Wednesday, 15 April 2015

All things must pass

I stopped teaching before Christmas 2013 and resigned in April 2014. I have a decent teaching pension but it's a bit hand-to-mouth. It was my intention to pick up some freelance work - I gave myself a new title: Learning Designer. I even went on a business course. But months passed and I found myself very busy doing everything but developing the business I had planned... I went to seminars with IntoFilm, keen to go off and train teachers in the joys of digital movie making... and yet...
It all felt a bit like the coat tails of my career. Retirement is an opportunity to make major change. But what change?  
For most of my first 18 years I wanted to be an artist. My training with Peter Lane  was as a teacher of art.  Circumstances led to my teaching in Primary schools and my 'maker hunger' began to feed on all manner of creative activity and visual art took its place the ranks. One thing was a constant - doodling. Every piece of paper I ever put pen or pencil to featured a doodle somewhere. My students noticed: a Christmas present of a small sketchbook from one had the dedication above.

So with the money gifts for my 60th birthday I began making a collection of tools and the doodling began in earnest. I was briefly interested in Zentangles until it became clear that it was simply an attempt to market something I already knew. Spending extended periods drawing I began to remember how mindful drawing can be and that a relaxed, non-critical, exploratory approach (doodling) creates a seedbed where ideas can grow. The image below came together re-reading The Hero with a Thousand Faces. 
Only when the drawing was complete did I realise its personal meaning. It is both an escape and about escape.

So sadly this blog has come to a natural conclusion. It consisted of classroom-based ideas and I have no intention of returning to the classroom. My ideas are elsewhere.

I'll leave this blog online for the present, since it may be of some help to those still inside. I'm roaming free now. 

To follow visit: 

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Mirror, mirror... A Starter Recipe

        Starters are quick and easy - but can be enlarged to become a main            course - for an extra charge. They usually require a context to make               complete sense.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Monster Mash: A 'Soup' Recipe*

horse2dog anim
A Classroom Smash...
Summary :  Make a monster by combining images from a         
search.Teaches the basics of layering in an image editor.
Equipment: Image editor capable of layering, internet access
Time: 1 - 2 hours
Credits:  Charlotte (10 years)

Friday, 19 September 2014

Making Documentaries – Part 2

The Observational Mode (also called Cinéma Vérité and Fly on the Wall)
Objective reality focus, where the maker is behind the camera, where they do not affect the changes in the environment or influence actions/events). Often includes shaky/rough footage as the events unfold. Has become de rigeur for many documentary filmmakers (such as any reality television programme)

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Making Documentaries : Part 1

Andy DickensonI’m really excited to feature this, my first guest post, by Andrew Dickenson. Andrew is an Associate Lecturer at Bishop Grosseteste University. 
‘As well as lecturing to students, having my own tutor groups and partner schools to look after, I'm part of the Computing & New Technologies team, examining the creative role of technology for learning and teaching. I'm also looking further at the role of film within learning. All very exciting stuff’
He is also an Apple Distinguished Educator and can be found through his site:

Friday, 15 August 2014

The Digital Glue Cookbook

cookbook icon anim

In common with many other cookbooks this one focuses on delicious things to cook rather than techniques. This allows the recipes to be suitable for a wide range of age, ability and equipment.


Wednesday, 13 August 2014


butterfly animation
It has taken a while for it to dawn properly that I am no longer A Teacher. I’ve been saying it for a while to convince myself. I’ve even got a good name for what I do - Learning Designer - and all my online biogs describe me as such now. The problem is that although I have some interesting work lined up, I haven’t actually started yet…

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Uncertainty: Radiators, Recorders and Loaves of Bread

recorderloafMy late head teacher, Geoff Spaul, once ironically remarked that as far he knew there were only three sorts of plans:

Long-term - in the car

Medium–term - in the corridor

Short-term - leaning on the classroom radiator

I laughed, but was also secretly relieved to find that others taught radiator lessons too sometimes. So I did some further research and every experienced teacher I quizzed, rather proudly admitted they had taught radiator lessons, and many claimed that they were among of the best lessons they had ever taught…

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Animation in Powerpoint - GIF DIY

Although, like everyone else, I’ve enjoyed adding the occasional animation to my presentations, during the creation of my DIY GIF course I’ve been digging pretty deep into the custom animation settings for Powerpoint. And what I’ve discovered, surprised me…

Friday, 13 June 2014

Digital Glue for Hire

prodg coming soon
If you regularly come to this blog via the Home page, you may have noticed the greyed-out logo on the left. When I updated this blog I had lots of good intentions to set about the process fairly rapidly but as Burns had it:
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley...