Friday, November 30, 2007

its building this time >> poundbury & more

I was having a look at new building/architecture thinking particularly about the strange concept of poundbury in dorset. I have an interest in that area as various family members both close and distant have lived, some living in and around the dorchester area for the last few hundred years, and probably even further back than that.

I often stop in poundbury when driving between my home in cornwall and my parents home in sussex. I used to like the idea of poundbury but recently it has become rather different as it grows, changing rather awkwardly in to any new town but still appears to pretend to be something much better almost like a film set, (just my opinion).
check poundbury tv.

however for some reason whilst looking at poundbury I clicked a link that took be to the blog 'housebuilders update'. a blog run by housebuilder's bible author mark brinkley, author and planning permission expert Ken Dijksman, & green building specialist Tim Pullen. housebuilder's update is a free service designed to provide information for housebuilders and self-builders.

I particularly liked their post on terminal 5 at heathrow airport, good stuff.

just in case you thought I had put the cheesy effects on the pictures. I didn't it was how there were on the poundbury web site.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

education >> interesting views about learning in the USA

I am a regular reader of lifejotter, the blog makes me think and I couldn't ignore their post on 'bending reality in the classroom' (in the USA).

it is a very interesting post (especially to me as teacher). I have to say on the whole I agree with the sentiment, but really believe the system as we work it in the UK (though I can only speak of the area I work within) addresses the major points the post makes.
all that said we are far from meeting the needs of the learner and constantly evaluate the way we have to understand the way people on this new age of technology learn.
it is something that has to be thought about and acted upon as the needs of the learner are constantly changing and someone who appears to be computer literate does not necessarily able to learn in a formal way and therefore their learning is not extended.

it is a bit like giving a student a very good pc/mac and expect them to be able to write or understand and fundamentals vital for their future. have a look at lifejotters blog and see what you think

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

wave forecasts >> websites >> exciting!?!

all this week people involved surfing here down in the south west have been getting excited at the swell coming through from the atlantic ocean looking to reach our shore over the weekend.
swell is predicted using advanced computer models based on the wave/weather buoys anchored offshore. it makes a fantastic image regardless of the real function of the chart.

whatever actually happens this weekend (I think is will be a couple of very stormy wet blown-out days in all but the very sheltered spots, where it could be special) the better forecast sites like magic seaweed have been creating a feel good factor amongst the surf addicted students and staff and population in the area I live. it seems that it is all people are talking about.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

ning >> the social network thing

somehow it is just be a case of 'if you can't beat them join them'. so I have been setting up a social networks for the students I teach, over the last year or so we have had much trouble with the bypassing of the educational filters using proxy servers.

so I spent ages today creating accountable areas of social network type opportunities for them using ning. hopefully whilst learning about the ever increasing uses and the obvious misuse of bebo, myspace, facebook even youtube.
we will for a short time (at least) allow them to control as well as moderate content. it is an never ending battle for which there will never be an answer just an understanding, until then the bulk of the education needs to be with the use of the powerful applications by a large number of computer literate under 20's by an often less than understanding under 50's. the power of computers in the study/work place is still to reach its height so filtering is not the answer, understanding just might be.

Monday, November 26, 2007

greener surfing >>

it is a difficult thing to reconcile surfing as a pure activity with the carbon footprint of most surf boards. it is not that easy to forget the petrol/diesel used to get to the beach and the plane trips taken by many to far away places.
at least by the look of the current charts the waves are on their way to cornwall this weekend so I will not have to travel far. it is looking pretty big.
any way this short film is a good example of what can be done as far as recycling and lessen the impact of the surfers long time environmental damage.

Friday, November 23, 2007

it's snow >> 2 years ago

two years ago this weekend we had an unusual event for this part of the country (cornwall) in that snow pretty much stopped everything. I was at work but got snowed in as the weather didn't come in until about 8.30am so others were stuck on their way to work.
it was unusual as being the warmest part of mainland uk, the mild air normally stops the snow from staying very long.
this photo is taken from my desk looking towards the sea, and even got some other pictures published by the bbc on their web site.

it was also the day that the only two snow ploughs the area of cornwall I live in skidded into each other, but that is another story.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

wild horses >> sony >> rolling stones

I have thought about posting about this for a while now. yes we all have seen the sony bravia advertisement with the play-doh bunnies in new york. and very good it is too, (fallon). even though there is a number of originality arguments (but anyway what is original?).

