Thursday, December 4, 2014

Incidental learning

I'm doing a Master's online, and it is really interesting and really good and I am learning a ton. A ton.

But there is also incidental learning that is going on.  Part of what my incidental learning involves is working in teams, and also working with groups online, both synchronoulys and asynchronously.

I am primarily a classroom teacher, which means that I work alone almost all the time.  I sometimes have a group of fellow teachers and we may confer on things, but I really never ever work in a team.

So that is interesting.  (in both the good and bad sense)

Add to this the online component, and it being in Catalan and you get a little more deeply into this.  When working entirely online there is no facial expressions, it is much more complicated to develop a sense of the other person, partially cause it is easier to cover up your feelings, and also cause it is easy to misinterpret or be misinterpreted as there is no tone of voice.

Add in the cultural element, Anglos are generally shorter and more direct in emails than Catalans or Spanish speakers, and you can have some misunderstandings develop.

It isn't directly what I signed up for, but it is in fact a valuable part of the learning process.  Things we need to learn.

Can't say it's always fun though.

I have to say that I have also had some pretty good laughs at times too.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Youngest on smells

Youngest today, though in fact not for the first time, mentioned how we really should be able to send smells over the internet...and it would be cool.

Then she commented that the reality is that the vast majority of the smells would be farts.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

how does this work?

Just got a linked in account, a couple of days ago, it's a course requirement, but it also seems like maybe it's time, or not.  It's interesting anyway, while simultaneously boring.

What confuses me is the fairly steady stream of people wanting to link up with me, how do they know I have an account?  When I set mine up I was asked to send link requests to any number of people (over 350!!!) - I sent out less than a seventh of that - but folks keep finding me!  And they are people I know.  Are they cruising their linked in account to go through their phone books?  Does Linked in send them a notification?  (this is my suspicion) 

It is faintly creepy, I mean, there is a lot of personal information about yourself up there, seems, well, unwise.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Web 2.0

or the great black hole that eats our time!
For the master's I have to develop an online ID, ok, fine, I get it, it is a course in online education, IT etc etc etc

but he want's us to going 3 different groups for managing content.  ANNOYING!  I already have a system, it's called google docs!

So much duplication and so little time.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

This and that

Note to self:  never use an activity based on seeing a crime and the police arriving with adults in some parts of Spain.  Works with teens, but when I (stupidly) did it with the adults, one of the members of the class was old enough to have been beaten frequently by Franco's cops when protesting in the 70s, and the other grew up in the Basque region in the late 70s and early 80s and remembers gathering rubber bullets as a game.  Neither of them have, ah, good associations with cops.

Note to self:  December is going to be a humdinger with the work for the master's, teaching many hours, report cards, marking for Toronto and prepping for xmas! 

Note to self:  on beautiful days, get away from the computer and go do something oustside!

Note to self: uncomfortable chairs are ultimately better to work in cause they make you keep shifting your weight around and getting up. Much better for the health.

Note to self:  Turn of the computer and go do something!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2014



81% voted to leave Spain.


SO Catalan


There's all this build up, they wanted people there early in case something happened to prevent the polls from opening, or in  case some right wing nut jobs showed up.

Everyone stood around in the sunshine chatting about a whole lot of not very much.  There were a lot of people, the politicians came out, we saw lots of people driving up and down to get into the area to vote.  They opened the polls 10 minutes early (some folks had to go to work!)

I was the first foreigner to vote, which kinda freaked them out, but it was all good.


I have not voted in I don't know how long, I want to say a decade.  We tried in the Bahamas, I've tried here, never ever ever with success.

This time, yes.

And this is a pretty historic vote.

I haven't done the research on it, but it cannot have happened very often that the people of a country get out, organise a vote and go and vote.  No politicians or governments involved.

This has to be the purest form of democracy.  The people (literally) went out and voted.

They are counting it a victory simply that they got polls open.  The turn out looks like it's going to be HUGE; there are lines down the street to get in, and that in and of itself is a victory.

Lets see how this all shapes up.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween poops

Never thought it would be me, but last night, Halloween night, we had the shutters closed and doors locked.  We even had a blanket tacked over the crack in the front door (old doors = big crack) so we didn't have to sit in the dark.

NEVER thought I would be the one doing that.

Catalans have the 'Castanyada' on the 31st, it's a family sort of event that involves eating chestnuts.  I'm not sure it was all that big a deal till it started to get overshadowed by Halloween.   Normally we have a party for a couple of the kid's friends.  When they were smaller, it as for a LOT of the kid's friends and this year Youngest was talking about having one but as some of Youngest's friends are at that, "I don't like her....", "If she comes I won't!"  stage of going to a party Youngest decided not to have one.  Sad.

Every year there have been a few more kids running around in costumes, but the reality is that Halloween here is NOTHING like Halloween in Toronto, or anywhere in Canada and the US, or Parts of South and Central America where it is the Day of the Dead.  Here, it's pretty boring, they don't get the community aspect of it.  Just not part of the thing.

This year also, I have heard more protest against Halloween, more people refusing to say Happy Halloween and insteads saying Happy Castanyada.  Probably part of the rising independence movement.

So, this year, nothing.  No decorations, no candy handed out, no party.


Well, that's not strictly true, today (Saturday) we're planning on carving a pumpkin, eating a bit of candy, a lot of chips and some pop while watching Dr Who - if we're lucky, the Man will make a pumpkin pie.  So...all is not lost!

Saturday, October 25, 2014


I should have gotten some photos, but I was busy working in the garden.

We have a little garden in front of the house, it is a lovely little garden and it was growing like a jungle...which I let it do over the summer, helps to keep the soil moist and shaded so that everything survives.

But today it had to come out.

The cats LOVE the jungle, they LOVE IT!!!

I was worried when I was working away clearing out the overbrush (Is that a word?  It is now) that I would scare off the cats, but no.  One of them anyway was quite content to lie quietly in the middle of everything and watch me working away.  I'm walking right past here with gigantic armloads of plants to throw out, and she just calmly watches me go by.

Later she found a spot under a bush.

Later still, we saw her asleep like she was dead in the long grass.  I didn't trim the grass so some of it is VERY long indeed....though I trampled it down a bunch.

Glad to know the cats will keep coming back. 

Part of the place they are.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Seems a bad sign

It seems a bad sign when the place you're living in is being studied in school - world issues. 

Yes, one of my daughter's friends is studying what is going on here.

Really Madrid?  Is this how you want the world to look at Spain?

That'll be good for business.