March to Limoges

January 14, 2016

March to Limoges
A short stay in Limoges France . A chance to experience the capital of the Limousin and practise some French .


This is NOT an official adult education trip but an informal group visit to France which will support your learning. Open to current and past learners of French and their friends.


The plan:

Thursday 17 March –

11.00 Meet East Midlands Airport
13.10 Depart East Midlands on Flight Ryanair FR 1632

15.50 arrive Limoges airport and take shared taxi to Hotel de la Paix
17.00 approx – arrive at hotel and check in.

18.30 Short walking tour of Limoges

19.30 Meal in restaurant together.

21.00 return to hotel free time.


Friday 18 March
8.00 Breakfast
9.30 joint cultural visit (TBC but associated with history of Limoges and ceramic industry)
11.30 Free time and project groups set off to:   find lunch venue for each group, undertake research project to present to others.
16.00 all groups meet to share experiences at location near to hotel.
19.30 group joint meal.
21.00 return to hotel

Saturday 19 March

8.00 Breakfast
9.00 individual visits based on recommendations from feedback from resrach groups.
13.00 Rendez vous at Hotel and taxi to airport.
13.50 arrive airport. Take flight Ryanair FR 1633
15.50 take off
16.30 return to East Midlands airport.

More details    07847417027

Estimated costs

At time of writing retun fare with Ryanair is 55 Pounds (this may change)


90 pounds for a double room for two nights (Double bed)
111 pounds for two nights in a twin room
Cost of cultural visit   about 10 Pounds

Other costs

Amount on shared taxis   approx 20 pounds
Two evening meals approx 70 pounds
Two lunches approx 20 pounds


Incidentals and drinks are at your discretion.

Example costs:

Travel alone with single occupancy: 265 pounds pp
One person sharing a twin room: 230 pounds   pp
A couple sharing douible room.   330 pounds total (165 pp)


Good advice

Bring an EU medical card
Ensure that you have adequate travel insurance.

You will need cash and for this you can change money in advance but also you can take cash from ATMs in France using your debit card

Digital Student Project

December 6, 2015

Your opinion matters! 

 Here is an opportunity for you as an adult learner to have your voice heard in a national survey.  The survey team are arranging a number of face- to-face focus groups of up to ten learners  which will last about an hour and a half .

This is part of a survey of all sectors of post school learning and it is important that the voice of adult learners is heard!

You will be made most welcome and all views will be valued and will contribute to the study. Full details are set out below.

The following session is confirmed 
Monday 14 December    7.00 – 8.30
Village Learning Centre Browning Street, Derby DE23 8DN  01332 711371Location

If you wish to take park please contact alastair clark either by email OR by calling or texting 07847417027 >


Digital Student Project


You are being invited to take part in a research study supported by Jisc. Jisc is a registered charity working on behalf of UK higher education, further education and skills to champion the use of digital technologies. Before you decide whether or not to take part, it is important for you to understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Please take time to read the following information carefully.


What is the purpose of the study?

This project will investigate learners’ expectations and experiences of the digital world – online learning content and tools, including mobile devices and computers – in order to make recommendations on the services that could be provided to support learners’ use of technology. Phase 1 of the Digital Student project investigated the expectations students have of technology provision in higher education. Phase 2 extended these investigations to further education.  The current Phase 3 is looking at Adult / Community, work-based and Offender Learning by conducting desk research and consulting with staff and students. The project aims to assess the distinctive features of the experience of using technologies for learners in these sectors. The study will run from September 2015 to March 2016.


Why have I been invited to participate?

You have been asked to participate as a learner in Adult / Community, work-based, apprentice or Offender Learning


Do I have to take part?

  1. It is up to you to decide whether or not to take part. If you do decide to take part you will be given this information sheet to keep and be asked to sign a consent form. If you decide to take part you are still free to withdraw at any time and without giving a reason.


Choosing either to take part or not take part in the study will have no impact on your marks, assessments or future studies.