I have it to thank for another reason as it uses the song 'she’s a rainbow' rolling stones (1967). it made me find some of the stones music I had hidden away in my mind from my childhood & teenage years. particularly a later song from the sticky fingers album wild horses, that can make me happy and sad at the same time. so I thought I would post a mid 70's film of them playing it at knebworth house. I was not allowed to go as I was only 14 but my friend ham went. still I can watch it again & again today.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

creativity whatever that is? >>

I am not sure whether I think this is very bad or really good, or just over simplistic? that is why it is here.
I am off with that too many meetings (and talking), so not enough doing stuff mind set at the moment.

Monday, November 19, 2007

we get it wrong sometimes >>

I run a surf forecasting website surf98 for cornwall & the south coast of the UK. we have been forecasting for more than 10 years and for the most part have got it right. except for this past weekend.
I live near the beach and was well as using the various swell forecasting computer models, I normally look at the beach & sea most days. for some reason I didn't check the ocean this past sunday.
the shame is that I go surfing as well and by me not looking at the ocean instead watching the rain and then watching ben play rugby in the rain we came home missing some very good south coast surf.

I am normally obsessive about the forecast especially the local forecast area (plymouth), and I am not afraid to admit that I got it wrong it is just hard to think that I relied on just the computer models and didn't check the surf in real time.

after that mistake, I am pleased to have learnt from it and will hopefully never simply use computer models again. I love the shipping forecast and will be listening to it on radio 4 tonight before I go to sleep.

Friday, November 16, 2007

affluent surfers? >>

I noticed this story through surfhog. it seems that affluent surfers or should I say people who have decided to start surfing later in life having already made some money in working life, & are buying property in coastal areas out pricing the locals. much as it seems strange considering surfing has for a long time been associated with long haired beach bums.

the down side of it is that seemingly the better off are moving to the coast of wales to be able to go surfing. as a surfer and a resident of cornwall I can see why the idea that house prices are making it very difficult for people to afford to live by the ocean, and feel lucky to be able to do so. I think the pressure to own property especially in the uk is far too great.

house prices are still silly down here with property values having tripled in just over 10 years. I don't want to turn this into an article fit only for the daily mail (a paper I do not like), but it really is out pricing a whole layer of the local community.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

funny how the past catches up >>

today I was asked to judge a competition, and it was a very interesting job indeed.
there are a very few people who have known me a long time that may remember I was a textile designer for a time after finishing art school. of course I have continued in the design field but to be asked to judge a textile competition was something I have never done before (the only thing I have been judging lately are surfing competitions).
I had such a difficult time deciding the winners, spending more time that I had set aside but it was such good fun and I have even got some ideas of my own from it.

I haven't got any pictures of it yet but when all the entrants & winners have been told I will try to get some pictures up.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

creative >>inqbate >>celtd

today I was looking around in search of inspiration to kick start my tired teaching mind and was pleased to find inqbate.

*+to inspire and support staff and students in those subject areas which require students to understand and display “creativity”
+ to inspire and support staff and students to be more creative in their approaches to teaching and learning, across all disciplines and subject areas.

some of the thinking behind inqbate is listed below

*+ Freeing teachers and learners from the constraints of the traditional classroom. New spaces allow new behaviours and dynamics, and support the move away from classic, didatic 'chalk'n'talk-style' teaching to a more facilitative approach.
+ Providing teachers with effective tools to engage modern learners. The availability of a comprehensive range of cutting-edge technologies within a flexible space empowers teachers to construct compelling learning experiences and tailor these appropriately to changing needs.
+ Enabling teachers to enrich learning opportunities. Teachers will be able to extend the learning experience flexibly according to need through the effective use of layered learning resources where learning items are hyperlinked to deeper levels of information, further rich media resources and relevant individuals and online communities.

further to the inqbate site I was led on to cetltd, 'the centre for excellence in teaching and learning through design'

The Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning through Design is a HEFCE-funded partnership between the University of Brighton, the Royal College of Art, the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

*all copy in italics is taken directly from the relevant websites.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

800 million pound railway station >> architects

it is unusual for me to comment on a TV programme but I have just watched the first of a series of six half hour films about the the final two years work/modernisation of st pancras railway station, london.
bbc 2 @10pm each day this week timed to coincide with the opening of a faster rail link to continental europe. link found via davidthedesigner. (check out french week over on dthed)

alastair lansley, the projects chief architect is someone I admire greatly. even after only watching the first programme I feel humbled by his attention to detail and real care about the way good design works. so many of the things we do are driven by targets and budgets, whether design and now even education. it is so refreshing to see that there are still people out in the real world who care as much.
I look forward to the rest of the series.

