I am really enjoying blogging at the moment!

  • I am finding writing down my thoughts and feelings really useful – especially when it has been so hard recently
  • My techie / Geeky side of me is really enjoying playing with WordPress (the software that runs this site)
  • I am almost daily being surprised by getting a message from someone who has read my blogs. Comments of support, enjoyment, understanding, appreciation, disagreement – whatever they have been i am really appreciating the virtual conversation.

To be honest I am still surprised when someone says that they have read my blogs. Even more surprised when they said that thought it was good! I spent soo many years in school not being great at “English” (I was in special needs spelling until my A-Levels) I still keep thinking that people have read something else and commented to me by mistake!

Brain Space

My last post sparked a mini debate in the comments – I wasn’t expecting that! I was going to reply in the comments – but – as is so like me – I couldn’t make a nice simple reply – I had to overcomplicate it! So I thought I would put it in a new Blog entry !

The importance of writing and mental arithmatic?
Although I wholeheartedly agree with you that computers are inevitably going to become a bigger and bigger part of life – I don’t think you can overestimate the importance of writing and mental arithmetic.
In my mind, using a computer encourages laziness – people become overly reliant on spell checkers to sort out their mistakes rather than learning how to spell difficult words and the calculator over stretching themselves to anything more than the simplest arithmatic.
In a society that it so quick to judge people on first impressions, sloppy handwriting or poor spelling can easily cause prejudice against somebody – often unfairly.
As for mental arithmetic – there are so many people of our generation who will answer “uh……” to a simple arithmetic question such as “what are seven eights?” – try asking someone of your parents’ age the same question……
Over and out! – Leigh

I see what you’re getting at Matt but I think the answer lies, as is usually does, in having a balanced approach. There’s not much point in being able to type if one doesn’t actually know which keys to press and in which order. I suppose the flip side would be someone who is highly literate not being able to get their thoughts down because they’re uncomfortable with technology.
As we both know, from working in similar fields, technology is only the means by which we are able to express ourselves. How many times have we seen students want to use all the ‘toys’ to light a show when it is inappropriate to the style of the performance? Yes, modern technology makes things quicker, easier, more flexible and, dare I say it, more fun, but sometimes at the cost of not being able to function without it. It’s always good too see students lighting shows with a couple of dozen lanterns and a handful of subs and I guess this makes a good parallel; can we achieve our aims without technology?
On a different level, our brains are wired in a such a way that everything is interlinked; maths to music, writing to all levels of physical interaction via motor skills. These aren’t just little outdated islands but keys which unlock door upon door upon door…
Just my 2p’s worth! – Nick

I think you both make excellent points – I really appreciate you taking the time to post!
I think I probably over-egged my “computers are the future” bit in my blog! – But even taking that in to account – you have helped me bring my opinion back a little bit from the pure geek that i was heading for (That was a thank you and a compliment !)
I definitely agree with what Nick said about getting the right balance – I think I will probably push the computer too much – but I know that Em will pull me back – and I think the School system will help too! I too have seen quite a lot of students seeing toys and then wondering how to use them in a show. Its one of head of technical studies main points –  figure out what you want to do and why – then worry about the tools you need to achieve it. (slightly paraphrasing but that’s the gist of it I think ..)
The last thing I want to do is to disadvantage Amy. I am very concerned that without good IT skills she will suffer in later life. But equally I dont want her to be unable to form her ideas and have conversations without the use of a keyboard and cut/copy/delete … As Nick said I need to get the balance right – I hope i do …
I do also like the image of “simple” things unlocking other things in our brains. I am confident that Amy will get through school and be given those keys to do the all unlocking that she can. I am really looking forward to being there, hopefully passing on some keys myself and helping out with others when I can!
But I do also have a couple of other thoughts that both of your comments triggered – they are just thoughts/pondering. I am not sure what my answers are to them – or even if I will ever have an answer – but I just thought I would pop them in here:
Keys – our brains are fantastically complicated – we already know of the links between music and maths – what will the new technological based skills unlock?
Mental Arithmetic – If its not pushed so hard in school and so much “brain space” is not used in to solving them – would that “brain space” be more useful in other areas – could that “freed up”  space result in better abilities in other areas? Or is maths a foundation for so many other things that it will reduce ability over all? Can we even begin to form an answer to this – as we are built on this foundation of maths – it could take years to realise that it is a posistive or negative thing….