It is hard to believe that we are already near the end of the second month of 2012, time is warping on by. In truth 2012 seems more like a year from a science fiction novel , where we not supposed to be driving flying cars and living on the moon by now? (Perhaps thats me showing my age).
Anyways, I digress, the purpose of my first post in nigh on half a year is to mention the other blog that I have been updating more frequently (well just a tad) than this one. It is a blog about wine and craft beers, basically just a few notes on those that I sample, nothing too in depth or overly pretentious. I do hope to get something more history related up soon, you can find the latest post from The Cork here.
Take Care & Be Well
Nearing the end of Fintan O’Toole’s Enough is Enough How to Build a New Republic, thought it would be a good casual read during the build up to the election. I like the ideas contained within and how Ireland has never truly been a republic in anything but name (and officially the word republic is not contained in the name of the state). It would be nice if what he describes was possible but I just dont believe that the political will exists to reinvent our country in this way.
Next up I need to return to the comfort of fiction, some fantasy perhaps. After spending most days reading primary history sources, struggling to translate Latin, writing on thesis (editing and deleting vast amounts of said writing) it is nice to escape into the fictional worldcontained in a simple paperback tome. Whether its while on the bus or at any other quite solitary moment that may present itself I look forward to diving into George RR. Martin’s A Feast For Crows, thats book 4 of A Song of Ice & Fire, and I have read it before but with the new HBO series coming up in April (possibly May over here on Sky Atlantic) I really feel the need to revisit the Seven Kingdoms.
Winter is coming……
After reading the ‘Web Logs and Online Discussions as Tools to Promote Reflective Practice’ & ‘Self-Regulated Learning in Technology Enhanced Learning Environments: lessons of a European peer review’ I found myself provoked into reflecting on what it means to be a research student and how technology could be utilised to aid my daily trials and endeavours.
I can appreciate how the use of blogs encourages reflective practice and would allow students to ‘claim their professional voice’ (Hernández-Ramos, p. 2) and definitely increases metacognition. Indeed it is certain that contemplating the issues raised in these articles has prompted me to think more about my own learning that previously. Both articles stressed the role of lifelong learning, which is something I appreciate it and have some familiarity with. The fact that I began life after the Leaving Cert my going to RTC to study computers in 1993, to a time as an apprentice electrician, a return to computers and completion of Diploma, followed several years latter by decision to pursue a degree in History & Philosophy. Leading to my current wrestling with my PhD thesis, shows a ‘long and winding road’ (Beatles) where the sole common thread is a thirst and pursuit of various types of knowledge.
As I have only recently commenced this blog and am new to the whole blogging experience I am uncertain as to how blogging and online forums would lead to a higher quality of writing. However it is a useful point and one can see how the reflection involved in writing online would aid in helping a student realise the validity and power of their ideas. Perhaps conveying your voice on this public a setting would alleviate the solitary nature of life as a research student. Yet blogging is a time consuming exercise.
Karl Steffens article on Self-Regulated Learning was very thought provoking and the Zimmerman model highlighted in it really made me consider how a framework for self-regulation would help in avoiding the floundering that quite often occurs during ones academic pursuits. The mention of Monique Boekaerts Model of Adaptable Learning and its mention of stress and using primary and secondary appraisal to attempt to cope with it is useful. However it does appear that a lot of the models mentioned seem aimed at scientific or social science academic disciplines. The TELEPEERS project was interesting and the idea of a Cognitive Apprenticeship is something that all disciplines could utilise.
Both articles were interesting and provoked my thoughts to scramble to various directions.
After rising early to do a few hours work on my thesis, I now gaze out my window at a wonderfully sunny spring morning. As my dog advances the notion of taking her for a walk I feel myself drawn outside. Perhaps an hour long perambulation will clear my head for the day?
The IHSA conference is on in UCC but alas am stuck working today from 10.30 and again on Sunday, still one must keep the wolf from the door. Anyways thats enough rambling for this morn, now a brisk walk, breakfast and off to a days work in the off-licence….
Well its finally here, all the debates, the long hours spent analysing the various party manifestos in a bid to make an informed choice. The hope that the right vote today will lead to an able hand on the tiller of the good ship Ireland to guide us through the hazardous waters of the recessionary seas.
Yet despite all this as I stood in the polling station today, pencil in one hand, ballot paper before me my mind remained undecided. Considering the vast problems we face and the paltry, jaded, same old options before me I will admit to being seized by an almost paralyzing fear. Can I trust any politician and with the whole system needing root and branch reform, the sad truth is that perhaps one cant. Despite this I realised the futility of voting for an independent (in my opinion a wasted vote) as this would only make politics even more local, especially if (god forbid) independents were to provide the key in propping up the next government.
What we need is a government that places national interest before the local and, dare I say it, the collective well being before the individual.
In the end I cast my vote, folded and dropped my proverbial 2cents into the box.
A couple in Somerset, England while doing some home renovations came across a large 16th century mural of Henry VIII on their living room wall. Details can be found here
Ever fancied visiting some of the world’s most famous museums without having to leave the comfort of your own home? Then check out the Google Art Project.
Also, of particular interest to me, is this fully searchable online digital edition of the 1641 Depositions from Trinity College Dublin.
What I prefer to do with music is to listen to albums in their entirety in order to get a proper feel for the artists work. I find that this way you can discover a hidden gem or at the least appreciate the feel of the music. Naturally when commuting I tend to stick my i-pod on shuffle but for me there is nothing like taking the CD out of its casing, sliding it into the hi-fi system, turning up the volume, then relaxing with either a good beer, a good wine or large mug of tea (all depending on the time of day or deadlines).
At the momenet Paul Weller’s Wake up the Nation and the Manic Street Preachers’ Postcards from A Young Man are both getting the latter treatment.