PS to ‘Tour de France fever’

So, I made a decision yesterday morning, to go and see the Tour at the bottom of Holme Moss where it meets the Woodhead Pass. And I am so glad I did. It was an amazing day!

We got to our spot at about 11.20am (local time), having cycled up. We knew we couldn’t drive, as the roads were closed, so my partner cycled with his brothers and I parked the car on the Hayfield Road, where the lovely lady who runs the food stall in the layby moved her chairs so I could park. It was already full when I got there at 10.45am! But I got in and continued the cycle with them. 8 miles, it was, but it was almost all up, except for the first run down into Glossop (which I realised I would have to cycle back UP on the way back! :(). Oh well.

There were hundreds of cyclists out on the roads and when we got past the point of no more traffic allowed (just outside Glossop) we were all free to take up the whole road. It was great! I even overtook a few people on some of the steeper sections! When we got to Woodhead, we quickly found an elevated space in a field, from which even the short person (me!) would be able to see the road and, as we were sitting on the edge of a ten foot drop, ensured no big person could stand in front of me and obscure my view (this happens a lot at gigs. I have a management strategy for this eventuality). There to wait for 3 and a half hours…

The caravan came through first, which was great, the only downside being I didnt manage to catch any of the goodies as we were too far from the road. Then we heard the helicopters and the Beebs chopper came into view…then we could hear the roar from further up Holme Moss, which meant the riders were descending…exciting! The first rider (Blel Kadri) appeared, then the chasers a couple of seconds later. Holme Moss had certainly separated the men from the boys! They were strung out in groups. The Sky train came through all together, although we had heard Richie Porte had had an accident at the other side. He and a team mate came through a good few minutes after the rest of them, but when we watched the highlights we found out he’d not only caught them up before they got to Sheffield but he’d also come in with the main bunch, at 21st position, 2 seconds behind the winner, Nibali! What a rider! And he’s only little too!

Anyway. It was a lovely day (apart from the brief shower which descended on us as we were heading back) but the Met Office got it wrong again, telling us it would be rainy all afternoon. In actual fact, the sun shone all day! So, we’d prepared for the wet and cold, not thinking about suntan cream, with the result that my legs now look a little like boiled lobster…thanks Met Office. Dont think I’ll be paying much heed to you in future.

Well, that’s my little postscript! It’s an afternoon I’ll never forget and I got some photos to remember it by too!


Reflection on ‘Collaborative Approaches to IL’

I recently attended a conference entitled ‘Collaborative Approaches to Information Literacy’ hosted at MMU by the CILIP Information Literacy Group. The day comprised five presentations/workshops from librarians and practitioners working in IL. Below are some musings on some of the issues that I found particularly interesting/stimulating/worth pilfering.

What happens when your degree doesn’t make you fit for the workplace? An interesting story was told regarding an English Graduate who was going for media jobs. Are we teaching students to get a job or expand their knowledge? For me, we should be doing both, really and this is where IL comes into its own as it is a transferable skill that feeds into the workplace.

UoM talked about ‘clarity’; making students aware of what we already do, what their skills are and how they can transfer these into their wider life. Their ethos is to facilitate students into being what employers want, rather than just telling them what employers expect. They realised students waited until crisis point before asking for help and so their strategy is based around developing student skills to help them support themselves: essentially being independent learners.

They talked about the value to the session is in using prior knowledge (what do they already know) and exploring what happens after (where do they go with it?). Their focus is on positives: not about where the gaps in student skills are are but about positive improvement; no levelling – they wanted to open out to learning that might happen, rather than pedagogical learning. Also considered in the strategy is to promote the positives of referencing – it’s badged as joining a tradition hundreds of years old; the correspondence of the learned population was merely them holding up their research in the light of other’s findings. Essentially a form of gossip as it showed whom they had been ‘talking to’! Ergo, non-negative badging…

After the degree? We teach IL using Uni resources, but what happens when students go into the workplace and don’t have access to subscribed resources? ‘Outduction’ at UoD (Buxton) are sessions on how to use the knowledge and skills they have developed in three years at Uni, turning them into real world skills. Edge Hill’s ‘Steps to Success’ programme includes session on how to find information in the workplace, covering things such as how to adapt to the information environment in the workplace, finding and recognising credible information and accessing resources as an EHU alumni. The programme also includes sessions on how to promote yourself online and report and presentation writing skills.

So, there’s some very innovative work in IL out there. I like the idea of an ‘exit session’ like the outducting of UoD. I’d be interested in taking something like that on, to build on my experience of teaching on the basic skills sessions in my PGCE, as they are very similar in application. I’m resolved to looking into this in more detail, possibly contacting the folk at UoD to ask some more questions and then mention it at my next review to see if it would be feasible to pursue. Watch this space…

Reflective Practice Pt 1

As I mentioned in the previous post, I’m working towards my Chartership and it’s now well underway! Allez! as we say in cycling!
I’ve just started to look at writing my reflective statement and, oh boy, this is going to be a toughie! My mentor has suggested that I look at portfolios on the VLE, but I havent quite got that far…I’m still in denial, I think!

However, as well as my blog, which is a great place to organise my thoughts (and espouse on topics that I am interested in/have a vague knowledge of/get right up my nose!) I’ve started keeping a reflective ‘diary’, in the form of some word documents in a folder. Not the best way of organising my material so I am going to do a bit of digging around to find out if there is a better way to do this! I work with a few folk who are really into Web 2.0 and, while I’m no Luddite myself (wouldn’t be doing this if I was!), they have their fingers more on the pulse than me…

This week has also seen me putting together my presentation for the CILIP Changes to Chartership event, at Edge Hill University, that I have been asked to speak at! First time I’ve been head-hunted for a particular event and I feel incredibly privileged and grateful to be doing it. I was suggested by one of our senior managers as a speaker as I initially looked at Chartering under the old regs and, for reasons unknown, never got off the ground with it. So, I’m going to speak a bit about me, why I’m doing it and the things I like/dislike about the Chartership process. My presentation is still a work in progress but, when I’ve done it, I will use it as an opportunity for reflection on how the event went. I’ll publish the presentation at that point, but it wont be surprising that there’s a little narrative running through it (guess, I dare you!).

So, reflective writing…at the minute, my writing is confined to specific instances, rather than a holistic reflection of my role/development etc…I’ve had a few ‘learning experiences’ recently and have been noting these down as instances to reflect on.

Recently I had one student, not from our Uni, being incredibly rude to me, even though I wasn’t in the wrong. When I offered to pass her on to a colleague who would tell her exactly the same thing I had, she hung up on me and didn’t call back. It’s the old library adage; users will ask many times of different staff members the same question in the hope that someone will tell them what they want to hear rather than the truth!

My learning I’ve taken from the above? I wont bother arguing the toss with someone in future who isn’t willing to listen, I will just offer to pass straight over to another colleague or to the duty manager to reinforce the message to the user!

So, off now to do some investigating into reflective organisation. I’m now going across the office to bug our resident Web 2.0 expert! Watch this space…