Tag Archives: Culture

International School Meals Day – Pupil Event⤴

from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

Join us on International School Meals Day 2017 (Thursday 9th March)at 1.30pm to make the connection between people across Scotland and share your food experiences.

This year the theme for International School Meals Day is Food, Culture and Heritage. We are encouraging children and young people (supported by their teachers or other adults) to share ‘stories’ about their culture, heritage and associated food – this could be family food traditions, food that is loved (or not!) in their country or festivals, ceremonies and celebrations that take place.

During the session we will investigate the provenance of school food in Scotland. Do you know where your school food comes from? Can you find out from your catering staff in time for the Glow TV session? In particular this session will look at where bread comes from, the different types of bread to be found here in Scotland and across the world, and the role of bread in our diet.

Overall, the aims of International School Meals Day are to:

* Raise awareness of the importance of the nutritional quality of school meal programs worldwide
* Emphasise the connection between healthy eating, education and better learning
* Connect children around the world to foster healthy eating habits and promote well-being in schools * Share success stories of school meal programs around the globe
* Highlight research activities in school meal programs around the globe
* Raise awareness of the hunger and poverty issues being addressed through school feeding programmes (programs)

Sign up to take part live on the day – International School Meals Day – Pupil Event.

If you unable to join us for the live event you can always catch up with the recording at another time – Glow TV’s Watch Again.

#ReadAnneDiary Campaign⤴

from @ Open World

anna_frank-infograph1 (1)Today is World Intellectual Property Day and colleagues in Poland and the Netherlands have chosen this date to launch the #ReadAnneDiary campaign which aims to highlight the EU’s current confusing and outdated copyright framework. Readers of this blog will know how strongly I feel that important historical and cultural heritage artefacts are openly licensed and freely available to all, so this is a campaign that I am very happy to highlight and support.  It seems more critical than ever to ensure that important works like The Diary of Anne Frank are freely available for all of us to read and to learn from. 

“Recently, Anne Frank’s famous diary has been in the spotlight because of a copyright dispute about when the literary work enters the public domain. After some intricate legal calculations, it seems that the Dutch version of The Diary of Anne Frank is now in public domain (as of 2016) in Poland, but not in the Netherlands or other EU countries, due to specific aspects of their copyright laws. The patchwork of EU copyright rules are too confusing, and the public is paying the price by not having access to some of their most important creative and cultural works.

On April 26, Centrum Cyfrowe is making available a digital version of The Diary of Anne Frank at the website www.annefrank.centrumcyfrowe.pl. Unfortunately, due to the restrictive territorial rules regarding copyright, the website will only be accessible for users inside Poland. Yes, you read that right: access will be blocked for anyone attempting to view the site from outside of Poland. Why are we doing this? We’re doing it to draw attention to the absurdity of these types of copyright rules. The Diary of Anne Frank is an important historical work—published originally in Dutch in the Netherlands. It should be available in the public domain across Europe. Yet now, it will not be accessible anywhere except for Poland.”

Centrum Cyfrowe
http://www.annefrank.centrumcyfrowe.pl/


#ReadAnneDiary Campaign⤴

from

anna_frank-infograph1 (1)Today is World Intellectual Property Day and colleagues in Poland and the Netherlands have chosen this date to launch the #ReadAnneDiary campaign which aims to highlight the EU’s current confusing and outdated copyright framework. Readers of this blog will know how strongly I feel that important historical and cultural heritage artefacts are openly licensed and freely available to all, so this is a campaign that I am very happy to highlight and support.  It seems more critical than ever to ensure that important works like The Diary of Anne Frank are freely available for all of us to read and to learn from. 

“Recently, Anne Frank’s famous diary has been in the spotlight because of a copyright dispute about when the literary work enters the public domain. After some intricate legal calculations, it seems that the Dutch version of The Diary of Anne Frank is now in public domain (as of 2016) in Poland, but not in the Netherlands or other EU countries, due to specific aspects of their copyright laws. The patchwork of EU copyright rules are too confusing, and the public is paying the price by not having access to some of their most important creative and cultural works.

