New Generation Learning Conference, Dalarna University 2012

February 28, 2012

The NGL Conference came to an end on Thursday with some final presentations and a closing debate.

Rosamund Sutherland and Ton de Jon were the main presenters on the day. One subject that Rosamund Sutherland and many others took up was that of the digital tools that are used during instruction and the importance of using them in the correct way.

“Developing these in a professional manner is key… Many teachers don’t actually know how they should use the tools,” stated Rosamund Sutherland.

Lots to gain from using digital equipment

That there is a lot to gain from using digital equipment is clear to Rosamund. In her main subject area, mathematics, digital equipment is not used as much as it is in many other subjects.

“It has a great potential that is not being made best use of in England.”


There were many positive thoughts about online learning at the NGL Conference. However, there was also an element of criticism. In the final discussion, the commercial aspect of digitalised learning was brought up and the risk of companies developing software that is not even necessary and that costs upon purchase and then as a result of future support services.

Andrew Casson, Director of Education and Research at Dalarna University, stated that staff must be educated so that they are able to identify what is required and consequently avoid making the mistake of purchasing unnecessary software.

Terry Andersson felt that the purchase of commercial products was a natural development.

“Previously, we have invested a great deal of money in, for example, libraries. This is a natural process. It’s business, and it will continue to be business,” he stated.

I was interviewed by Alastair Creeland on my paper on the use of learning platforms. You can hear it at


2011 in review

January 1, 2012

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,500 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Programme for Digital Ethics Symposium, Loyola University, Chicago

October 26, 2011

Subversive Uses of the Web
Instrumental Play, or the Moral Risks of Gamification
Miguel Sicart, IT University of Copenhagen

The Ethics of Sexting:Issues Involving Consent and the Production of Intimate Content
Jo Ann Oravec, University of Wisconsin at Whitewater

Griefing through the virtual world: The moral status of griefing
Roland Wojak, Colorado State University

Permissible Piracy?
Brian Carey, University of Manchester

Legionnaires of Chaos: “Anonymous” and governmental oversight of the Internet
Alex Gekker, Utrecht University

Ethics, Research & Privacy

Ethics of e-Research
Sally Wyatt, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences

Research Ethics in the 2.0 Era: Conceptual Gaps for Ethicists, Researchers, IRBs
Michael Zimmer, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Protecting participants in private digital publics: Considerations for the ethics of fabrication
Annette Markham, Aarhus University, Denmark

Bridging the distance: removing the technology buffer and finding consistent ethical analysis in computer security research
Katherine Carpenter, University of Denver
David Dittrich, University of Washington

Citizenship, Journalism & Public Talk

Shaping our Shadow
Erin B. Reilly, Annenberg Innovation Lab

What Makes a Public Figure a Public Figure? And Other Ethical Issues Related to Reasonable Expectations of Online Privacy
Vanessa P. Dennen & Jennifer B. Myers, Florida State University

Disclosing material connections online: Legal and ethical issues
David Kamerer, Loyola University Chicago

Ethics of Citizen Journalism Sites
Jessica Roberts and Linda Steiner. University of Maryland

Philosophical Considerations

Privacy, the Self and New Media
Charles Ess, Aarhus University

Could and Should the Ought Disappear from Ethics?
Anthony F. Beavers, University of Evansville

What Makes a Public Figure a Public Figure? And Other Ethical Issues Related to Reasonable Expectations of Online Privacy
Vanessa P. Dennen & Jennifer B. Myers, Florida State University
Identity and the Web of Information: A Look at Mug Shot Mania in Digital Media.
Sokthan Yeng and Mark Grabowski, Adelphi University

Pituitary Foundation

August 26, 2011

As you may be aware, one of our sons Christopher was born with Panhypopituitarism. This is a condition in which a small part of the brain (the pituitary gland) is either absent or doesn’t work properly. It is a serious condition which if not managed properly, can be fatal. Those with this disorder are on a lifetime regime of daily tablets and injections, with close monitoring by endocrine specialists.

Claire and I are members of the Pituitary Foundation, a charity that provides support to patients living with pituitary disorders. On the 4th September, I am taking part in a sponsored walk in Cambridge to raise money for the Foundation. If you were able to sponsor a small amount it would be most appreciated. If you would like to help, please drop me an email ( your name, address and postcode (if you would us to claim Gift Aid on your behalf) along with the amount you might like to sponsor us for. We will contact you after the event to collect the sponsorship money.

Many thanks

The Reflexive Teacher

May 5, 2011

Presentation from the Teacher Leader Induction Day Sheffield Hallam University. Download from  Reflexive Teacher

Digital Indigestion

February 22, 2011

About 12 years ago, an event occurred in my personal life that changed everything dramatically. The details are not important but the net result was that I lost nearly all my stuff. Except for my clothes, some CDs, a lot of books and various bits of ephemera. The event was traumatic and changed my life considerably. On the bright side, it resulted in a new, streamlined me. A thinner, more economical, sleeker and low-maintenance version of myself that revelled in a new asceticism. Never, I swore would I accumulate stuff again. Unnecessary baggage.

Ha. Fat chance. 12 years on and I have more stuff than ever. Too much stuff. I put it down partially to my slightly obsessive personality. Music for example. My iPod, which started off with a modest collection of some 500 tunes now has over 20,000 pieces of music on it. I mean, what’s the point? I might as well listen to the radio as use the shuttle function. And when you get a collection that large it becomes impossible to choose. It’s like a wine list that’s too long. In the end, you throw your arms in the air, shut your eyes and point at random. My Kindle is the same. Swollen with hundreds of free ‘classics’. It has become increasingly hard to choose what to read. My television has over 1000 channels. I cannot choose what to watch. My listening, reading and watching habits have been sabotaged by too much choice which is really no choice at all. In desperation I turn to the Internet and type ‘cats’ into Google. I receive 100 million pages to choose from.

There is no alternative. I put the iPod on shuffle, read two pages from each of the squillion books on the Kindle, whilst simultaneously surfing the web, browsing the television and for good measure checking Facebook and Twitter. Oh, and a quick burst of COD. But something is missing. Oh, yes. I need to do my homework too. Just as well I can multitask. Or not.

Life and Death

February 2, 2011

It is old age, rather than death, that is to be contrasted with life. Old age is life’s parody, whereas death transforms life into a destiny: in a way it preserves it by giving it the absolute dimension. Death does away with time.- Simone du Beauvoir

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