Monday, November 12, 2007

skateboarding again >>

if you have read this blog before you will know that I have a particular interest in skateboarding and have ridden skateboards from the very early days. I have owned more than a few skateboards and still have one sitting next to me as a write.

so today was pleased to see some pictures that were emailed to luca (nearly 17) my eldest son showing gabes (14) my second eldest getting some air while street skating see below.

I have never been that good at freestyle skating preferring to skate ramps & half pipes, but I have to say street skating has always been harder (for me) anyway. perhaps it is because I like the smoothness of surfing and the crossover from surfing to riding a half pipe even a bowl is closer all the same I am impressed gabes hope you landed it!

Friday, November 09, 2007

photos >> surf & more

I think I am very lucky, I see many pictures of surfing and surfers as well as beaches and seascapes sent to me as the owner of the surf site surf98.
moby one of the sur98 team, he has posted hundreds of surfing pictures through in the last 10 or so years. very grateful I am too. I am looking forward to seeing the photos of his next trip to morocco at the end of this month. as he is experimenting with a water camera with which he has already taken and sent through some excellent pictures. I will make sure to add some moroccan picture to this blog when they come through

more great pictures have been provided by lelia maffey see pictures below and here. it is so good to have many different views of the same thing.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

surfing please...>>

it has been just one of those days when I have seem to have been very busy, but achieved very little. amongst the time spent trying to do stuff I rushed back in the hope that the weather would bring perhaps a change in the swell patterns in order to at least make plans to get in the water this weekend, but the chances of clean waves are slim in cornwall, well lots of waves but the wrong kind, looking cold and very choppy.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

design & planning >> denmark

it was while I was looking for inspiration that I found myself side tracked. I was while revisiting some textile design research online that I was led me to the web site of the danish museum of art & design. to be honest I know very little about it in fact I didn't really know of its existence until today. from my textile design past I am aware of danish fabric designers.
anyway I liked the site so decided to post something about it.

if you have some time it is well worth a look round. I was delving in to their archive looking for a particular type of printed textile design to illustrate some stuff I need for teaching with. it was worth looking as I found this and though it wasn't exactly what I wanted it made me happy.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

television >> art school

a long time ago in fact when I was completing sorry starting a foundation studies course in art & design, before going on to do a degree. I listened to the song marquee moon and album of the same name by the band television three or four times a week especially when I was working on my drawing, when I would just put it on repeat.

I have such good memories of the time and it was underlined tonight when I went in to my son luca's room to hear him listening to the same song whilst he was working on his drawing (he is currently studying for 'A' levels at college, art being one of them).

the song is so good it stands against anything from the same time even perhaps gets better with age. it is strange though how history has this habit of repeating its self.

this film is from a more recent concert (live in central park ny) . the original song is from 1977, yes I am that old! & it is only the first 3 minutes 23 seconds the original lasts 10 minutes 40 seconds.

Monday, November 05, 2007

firework night >> surfing on saturday

we had firework night sort of thing on saturday evening, after I had spent the day judging at the british nationals (kneeboard surfing) championships. it was an excellent competition with some quality surfing in good contest conditions. I was pleased to be part of it.

I like fireworks. I like surfing as well

Friday, November 02, 2007

jing >> actually useful

its not that often you find something that is useful and free, but this is a good application while I was searching for something to use in a teaching context, it seems that 'jing' could be the thing as far as screen capture.

‘jing‘ is a project from techsmith that allows you to capture stills and video from your screen and share them online, and the good thing about it is that it works on both pc and mac.

I wont give it a full seal of approval until I have tested it with a class of year 9's next week at work.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

space >> lego >> david bowie?

ben likes this, I like this, lego is so cool. mix it with david bowie well it's very interesting and good fun.