And in other news…Chi Chi the panda has refused to eat school dinners again…

It’s been a pretty busy week, so here’s a roundup of the news a la John Craven’s Newsround, circa 1978.  This reads better if you do the music in your head as you read:

AndyV_john craven


As a result of my last post (If at first you don’t succeed – here), I received a very exciting offer from Liz Falconer of UWE.  She has very kindly offered to meet up and look at how I can start to get Cardiff University on the virtual map (to paraphrase her invitation), initially by having a look at what the UWE is doing on their in-world accreditation: the MA Education in Virtual Worlds, and what Liz’s colleagues in UWE are doing with virtual worlds for simulations in, for example, Finance Auditing, Forensics crime scenes, food poisoning outbreak simulations, et al. I’m hoping that by learning more about these examples and then showing others in my School, I can gently bring round those who aren’t familiar with virtual worlds. Liz has also very kindly asked whether I’d like to partner up on an initial project on one of her islands so that I can show the doubters what can actually be done, so my fingers, legs and eyes are crossed, hoping that this time I finally start to make some headway in Second Life.

As a result of Liz’s message, I went back into Second Life and started to rent a new home. It’s a Victoriana –style skybox reminiscent of the set of BBC 1’s Ripper Street (or early days Eastenders) and it looks like this:


As a result of THAT (can you see a linguistic pattern forming here?) I decided, in a moment of sheer lunacy, to send in a 500 abstract to present at OER14 in Newcastle next April.  Like a dog with a bone (or an idiot who doesn’t know when to quit while they’re ahead) I took an extract from my HEA funding application from earlier this year and tweaked it, then submitted the following for a ‘fringe’ workshop.  Fringe sounds pretty vague and my Second Life work is pretty vague at the moment, so this seemed workable.  And who knows, should my application be accepted, I may even have done something in Second Life to talk about by next spring.


I have finally made a start on finishing my Master’s Degree.  I need to work through three informal, non-accredited tasks before making a start on the final dissertation (or, at least, submitting my official plan and hoping it gets accepted in order to write the final dissertation), and I managed to get the first of these done last week: a brief overview of what I want my research to be about.  This really made me think about my research question and its validity, both as a research topic and within the Action Research paradigm.  It also made me think of about 16 alternative research questions that were linked to the original, but much more specific. And now I just don’t know where to go, so I’m hoping the feedback I get will help me to direct what I want to do.


A few years ago, when involved in the ICE House Project at Cornwall College, I was introduced to Penelope Tobin, a freelance consultant and CEO of Bar­rier Break­ers, jazz musician, educator and all-round brilliant person. Barrier Breakers was originaly foun­ded by Penelope in 2000.  Here’s the online blurb:

Barrier Breakers is an organ­isa­tion ded­ic­ated to inspir­ing human devel­op­ment. Ori­gin­ally estab­lished as a char­ity, the ‘for-more-than-profit’ com­pany was set-up in 2010, with the pur­pose of spread­ing the suc­cess of their approach, Barrier Breakers Methodology (BBM), to other sec­tors, while feed­ing profits back into the char­it­able arm, Bar­rier Break­ers Found­a­tion.

Both sides of Bar­rier Break­ers’ work are dir­ec­ted by the founder, in close col­lab­or­a­tion with asso­ci­ates, part­ners and train­ers, as well as trust­ees and volun­teers. Since 2000, numer­ous highly skilled indi­vidu­als, experts in their own fields and united by a belief in the power of soft skills, have col­lab­or­ated on pro­jects under the Bar­rier Break­ers umbrella, help­ing to shape the meth­od­o­logy, by using it in lead­er­ship, per­sonal, man­age­ment, and organ­isa­tional devel­op­ment pro­jects, coach­ing ses­sions, edu­ca­tion pro­grammes, and con­sultancy. This gives Barrier Breakers an extraordin­ary pool of trus­ted, tal­en­ted and pas­sion­ate pro­fes­sion­als to draw on, so the charity can provide cli­ents with top-quality teams cre­ated spe­cific­ally for their pro­ject and tailored to their needs.

Anyway…I got an email from Penelope in the week outlining something incredibly pertinent and very exciting that she wants to set up and that she thinks I could be a part of.  As it is not my project to share or talk about I shall say no more at this stage, other than I hope to be Skyping with Penelope very soon and then able to say more.  And I’m quite excited…


And finally…I’ve just started a FutureLearn MOOC about Richard III (as in, while writing this post I have just logged into the site to take a first look at the course!).  I like what I have briefly seen, and think that this blog may be a good place to add comments from both an online student and a Learning Technologist viewpoint.  As ever, watch this space.  Or one very close to it…

So, lots of things going on, all of which, if I find the time,  should develop into their own blog ‘streams’.  After months of nothing from me, it looks like, if everything goes according to plan, there will be a glut of blogging from me.  You have been warned…