications and annotating them on the screen while talking to the pupils, which has allowed me to answer direct questions and leave advice on the board for all to see.
The next logical step was sharing of the pupils work; using the camera I could move around the classroom and demonstrate pupils work to the whole class. Suddenly it quickly allowed collaboration on a completely different scale. A good piece of work would give the class an indication of what direction they needed to progress in, or a innovative idea could lead to class discussions as to what could be done further.
Probably the best use at the moment for me has been the taking of snapshots of pupils work and annotating on them directly for others to see. This meant that it allowed me to direct the way in which work was progressing giving pointers to the class.
It’s a fascinating way of immediately giving feedback to a class for all of them to see. It’s really boosting collaboration and showcasing pupils work in a different light.
The next step now for me is to get the the senior leadership team on board, I want them to see how this simple idea of showing work and teaching from anywhere in the classroom can have a real positive impact on how pupils view there work.
The only downside has been the fact my finger is useless for annotating, I can’t write with it. It’s only minor but my handwriting is shocking normally but now it seems somewhat worse. Next investigation will be into a pen device I can use with the iPad.
I’ll write more as it goes.
So last week saw the sad news of the GAME group going into administration, for gamers it wasn’t really a shock as news break weeks/months ago that it was looking doubtful to survive.
As a gamer I’m sad to see the demise of the shop, and the poor people who have lost their jobs, but what worries me more is the fact that this now pushes gaming away from public light.
For years gaming was been viewed as something that a small few engaged in but with GAME shops appearing all over the country, games and gamers profiles were elevated to being in the public eye.
I’ve been playing games now for over 27 years and over that time I’ve bought games in a variety of shops. In the early days I remember buying games on tape from Boots, costing between £2.99 and £9.99. I think it was around four years later before the first shop to actually just sell just video games opened. This shop was quite small with the walls plastered with video games but in the basement were several arcade machines that resulted in gamers not only spending time discussing games but also spent time trying to out do each other on their latest arcade offerings.
I don’t really remember the shop lasting to long by the time it disappeared we’d all moved on to visiting the computer club at the YMCA. This club was great for teenagers with no money but shockingly bad for the games industry. We went to the club every Monday night with handfuls of floppy disks and en spent the evening persuading all the club attendees to copy games for us. All the latest games were there, immediately as soon as released and we got to play them all, and occasionally we even learnt how to hack our own games and copy them, using early versions of x-copy.
By the time this had run its course, and piracy of video games became big news, another small local shop had opened again with a basement with the latest arcades in there. I remember this shop only lasting a few months really, mainly because it was huge but only really had a handful of games, and because the owners themselves happily pirated games if you got chatting to them.
It was probably at this time that GAME made an appearance and suddenly I could buy games anywhere and even more importantly I could trade old games in for new ones. At this particular time I suppose I took it for granted, and to be fair I still did until the news of administration came out, new games were everywhere, cheap preowned games meant more accessibility to games I missed.
Thinking of my gaming future, I’m not quite sure where I’m going to be buying my games from, or where I’ll trade in my old games. Buying online seems the better options but I’ll miss the banter and the chatter from just walking into a GAME shop and talking to like minded individuals. I’m also going to miss just gaming being in the public eye and feel sorry for any younger gamers who rely on shops like GAME to advise their parents oasis to what to buy.
RIP GAME, you will be missed.