Back a work and fighting jet-lag so straight into a regional meeting about Learning & Skills in the digital age. Jointly organised by NIACE and Learning South West at their offices in Bishop Hull.

A surprisingly open and concordant day about the need for some new thinking around learning and skills and their development in the region. It was also a formal introduction to Scenario Planning from Alister Wilson from Waverley Management Consultants. The take away was a +100 report on an EU project on developing Regional Key Compentencies where these scenarios were used to good effect. Though I would question their statement on the landing page that scenarios are a “magic box” of tools, it was a fairly intense day and we only touched on the full depth of the process.

Even in the dramatically reduced time and scope afforded by such an introduction, we identified several areas where sufficient agreement existed for an argument that would be likely to result in actions and strategic plans. The final note reflected one of Alister’s opening bullet points that Scenario Planning was not about forecasting the future, but proposing plans to cope with the uncertainties inherent in the future.


Mardi Gras

21 February 2007


3 days of near constant partying! It was a general agreement that Orpheus on Monday night (images 10-14) was the best parade for night floats (but my phone camera isn’t too good at night) and that Rex (images 61-83) was the best day-time. Zulu (images 19-60) was, we think, the best for parade booty but the crowd scrummage to get a prized coconut got a little un-party like.

Having said that, the Peter Fountain’s Half-Fast Walking Jazz band yielded the best Mardi Gras medallion for Mum and the best music for everyone.

Modern Travel

16 February 2007

I haven’t visited the US since 9/11 so the next couple of days are being approached with a degree of scepticism, I’m spending Mardi Gras with my sister in New Orleans.

The last time I flew was to Glasgow and that practically involved a full body search, so not really looking forward to this. Having checked the Gatwick website it’s obviously a very hazardous way to travel with imminent risk of death from rabid terrorists intend on death by toothpaste or baby milk (actually that does sound rather nasty).

Anyhow, lets see how things play out. Should get some new sporks on Platial and hopefully we’ll have home wifi so I can keep my phone sync’d without incurring roaming charges!

Microformats, eh?

14 February 2007

I seem to be spending quite a bit of time ‘outside my comfort zone’ as Common Purpose would put it. Last night was a return to some geek heritage with the SkillSwap event on Microformats. Video should be online soon.

Thanks to Knowledge West (an innovation between the 6 Higher Education Institutes in the area) for the room and to ChinWag for the beer!

Tim Beadle from IoP was the expert explaining and navigating us through microformats and a live demo of how they could be used. In the event there was plenty of expertise within the audience and several times the demo became a joint editing and learning exercise.

Whenever there is a ‘standard’ or meta-code proposed (I remember some of the early work that was going on in the late 90’s on the Semantic Web) the experts rarely agree on the tags. This seems to have emerged from a defacto standard around iCards and iCal. There are a whole bunch of other microformats (including ones for social networks) which is good to see. This more pragmatic approach, plus obvious user benefits of easy(ish) capturing of contact and event info for your personal calendar etc looks like a winner. The inclusion of social networking demonstrates that the formats are being driven by the consumer and web2.0 agenda (which isn’t to say that’s a bad thing).

It will be interesting to watch and see if emerging formats develop for education2.0

Fresh Start

13 February 2007

Well, early at least. Having read a couple of recent posts about the benefits of early morning starts, I’m trying it for a while.
I’m not going to be working but rather reading blogs, news, hopefully making some useful comments and writing more here.

The fun continues

6 February 2007

Mid-week, separated by 130 miles but chatting on video Skype and swapping files still.
Actually just dropped Skype so I can listen to Craig Charles whilst making some edits.
Really need to spend a bit of time reviewing stuff that’s going on in the wider world. I guess setting some time aside each week to write something from a considered perspective rather than ramblings…

Modern Life

1 February 2007

So I’m in the lounge, surfing the web, catching up on some RSS feeds via Google Reader, keeping an eye on email etc via Outlook (sync’d with the office via VPN over the wifi) and the girlfriend is in the front room with CSI on the TV while drafting her latest research abstract (something complex about pharmachology and clinical prescribing).
We’re swapping versions back through msn messenger’s shared folder and Word’s track changes. Actually, I’m just making gramatical and readability comments but it spreads the sense of shared work load.
Which is all a distinct improvement on most Thursday evenings when we’d normally be in different cities playing backgammon or checkers over video Skype. The joy of taking a day off work and spending it with loved ones.
Then again I was a business related project building meeting this morning and another one tomorrow morning, in the modern ‘knowledge economy‘ you’re never really on holiday unless you can truely get away from all connectivity!

winter escape!

Originally uploaded by Khairul..