Thoughts on teaching, technology, learning and life in an era of change.

Archive for April, 2008

Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
April 24th, 2008

I finally purchased Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ latest album, Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! It has been out since March. I was waiting until I knew I could sit down and simply listen. Here I am sat, next to the cat, alone and free of disturbance. Tracks on the album remind me of the Mercy Seat, Tupelo and songs from Abattoir Blues. Some of the tracks simply rock while others stroll languidly along with a sideways glance across the street if you follow.

Photography by Lilith Delilah

I admire Nick Cave. He is an independent beast with a considerable intellect. His lecture series on the Secret Life of the Love Song provide insights for students and songsmiths alike.

Other albums I recommend by Cave if you wish to give him a listen include The Boatman Calls, Nocturama, The Lyre of Orpheus and No More Shall We Part. A couple of my favourite tracks include Into My Arms, Breathless and Red Right Hand.


Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds
Nick Cave Online 

Wikipedia entry: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Photograph by Lilith Delilah.  Adelaide, 2007. Some rights reserved.
Now playing, and dedicated to Clay Burell: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – We Call Upon The Author
via FoxyTunes

Read~write web workshop marks the end of a busy week
April 20th, 2008

Friday saw my last workshop for this current excursion up to Singapore. It has been a busy week with workshops and presentations on each of the five days. The last workshop which was conducted in the School of Computer Engineering multimedia lab #3 at NTU covered blogs, wikis and podcasts. The tools we explored included WordPress, PBWiki, Audacity and Propaganda.

It was a hectic workshop as problems with WordPress slowed us down during the first half of the day. Why is the WordPress server so slow I ask? The PBWiki and podcast publishing functioned at lightning speeds given the 100mbps broadband connection in the lab. WordPress was sluggish. Pathetically slow. I switched across to Blogger at one point and its server was fast. No more WordPress workshops for me in future.

Participants from Nanyang Technological University, the National Institute of Education, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore Polytechnic and Marsiling Secondary School attended the workshop. It was an eclectic group of participants.

During the course of the week I had two loyal participants that attended nearly all my workshops at NTU this week… Ms Teo Juin Ee, a teaching fellow of the Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Academic Group at the National Institute of Education attended three of my sessions. As well, Mr Chang Boon Hai, Chief Information Officer at Singapore Polytechnic and Director of the Department of Computer & Information Systems at Singapore Polytechnic attended four of my sessions during the week. I feel honoured and also proud to share with educators of the calibre of Juin Ee and Boon Hai.

Mr Chang Boon Hai and myself

Ms Teo Juin Ee and myself

 The workshop moved along gradually during the day as I juggled with the temperamental WordPress server and a stomach-ache caused by a mix of Yakult and a roti-prata with curry combination. Please avoid the combination at all costs. It was as if I had a miniature volcanic experiment within my stomach. I am sure the rumblings within set off some seismic equipment within the Asia-Pacific region.

[You may note I am becoming reluctant to utilise the term Web 2.0. I think its currency is about to expire. I prefer to utilise the terminology read-write web. It seems to be a more appropriate descriptor. There is already a Classroom 3.0 Ning group. I just joined. Goodness gracious me. ]

When it rains, it pours!
April 19th, 2008

During the course of this week in Singapore I have experienced some rather impressive thunderstorms and downpours. I captured a few of the moments on my trusty little camera while walking around Nanyang Technological University where I have been conducting a series of workshops and a presentation.

The rain is pelting down

The drains are pushed to the max

Drenching rains and running drains

Read~write web workshop at Hwa Chong Institution
April 19th, 2008

Last Thursday afternoon, after taking a taxi ride from the Singapore Airlines Training Centre to Bukit Timah Road, Singapore, I conducted a presentation and workshop at the Hwa Chong Institution in Singapore. The Hwa Chong Institution is a centre of learning excellence that evolved from a merger between the prestigious Chinese High School and the equally famous Hwa Chong Junior College. I felt quite honoured to receive an invitation from Jasmine Tey to conduct the workshop. We had met following my presentation at Nanyang Technological University last February.

Jasmine Tey, centre, and some of her colleagues following the workshop

I covered such points as the evolution of the read~write web and the fact that the Internet allows for participation. We are no longer consumers but producers. We are no longer simply passengers along for the ride on the Internet. We are now guides and even drivers.

During the workshop…

We had a hands-on session with WordPress and we looked at a few other tools such as Twitter and As I have blogged elsewhere, I am not too impressed with some of the new design aspects of the WordPress look and feel, the slow WordPress host server and the fact that javascript is no longer welcome.

A teacher and his students preparing for an event

Following the workshop I took the opportunity to photograph some of the activities around the Institution. It is an amazing campus. Inspiring in fact. Jasmine and the team at Hwa Chong Institution took great care of me during the afternoon. They were all excellent hosts and I felt most welcome. It was a most valuable experience to visit and present at the Institution.

Students hard at work in their own time following school

Practising for a comedy sketch

Honour rolls and the school vision statement

Presentation at Singapore Airlines Training Centre
April 19th, 2008

Last Thursday  morning I conducted a two hour presentation~workshop at the Singapore Airlines Training Centre, the home of the world famous Singapore Girl where the newly recruited attendants are trained. When I had worked at ICUS eLearning I had led the design for some eLearning materials for Singapore Airlines. The online courses had covered areas such as ticketing procedures and cargo handling.

Staff of the SIA Training Centre

I worked with Line Yeo, an instructional designer and senior officer with Singapore Airlines, during the development of the online courses. I first met Lina following a presentation I gave to a post-graduate class of Masters’ students in Instructional Design at the National Institute of Education, Singapore, back in July 1999. She was a member of the class which was taught by Dr Cheung Wing Sum. Wing had also taught me at the University of Wollongong during my own Masters’ Degree in 1994.

Staff of the SIA Training Centre

Lina caught my presenatation at NTU last February and asked if I could repeat the presentation for her colleagues at the SIA Training Centre. I adapted the presentation and materials to focus on the corporate sector. The presentation considered how SIA could deploy social networking tools within its various divisions and scattered international offices to develop collaborative communities. We also looked at how other airlines, such as SouthWest Airlines are using tools such as blogs and even Twitter to reach out to its customers.

Staff of the SIA Training Centre

Following the presentation I had a chat with staff and shared stories of my times in Singapore and experiences on their aircraft. I quite enjoyed the chat and it certainly raised some very sentimental and nostalgic moments for myself. I have lost count of the number of times I have flown with SIA. I am most fortunate indeed. We then retired to the canteen for morning tea. Trainees and staff were present and I grabbed the chance to take some photographs.

Relaxing in the canteen

The training centre’s canteen ~ note how the food stalls deploy SIA’s trademark font

Newly recruited SIA flight attendants ~ future Singapore Girls

Flight engineers relaxing in the canteen

The wonderful staff at Singapore Airlines, in particular Khee Boon, Linda, Catherine and also Lina, took excellent care of me during the visit. I really felt quite at home there. Everyone was courteous, friendly and very helpful.