Saturday, 27 October 2007


Finally! Well, four days early but still! Tonight we all had a party at my house, by all I mean all in the above photo, in left to right form.

Bottom Row: Lara Harvey (witch), Hannah McClusky (Evil fairy queen), Me (Marc Bolan/ Drunken Business Woman avec Feather Boa), Stephen Brown (Policeman).
Middle Row: Roslyn Campbell (Evil fairy), Zanda Knight (Zandette), Tom McColm (Harry Potter-esque), Shaun Corbett (Superman!), Hazel Brown (Shaun), Phil Holmes (Pumpkin), and Laura Monteith (Goth).

As you can tell from the photo we had a hilarious night! The picture looks like its been Tom and Zanda's wedding and the rest of us are the wedding goers though. Future premonition? I think not. :) But still brilliant! The rest of the photos are viewable by clicking on the wee box thing to the right of this entitled Halloweeen.

Well I have nothing else coherant to say as I'm rather tired -seeing as we did walk in the cold dark night all the way to Mr Keery's only for him to not open the door- and it is... twenty five past eleven. Dear me. I need to get out of my costume. Night!

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Techno-Joy or Techno-Fear?

Well I'm back from my holidays, had a great time and now I've got school to look forward to. Ahem. True to form I've been thinking a lot lately about technology and education, and how different my classes could be if they moved on with the times. Blogs are becoming more widespread, their even cropping up on Casualty.. But as I was saying education and technology. An odd combination for a lot of teachers, or at least rather limited.

I find my school to be quite lucky in the technology department, every class has a whiteboard and every teacher has a laptop. Yet, they are rarely used for anything more than Power Point presentations and EasyTeach files that are so outdated the software struggles to run properly. With new programs like Skitch and Scratch wouldn't it be great if pupils were allowed to make their own learning shows? I think it would, as a pupil I know it takes fun things to motivate me into learning. The availability of new programs is immense out there, why should we have to stick to whats tried and tested? Are we really that un-daring?

The answer is probably yes. And really, in a way, there's nothing wrong with that. Like Eddie Izzard's TechnoFear and TechnoJoy, I know some teachers aren't quite comfortable with using computers and would rather stick with tried and tested ways of teaching. Added with the continual bad press the Internet gets, there does seem very slightly chance of progress.

Take my grandparents for instance. I asked them this afternoon what they thought Bebo, MySpace, FaceBook and MSN were from what they'd heard about them. Their responses were slightly typical of what most "older" people think of the Internet, the usual fears of kids safety etc. Sadly, all this negativity, which I guess is common place, prevents the great opertunities the internet has created being taken in full value.

This in itself isn't suited well to pupils in schools today. We've been brought up on computers and therefore skip and in a way underestimate the hidden dangers present on the web. We dont have this everpresent fears of people not being who they say they are, downloading, broadcasting our opinions for all to see, or even clicking on random buttons in the hope it sorts your problem out. (Speaking from a bad personal experience where I'm sure there was smoke coming from the back of my tower...) But we are aware of them and have a knowledge of the way the net works. Its not like 40-odd years ago where hardly anyone had access to computers, everyone now has at least 2 in their home. So surely these skills should be amplified and further built on in schools?

I should hope so.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Spanish Inquisition

Well, here I am sat infront of a hotel computer in sunny Menorca, watching my online time tick away in the corner of my screen. I have 8 minutes 45 seconds left apparently. Must press on.

May I just warn you that there may be random spelling and grammatical mistakes as the keyboards are of a Spanish nature and I still haven´t found the question marks. Although, they do have a rather fetching upside down interrobang that is on a key shortcut I cant quite reach... ¡¿ That´ll do.

I´ve been in Spain for just a few days now, and I love it already. Everywhere you go the people are far friendlier than what you get back in Scotland. Maybe because its sunny and they have sunny dispositions to match. (Hence the depressively rainy attitudes of us in Scotland?) ;)

Another thing that struck me is that when we´re out having a meal or a drink in a restaurant, it is still legal over here to smoke. I guess I´ve been so used to it over in Britain that it was quite surprising and novel to see. Being a very anti-smoking child I guess I was just a wee bit peeved.

Is peeved even a word? I´ve repeated it inside my head so many times that it now seems silly. I will check, when I get a decent computer and keyboard.

Also, I´ve become all to aware of my own accent recently. Very self conscious when talking as I find myself saying things like, "Huvnae" "Cannae" "Faffed" "Ocht" "Ken" and I´m sure I say "Aye" every second word. Its probably because I´m used to everyone else around me sounding equally stupid. (Luv yas reli)

Rebecca and I have already made friends with a few of the locals, like El Spanish Dude (we haven't yet learned his name) who -whilst I was snorkeling- flung bread in the water so the fish wold attack me. Good job I can swim. Fast. He´s really cool though, he says "Ola" to all you reading.

