Thursday, October 23, 2008

Social networking and students
We talked a lot during Bill's visit about how we manage our online identities. I was saying that I have a Facebook page under my other identity and that several of our students and past students have asked me to be their Facebook friends. I usually say yes, but as a result am very careful how I use my Facebook profile - it has no reference to this blog, for example. The extremes of such staff-student engagement in social networking were made clear in this story which Bill emailed me. The discussion about it on Digg is interesting- most people seem clear that the issue here is about how we maintain professional boundaries rather than the technology itself. So often people seem to muddle the act of engaging in social networking/Web 2.0 type activity with what we do with it, which is surely what really matters..

Find me now.. how does this feel?
Yesterday Bill Thompson came to the Bearpit and gave a really interesting talk on staying human in this digital age. He mentioned that now have a new thing called Radar- this can tell you your location (okay, I know, you're thinking 'but I'd know that..' ) then tell you the five nearest hotels.. and soon, nearest restaurants etc.. this got us thinking about how we would feel about that but of course I had to go and have a play. it is pretty accurate- in London more so but even here it got me to the right city.. though its choice of the 5 hotels was a tad unexpected. See what you think..

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Today is Blog Action Day for Poverty so I am making the effort to post.. this is very timely as on Monday we launched our Centre for Education for Social Justice with no less a person than Tony Benn as speaker, which was not only very exciting but just plain dead good- as SimplyClare would say, well to the jay bad. He spoke for just around 20 minutes so he could take questions for a good half hour, which he did really well, and we had loads of people from all kinds of backgrounds and political persuasions there who we hope will now engage with us and the Centre. One thing he said which is particularly relevant if we are to actually do anything about poverty was that one definition he had heard of apathy was to vote all your life in every local and national election but to do nothing else to make a difference..

The Centre is an attempt to engage theory with practice and thus to improve life and life chances for people in Lincolnshire, where poverty is a key factor - low wages, low skills and terrible road infrastructure making it hard to move for education or better jobs, tensions around community cohesion and the migrant workforce who often are not in good working environments themselves and are not always paid a living wage. You get the picture.. so I'm happy to post as part of this huge worldwide action day..

Driving home tonight from a talk for the local British Federation of Women Graduates, many of whom graduated at least as long ago as I did if not longer, I overheard a quote on the radio - something to the effect that 'chance favours the well prepared'. Those of us who have had the luck to get a decent education have in that sense been well prepared and are maybe more able as a result to spot a life chance and take it.. if our Centre helps even one more person in Lincolnshire feel well prepared for the chances of life that would feel pretty good.

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