On April 26, Centrum Cyfrowe is making available a digital version of The Diary of Anne Frank at the website www.annefrank.centrumcyfrowe.pl. Unfortunately, due to the restrictive territorial rules regarding copyright, the website will only be accessible for users inside Poland. Yes, you read that right: access will be blocked for anyone attempting to view the site from outside of Poland. Why are we doing this? We’re doing it to draw attention to the absurdity of these types of copyright rules. The Diary of Anne Frank is an important historical work—published originally in Dutch in the Netherlands. It should be available in the public domain across Europe. Yet now, it will not be accessible anywhere except for Poland.”

Centrum Cyfrowe
http://www.annefrank.centrumcyfrowe.pl/

“ruby on wheels” is about to go on Indian wheels⤴

from @ Ruby on Wheels

I’m going to join the “College on Wheels” project organised by the University of Delhi. As a member of staff of the University of Edinburgh, I’ll be supporting students as they join 1,000 others on a train journey across part of India. The website has more information:

“… around 1,000 students and staff will travel by train around India for one week in September.

The train will travel from Delhi into the cultural, economic and agricultural heartland of Punjab, allowing the travellers to better understand the dynamics of the region’s emerging economy, as well as its importance in terms of farming and heritage.

It will also travel to Amritsar, the spiritual centre for the Sikh religion; Ludhiana, the industrial hub of North India; and Chandigarh, the first planned city in post-independence India.”

Visa is organised, I’ve had some of the vaccinations, and now I have to think about what I’ll wear!

Should be a very interesting trip.

 

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Filed under: culture, travel

Overcoming the Schooled Mind⤴

from

Sean Connery, in his thoughtful memoir Being A Scot, tells the story of finding himself on a plane seated next to a compatriot, a young woman. Talking to her, he found that she was a literature student at the University of Edinburgh, and that she was currently studying Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. “Do you see […]

Digitizing the Parish Pump⤴

from

Evgeny Morozov dismantles the lazy thinking and the fundamentally anti-progressive notions outlined in Gavin Newsom‘s recent book: Citizenville:How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government [bad book, so no link!]. California’s lieutenant governor is taken apart in an article in Bookforum. [It is his] lack of any basic curiosity about the technological solutions […]

Obliquity – valuing an indirect approach to educational improvement⤴

from

Sir Harry Burns, Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer, argues that the promotion of health has for too long been based upon a deficit model. That is, we tend to focus on identifying the problems and causes of ill health. In turn this leads to the identification of outcomes all directed towards a particular deficit, e.g. reduce the number of people who smoke; reduce alcohol intake; or increase exercise levels.  The system is comfortable with these discrete outcomes and develops strategies and activities aimed at achieving these outcomes.

Yet the evidence clearly shows that such a deficit led model has not led to any substantial impact upon those most vulnerable to ill health, i.e. the poorest in our society.  Sir Harry recommends that in order to promote good health we need to focus on what creates health (salutogenesis) rather than the traditional view of preventing illness.

In order to achieve that goal people need to be able to understand their lives, manage this day to day, and see themselves and life as worthwhile. People who feel they have little control over life experience more stress. This chronic stress mechanism in the body risks seriously damaging health and quality of life.

In turn this has led the Chief Medical Officer to propose that we fundamentally shift public health policy towards seeing the assets within people as individuals and in groups within communities, and that we support people to work together and take control of their own lives.

Such a conclusion challenges those of us in public service who have been conditioned over the years to focus upon a simplistic notion between cause and effect, e.g. reduce smoking levels by implementing a smoking reduction strategy; or (in our world of education) improve literacy levels by introducing a new reading scheme. This approach appeals to our managerialist tendencies and enables us to set targets, allocate budgets and evaluate success, thereby fulfilling our obligation within the professional management hierarchy.

Yet Sir Harry Burns is not alone in challenging this managerialist approach, with its simplistic assumptions regarding cause and effect, and suggesting that a more holistic and seemingly incidental approach can allow us to achieve our goals more effectively.

The concept of ‘obliquity’ (the state or condition of being oblique) was first proposed by another famous Scottish medical figure in the form of the Nobel Prize winner Sir James Black, which he defined as follows:

“In business as in science, it seems that you are often most successful in achieving something when you are trying to do something else. I think of it as the principle of ‘obliquity’.”

Obliquity has been further developed by Scottish economist John Kay, who argues that often the best way of achieving our goals, especially those which are particularly complex, is to do so indirectly.

