monthly roundup,  review

August round up

Now that I no longer have a school-aged child that necessitates taking leave over summer, August has become one of my favourite work periods. The OU doesn’t operate conventional term times, so people take their leave whenever they wish, but summer is generally quieter, and the number of meetings drops away. What remains is something akin to what I always imagined being an academic would be like – working on writing, reading, developing interesting projects, walking the dog while pondering deep things.

We had a face to face (!) GO-GN meeting over a couple of days this month, planning the next phase of the project. This included revisiting our social media options and planning a website revamp. The social media discussion was interesting as it occurred a few days after my post on social media choices, and while I may have had some influence on the discussion, it bore out the sense that Twitter is no longer the place to be. We’ll be hosting a webinar about the new phase of GO-GN in September so keep an eye out for that.

I also launched the second season of my Metaphors of Ed Tech podcast. The second season is traditionally when all the murder and mayhem goes up a notch, and in that vein I have been getting guests in to discuss the 10th anniversary of GO-GN. This is a bit off topic for the podcast, but I’ve been prodding them to consider appropriate metaphors for the project also.

And while we’re talking about aspects of the blog – remember to sign up for the Newsletter to ensure you never miss a post (I mean who would want that?!). Also the newsletter now features SUBSCRIBER ONLY CONTENT – Teilo picture of the month!

I also take on a number of personal mini projects over the summer. This included a weekly walk with just Teilo (we have two dogs and sometimes the younger one, Posey, can be a bit much and he spends the day sighing heavily, so I promised him some bro time at nice Welsh beaches), cooking Cretan meals from this excellent book, getting back to running and a number of house and garden projects including setting up a bird haven.

On the book front, I got through 15 books this month (I said things were quieter). Dipo Faloyin’s Africa is Not a Country is angry, insightful and funny as he carefully exposes and demolishes stereotypes about Africa. I really think it should be on the school curriculum. I was, like many of you, saddened to hear of Sinead O’Connor’s passing. Like Terry Hall last year, she was an artist that I hadn’t listened to in a long time, and when they passed away, I went back and find myself recalling how great their music was and how much it meant to me at one time. When I first arrived in Middlesbrough doing my PhD in 1991 I spent a lot of that early peiod alone and a bit miserable. I listened to I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got a lot during this time. I listened to her autobiography this month which only came out last year. It is narrated by her and contains sentences such as “I intend to live to a very old age”, so it’s quite a heartbreaking book in this context, but it also reminds you of her strength of character, and gives voice to her great sense of humour. It is a tough read though.

Vinyl wise, I went through a bit of an Eels riff this month, picked up the restock of Wilco’s Cruel Country and discovered North Carolinian folk blues singer Rhiannon Giddens. Maren and I also spent a fun evening at the Indigo Girls gig in Cardiff.

Anyway, let’s finish with Sinead singing the remarkable Last Day of Our Acquaintance:

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