Big Birthdays and Ferrero Rocher

I was just on a call catching up with the lovely Amy from NESTA when I remembered that on this EXACT day last year my waters broke almost 6 weeks early. Myself and Claudia were due to be delivering a workshop for learning providers participating in NESTA’s idiscover programme. We were not due to to be delivering babies. Nope this was not in the plan, not yet anyway.

Oskari Thomas Tapaninaho was born almost 4 days (!!) later on Sat 2nd April 2011. What a guy. We love him. Quite simply he’s AMAZING. Now I could wax lyrical about my almost 1 year old boy for hours.. but maybe you’d zone out or even worse unfollow me. And perhaps fair enough. The très cynical John Donnelly told me that he often unfollows people who ‘drone on’ about their love for their offspring. I see too little of you these days John to risk a lack of social media interaction as well. So I won’t. (maybe I also risk unfollowings for using Del Boy style French words unnecessarily?)

Anyway..these last couple of weeks have been very busy. We’re working up our ideas for Flourish our international professional development project we’re running with the Finnish Institute in London. In it’s first phase we are inviting UK and Finnish based teachers to take part. It’s nicely timed as we’re going to a couple of events about Finnish education this week, the first at the Institute of Education and the second at the Finnish Institute.
We have also be invited to attend a reception at the Finnish Ambassador’s residence. I made a Ferrero Rocher joke to my colleague Rachel and she didn’t know what I was taking about. Young people…

Last week we attended ‘Whose Curriculum is it Anyway?’ a regional conference run by Whole Education. It was a very well put together event. A particular highlight for me was Head Teacher, Jo Shuter, from Quintin Kynaston Academy and her talk about raising the game despite adversity. They have achieved some amazing things, including forming a charity within school to house homeless students. Jo referred to her school culture as a family where honesty is key. Crucially they have a joined-up thinking approach to education and work closely with feeder primary schools, colleges and university and they have outreach staff who continue the relationship with QK students once they leave.

Another highlight was the Innovation Unit’s Alec Patton’s breakout session ‘How can we make schools more engaging?’. This was a fast-paced workshop where we were challenged to think about a learning experience that worked for us. The outcomes were as diverse as the audience but a lot were to do with real life, out-of-school, failing and emotional attachment. It was great to see theory expressed so actively.

After the conference I went to the British Council where all of their European representatives were together for a week of training in the ‘mothership’. The event was a rather small reception which I felt very lucky to be invited to. I talked to people from all over the world getting great tips for our Flourish programme. It’s brilliant to realise how small the planet really is. Lots of following up to do this week.

Another fab event last week was the opening of the latest Mozilla spaces in London’s St Martin’s Lane. I met with some brilliant education tech people including Digitalme’s Tim Riches, John Knight from Blackboard and his wife Erin Knight who heads up Mozilla’s own learning department read more about Mozilla’s learning vision here. I also very briefly met Doug Belshaw as he was rushing to get his train back up north, the next day via twitter I stumbled across his brilliant tedx talk on digital literacies. (note not digital literacy) Definitely worth a watch!

Now.. you’ll notice this blog post is refers to birthdays plural. It should not go unmentioned that the wonderful Claudia Barwell has had a significant birthday this week. Yes, significant. Let’s just say that according to some her life will only be beginning now. So Claud, what exactly have you achieved since Sunday? HAPPY BIRTHDAY YOU BRILLIANT WOMAN.

2 Responses to “Big Birthdays and Ferrero Rocher”

  1. Doug Belshaw 28/03/2012 at 14:10 #

    Good to meet you too, Darina – sorry I had to rush! (and thanks for the kind words on my TEDx talk) :-)

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