26 May 2006

Vancouver School

I just noticed today that my favorite Canadian novelist and artist, Douglas Coupland has a new book out. I little bit more browsing turned up this, and this. Nice work, I would have loved to have gone to the installation, I can almost smell the gum, wood and chalk.

24 May 2006

Ok, so now a summary of what I am trying to get off the ground in Carmarthenshire.

The Proposal

The aim is to provide creative, dynamic, integrated and innovative approach to ICT Support and Training for education in Carmarthenshire.

The proposal is ambitious, and comprises of three complementary, overlapping strands.


The Infrastructure and Technology support portal. The purpose of this is not to replace Amdro but compliment it by providing a “one stop shop” for ICT Support in Schools, by fulfilling both resource (software downloads, hints and tips, information on software and licensing) and service desk functions (helpdesk, procurement, book training or give advice).


A pilot scheme to implement a safe and supported social networking/virtual learning environment (VLE) in which users of the system can create and develop non geographical communities. It is proposed that the system be based on Elgg an open source VLE but also provide opportunities to use and evaluate the pedagogical usefulness of Blogs, Wikis, Forums, Podcasts, , RSS , Tagging, Social Bookmarking, VOIP and Chat Environments and Social Software in general.

You are here

An artist led project which is aims to provide a creative and meaningful learning context and give experience to learners of utilising a wide range of Web 2.0 tools. Teachers are also learners, and as such also have a range of learning styles and relationships to ICT. This theme echoes the Curriculum Cymreig and borrows from Common Ground’s concept of “Parish mapping”. The primary display space for this project will be an aggregation of multimedia items, drawn from the participant’s blogs and accessible to all users of the sandbox where the project will be hosted. Content creators will be encouraged to make the work available on the web.

“Great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds!”
Alexander Graham Bell

10 May 2006

I'm instructable!

Over here, look! I finally dug out some old pics of me rolling a slab in college and thought that I might as well have a go at the instructable process of documenting a project. Not bad, though the network slowness meant that I had multiple copies of some of the steps that needed to be weeded out. I wouldn't have minded a spoll chocker either... minor gripes though. I would have felt much more motivated to document my work in CDT when I was in school if I had to put together something like this.

2 May 2006

So that last one got me thinking...

If crafts people are considered practicing of their craft. And teaching pedagogy is often referred to as practice, is teaching a craft? I think it shares many aspects of craft. Both are practical skills, not something mastered from a book.

I had considered Craft being analogous to Engineering but my thinking on that is changing. Engineering = practical application of Science and Craft= practical application of Art.

I was never happy with this model though, it seemed pretty clunky, and I have never been able to get behind any real difference between Scientific Enquiry or Artistic Enquiry, The differences of perception between the two are cultural/historical. I think this works better.

I think there is a real danger with ignoring the lessons that we can glean from Craft. A boldness to investigate how a thing is made, to get ones hands dirty, the patience to create, the ability to take pride in a job well done and to accept failure as a part of the process and not to give up because of it.

The Head v Heart dichotomy is historical and cultural (Knowledge v Feeling, Logic v Intuition). Aristotle inclines to see images as coming from one side of the opposition: people make them because of their wish for knowledge. Plato suspects them from coming from the other: people make them to indulge their desires - vain desires, from his point of view. (Julian Bell - What is Painting (1999)Thames and Hudson ISBN 0-500-28101-7).

My art and craft practice has always been almost a by-product of my search for knowledge, I would say that Plato's view holds the upper hand.

I like Tesla's attitude where he credits progress to the artists and rails against rigid teaching methods.

There is another feature which affords us still more satisfaction and enjoyment, and which is of still more universal interest, chiefly because of its bearing upon the welfare of mankind. Gentlemen, there is an influence which is getting strong and stronger day by day, which shows itself more and more in all departments of human activity, and influence most fruitful and beneficial —the influence of the artist. It was a happy day for the mass of humanity when the artist felt the desire of becoming a physician, an electrician, an engineer or mechanician or —a mathematician or a financier; for it was he who wrought all these wonders and grandeur we are witnessing. It was he who abolished that small, pedantic, narrow-grooved school teaching which made of an aspiring student a galley-slave, and he who allowed freedom in the choice of subject of study according to one's pleasure and inclination, and so facilitated development.
(Tesla 1897)