Monday, March 30, 2015

Oh my goodness, that was nice.

It's Setmana Santa here this week, kinda like March break with holier overtones.  Why am I writing about this?  Cause it means I am working less, and damn!  It's nice!

Worked this morning, did a 5 hour intensive class, which was cool.  A good group.

Then came home, had lunch, had a loooooong nap..even fell back to sleep after the alarm went off, and I cannot tell you how sweet THAT felt, walked the dog in the mountains and took as long as I wanted, looking for asparagus.

Got home (locked out) so went down to the climbing gym, youngest was there and wanted me to stay!  So I did, very fun. 

Came home, had dinner with the family!

Will confess that I now have to sit down and work on the computer for several hours, but this has been absolutely LOVELY!

Ahhhhhhh.......

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Goodness

It is the most outstandingly beautiful clear sunny warm day.  Walked the dog, picked and ate asparagus and just felt happy. 

Goodness indeed.

I love spring.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Nightingale

Yeah, the little birds from fairy tales.  When I was a child, I remember reading, and probably being read, stories that included nightingales, wonderous birds whose song was so mesmerizing that kings would search whole continents to have one. 

Turns out they live here in Catalunya.  They are called Russinyols, and they are very nearly common.

I had had hints of this before, talking about birds while walking with friends and hearing bird song that was long loud complex and beautiful, and they would tell me it was a russinyol, and one or two told me it was a nightingale, but they English levels were low, and I kind of didn't believe them.  It seemed impossible that I could be living in a place that had nightingales! Strangely I almost didn't want to believe them, too magical.

But, it turns out they are right (not a great surprise).  There was one singing outside the kitchen the other day and the song was so extraordinary that I started to do some homework on the topic.  And yes, some of those little brown jobs out there are stunning singers, and straight out of fairy tales. 

OK, I love living here for so many reasons, but the new best one, I am living in the land of fairy tales.  How many folks can say that. 

Ahhhh, nightingales.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

YES!!!!

Got a class with the university!!!!

YAHHHH!!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Learn to write. Really. Please

(and these are supposed to be teachers!)

The master's is lifting off again, and the first section of it I am finding a struggle, not that it is hard, at all, but that it is BORING in the extreme, and stupid.  Also many of my classmates are apparently entirely incapable of writing.  Entirely.

The activity that we have to do now, in both courses is an online debate.  Ho hum in the extreme...(key point, get in early so that you don't have to read EVERYTHING everyone else writes to find something original to say.

Especially when the typically write like the sample at the bottom! 

Doesn't matter what he's actually saying.  He is yelling, underlining, using more than one colour and using italics.  (I have to say that there are a few people who do not do this.  Who have a desire to craft a sentence and paragraph in such a way that it leads the reader, nay draws the reader eagerly on to the next sentence) 

Mostly not though.

Buddy.  Learn to write so that people can see what you have to say without this bullshit!  It is the worst mass of writing I have ever had the misfortune to have to read, and I might add that I read and mark teenager's writing assignments on a regular basis, in a language they don't speak well.  I might also add that there are 50 students in this class, and we must all make at least three contributions and most people are making more.

I am despondent. 

I am also sending my kids to school in Canada and Scotland.


Després d'analitzar i compartir la definició de "Opensim" procedeixo a ampliar el seu significat. En primer lloc, estem davant de dos conceptes "open" i "simulator", és a dir, estem davant d'una alternativa a la plataforma per a la simulació d'entorns virtuals "Secondlife" o "wonderland" i que a diferència d'aquestes és una eina de codi obert, gratuita, multiplataforma i de llicència lliure. Pretenc, doncs, contextualitzar la plataforma "Opensim" a través dels conceptes "codi Obert", "simulació" i "entorn virtual". 
En relació a la simulació podem establir un seguit d'avantatges i inconvenients. Com a principals avantatges trobem: 1) Sol ser intuitiu i fàcil d'interpretar. 2) Normalment, permeten analitzar sistemes de major complexitat que amb mètodes analítics. 3) De vegades només podem trobar una solució a través de la simulació. 4) En determinades ocasions -degut a temes econòmics o de risc- resulta impossible fer proves en un sistema real. 5) L'escenari es pot modificar per simular diferents escenaris. Com a principals inconvenients destaquem: 1) Solen ser costosos en diner, temps de desenvolupament i validació. 2) De vegades és impossible trobar una solució óptima.
Si ens traslladem al món educatiu podem considerar l'ús dels Entorns virtuals com una eina pedagògica que creix de forma constant al llarg dels anys i que permeten:
1) Creació d'aules virtuals per a l'EaD.
2) Creació de laboratoris virtuals per fer experiments i probes en ambients controlats.
3) Creació d'Entorns virtuals per fer reunions, conferències, classes entre persones que no es troben en el mateix lloc.
4) Integrar diferents sistemes educatius propis d'una institució  dins del seu entorn virtual (per exemple sistemes 2D com el Moodle, blogs, ...).
Els entorns virtuals presenten, com no podia ser d'una altra manera, avantatges i incovenients. Destaco les següents avantatges: 1) Intuitius: fàcils d'instal.lar i utilitzar. 2) Els participants
poden interactuar en temps real (converses, conferències, tutories, debats,... 3) Normalment implica una alta motivació i interés tant dels professors com dels alumnes. 4) Afavoreix el treball col.laboratiu, experimental i exploratiu. 5) Afavoreix una comunicació més lliure ja que s'eliminen factors limitadors que estan presents en la comunicació presencial (ansietat, timidesa, discapacitat,..).  6) Elimina barreres típiques en entorns presencials: limitació d'espai, necessitat de tranportar-se físicament, ... Com a inconvenients dels entorns virtual destaquem: 1) Necessitat d'invertir temps per apendre i familiaritzar-se amb l'entorn tant per professors com alumnes. 2) Es perd el contacte físic i es dificulta l'us de expressions visuals  bàsiques per l'aprenentatge com poden ser l'humor, sarcasme, enuig ... 3) desacceleracií del visor del món virtual y de la seva activitat com a conseqüència de problemes de connexió o de la velocitat de procesament dels ordinadors