What will happen to me if I take part?

You will be invited to take part in a focus group discussion of about one hour involving a member of the research team and other students on your course at your normal place of study. This will be one of ten similar focus groups to be conducted for the study. This will be audio recorded to provide us with accurate records of what is said. Refreshments will be provided during the event. We will also ask you to complete a short profile form giving information about you and your class.


What are the possible disadvantages and risks of taking part?

There is no risk to you beyond that involved in your normal learning. You are, however, being asked to give up about an hour of your time if you participate. If you wanted to contribute to follow-up events (see below) you would devote more time than that.


What are the possible benefits of taking part?

By participating in this study you will help us to develop and tell others about effective policies and recommendations for services that colleges or learning providers should offer in their digital learning provision. You may also gain some insights into how to better use technology in your own learning.


Will what I say in this study be kept confidential?

Yes, all information will be kept strictly confidential (subject to legal limitations). To do this, the researchers will remove names from the data before it is analysed. What this means is that your name and contact details will be kept in a separate, password-protected computer file from any data that you supply. This will only be able to be linked to your responses by the researchers, for example, in order to invite you to contribute to public follow-up events. We may, for instance, ask if we can write about your experiences as a learner to publish on Jisc’s website. This would take up no more than an hour of your time and it would be entirely up to you whether to accept or refuse the invitation. Or, we may invite you to take part in one or more of the national consultation events to be held with teaching staff in early 2016. These events would require a day of your time but your travel and expenses would be paid for you. Again, it is up to you whether you choose to accept or refuse such an invitation if it is offered.

In the final report, you will be referred to by a made-up name. We will remove any references to personal information that might allow someone to guess your identity.

What should I do if I want to take part?

A member of staff will publicise the date, time and place of the focus group meeting. You should attend the focus group meeting and sign a consent form and return it to the Digital Student researcher at the session.


What will happen to the results of the research study?

Reports of our findings will be presented at a series of national consultation events for teaching staff to be held in the period January – March 2016. These consultation events will contribute to developing recommendations for services that should be provided in the sectors. Reports used at these events will be publically available from the JISC Digital Student website at

We will also seek to present and publish findings from the research at conferences and in other academic arenas, including journals. These too will be announced on the JISC Digital Student website. We will provide copies of any such publications to participants in the study on request.

Who is organising and funding the research?

This study is funded by Jisc ( The research team consists of: Giles Pepler, Nick Jeans, Barry Phillips (Consultants in Learning Technology, Sero Consulting Limited, Sheffield Technology Park, Cooper Buildings, Arundel Street, Sheffield, S1 2NS) and Seb Schmoller (Independent Educational Consultant)



For further information about this project please contact Nick Jeans on, or +44 7733108468

Thank you for taking the time to read this.


Where do you stand on kilts?

December 5, 2015

Oh dear Alistair – am I missing something? I don’t recognise the name of the man and wonder if I am meant to? Or is he a local from Derbyshire?

A serious question indeed – is clothing a preserve of a cultural / ethnic identity?

And one which I imagine could vex any man who is not a Scot!

My thoughts???

Kilts are good…. men in kilts are good …. I like best the authenticity of a Scot in a kilt 🙂


On 05/12/2015 06:05, Alastair Clark wrote:

The following short video is a light hearted response to a serious question
Your thoughts welcome

Where do you stand on kilts?

December 5, 2015

The following short video is a light hearted response to a serious question

Your thoughts welcome

The Naples of England’ – a book I enjoyed!

November 7, 2015

`The Naples of England’ Andy C Miller

I read this book while on a recent trip to France and  ‘The Naples of England’ transported me to the post war period in England’s South Coast resort of Weymouth following the author’s journey from childhood through adolescence towards adulthood.   This is more than Clitheroe  Kid meets Adrian Mole but I was reminded of both as I read through the very varied accounts of the young boy’s life.

