Alex, one one of the great new people we’ve met here in Argentina, is a a huge river Plate fan and being a typically generous Argentine offered to take me to the Monumental Stadium to watch River play Velez. It was a great evening. The trip in on the Pa Americana gave a flavour of the passion of the fans as they hung out of the windows of various school buses swinging their scarves and shouting and yelling at passing cars.
Walking in past all the Choripan stores, being searched about three times and then fumbling over the turnstiles and then the long cimb upwards past the horrendous toilets before coming out into the huge Monumental Stadium.
The football wasn’t great , probably Championship standard in the UK, but this was more than compensated by the incredible atmosphere as the singing rippled around the train and the banter between the two sets of fans intensified.
Considering how small their section was the Velez fans belted out their songs with gusto and doled out a fair amount of abuse.
At one point the chant went up ‘Stand up if you hate the English’ for no apparent reason except I guess that Malvinas day is on Tuesday. I decided to keep a low profile at this point despite the fact I was wearing a suspiciously Boca coloured T-Shirt too!! The result was a boring goalless draw but this didn’t matter as I’d had a great time and it reminded me of the previous times I’d experienced Argentine football. Bring on the Superclasico and I need to buy a River Plate shirt!!
We’ve been in Argentina for about 6 weeks now and have had a great time so far. The people, as I remember from my last time here, have been so warm, welcoming helpful and friendly. Going out of their way to invite us to asados, driving us around the area, introducing us to people and just helping to make the whole experience of moving half way across the world so much easier.
The school is a great place to work with the key part being the positive and polite students who consistently say ‘Hi Sir’, ‘Thank You Sir’ at the beginning of every lesson. The most serious disciplinary issue is making sure the top button is done up on their shirts and moving them off the school benches outside when they’re sat sunning themselves at break time after the bell’s gone.
The flat is dated but a good size for us and has the additional benefit of having an entire school as a play ground in the evening and at weekends including a lovely big swimming pool, rugby pitch, sports hall and gigantic long jump sand pit!
The high street is 2 blocks away and has a large Carrefour plus lots of small quirky shops which all seem to be thriving and stay open until about 8ish. Although everything is closed from about 1 to 4 which I keep forgetting. Unfortunately there isn’t a good restaurant but they’re all a short 30 peso Remis trip away (£4). As many developing countries, the traffic management system is a bit of a contradiction in terms with it basically being a bit of a free for all. Crossing the road involves looking right, left,right left, behind and in front and then double checking the red light is still on. It can also be a bit scruffy with the idea of recycling and rubbish bins something of an annoyance when there’s an entire street to drop it in. However another contradiction is the amazing tree lined avenues and streets which like the cows in India appear to be sacred and there’s no ridiculous Health and Safety officer condemning them because of the the root trip hazard.
Weather is great too with lovely long fluffy white cloud days and exciting thunderstorms with lots of relampago which also involves me running around and pulling out all the plugs in the house to ensure the electrics don’t get fried.
Food is great too with fresh pasta up the road, great meat as expected, dulce de leche, fresh pastries, empanadas and just about every street corner has an ice cream shop. What’s not to like!
Check back again as it’s only been 6 weeks so far…!
Woohoo! After starting the sequence of exams in July 2912 I have now completed all 6 exams which means I’m Google Apps Education Certified. Each one took 90 minutes which means a total examination time of 9 hours of my life not to mention the study time beforehand!
Although it essentially involved a lot of Alt-Tab and scrolling through the Help Files it was very rewarding and enlightening to see what the educational potential of Google Apps is.
Thank you to Doug Belshaw for this excellent link to a London Surnames Map.
I also like the World surname mapper which has a very low spatial distribution for my surname prettejohn unsurprisingly. Make sure you zoom in on the map to get greater accuracy.
As I’m off to the first UK Chromebooks in Education Summit at Google HQ in London I thought I’d update my experience of Chromebooks in the classroom following up my previous post on them here.
