May Day 2016

May Day

The popular perception of May Day is the traditional wash out signifying the continuing wait for the British summer to feature some sun. Given the personal evidence, I was forced to accept this narrative.

Seems that there was very little coverage of the traditional Union May Day protest. Could this be because there was not rioting but a large and peaceful show of solidarity at a time when the layout leader is being vilified?
We even had more coverage of the spiritual / new age Beltane traditions.
But very little of the British Union march in London. They feature “Form around the world” coverage but oddly none from their home country.
We appear, more and more, to have a skewed media portrayal of English “Culture” through a very staid lens. What does this say about the Mass Media in general, and the demands of the audience? What can we deduce about the Grand Narrative from these (admittedly very selective) examples?

Dyslexics “not helped by overlays”

Interesting article in the New Scientist that calls into question our current approach to Dyslexia. The whole “Visual Stress” approach that means students have been recommended to use use colour overlays, print out on coloured paper and use software interventions that change the colour tint on the screen are being called into question.

Read the rest of this entry

…And we are back.

I really haven’t felt like commenting for a long time. For a variety of reasons I have been far too busy; mainly staring open eyed and unblinking in my disbelief at the Leveson enquiry.

So, I have picked up my jaw, put on my “I told you so” T-shirt am now joining in the fray to try to figure out what the hell has gone on here. Firstly, remember Vince Cable? He got sacked for saying he didn’t like the Murdoch empire. That made him not impartial. Fair enough. So why is Hunt still in post? He was in constant contact with BskyB and has admitted that some of the information was illegal. He also blocked competitors, meaning that the BskyB bid was pretty much a monopoly bid.

The Con-Dem’s are pretty much neck deep in this now.

It would appear that all of these major players really don’t know what is happening. Rupert Murdoch really didn’t seem to get that he is implicated in Blackmail, as well as invasion of privacy and stealing information. He really doesn’t seem to get that his company broke the law. Cameron has suspended the ministerial code for Jeremy Hunt:In effect, he is saying that the ministers are above the law too. Never mind Media Ethics, this is just unethical on every level.

From an educational point of view, this is the party that hates Media Education: Chris Patten once described media studies as “Disneyland for the weaker minded”. The whole investigation into Media Ethics is showing it is the business mind, not the creative mind, that is at fault. Cameron, Hunt, Murdoch et al are all, at heart, business people – they sell stuff for money. The whole concept of a “rogue journalist” has gone. Management gave the order, and made sure it was carried out. Strikes me that if they studied the subject themselves, they might not now be being roasted in such a public way across all the media they claim to control.

Embedding Playlist from Youtube to WordPress

When you put a series of videos into a playlist on Youtube, you can get an embed code that looks like this –

<pre><iframe width="560" height="315" src=";hl=en_GB" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></pre>

However, this does not embed into WordPress. You may get the 1st video if you are lucky, but you are more likely to get a message telling you that the video has not uploaded yet.

WordPress has a gigya plugin that handles Flash input – so it will also help when embedding Prezzi’s too.

So, for youtube Playlists, you need this code –

[ gigya src=";fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="480" height="385" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" ]

And the NUMBER would be replaced with the Playlist number – minus the PL code – giving us

[ gigya src=";fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="480" height="385" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" ]

Which now looks like this –



It is the start of the new academic year, and already teaching staff around the country are exhausted. With this comes the self referential questioning of why the hell we do this job.

Personally, I am already behind on paperwork. I teach media – why do I need so much paperwork? We have a word document emailed to us that we use to write the names of those who have not attended sessions. I mean, couldn’t we just do an email rather than a word document? Read the rest of this entry


Dear parent: why your dyslexic child struggles with reading | Education |

Factoids, please.

I was asked to gather information about student leavers – where they are going, etc. as well as some “factoids” about the student. Yes, Factoids. One of my more intelligent students actually did what I normally have to scream at them to do – research.


Here is the leavers form. I am curious on why the word “factoid” is involved. As factoid means ‘a questionable or spurious—unverified, incorrect, or fabricated—statement presented as a fact, but with no veracity. The word can also be used to describe a particularly insignificant or novel fact, in the absence of much relevant context.[1] The word is defined by the Compact Oxford English Dictionary as “an item of unreliable information that is repeated so often that it becomes accepted as fact”

So surely this would be wrong, however i am sure you have your reasons.

So I sent this to my boss who had asked for the factoids. This was the reply.

Ha! Humour…a way of students thinking about interesting facts about themselves beyond the usual boring’ I like skateboarding’ etc….
Use any word you like as long as it draws out something that is a bit more individual and dynamic that reveals talents, achievements, claims to fame etc……wing walking, champion trial biker, singer etc…

Do you think she missed the point?

Media Apprenticeships

It was the traditional route until the 1980’s. You would leave school and get a job with an employer who would train you up. Well, now it’s back. You get paid, as do your employers, and you train while working. Bridgwater College has had a lot of success, starting with the Mulberry apprenticeship – which is expanding over the next few years – and seeing apprentices placed in local companies as well as the Royal Opera House.

Currently, there is more funding for 16-19yrs old than 19 – 25yrs old. However, it is worth chasing up and asking for more information. There are a variety of Media opportunities around and these are set to increase with the Digital Media Apprenticeships starting up this year. If you have just left school (or a L2 Diploma in Creative Media Production), it might be a good alternative to a 2 year Diploma. If you have just completed a L3 qualification, you may want to consider it instead of H.E.. If you want to know more, explore the Skillset and South West Apprenticeships websites.

Radio 4 Interviews an NVQ student without a job…

No, Naughtie, No. Very disappointing.

So, you believe that Vocational Courses are worthless, as they don’t get you jobs. You also claim that low level courses are worthless, as they don’t get you jobs. To prove it, you wheel out someone with a NVQ in Photography who hasn’t been able to get a journalism job.

There is so much wrong with this I don’t even know where to start. Read the rest of this entry

Digital Economy Act not fit for Purpose?

Filesharing prosecutions will face serious problems, says judge | Technology |

Judge Birss QC has decided that you cannot attach an individual to an IP address. This is nothing new, as most torrent software actually adds fake IP addresses into the lists anyway, so the issue of using an IP address to prosecute someone for illegal file sharing has been fraught for quite some time. Read the rest of this entry