Naples of England

Naples of England at Limoges airport

Miller tells us that a  ‘comfortable web of activity surrounded our lives at number 100 Purbeck Road’, but  in fact the book opens with a disturbing outburst as a neighbour suffers flashbacks to his treatment  at the hands of the  Japanese in a prisoner of war camp.  The rosy view of a happy childhood prevails and the hints at  grimmer adult realities are always seen from a distance and the  security and certainty of the Miller family hearth.

As I read on, I felt that I was being given privileged access  to some intimate memories of life in the close community of kids on the council estate  as well as a window on the glamour of the adjacent seaside resort with its deck chairs, amusements and shifting population.

Miller admits to both his naughtiness and his naivety and tells his story with a soupçon of nostalgia  which sets us up for an unsettling revelation.

On reading this book  I had learned about one family, a lot about a generation,  a little about Weymouth but nothing about Naples!  I was absorbed by the narrative and only as I finished did I return to the question I first asked myself:  ‘What makes Weymouth the Naples of England?’

This is a good personal story well told, but also a thoughtful reflection on the early life of a south coast Baby Boomer.

Naples of England available from Amazon

Chateau in France

October 27, 2015


Hot Topics for Derby Geekeasy at Furnace Inn

May 19, 2015

It was an honour to be invited to speak to the Derby Geekeasy  group who meet monthly at the Furnace Inn on the banks of Derby’s River Derwent. What an interesting network of interesting people? They has asked me to talk about technology and learning and to be a bit animated!  Others will judged if I got the animation right, by as my slides (below) show I had a crack at an overview of pedagogical approaches and the current issues about Open Education including the current MOOC phenomenon.

Thanks to Glyn Smith for the pictures


Roaring Success for Derby Dragons

April 16, 2015
Group of three judges. 2 white men and one black woman

The Dragons – University of Derby – Health and Social Care, Dragons Den –

It was a great privilege to be invited by Senior Lecturer John Bowie to his Dragons Den exercise for students on the BA(Hons) Health and Social Care .

Six groups of students had each researched and planned a social enterprise to fill an unmet social need.

Along with fellow Dragons, Sharon Sewell and  Graham Masters it was our job to listen carefully to the six proposals and to subject them to rigorous questioning.

We may have come over as ‘tough cookies’ in our questioning but we all agreed that the students had invested a lot of time, thought and effort in each proposal and above all this was a great way to learn together in a ‘project-based’ learning approach.

The project has attracted some media interest an overall ‘winner’ will be announced next week but, to be quite honest I have to say that with this form of learner ‘everyone is a winner’ as it really was learning as learning should be.  The medal should go to John Bowie for dreaming up the plan and making it work!




Yet another photographer photographed.

March 23, 2015

Why take pictures by the River Wye?

A day on a photo course with Tez Marsden

March 21, 2015

I have just finished a really useful day long photo course run at Bakewell by Tez Marsden

I took along my trustee Nikon DSLR camera in the hope that I would finally put it through its paces 3 years after receiving it as a wonderful birthday gift.

Three photographers

Tez taught us always to choose groups of anything (trees, boulders etc ) in odd numbers. So this line of three fellow students seemed a great way to make the point.

Tez put us through some useful reminders about: rule of thirds, depth of field and effects of shutter speeds. Then we all decamped and started clicking away down at the River Wye.

Weir on river with houses in background.

It took me some time to scramble along the bank to get this. It certainly counted as a lot better than many of the others I took.

Finally we had a go at exploring changes in aperture and shutter speed. This took us away from ‘Auto’ and back to those skills I learned years ago on old East German Praktika camera.

Slow shutter speeds seem to turn the waters of the Wye into fur!


A shutter speed of half a second turned the water of the Wye into sleek animal fur!

But as we set off back at the end of the day, the sun came out and I just had to catch the river from the town bridge.

Blue river and green fields.

The sky cleared as we set off back across the bridge.

Now I need to get out there are practise my skills!