Spring forward, fall back

conker.jpgThe UK falls back to GMT today. We gained an hour in bed this morning but will lose an hour this evening. It's now just after 5pm and it's dark already. In a week it'll be bonfire night and then we'll be counting down the days until Christmas. Oh yeah, and it's Halloween tonight too. How could I forget, we've just had our first trick or treaters.

Blogging may be bad for your career

Ellen Simonetti aka Queen of the Sky has lost her job because of posting to her weblog. It was allegedly because she posted pictures of herself in her work uniform and presumably her employer didn't like that kind of publicity. Although this is the first example that I've seen of someone losing their job because of their weblog, I expect it won't be the last. As employers begin to realize that their employees are publishing comments about their work to a wider audience, including potential customers and competitors, then we can expect them to be developing anti-blogging policies. Just as it took a while for the publishing industry to realize the extend of music sharing using P2P technology before it began to act, so businesses are slowly realizing that their employees are writing about their work online. It's naive to think that all employers will embrace the data mining or knowledge management potential of their employees by encouraging weblogs. In many cases weblogs will be perceived, rightly or wrongly, as a threat. How they respond to that threat may have important implications for many webloggers.

John Peel

John_Peel.jpgJohn Peel has died. It's a total shock. He was perhaps the most influential person in UK music having been personally responsible for breaking so many important and influential bands and showcasing new music. He has educated a generation of music lovers. Like so many others my own personal taste in music has been hugely influenced by his eclectic playlists. Much of the music I still treasure and bands who's music I most admire were discovered by listening to his shows. His voice is so familiar it's difficult to imagine not hearing it again. A truly sad day and a great loss to music.

It's official – social interaction enhances learning

Sometimes basic research is needed to confirm what you thought you knew all along. The BBC is running an interesting report from the Institute of Education in London confirming a few suspicions about the importance of social interaction in learning, particulalry interaction with a teacher. Although the report focuses on school kids I think it's likely there's something in there for education at all levels and to be honest the overall message will be a familiar one to many.

“A focus on content delivery, tests and targets in secondary schools interferes with learning, young people say. Research involving children in the second year of secondary school suggests they regard the social aspect of school as highly valuable. Researcher Eileen Carnell, from the Institute of Education in London, said this could be used better to develop collaborative learning.”

The BBC's write-up of the report is largely a good read but I'm not entirely convinced by the closing statement.

“The new focus on 'assessment for learning' could help – but only if the emphasis is on learning and not 'performing', test results or levels of ability.”

The assessment for learning referred to is likely this strategy for 3-14 year olds from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA). Assessment and in particular formative assessment is important but I've never been in a meeting where someone's complained that learners today are underassessed.