Tag Archive | education

In the Hands of the Prophets

Are you okay?
Okay? I’ve forgotten okay. I haven’t seen okay in what seems like years.

Episode Summary

Vedek Winn visists the station and causes a controversy when she declares that Keiko O’Brien’s teaching of science about the wormhole amounts to blasphemy as far as Bajoran spirituality is concerned, since referring to the Prophets as alien entities dishonours the celestial temple.

Winn manages to turn all the Bajorans on the station against the Star Fleet personnel including the Bajoran engineering staff, and the school is temporarily closed down.

It all comes to a head when the school is bombed and when Vedek Bareil (the much more progressive and forward thinking Vedek and favourite for the position of Kai) arrives, there is an attempt on his life, as well as another murder – all of which Winn has cunningly orchestrated behind the scenes.

Kira, who had originally supported Winn’s position ends up seeing with painful clarity exactly what sort of woman she is and what she has done, and the lengths she is willing to go to in order to get what she wants.

Notes

The argument over the teaching of the prophets is clearly a metaphor for the teaching of creationism in American schools (and, to a lesser extent, in private schools in the UK and around the world – my contact Jonny Scaramanga has been working tirelessly to expose the use of ACE teaching materials in the UK. I wrote about this a while ago in “Culture Clash“, although I have changed my mind considerably since I wrote that post – having looked at the details of the curriculum and heard the voices of the affected students).

On the Station

These DS9 posts were originally started on the blog “The Bajoran Exile” that I wrote on Open Diary way back when. I didn’t ever get as far as this last episode of season 1 there before we moved away to the place without an internet connection and meanwhile the platform shut down entirely. So I’m pleased to have managed to resurrect it and finish the season.

DS9 was not my favourite emanation of Star Trek but I grew to love it, especially as I recognised in Kira a fellow angry and feisty survivor, and readily identified with her.

I have found Star Trek in all its forms to be a really useful metaphor and window into life, the universe and everything. It means that I have an almost endless supply of topics to write on, which as you know I find cathartic and helpful, so I’ll enjoy carrying on into season 2 and beyond. (Watch this space!)

Now that I have amalgamated all my blogs, it means I’ll be writing about DS9 and Voyager in the same place, so I hope that’s not too confusing. If it’s Star Trek overload, I apologise, but you may be in the wrong place. I can’t de-nerdify my inner geek. It’s out now and proud; it’s the core of my being!

LLAP

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Study Plans for 2016

I haven’t done any formal studying for a while now. Something went wrong with the funding for my OU course and, since I didn’t really get on with DD101 (I know I passed, but I never had any feedback or a score or anything) and for a whole host of other reasons, I won’t be picking it up again any time soon. But as it turned out, we had a really bad year which made not studying a good thing, I could not have coped with study deadlines at the same time.

I changed my OU degree from Q69, Combined Social Science, to an Open Degree, but nothing really appeals at the moment. So if I do pick it up again, I don’t know what direction I will go in. I wasn’t impressed with the way the OU worked, the materials, the tutor, and it felt like a waste of time, money and effort.

I had been considering the possibilities of studying Theology (which obviously would necessitate moving to another college anyway, St John’s Nottingham is an online option) – firstly in the hope of following the vocation of the priesthood, and secondly as a back-up plan, I could use it for teaching (primary or secondary) or alternatively as a chaplain of some sort or another (hospital/ school/ college/ military).

All of those possible paths have stumbling blocks – principally of the financial kind, and my health has been very poor this year, so I don’t know if I will even be able to take up a career any time soon even if I do manage to get qualified, I’ll be 45 this year, and I have already had 12 years of ME.
So at this point I’m just shrugging my shoulders and letting it all wash over me and trying not to care or worry.

A (virtual) friend of mine with ME started a Law Degree a few years ago. I can’t imagine how you would manage that with this illness, but he seemed to. I took an intro to Law (a 10 point OU course) It wasn’t hard, but it didn’t exactly thrill me!

But in an effort to ensure that my brain doesn’t turn to mush, I will probably start looking into what’s available to study informally this year again. I don’t like the idea that schools, colleges and universities act as the gate-keepers of knowledge. The whole qualification and student finance game seems like a big racket to me.

I have previously bought OU materials to study on my own without going through the rigmarole of the course and the debt. I have even toyed with the idea of studying medicine just for the fun of it. It might come in handy, you never know.

Do any of you have recommendations for any good courses coming up? So many books! So little time! 🙂

#HomeEd 2.0

I discovered my old website this week on the wonderful WayBack Machine, and so I have started to transfer and update some of its pages over here.

I also found a collection of blog posts from around 2009 when I was experimenting with using my old website for blogging, and I thought I might reproduce some of them here. This post was originally called ‘Technoschoolers’ and was posted in various places including my old Multiply site, which I have also partially recovered. So I may re-post some ‘classic’ posts now from time to time.

