Let’s face it, children are idiots. They whine a lot and rarely know what’s good for them. For example, some of them don’t even realise that a trip to a museum is not a chore. It’s fun! Who doesn’t want to learn things?! Idiots, that’s who… Anyway, it was just this attitude that we were faced with on a recent trip to Preston Park. Preston Park is a museum and gardens complex near Stockton. The large house was built in 1825 and became a museum…Continue Reading “Replica worlds – the education benefits of bloody violence in the grimy streets of physical and virtual reconstructions of the past”

Croeso! Which Google Translate reliably informs me means ‘Welcome’ in Welsh. I’m in Cardiff, FYI, so this is not as random as it seems. I’ve spent the last couple of days down here in Wales working with colleagues at the University of South Wales. Last year, Dr Stewart Eyres (Deputy Dean of Computing, Engineering & Science) reached out to the Teaching Excellence Alliance Peer Review College for some support with their work to develop their Foundation Years. Since I was just coming out of my…Continue Reading “Sharing is caring…”

This weekend I was able to head over to the Riverside to watch Boro play QPR. It’s the first time I’ve seen them play as well as they did – looking (mostly) in control and putting together some really nice passing – Barca on the Tees… It’s not the first time I’ve been to the Riverside though, but this time it did jog my memory of something that we tried many years ago which I hadn’t thought about in ages – our attempt to get kids…Continue Reading “Back of the net!”

One of the things that I’ve been trying to do since taking on this AD role is improve the learning spaces in our School. We’ve got great labs, but our more flexible spaces are poor by comparison. To be honest, it’s been a key aim of my annual L&T plan for two years and strongly supports our TU Future Facing Learning framework, but this year I’ve been able to extract some funds from the School to address this issue. Where to start though? The relatively…Continue Reading “Space. The final something-or-other…”

I’ve been looking forward to getting back into the classroom again. For all the peace and quiet of the summer period, there’s nothing like the hustle and bustle of the first few weeks of a new academic year to get you excited for the possibilities ahead. So I was very pleased to see that I’d be starting the first morning of the first day of the first week back with my new final year forensic students. One thing that often surprises people is that an…Continue Reading “Back into the classroom…”

Everyone here knows that I like to play video games. I always have, and my transition from ugly duckling to beautiful swan can be mapped alongside my gaming platforms: Spectrum 48k and Spectrum 128k at school, Amiga and Atari Lynx II (if anyone remembers that…) at college, PlayStation 1 and PS2 at university, PlayStation 3 in my first academic posts and now the X Box One with my own boys. I’ve never been massively into playing on the PC – despite the fact that my…Continue Reading “Eat. Sleep. Mine. Repeat.”

Those of you who follow me on Twitter (and frankly if you don’t, you really should – I’m a delight!) will know that in my recent visit to the School of Health and Social Care, I got a bit lost and stumbled across this in a dark corridor… It was pointed out to me that this was all very Westworld, and that in turn got me thinking a little about role-play and simulation. Not the murdery kind like on the show, but rather the educational…Continue Reading “These violent delights have violent ends…”

One thing that you learn from talking to your children is that oftentimes you’re not nearly as interesting as you think you are… What can I do but take these painfully learnt lessons and apply them in the classroom? So in recognition of how boring I can be and to break things up a bit, I like to bring in TV and films to help contextualise or liven up what I’m talking about. I’ve used clips from the greatest TV show ever made (Total Wipeout…Continue Reading “It’s important to me that you know that Han shot first…”

Now, the problem with being an utter delight, is that people want to talk to you. Like, all the time. In every possible situation. The pressures of being such a joy to be around are great.   Like most people I commute to work. But I don’t drive in, I take the train. I much prefer the train to the car – it’s easier, cheaper and as an anthropologist it gives me considerable opportunity to people-watch. Also, the train is a microcosm of human society…Continue Reading “Planes, trains and automobiles…”

Last night, I was thinking a lot about giving lectures. This is not unusual, but this time it wasn’t the content that interested me, but the mechanics of lecturing. Three things happened over the past two days which brought this to the forefront of my mind. First, I’d come back from a fantastic 2-day leadership development residential; second, I’d just given four hours straight teaching, and; third, I’d just watched Jerry before Seinfeld. The leadership workshop was great. Run by the Leadership Foundation for HE…Continue Reading “Comic Timing…”