Ian Nairn from C-Learning kindly lent us half a set of Chromebooks for a week. The response form the students was mostly very positive and from a administration point of view it was also a reatively seamless experinece. The hardware turned out to be very robust and at no stage did they need to be sent to the IT technical team. The only time we had what appeared to be a dead screen which was quickly recitivifed by a hard reset involving a small hole and a paper clip on the base of the Chromebook.
The students really liked the instant on nature of the Chromebooks as well as how light it was which made it pefrect for carrying around from classroom to classroom I would however still advise a padded case for this as school bags are notoriously badly treated around the playground!
Student Positive Comments:
- Liked the webcam
- Really easy to use
- HAs an SD card slot for cameras
- USB slot too so mouse can be used for those who aren’t keen on the trackpad
- 10 hours battery life is great for a school day
- They’re cute and very light and small – easy to carry around
- Much faster than normal laptops
- Can’t get viruses to slow the laptop down!
- Quick to boot up
- It has google dictionary (? – not sure about this one!)
- Trackpad took a little getting used to particularly the right click
- Double login aspects of getting through the proxy aare a little confusing
- There is no disk drive (Not sure what they need this for – more to do with the XBox generation assuming everything has to be installed via traditional media)
- We had one SEN student who much preferred the tactile nature of the iPad which he has been using for the past year.
- If the internet is down you can’t use it at all (there will shortly be an offline option which will make a significant impact in this area)
A student emailed me with a request for a case study on internal migration in an MEDC. This got me thinking about the reasons people might leave beautiful Cornwall for busy London/South East. There are a range of push and pull factors.
- PUSH Factor = The reasons why people leave a place
- PULL Factor = The reasons why people are attracted to a place
“Push” factors from Cornwall - Why People Leave
- Only seasonal tourism jobs available - Think of all those lifeguards, restaurant workers, souvenir shops only open for 6 months of the year. Newquay’s population soars from 25,000 to as much as 100,000 between Easter and September
- Low paid jobs - minimum wage and little overtime – Average salary – £17,628 - Good if dated article here – BBC 2005
- House prices too high – Second home ownership is pushing up the price of homes in COrnwall – See this BBC article here
- Fewer opportunities – Not the range of jobs available
- Not as many services e.g. specialised hospitals, entertainment, sports facilities (Cornwall has no League football team! – The nearest is Plymouth Argyle)
- Fairly isolated and lack of a motorway – Only the A30 which is only dual carriageway until Truro
“Pull” factors of South East/London – Why People are attracted to London
- Well paid work – Average salary is £33,634 – See the graph here
- Greater number of jobs and opportunities
- Good communications – motorway links, airports (Gatwick, Heathrow, City)
- Cultural / Social attractions (galleries, theatres, restaurants etc… especially in London)
Negative effects on Cornwall:
- Less money in local economy
- Brain drain of educated individuals
- Services closed
- Crime increase
- Ageing population - Many young people leave
Positive effects on Cornwall
- More jobs for those left
- Government assistance – cheaper for new businesses to set up in Cornwall
Negative effects on South East:
- Traffic congestion
- Higher house prices
Hope this helps! Any more suggestions are welcome!
This is a brief case study with links and information on the Japan Tohoku Earthquake/Tsunami of 11 March 2011
The earthquake occurred 140km off the coast of Honshu (the largest of the Japanese islands) in Japan. The focus (sometimes referred to as a hypocentre) of the earthquake was 32km.
The USGS recorded the information here.
Click here to see an excellent timed interval of the earthquake and the many aftershocks that occurred following the earthquake.
Friday 11 March 1446 local time
The earthquake occurred at 2.46pm which resulted in many lives being lost in the initial earthquake due to many office buildings being full as well as busy roads however a large number of lives were saved as it meant that many people were ready to act when the tsunami warning was heard. Had it been early in the morning many people would have been at home where the chances of their homes collapsing would have been less but then they would probably have responded slowewr to the tsunami warning. This however is a point of debate. Please feel free to comment below.
The earthquake was originally described as 8.9 on the Richter scale but then later upgraded to 9.0 making it the 4th largest earthquake ever recorded since 1900. See the article here.
