29 August 02003

Blogging and E-learning

Having recently started my own blog site (the one you're reading now!), perhaps I should be expected to be enthusiastic about the prospects of using blogs for e-learning.

The Learn to Blog, Blog to Learn article suggests blogs' informality means they can be good learning resources and "the best [of the resources out there] rises to the top." Links between blogs enable the building of learning communities, the article argues.

These arguments seem to me to be at best partial, and at worst tendentious.

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28 August 02003

North Korea's Nukes

There are cautious reports of progress in the current six-nation talks aimed at resolving the impasse on North Korea's nuclear capability and withdrawal from the non-proliferation treaty.

To understand what's at stake the excellent report in August's Prospect magazine gives a chilling account of possible scenarios for North Korea's collapse. Even if the talks go well, the best possible end-game will still have major repercussions for the whole of South East Asia and beyond.

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Posted in sections Politics | Permanent link | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Neil Young 'Rust Fest' 26-28 September

I was accosted at the Cambridge Folk Festival by Paul Docker because I was wearing a rare Neil Young t-shirt that he hadn't seen before. Yesterday I spent an enjoyable evening with Paul and friends — enjoyable for such as me who like debating the relative strengths of different Neil Young albums (as well as Bob Dylan, Keith Jarrett and many points between).

But the point of this post is to draw your attention to the London Rust Fest that Paul is organising next month. A convention for Young fans, featuring rarely seen films, tribute-style bands. £10 for three days, with any surplus going to Neil Young's Bridge School charity.

Posted in sections Cultural Calendar, Events | Permanent link

18 August 02003

Folk music and protest festival, Barbican

The Barbican has a four-day festival dedicated to the role of folk music in popular resistance, Freedom Highway. Seeing the Levellers and the wonderful Chumbawamba in the Corporation of London's arts venue should be unmissable (if not great for dancing) — that's on 19th September.

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16 August 02003

The Draughtsman's Contract

Peter Greenaway's The Draughtsman's Contract is re-released at the ICA this month. As a big fan at the time, I was curious to see how this standard-bearer for British art cinema in the '80s (and for FilmFour) looks in hindsight. In short, it's easier to see why people loved it — in particular the bravura confidence of the compositions — and why people hated it. I find myself less impressed now than I was: hindsight robs the obsessive schemes of their promise of enlightenment. We know it all goes round and round in post-structuralist circles, leading nowhere much, which was the intended 'lesson' all along. And without the tease of that promise, why bother even to try to unravel the clues?

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15 August 02003

Cambridge Folk Festival - Review

A great festival, once I'd battled the trains to get there. I was attracted by the headline names — particularly Julian Cope, Linda Thompson (who subsequently cancelled), Laura Cantrell, my first chance to see Alasdair Roberts, and to a lesser extent Steve Earle and Rosanne Cash. But it was the time I spent in the club tent watching acts not even mentioned in the programme that I enjoyed most. In particular I'll keep an eye on Note for a Child (you can get their CD EP at the time of writing free from the web site), and the incredible combination of celtic harp and uilleann pipes from Harriet Earis and Colman Connelly. There was more energy in their set than you'd see from The Darkness (I imagine).

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Julian Cope, live, 30 Oct - 1 Nov

JC is promising three nights of his ur-pagan rock at the Lyric Hammersmith. Details here. I'll be going on 31st.

14 August 02003

North West E-learning Strategy

Working with Seb Schmoller and David Kay of FD Learning, I was commissioned to research and prepare a strategy and action plan for e-learning for the North West of England. This strategy was signed off this week.

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