“Strange as it may seem, overcoming geographic obstacles, winning decisive battles or meeting global business targets are the type of goals often best achieved when pursued indirectly. This is the idea of Obliquity. Oblique approaches are most effective in difficult terrain, or where outcomes depend on interactions with other people.” John Kay 2004

The paradox presented by Kay is that if you want to go in one direction that the best route might often be to go in another. The irony of Kay’s work is that the managerialist aspirations of those of us involved in public service delivery leads us to mirror what we think to be the effectiveness of the rationalist commercial approach. We set outcomes, we attempt to control parameters, we measure and evaluate, but above all we get locked into doing things the way we have done them in the past and expect different outcomes just because we have planned them better. It was Einstein wasn’t it who was attributed to have described this as insanity i.e. “….doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.”

Yet what we tend to miss is that the world which we inhabit is complex and imperfectly understood. Any analysis of our plans would support such a conclusion given the extent of our certainty that we can succeed where others have failed.

So what has all this got to do with our own complex business of education? Well from a personal perspective the concept of ‘obliquity’ strikes a chord in my intuitive understanding of how the world works.

For education is an iterative process which benefits from an open minded and adaptive approach which values problem solving and creativity.  As soon as we begin to believe that we can make a predictable connection between an action and outcome then we are almost destined to fail. “Results are what we expect, consequences are what we get”  Robert McNamara

Consider the traditional approach to improving the educational outcomes for the lowest attaining 20% of students in our schools – an intractable problem for Scottish education. Typically we would identify the students, plan a range of actions targeted at their deficits, and sit back expecting positive results – and then be surprised when no substantive change takes place.

An oblique approach to the problem would not tackle this directly but would amongst other things address the culture of the school, teachers’ values, and the value placed on education in our most disadvantaged communities.

Yet such an approach would take courageous leadership from a school leader, particularly in a professional environment that places undue value on sophisticated plans and confident ‘direct’ action.

First night at Whigham’s⤴

from @ Ruby on Wheels

For about a year, we’ve been going to Whigham’s bar and restaurant on a Sunday evening, to join the jazz scene. They’re soon going to be celebrating an anniversary, and there was a challenge to create a short movie about Whigham’s. This was our entry to the movie-making competition:


update:

The 3rd anniversary party was last night, and we won the video competition! It was a bit of a steal, though – no-one else entered a video so we got the bottle of champagne by default

:-)


Filed under: culture, music, personal

Mapping the Past, Present and Future⤴

from @ Digital Signposts

  Firefox Plugin Process

I have recently spent quite a bit of time watching, David Rumsey's inspirational keynote describing how digital technology and visualisation can aid the understanding and interpretation of historic maps; thus building new knowledge, not only of the maps, but about people, the societies they lived in and  the prevailing culture and values of the time.

Using Google Earth overlays, historic fly-throughs, 30ft globes, and virtual worlds
this 40 min video is awesome, the screen capture above offers a flavour.  Indeed it is one of the best uses of virtual worlds that I have come across in a long time. 

The Creative Commons licensed Rumsey Map Collection accessed through the Luna Browser,  is a good example of how digital technologies can refocus our interpretation of other cultural artefacts, for example, posters, photographs or moving images, in order to shed new light on our past and our present.

The idea of digitally synthesing of old and new is beginning to gain momentum, and there are projects, open to students and educators, including Hypercities which explores layers of time through city maps, or HistoryPin which crowdsources old photographs and superimposes them on Google Street View. 

Even if mapping isn't  your personal interest, digitised archives or artefacts can provide a stimulus for meaningful learning designs and contexts for all stages of learning. Applying digital tools to data we already have allows new interpretations and ways of using the data which makes this a very rich field for educators to explore using digital technologies.

And whilst at first glance, some of the artefacts and ideas from the past may seem absurd today;  in context, they reveal the hidden codes for our future, which are gaining recognition amongst an emerging cohort of paleo-futurists, digital humanists, digital anthropologists and archaeologists who participate in innovative projects and networks.  As Tom Seinfield from the Found History blog states:

"innovation in digital humanities frequently comes from the edges of the scholarly community rather than from its center—small institutions and even individual actors with few resources are able to make important innovations."

 This is highly encouraging and it is certainly an area I plan to spend a lot more time studying and working in.