Half-term Hecticness

I’m currently in the midst of a half-term break. However, I have literally not stopped since walking out of the school door on Friday. I’ve been dashing about all over the place and yesterday I travelled to Hathersage (in the picture above) to visit Elaine Millard who I first met at the UKLA conference in Greenwich. Not only is Elaine’s published work exceptional, she is also one of the nicest people I have ever met. We enjoyed a lovely lunch and managed to sort out her blog, which is now online here . Elaine has been one Orange Class’s most active followers on Twitter and we are hoping she will visit Orange Class soon! But we will accept tweets in the meantime!

I’ve also been spending some of my time reading some of David Barton’s fascinating book ‘Literacy: An Introduction to the Ecology of Written Language.” He suggests that literacy takes place in many different domains which embody different types of literacy. I feel like I have been dashing around in different domains all week!

Merry Multimodal Christmas

So it’s that time of year again… October?! Already I have seen Christmas advertisements appearing in shops and on television. My local supermarket has had Christmas chocolates in-store for the past few weeks too – the season seems to begin earlier every year. Don’t get me wrong -  I’m a huge fan of the festive season and look forward to it. My friends and I always maintain that Christmas doesn’t start until we have seen the Coca Cola Christmas advert on television – we then know that the holidays certainly are a’coming.

What’s interesting is how the Coca Cola advertisement has become embodied in our Christmas season. Indeed, I remember one year the advertisement was changed and our reaction was certainly not one of joy to the world. The multimodal approach taken to advertising over the festive season is certainly an interesting one. Some companies can pull out all the stops and really create a highly charged and emotional piece of advertising by manipulating modes to persuade and evoke an emotional response. There have been some real gems over the years including the Argos Christmas Wish commercial, with particularly effective use of the visual and audio modes. It’s just a shame that the same company changed their strategy and produced this the year after.

So despite what certain advertisers and supermarkets think Christmas certainly isn’t here yet – not until Coca Cola decides to air their commercial.

Doctor Who – Infinite Possibilities

A few people have asked me to post some information about the Doctor Who work my class completed last week. It was planned with the aim of beginning to engage some of the learners who had negative attitudes towards literacy. I’ve always found using the children’s own popular culture in the curriculum to be an effective way to make them realise that literacy is relevant to their own lives. This isn’t a new idea of course – you just have to read some of the work of Anne Haas Dyson, Elaine Millard and Jackie Marsh (among others) to understand the importance of popular culture in the curriculum. (more…)

On the move…

I’m currently trying to get up to date with Web 2.0, especially on the move. I now have push email enabled on my new HTC Hero smartphone phone as well as Facebook and Twitter notifications. So I am constantly connected to the world. In fact, I’ve written and published this from my smartphone. I find it fascinating what they can do nowadays.

I’m a PC and I’m [insert age here]…

I’ve been using Microsoft Windows since 1997 and have had various problems including virus attacks and system failures along the way – mostly caused by carelessness on my part. All in all I’ve been happy with the overall Windows experience and stability, especially while I have been using Windows XP.

I’ve always heard people talking about how amazing Apple Mac computers are but had a misconception that most software was incompatible with the operating system. The Mac OS is apparantly less prone to virus attacks,  system failure and is much more intuitive. I have been using the Mac operating system for two years both in class and via a MacBook.

In my opinion, Macs are better for more creative activitie such as media production and animation as they are more intuitive. However for a lot of the tasks I use my computer for I find them to be less effective. When using the Mac OS I miss Microsoft Outlook, I miss a basic desktop publishing suite like Publisher, I miss Microsoft Office running effectively, I miss being able to remove my USB hard drive without a bright red warning appearing and other little niggling things.

Macs are great… but so are PCs. They both have their pros and cons. I like using both but for most of my tasks I stick with my familar Windows…

I’m a PC and I’m twenty-three and a half years old!