Thursday, 28 May 2009

The Big Sleep Out

A guest entry post from Helen who writes....

On Friday 15th May I was privileged enough to take part in The Big Sleep Out hosted at Winchester Cathedral. It was in aid of the Trinity Centre and the Winchester Night Shelter. I went along with St Catherine's Youth Group. When we arrived we decided to set up outside in the Cathedral close. There were 2 adults, 2 boys and 4 girls in our group. At 10:00pm we went into the cathedral for the speeches. Sadly we only lasted 10 minutes till we decided to go out and get some dinner. Dinner was provided by the Army and there was a special sleepers soup from Brasserie Blanc, I had a Burger and salad. Later on in the evening we went back to our area and played some games. Later at about 11:30 Juliet the vicar came down to see us and wish us good luck and good weather. Finally, after visiting the Hot Chocolate and Coffee van, (and after being offered free doughnuts,) we settled down on our cardboard for bed. At 3:00am we all got up collected our things and trouped into the cathedral because it started raining! When we finally got up at 6:00am on Saturday morning we packed up our things and went to have breakfast in the refectory and then went back home for a hot shower. Between us (the youth group) we raised over £800. I would do it again if I ever got the opportunity. It was a great insight into how the homeless people live.


Tuesday, 19 May 2009

TED talk by Ken Robinson on education and creativity

Thanks to a twitter message from @macker I recently watched a recording of a TED talk by Ken Robinson where he suggests that Schools kill creativity. As a parent of 2 school age children and a school governor I was interested to hear what he had to say.

It is only 20 minutes long or so and well worth the time to have a watch and listen to his message.

Basically he makes the point that the children starting school this year will expect to retire in 2069 - we have no real clue what the world will be like in 5-10 years so what are we doing to prepare them for the future. He argues that creativity will be a key attribute for success and asserts that our education system tends to educate creativity out of us rather than growing it. The foundations for education systems that we have were laid many years ago when the world was a very different place.

Children are artists when they are young and prepared to take a chance, if they don't know something they'll have a go anyway. Progressively most will lose this as they grow up.

It would seem to me to be wrong to lose the importance placed on numeracy and literacy but I do wonder what more I could be doing as a parent to ensure my children retain their creativity at the same time.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Twitter Power by Joel Comm

I recently read Joel Comm's book "Twitter Power" and got to hear him speak on a short webinar

Having used twitter since November 2006 ( I already had a good deal of experience using it and so was interested to see whether the book had anything new to add for me. The quick summary is that yes it did. My use of Twitter has been very much as a social networking tool to keep in touch with people I know and also a convenient way of updating status and having it echo through to my facebook profile. What I took from Joel's book was a very different perspective that helped me to see other ways that Twitter could be effectively used. For me I think the main thing I took away was a set of thoughts around how I could be more intentional with my use of Twitter.

His book also includes some thoughts on steps you can take to increase your following. One of the suggestions being to engage in conversations through twitter. If someone replies to you then that will appear in their Twitter stream and some of their followers may then go see who you are and follow you. I can vouch for the validity of this approach having sent a tweet to Joel after the webinar, got a reply from him and then saw my follwer list rise by 15 people over the course of the next day.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Photo challenge

I decided to set myself a photography challenge for 2009. I have seen other people post photos of numbers so inspired by that I am aiming to take 101 photos to cover the numbers 0 - 100. Photo above for example is of a street light and was taken at the seaside in Bray (co Wicklow).

Clearly I could just walk down a road and photograph the house numbers so the additional twist to the challenge is that the photos need to be relevant in some way to my life and experiences in 2009.

1/3rd of the way through the year and so far I have 14 photos (0,1,2,7,9,10,12,16,17,30,42,57,73 & 87) so a little behind where I need to be but hopefully with the better weather I'll be out and about a bit move over the coming weeks.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

"Prosper with a clear conscience" - Just10 Winchester

Last night I went along to Winchester Cathedral to the third talk in the Just 10 series. These evenings centre around a set of 10 talks delivered by J John looking at the 10 commandments. Rather than focus on the commandments as a simple list of dos and don'ts they are turned round into a discussion of how they can guide our lives. Last night we were treated to the 7th commandment and how to "Proser with a clear conscience" rather than a simplistic "do not steal".

Delivered in a humorous and engaging way the talk had lots of thought provoking content and challenge to us all to reflect on some of the less obvious ways that we may have been "stealing".

The evening ended with a challenge to the audience to use the coming week to return any items they had stolen and if that wasn't possible to bring them along next week to place them in "Amnesty Bins". On previous occassions these bins seem to have attracted a wide range of items from wads of cash to a good supply of hotel bathrobes/towels.

Based on my experiences last night I will definitely be back in future weeks to hear more of these talks. If you are around Winchester on a Wednesday evening I'd recommend you get along.