What were the causes? This is a complex tectonic area. Japan is located at the boundary between many tectonic plates.
The Sendai earthquake was caused by the Pacific Plate descending beneath Japan at the Japan trench/subduction zone.
- 15,845 deaths
- 5,893 injured
- 3,380 people missing
- 125,000 buildings damaged or destroyed
- Heavy damage to roads and railways and other infrastucture
- Fujinuma Dam collapse
- 4.4 million households without electricity
- 1.5 million without water
- Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant complex shutdown and meltdown – 20km radius evacuated (US Citizens were told to evacuate by at least 80km)
- Loss estimates £150 billion (US$235)
- The tsunami broke icebergs off the Sulzberger Ice Shelf in Antarctica, 13,000 kilometres away
- Along the Pacific Coast of Mexico and South America, tsunami surges were reported, but in most places caused little or no damage.
What Happened Next?
3 months later these pictures from the Boston Globe showed the progress that was being made in the slow clean up. The before and after pictures are particularly interesting
UPDATE: I’ve carried out further trials and blogged about them here
I think I’ve discovered the perfect laptop computer for use in schools. It’s a Chromebook. I’ve been trialling one for about 6 months now in a Cornish classroom in the UK. I’ve found that it ticks many of the boxes when it comes to the use of computers in an educational setting.
- The biggest issue I find with students is the need to be able to have access to their files wherever they are. A student who is working on an essay or assignment in Geography may wish to carry this on later in the library and then pick it up again at home. Because of the fact that the operating system is essentially a web browser and students simply login with their Google Apps password everything is automatically saved onto the school Google apps domain.
- No wait of boot up. From complete poweroff to the login screen is 10seconds. The login takes a couple of seconds. The average time for a school networked windows machine in a school environment is between 2 – 5 minutes. This is to a login screen which then requires a login and can take another 1-2 minutes to login once all the drivers and file set up process takes place. This is too much time for a student to be bashing, crashing, poking, fiddling, pulling cables etc and the average teenager is pretty impatient!
- 8-10 hours battery life!! I was sceptical of this at first but am truly amazed at how good the battery life is. This means that a laptop fully charged at the start of the day will still have a good 25% left at the end of a typical school day even with intensive use. I can vouch for this through practical experience at Bodmin College. Your average Windows/Macbook laptop needs recharging after 2-3 hours. Not practical if you want to move them quickly from one class to another and you can’t have power cables running across a classroom.
- Chromebooks can be completely figured to fit in with your school network environment. See here
- No virus updates required as all is driven from the browser
- No costly licence fees for software such as Office/Virus Protection / Back up solutions / Network software
- No need to worry about backups as everything is on the Google Cloud and lets face it if Google can’t get that right then no one can
- Updates seamlessly done so no need for any downtime due to patches/upgrades etc..
- It has a keyboard. Try typing an essay on an iPad..
- On Amazon UK a Chromebook is £349. In the US on Amazon.com they’re $349 which is £225! That’s a lot cheaper.
- The education version being sold to the UK which includes an administrative panel, is supposedly of a higher build quality and includes a no questions asked returns policy if the Chromebook fails, is £540! This is too expensive especially when you compare it to a Windows Laptop despite all the issues with regard to them (slow boot, not cloud integrated, poor battery life). Come on Google start subsidising these especially to schools.
- The current hardware is on the lightweight side and I have noticed that You Tube on occasion can be a little choppy however more recent models are better specced apparently.
Thank you to Mr Caine for pointing out these beautiful Lenticular Cloud pictures on the BBC website here. They are often mistaken for UFO’s and can be found at low , mid or high levels.
How are they formed? They are formed when moist air flows over raised ground, such as a hill or mountain peak. When the air consists of alternating moister and drier layers of air, it can lead to lenticular clouds They are also known as pile d’assiettes (French for ‘a stack of plates’).
As a member of the Cloud Appreciation Society I’m always very interested in anything cloud based. I’m not into Blue Sky Thinking at all..