Monday, 31 March 2008

Dome but not forgotten. . .

Excited to be finally (after three weekends of storms) sailing the boat back down the Thames and off to the East Coast. Passing the Dome brought back floods of memories of our Tesco SchoolNet 2000 (the then Guinness Records holder largest Internet learning project in the world) and all the fun we had together building the Learn Zone in the Dome for the Millennium (and what a party that was on New Millennium's Eve!). Above all else I remember how proud the huge numbers of children were to showcase their remarkable work IN the Dome.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Spiral stairs

OK, just one last image from inside Tower Bridge since these are views I guess not many people are lucky enough to see. This is how you get up to the upper storey.

It was quite interesting carrying a full camera and audio outside broadcast set of kit - tripods, lights, reflectors and all...

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Sent to the Tower

...and just to give you an idea of what it is like inside the North tower of Tower Bridge, here it is - all a mass of beams and structure - and how high is that ceiling? Amazing that it was all driven by water power - artesian power - until the 1970s. See more of the inside by watching the podcast videos from our horizon scanning charrettes inside the bridge - get them from the usual website.

This weekend, weather willing, we will be sailing Cracker back from her winter berth at the St Katherine Docks to the East Coast where she will become a raceboat once again (no doubt to her great relief).

Photos no doubt to follow...

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Another day at the office?

Sitting sipping a hot choc on the Thames north bank waiting to start day two of our charrette on cognition and cognitive enhancemewt held in Tower Bridge again - it's sunny and I'm reading 'Design like you give a Damn' ("Google it...". . . )

And I was thinking about the design challenge of Kurdish schools and the contrast between that and the wealth of the City of London.

It's a time, isn't it, to reflect on just how much we night do with learning in a world that could and should offer learners more than ever. Hmmm. Happy Easter

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Oo er

The City of London is earning SO much money but the moment - even as the world economy teeters perilously - that walking through the City it often seems as though everyone is in a hurry to rebuild everything. The Leadenhall Building is a case in point, nestling between the Swiss Re building (the Gherkin) and the stock exchange. The have demolished all the lower stories leving the lift and stairs but left the top intact! Yikes!!

Interestingly I'm now being asked how to make corporate space into Learning space so that the scarce bright new recruits stay a little longer and companies can encourage ingenuity rather than compliance. It's not just schools that are dumping cells bells and corridors. Hope they understand this in the City or they'll have to knock it all down again!

Monday, 10 March 2008

Erm. . .

Here in Washington there is palpable excitement about (just maybe) moving learning forward post Bush - after some bleak years. Education is not an election issue here - so few voters have school age kids these days - but this is good fortune because it means that none of the contenders are making fatuous promises.

There is no doubt - and good evidence - that the US's "No child left behind" has been an unmitigated disaster - as near as I've lately seen to a kind of mass national economic suicide. So there is a hunger for change after Bush. And by the way, a view put to me over dinner last night (Tapas) was that the troubles the country now finds itself embroiled in are a clear measure of how education needs reforming - a complete lack of ANY understanding of geography or history is being blamed for Iraq!

Mind you, in amongst the election badges the shops are selling I found this slightly alarming talking Bush doll/Action Man (with matching Laura Bush too if desired!). As the box says, you just push a button to hear those "familiar phrases"! Which presumably triggers some kind of random word sequencer - rather like the real thing! I struggled with the idea of what "familiar phrases" a toy Gordon Brown, or for that matter Dmitry Medvedev, might utter, if pushed. The mind boggles...

Friday, 7 March 2008

Clotted Cream. . .

. . . which is surely made from nectar and angels' tears and is utterly delicious. I've just been to close the annual NAACE conference in Torquay, which is in Devon, hence the yummy cream. On a grey day Torquay didn't feel like the "english riviera" (which is how they brand it - we were in the Riviera centre no less too!) to be honest but seeing SO many old friends meant it was a warm day regardless. Worth the long drive down and back. Yummy.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Inflate to learn

Honestly it is such an exciting time for learning. For ages I've been going on about agile buildings and how these new 21st century designs can be configured and reconfigured. Suddenly it really is happening and people are finally abandoning their corridors and stairwells to build truly multifaceted, agile, places for learning. And at the same time as the learners are being let out of their boxes (timetables, curriculum subjects, classrooms...) it seems the humble silicon chip is being let out of its boxes too. Passing from an NCSL event in Harrogate to an RM event in Birmingham - both very enjoyable - I was really pleased to find a host of exciting new technologies - 3D worlds to inspire creative writing, interactive horizontal surface, the little open source palmtops and more.

But best of all was this old friend the inflatable space. I have been a great fan of inflatable things since put the inflatable angel wings onto computer booth screens in the Millennium Dome and saw how seductive they were - then i came across these little inflatable booths in Les Watson's inspirational Saltire Centre at Glasgow Caledonian University and have been evangelising them ever since at conferences and elsewhere. So I was VERY pleased to find that RM had bought one and were showing it. The sepulchre-quiet inside is interesting (give or take the compressor) but as a way to build mutuality, collaboration, focus, and FUN they take a lot of beating. "" if you want one too!