Monday, April 27, 2009

Prisons wot I know

At the start of AA100, I had three students in Lewes prison.

They got on very well together, and it was fun doing a proper group tutorial, which they all participated in intelligently and enthusiastically. They also all, in their individual ways, did well on the course. They get decent marks on assignments; they have plans for continuing. One is thinking of doing philosophy, one philosophy or art history,a nd one art history or criminology.

My group broke up though when one was transferred to Parkhurst, and then a fortnight later another was transferred to Ford. It happens, apparently, on "transfer Tuesday" and the prisoner is given little or no notice, but is just told to tidy up their belongings and get in the van. It must be incredibly disruptive, but both students survived the experience, and have continued with their assignments. I went to visit today. I visited Ford first.

It's an open prison. They do try to remind the staff that there is some security. This sign is in the car park, quite a way from the prison entrance.

Then I went to Parkhurst, being rained on all the way. The ferry over was grim.

And Parkhurst is frightening. Huge horrible concrete walls with no relief. Inside, pictures of the weapons found in various prisoners' cells.

But my prisoner was doing OK, and we discussed his ECA, which he had already started planning, and had some good ideas about.

And the ferry back was much nicer - we even saw some sunshine.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Power corrupts, and PowerPoint corrupts absolutely

Not original and I'm sure it's been around a long time, but I've only just heard it. And I have a few presentations coming up soon so I did a bit of trawling around to see if I had what other people call good practice or not. I found some useful stuff, including Don McMillan:

a load of presentation tips from The Impact Factory

and some decent ones from Suite 101.

From these I have picked a short list of things I will aim to do in each of my next few presentations:
  • don't put all your words on the slide (McMillan and the Impact Factory)
  • make a maximum of six words per line and six lines per slide (the Impact Factory)
  • use graphics where appropriate but not too much (the Impact Factory)
  • don't have too many slides (McMillan and the Impact Factory). McMillan prompts this law, "The usefulness of the talk is inversely related to the number of slides in the presentation".
  • don't pimp (Suite 101)
  • know your content (the Impact Factory) - I'm never confident about this.
  • know your way around PPT, how to get around your presentation quickly and smoothly - so that you look as if you know what you're doing
I may report back after I've done them.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

How The Internet Got Its Rules

I had no idea this anniversary happened yesterday (April 6th) till I read Howard Rheingold's tweet about it.

It was an absolutely seminal moment in the development of the internet, and set the tone for the manner of engagement its proponents would follow from then on. Steve Crocker has much to be proud of.

And the fortieth anniversary of the RFC is only a few days ahead of the fortieth anniversary of the OU (April 23rd).