So without further ado…

Home Ed 2.0

I’ve been having an interesting conversation online with a real-life friend of mine who is a ‘learning technologist’. She believes – with a passion – that today’s schools prepare children perfectly for life – in the 1890s!

She also believes that what is needed is technology, and lots of it! To be specific, social media – Web 2.0 collaborative learning & networking technologies, and among the best of these she suggests the following:

YouTube
Animoto
– Blogs
Twitter
– wikis

Of course, homeschoolers in the US and home educators in the UK are already well connected through things like yahoo groups, curriculum forums, and the newer Ning communities such as the Homeschool Lounge and so on.

I’d also like to add a couple of resources to the list of learning technologies which look interesting or useful:

VoiceThread
– Picnik (update: Picnik was a photo editor which is no more)
Mindmeister & similar
Diigo (Delicious, Digg etc.)
Etherpad
Cover It Live

I’ve also heard good things about

Moodle and
Elluminate

but I’m not sure how appropriate these would be for children who are learning at home autonomously (as most UK home educators do), I would need to investigate further how these can be used.

Take a look at the following video, and consider these questions: are the issues being raised in the video relevant to home education or not (and if not, why not), if they are relevant, how do we address them?

(I have to say, watching this again in 2014, I am struck by how thoroughly miserable these children look!)

If our children are learning autonomously, how does that figure in – how and where do we draw the boundaries, keep them safe, ensure that if they choose to game, facebook, blog, twitter or whatever (and apologies to prescriptive grammatists there for my verbal use of the words ‘game’ and ‘facebook’ !), that they are getting something educational out of it or should we be encouraging a balance between all this and learning in more traditional ways?

 

Half Term

I hardly feel I deserve it, we’ve accomplished so little in terms of verifiable, quantifiable pieces of work this term. We never used to follow the schools term timetable. But somehow, now, I feel I need a break more than ever.

This week and next, Dragon-tamer is home from sixth form college, so it’s nice to have him back again for a little while and I wouldn’t like to waste this special time, since it’s so rare now, in trying to get everybody else to ‘work’.

But I still feel guilty. It seems to me that there’s an enormous amount of guilt attached to motherhood anyway, and doubly so with home education. I can never do quite enough, work quite hard enough, achieve quite the results that will show that homeschooling was the best choice for our family.

But actually when I look at Dragon-tamer, although he’s not as academically advanced as I expected or hoped him to be, I am so pleased and proud of him in other ways: I’m constantly told how polite he is, so well-spoken, so considerate, thoughtful, clever, funny, talented. And I know that academics, or worldly achievements can come later.

When I first started home educating, my priorities were exactly those things. If I had ever had to articulate an ‘ed phil’ document, it would have included things like happiness, and a solid emotional and social foundation above academic achievement and prizes. I have to remind myself these things from time to time.

Intro and Read52

I blogged for a few years with a captive audience of friends at Multiply under the name “Life for Beginners” and when  the Multiply  platform folded, I found myself in an isolated location without internet and despite valiant efforts, lost all my posts, so I have had a writing hiatus of about three years. I’m starting again, mainly because I want to document all the crazy changes that have happened and which are continuing to happen now in 2014, and specifically to record my reading.

I have had several other blogs in various places, which I may link to later, but I haven’t been faithful or consistent, so I won’t make any promises about being faithful or consistent 🙂 I have a lot going on, but I’ll do what I can.

I have decided to take part in the Read52 challenge, to read 52 books in 2014, which is conveniently one per week.

I am a reader, and I tend to read in certain distinct categories of non-fiction much more than fiction. These categories are, broadly, health, education, sociology and religious.

For reasons that I will explain in due course, religious is probably increasingly my largest category, so I will aim to read the Bible at least once this year, but don’t plan to do it in a week, so not sure whether I will include it in the 52.

This week doesn’t count as it’s only a partial week, but I thought I would start anyway with a little book that’s easy to read. I picked one that is little more than a pamphlet at 36 tiny pages, which has been on my shelf for a long time, challenging me to read it. It’s called “Finding God in Illness” by James Woodward and published by Lion Publishing in the UK with the Christian Evidence Society in 1997. It is out of print, but available on line as a pdf file here, and is quite easy to find second-hand if you prefer your books in paper.

Finding

I thought I would start with a quote from the beginning of the book, as it is so apt for the first post on a new blog:

“One of the challenges and adventures of writing lies in imagining who will read the text and what they might want from the text. So, I wonder who you are and why you have come across this particular piece?”

So who are you, and why are you here? I’d love to hear from you, and perhaps you could provide me with the accountability I need to post consistently. I haven’t been consistent in reading blogs either, so I’m starting with no links, but I hope to build them up as I rediscover my favourite internet places.

I’ll be trying to make sure I post weekly with details of my books, and will endeavour to post a fuller introduction before too long. 🙂