Cordialment, 
I would like to add, sadly, that he is a high-school principal and teaches Economy in the same high-school.  Such is the state of the education system here. At least he doesn't teach literature.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Linked in, not loving you

Have a linked in account, not cause I really want one, but because I had to have one for a course in the Masters, and really, if I want to be working online, probably should  but linked in, don't love you.

They have a screen when you go in asking you to send an invitation to everyone you have ever emailed.  Kinda creepy how they can do that.

WELL, today I hit the button by accident.  Damn it. None of these, 'are you sure you want to do this?' notices either, eh? 

Linking to people I don't know, people I don't like and people I never intended to link to.

Also some friends, so not all bad, but what a freaking bad and deeply annoying design.

Damn it all.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Went running

And about time too!

The dog was ridiculously happy to be out running with me, ridiculously.  So was I, frankly, pretty darned happy to be out running again.  I had just sort of stopped. 

I didn't run at the beginning of the year (that would be Sept/Oct) while my legs got used to the load of cycling, but then never really got going.  The Master's was pretty intense during Nov and Dec and then well, I wasn't in the habit.

Must get into the habit again.

Must.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Home body, wall flower, introvert

Seems that's what my computer is.

A desperate hermit.

My little laptop is starting to feel it's age, it's had it's cables replaced and hip surgery (split the hard drive or something like that) and it's battery doesn't hold a charge the way it used to.

But this was new.

You see, I took it to work.  Apparently it didn't approve.  I turned it on there, went to hook it up to the wifi system (a foreign wifi system *gasp*) and it froze solid in horror.

The swirling basketball of doom that never ever leaves till you heartlessly and somewhat fearfully push and hold down the power button. Sort of like injecting an anesthetic through the straight jacket of someone who has totally lost it.

When I tried to boot it up again, it stonewalled me, in absolute.

A plain blue unchanging screen.  I repeated the experiment several times despite Einsteins comment that insanity is the act of doing the same thing over and over again in the hope of different results.

I was, to say the least, despondent.  So, it seemed, was the computer.

I got home, and thought, 'Oh what the heck, lets see what happens if I give it LOTS of time to boot up.'  (Sorry Einstein, seems I'm certifiable)

Seems also that it was happy to be home.  Started up no problem at all.  Working just fine, thankyouverymuch.

Just didn't like going out I guess.

(sotto voce - weird, no?)

Saturday, February 28, 2015

wistfulness

I just finished reading my way through an entire series of books.

You know when you find a new author and you LOVE the books?  And there's a whole series with many of the same characters......and you read them all.

All of them, one after the other.

And then you get to the end.

*sigh*

sort of like a friend is leaving and isn't coming back.


....later......just found out the author's died.  Now I'm really sad, cause they really aren't coming back again.  I'll just have to revisit.
  

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Work at the University

This has been weird and slightly disorienting, and not clear enough by half.

I got hired by the Universitat Obert de Catalunya to teach an English course with them.  Great!  I was very happy.

They had told me there was only one position, but that even those who were good, but didn't get the position would have the opportunity to take their online course in how to teach English online.  That seemed a win to me.

I got enrolled in the course.  Great!

And, I received an email telling me that I was actually going to get a class, but they didn't know how many students I would have.  Great!

They put me in another course for people who would be teaching online courses with them for the first time, Great!

I went to a meeting, face to face, having taken time off work for this, and strangely there were 6 other English teachers there.  Hmmmmm.

One of them I knew and she said that she couldn't teach as she had to have surgery.  OK Fine, whatever.

I get into the course for first time 'consultors' as we are called, and low and behold, there are 10 English teachers in there, for what is reputedly 1 position!  But I had gotten an email telling me I would have a group.  OK, Fine.

Semester starts on the 25th.  At the face to face meeting they said we would see on our page in UOC when we got our group.  Nothing.  before the weekend, NADA
The 25th is a Wednesday.  Tuesday night, still a big fat blank.

No messages, nothing.

Morning of the 25th rolls around, my two new Master's classes come up, (great) but no class.

Not so great.

No note, no nothing.

So I go investigating.  Not one of the people in the 'How to teach English' class, nor any of the English teachers in the 'Consultors' class have been given a class.

No one.

(This makes me feel slightly better, as it is a question of numbers of students)

But I have to say, that I find the system pretty terrible, and there has been a really shortage of information.  As in, freaking nothing. 

And we all have to be polite if we want a chance of getting a class later, but honestly, it's been pretty shabby.

And the worst of it is?  It has kind of (temporarily) robbed me of my excitement about the Masters.  And I am still wasting time (I know I'm not, but the motivation isn't the same, let me tell you baby) doing these other two courses, still another month to go with them, no credit, no certificate, but work. 

Shabby.