Oh gosh, only a few minutes left. *superfasttypingmode*

*Happified squeal* I´ve been catching up on everyones blogs before I came on to quickly type this and, thank you to Mrs O´Neill for mentioning me on her blog. Never been recognised for doing anything ever before. At least not under the right name. How bien! I think.. Spanish isn't that good, watching Dora the Explorer does not count as good language skills...

Well I only have under a minute left so this will have to be cut short. Will resume blogging with pictures when I return, hopefully with a tan too.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007


I'm still fixated with Halloween but I'll leave it out (mostly) for this post as its a rather quick post. Its the second day of the October Holidays and already my mind is numb. So numb in fact, I read my horoscope today. I rarely do unless I'm really bored, but when I do I do find them somewhat interesting. Todays reading for Capricorns everywhere is:

'Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zipadee-ay, my-oh-my what a wonderful day...' Remember the old Disney Song Of The South? The best version of this that you'll ever hear is by Steve Miller on his much underrated album, Born 2B Blue. I'm mentioning this to you today because, well, you decide. Because I want to talk about music? Or because 'plenty of sunshine' actually IS coming your way. Venus is forming a conjunction to your ruler. That's the truth. It's actual. Soon (almost) everything will be satisfactual.

I find this quite funny as I'm off to Menorca -possibly Majorca, I get confused easily- in two days, which explains the sunshine (I hope). I also have been talking about music and Disney a lot recently, see the post below, which ties in too. Happy coincidence? Most probably.

Anyway, seeing as I'm off into the sunshine soon, this will be my last post for the next week at least. However I hope to return with some good pictures and blog topics other than Halloween. Also I'm taking my sketchbook with me which no doubt will feed my fasination with the sky and rural countryside at the minute. Hence the picture above, taken from Innermessan (sp?) the other week by my trusty telephone sidekick and I.

Oh! how silly of me, I forgot to type in "Popular Ned Language" today. Tsk, I shall leave that for a rainy November day. I've been doing my research y'see, as much as it pains me to do so, but I want to do a wee social-type experiment.

How do you think "picture" is apparently spelt?

Monday, 1 October 2007

"Dont you lot use the internet for anything educational?"

This was the interesting question posed to my history class today by Mrs H. The class' reaction was as expected, to her surprise, with comments like, "Unles Bebo and MSN are classed as educational, no." -- "Not unless I have to." and possibly the worst, "Ocht naw, dae ah look yen on thaem brainy folk?"

This sent me into a blog-post-purpose day dream for the rest of the lesson. What do I do on the Internet when I spend hours of my free time glued to the screen? What do other people my age do? Could teachers use the internet as a way of education? Of course, the answers to the first two questions are easy.

1)I usually send my computer into hyper-drive by opening far too many windows at once and carrying out numerous tasks simultaneously. In other words; I chat on bebo, I upload pictures from my phone, I download music onto my MP3, I discuss on one or two forums, I share conversations with many different people over MSN, I potter away with my blog, I listen to music and more often than not my Photo shop is running in the background making some form of pixel-art. There's the odd homework task in the mix too.
-Educational relevance? Not much.

2) Most teenagers at Stranraer Academy (not including the PGs as we are indeed in a league of our own, Shaun will explain if he comments :P) spend their online life worshiping BEBO and MSN, and would willingly admit so. This includes; racing to get the latest skins, newest tricks and tips, newest versions, the first to have an original name or the most "loves." This is normally done by talking in the worst language ever known to man- where vowels don't exist, punctuation is overused and the idea of capital letters is but an urban myth. Do they realise how bad grammatical and spelling mistakes look online? No. IT ISNA3 KWL TA3 TAK RYT!!!1
-Educational relevance? Not much.

The third answer is rather different. Both the above answers wouldn't come under the "education" bracket for most teachers in school, including Mrs H, as stereotypical educational use of the Internet is researching a topic elaborately using as many pie charts as possible. But, in my opinion, I feel this could be changed. The Internet is a vast network in which there is so much to learn from, giving the right tools to access it, and could well be turned into one of the greatest teacher-helping pupil-friendly textbooks ever.

Introduced to me by Mrs O'Neill, Wikispaces and blogs are but two of the ways schools could get a little bit of technology into their classrooms -provided they have the know-how and the willingness to do so. I personally find this to be great, as its far more enjoyable than copying out of textbooks. They would allow more for kids who are absent or if the teacher happens to be absent or even just in fun homework tasks, to adapt to learning in different media and environments.

Our school however, appears to be stuck in the days when PowerPoint presentations were the best and only way of teaching. Maybe one day things'll change and ideas about interactive school communities wont just be resigned to History period day-dreams.

[Of course, being one of those quiet invisible type of people sitting in the back of the class, I didn't refer to any of my ideas about what the Internet could be used for in this certain class, for four reasons; 1) The fear of having to answer that dreaded question, "What's a blog?", 2) Getting quizzed on what I post on my blog, and 3) I have a fear of anyone else finding my blog.]