Thursday 11 October 2018

Authentic Video is the New Language of Learning

Read about how DLA's presentation on authentic video for ELT packed out at ITEFL in Poland

Friday 27 April 2018

Award Winners

We won the LoS Award last night but the highlight has to have been a hug from the legendary Floella Benjamin and then she announced to the audience that I was "a great hugger". I prefer "hugger" to "bugger" which I have to admit I have been called in the past!

Wednesday 25 April 2018

The Best TV Series Ever

An education video produced by my company DLA has been nominated for a Learning On Screen Award. The ceremony is tomorrow so I am busy dusting off the old tuxedo and looking forward to a great evening at the BFI in London.

I am delighted because the video is based on footage from the greatest TV series ever to be made in the UK - Michael Apted’s Up Series, produced from 1964 and still going now. Very little in the world of film and TV has as much to say about the human condition and even fewer works say it so well. It is unique.

I was lucky enough to have some inspired and inspiring teachers at my secondary school who showed us the first three instalments of Up (7, 14, 21) as a part of what was then known as Community Education. It is one of the stand-out moments of my entire school career. The films (I seem to remember they were shown to us from a 16mm projector) and class discussions afterwards are some of the fondest memories I share with my old Clevedon Comprehensive School mates whenever we meet. I think we all try to catch up - every 7 years - with the lives of the Up generation. The Up participants feel like friends, they are part of our circle. I feel like saying the “Us Series”.


Saturday 31 March 2018

Thursday 29 March 2018

Bye bye Facebook


I will be deleting my Facebook account soon. It has been pretty dormant for a while and the only reason I haven't done it earlier is sloth.

I am not unduly bothered by the Cambridge Analytica business. I went into my faustian data pact with the folk at Menlo Park with my eyes wide open.

No I fell out of love with Facebook some time ago and I don't want that sentiment to cause me to fall out of love with some of the people I am connected to on the FB platform.  Social media naturally affects our psychologies, we can't escape that. But there is something about the personas FB encourages us to project that is particularly icky. I saw it in myself and didn't like it. I stopped posting. Many parts of our lives are edited before sharing - usually just to cut out the boring bits and attempt to create a little meaning. But the FB life edits create a Stepford Wives version of happiness, fulfilment or success. "Connection" - the company's mantra -  is not an end in itself, it is not a value free proposition. I value meaningful connection. Hugely. But showing me your dinner or your location at an airport or bar is not my sort of meaningful connection.

I don't want to blame anyone for how this experiment with virtual autobiography is turning out. It has been virgin territory for us all. I am still fascinated by the way different cultures around the world behave when presenting themselves on social media. I still, and will continue to, value the direct and instant peer to peer contact social media enables by voice, text, image or video. The key piece there though is the peer-to-peer, one-to-one bit. It's targeted. It's a real conversation based on mutual interests. It's what we, as humans, do best.