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 ūüôā


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!

MMOER Project (Making More of Open Educational Resources)

February 6, 2015

Making the Most of Open Education (MMOER) Resources

February – April 2015
This project is set up as a piece of collaborative action research with adult tutors to explore the most effective ways of making use of open educational resources.


This is open to any tutor or curriculum manager at DALS – places are limited. The project will involve use of electronic resources but the only prior skills required will be the ability to access internet and save files.

About One Educational Resources
The term Open Educational Resource was first used by UNESCO in 2002 and has now been widely adopted across the world to describe educational resources which are licensed to enable others to use, adapt and share them. As a large amount of material is now available as OER this project will seek to explore how best it can be used by community educators.

This video offers  short introduction to the project from the coordinator.

DSC 0058 from alastair clark on Vimeo.

Your views count!

Before starting the project please take 5 minutes to answer a very short questionnaire

Link to Questionnaire

The question

The project will seek to work with a group of  practitioners to answer:

How can tutors in Community Learning settings work most effectively to

  • find
  • adapt
  • adopt

existing Open Educational Resources to enrich their own delivery?

It is anticipated that the following sub questions will be addressed:

  • How can collaboration aid content search?-
  • How far do tutors currently have skills required for adaptation?
  • Which platforms are most effective for aggregation and presentation of resources?

The Method

This will involve use of Action Research as Continuous Professional Development  as set our by Jean McNiff.


We will seek out OERs and this will be one of our starting points  Open4US

It will be great to have some participants attend the conference in Cardiff. If that interests you then you can apply for a bursary to pay for your fees for attending BUT this you need to apply by 16 February at

Output 1 – OER15 Conference presentation

The results of the project will be presented in a paper at the national OER15 conference in Cardiff 14-15 April 2015.

OER15 Registration   (they normally pay  conference fee but you may be able to make a request for some contribution to travel and accommodation Рmention that you are from Adult Community Learning)

Output 2 – sharing with colleagues

A chance to share experiences with colleagues at DALS through Moodle and possible F2F session.


Who are the coordinators?

The project will be coordinated and supported by Alastair Clark with technical support from Rod Paley from XTLearn



Lettres de mon moulin

December 19, 2014

A partir du 12 janvier 2015, mes classes de fran√ßais vont d√©couvrir l’histoire de ce livre.

C’est une histoire qui commence en Provence, qui passe par l’angleterre mais qui va √©galement aux Etats Unis!

Vennez découvrir!


Le film de Marcel Pagnol