Daily Archives: February 9, 2017

img_20170209_164832Thanks to Joanna Norton, who invited us on a Morning of Inspiration around London on the Saturday of our BETT visit. Joanna is an Irish teacher in London, who we’d met at last year’s TeachMeet. Hassan, Pamela, Adrienne and me from Ireland, Denis from Brazil and Sharon from Scotland were Joanna’s students for this morning. She led us through a wonderful morning of learning which stretched well into the afternoon. She had all the hallmarks of the gifted teacher – preparation so meticulous it became almost invisible, but so bespoke it had us questioning everything we saw all morning and way beyond. We walked through Mayfair, Portland Street, took the tube to Portobello; all along the way we used the pavement, the buildings, the shops, the museums, and even the underground as our classroom materials. We used our phones and our senses and our minds and each other. The connecting theme was books – hence the 10 000 mainly French books in the high end Sonia Rykiel store, the book shore of the RIBA, and the last stop, a book store-cum-restaurant in All Saint’s Street. img_20170209_165202The food, prepared in front of us, was damned delicious; the coffee was perfect; the chats there went on for quite some time while we set the world of education to rights.

This model of learning by looking around you, by interrogating your surroundings as you move through them, is one that Joanna is evolving – it would be good to see what she would imagine for students in Dublin.When ‘class’ was over, we met up with John for a leisurely stroll through Portobello market followed by street food in Covent Garden, serenaded by opera buskers. We finished our cultural day in the last minute cheap seats of the Fortune Theatre, being spooked by The Woman In Black. 

Thanks again Joanna – we’re delighted you’re coming to present at #cesicon on March 4th.

At the tail end of the BETT visit this year was a long awaited and eagerly planned “top o’ the bucket list” day trip to Bletchley Park. Even torrential rain, and a train delay at Hemel Hempstead did not dampen the excitement. The only disappointment was that we hadn’t afforded enough time to see everything, so a return visit is now on the bucket list.


Bombe, Enigma, Lorenz, Colossus, Turing, Flowers – before this they were words and names in a story. It was a good to see and hear and feel the whole story recreated. To stand in front of a Lorenz and an Enigma, to watch and listen as the engineers ran the Bombe, and to stand in awe as Colossus clanked away, was quite the affecting experience. As with everything in Ed Tech, in the end  – rise or fall – it is all as much about the humans as it is about the tech. The Bletchley volunteers are eloquently helpful with patient explanations, and the displays are top notch curation.

Although I’d read the book Saving Bletchley Park by Dr Sue Black and Stevyn Colgan – in fact, having been an Unbound kickstarter for the book, even though unwittingly (I thought I was buying a digital download late one night, imagine my delight when a hard back copy arrives with my name in it!), I had to read it all over again when I got home.

Thanks to my CESI friends John Hearty and and Adrienne Webb for the unashamedly geeky company on this trip – hopefully you’ll be there also for the rematch (next time without the Midlands Railway delays).

%d bloggers like this: