Phantom Limbs

Sometimes I feel that if there is one thing that has characterised my life it would be an ambient level of identity crisis. Not feeling like I knew who I was, or what people expected of me. I used to think the game of life was about exploiting assumptions other people made about me. I discovered, for example, in high school English class that if I sat up the front and stayed quiet there was a general assumption that I was working on English work. The teacher didn’t need to know I was actually writing songs.

When I felt particularly bogged down in a seemingly never ending work project one night I just went, “Why am I here?! I AM A [expletive deleted] ARTIST!” That, of course, has been the other thread in my life. I’ve always thought I was an artist, in the broadest sense of the word. And I didn’t really need much supporting evidence to convince myself of such things. [Read More…]


Loose Threads

I was putting together some course materials about WordPress for my day job when I logged into this site to check something. I hadn’t realised before yesterday but today marks exactly a year since my last blog post. (I actually log in all the time to update WordPress and plugins, but scarcely to write.) I pointed this out to my token reader and she wondered if I was a bit beyond blogging. I personally felt I had just fallen off a bandwagon. [Read More…]


Trains, Planes and Automobiles

Sometimes I wonder why I have a blog, especially since I seem to struggle to find the time to actually blog. The truth is writing requires thinking, and lately my life has become so busy that I just can’t manage to pull it off.

So what’s happening? [Read More…]

1 comment

Where should I put my focus?

The best thing about MOOCs? The low barriers to participation.

The worst thing about MOOCs? The low barriers to participation.

There’s a lot of angst about low rates of completion of Massive Open Online Courses but for anyone who has ever signed up for one it is not hard to see why this is the case. [Read More…]

1 comment

Is Coding A “Hard Skill”?

I’m trying to unpack some of my own experience and dust off a few ideas that might be useful for my own students.

Someone recently sent me a link to a 99u article titled You Don’t Need To Learn To Code + Other Truths About the Future of Careers. There is a lot of angst about whether one should or should not learn to code. Actually this is part of a larger narrative about educators being clairvoyant enough to know what their students should require for the (unknown, perhaps unknowable) future. I see a lot of educators go, “They need to know how to do this… and this… and, of course, this too!”

Suddenly the list of things one needs to know is huge. Much too long in fact for the time allocated to any particular educational setting. While it probably is true that we need to know more things than we have in the past, it is possible to dive too shallow and too wide. This approach doesn’t seem to produce much except anxious and neurotic students.

According to 99u:

If becoming a programmer is appealing to you, great. But seeking employment based on any one “hard skill” is an outdated way of thinking.

Is coding a hard skill? [Read More…]


More Tired Than Inspired

This has been a very challenging year. (I suspect I wrote a blog post around this time last year that said a similar thing about the previous year, but I maintain it is still true.) [Read More…]

1 comment

My Being Amplified

On stressful days it is easy to wonder, “Why me?” And yet if you follow that particular thread a little longer it can be quite instructive. “How did I become a trainer and assessor? How did I get involved with computers? Why?”

I had a Commodore 64 as a kid. It plugged into the television. It was a time when we used disks, and a time when floppy disks were genuinely floppy. I played games like The (Great) Giana Sisters, Wonderboy and Ghosts ’n Goblins. But I also discovered the wonder of Commodore 64 BASIC. [Read More…]


Learnable Offers $10 Million Of Web Development and Design Training To Australian Students

I know I don’t blog enough often. (I realise too that the title of this blog post is super long.) But some news came along that was too good not to share.

That great hub of online web design and development education Learnable is offering $10 million worth of free 3-year memberships to current Australian students. [Read More…]

1 comment

Absence of Bravery

I am procrastinating. I thought I might blog instead of just sit here. Though I’m not just sitting here. I am also listening to music videos on YouTube. YouTube keeps serving ads, alternating between ads encouraging me to joined the Armed Forces and ads encouraging support for those traumatised by their involvement in the same Armed Forces. The juxtaposition is striking, it is hard to believe it is an accident. But it must be, surely?

At any rate outside the realm of computer games I am pretty much a pacifist.

And today I am impersonating an artist. [Read More…]

1 comment

Thinking Out Loud

The power of the Internet is at its most magical when people think out loud. But thinking out loud is not something that comes easily to most of us. We fear we’ll be judged harshly, or that our ideas will be stolen. Sometimes projects will fail to materialise. Sometimes we will fail, and to fail openly is to fail publicly. There are all kinds of vulnerabilities there. [Read More…]

1 comment