Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014 - The Year of Living Relatively Quietly!!

Looking back on 2014, I can truthfully say it was as quiet as I had wanted it to be, although there were busy bits inbetween!!  What I enjoyed most on a personal level was having a little bit more time to do what I love - gardening, composting and so on.  I did a Project 52 blog inspired by my fellow blogger Sue Annan here.  This kept me occupied on a daily basis, and hence I didn't blog so much on Janet's Abruzzo.  I will try to post more often in 2015!!

The Highs of 2014
My Project 52 blog
Janet's Abruzzo Edublog celebrating its 6th year
EVO Crafting as a moderator for five weeks in January / February
Connecting Online webinar in February
Teaching at the lake school
Online projects with the Consultants-e
Doing an excellent mlearning course with the Consultants-e
Teaching wonderful groups of students
Reading and learning more about the art of composting
Motorbike trip to San Marino
Learning more about the use of QR codes in education

The Lows of 2014
Losing the final chicken, leaving Freddy on his own, no fresh eggs!
Dearest Fluffy going missing, and accepting he is probably gone forever
No olive harvest this year - very disappointing!
The very rainy summer in Abruzzo

My resolutions for 2015?
Continue to be happy, doing what I like doing
Write more often on this blog
Produce more vegetables
Sow seedlings earlier
Continue to grow professionally by reading and attending online courses
Explore more indepth some of the Web 2.0 tools I already use

A 2015 calendar created with Photofunia today. We are deep in snow at the end of the year!

I couldn't resist taking this photo of a cat on the balcony! Hopefully we will start the New Year tomorrow with water, electricity and Internet connection!!

An Animoto message

Welcome to 2015!

The final message of 2014 to all my readers and members of my PLN:

..and a final QR message as well :-)

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Happy Christmas 2014!

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas from Janet's Abruzzo Edublog.  I haven't blogged so much this year, but hope to be more pro-active in the New Year!

Sunday, 28 September 2014

George Clooney Ties the Knot in Venice!

The wedding of 2014 sees George Clooney wed Amal  Alammudin in the most romantic of locations - Venice.  I fell in love with Venice years ago and for me it is my favourite place in the entire world, second to Barcelona!

Why the interest in George Clooney?  Well, he has a connection with Abruzzo!!  I went all the way to the fairy tale village of Castel del Monte a few years back, in the hope of meeting him in person!

Image of the village taken by K and then made into a tryptich for one of our walls below;

Sadly the planned meeting was not meant to be, but you can read all about him in these blog posts below:

George Clooney in Abruzzo!
George Clooney in Castel del Monte - Update
George Clooney - Who Else?

More in pictures and news of his BIG Day in the following papers:

The Guardian
The Independent
The Daily Mail

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

ACIM 2014 Meeting

ACIM 2014 - San Marino

This post is a bit different from my usual ones on my blog and it focuses on a very special trip I made last week.
K and I travelled to San Marino by motorbike to attend the 6th ACIM motorbike meeting.  

ACIM stands for Aprilia Caponord International Meeting. Aprilia Caponord motorbike owners and their friends came from all around Europe, including Holland, Macedonia, Slovenia, France, Switzerland, Greece, Germany, UK and a lot from Italy. 

You can get a taste of the great fun we had by viewing this fabulous Youtube video called ACIM VI San Marino 2014 posted by Canale di SBellu 96. I can be seen sitting at the table at section 1.15.  This was on the Saturday evening's BBQ and presentation of gifts.

It was the most wonderful holiday and we enjoyed ourselves very much, meeting new people and making new friends. The whole experience was efficiently organized, and a special thanks goes to Maurizio and his Aprilia Caponord team, who helped make it such a memorable occasion.

I managed to practise a little bit of French, German, Greek and of course Italian with some of the motorcyclists and passengers.  

In total, there were 42 bikes and 69 riders and pillion passengers, including myself, (in the blue jacket) seen below during one of the frequent stops on the road.

We travelled a total of 550 miles during the 3-day trip and we took in a lot of beautiful sights.  Being part of a group riding in convoy was lovely and wearing the specially designed souvenir t-shirt was a thrill.  The Grand Hotel Primavera where we stayed was superb. 

We visited many different sites and attractions including the Aviation Park Museum, just outside San Marino.  There was an excellent open air display of old aircraft from around the world.  

I spotted an East German flag on one of the planes....I would recognize this symbol anywhere, after having lived in East Germany in the early '80s. Here's a link to a guest post I wrote a few years ago about my Life Behind The Iron Curtain.

The highlight of the tour was this 1944 Dakota which had been owned by Clark Gable.  

 Marilyn Monroe had been a passenger on this plane, and as she is one of my favourite movie stars, I had to sit in one of the seats where she had probably sat!!

We travelled to San Leo a small hill top village with a beautiful and impressive cathedral.

We enjoyed a lovely BBQ meal on the Saturday evening and there was a raffle, and we won an extra t-shirt!  Below you can see me accepting the prize and saying thanks. I am proudly wearing the blue ACIM 2014 t-shirt.

The hotel was just outside San Marino and we explored this tiny republic state on the Sunday morning.  I managed to grab a photo of us setting off in convoy.

Our expert guide Francesco from San Marino, was very knowledgeable and spoke excellent English.  

We learned so many interesting facts from him about this unique principality, and about its successful way of self-government. 

The views from the top of San Marino were truly spectacular!

The San Marino guards in front of the National Palace:

This was a truly amazing trip and the lovely people we met made it even more memorable.  We would love to go on another ACIM trip next year and hopefully meet up with the same group of riders and catch up on their news.

Thanks so much to dear K for your brilliant motorbike riding skills.  We had a lot of fun, didn't we?

Monday, 19 May 2014

The Future Beckons for Wearable Technology

This post has been a long time coming....  I kind of lost track of time the past few months, and for some reason, I did not have much inspiration, pure and simple.  My days of being on a constant roll, of blog title headings popping up all over the place, seemed to be a thing of the past.....  until just now, I caught sight of this post via my daily scoopit feed, and it immediately grabbed my attention.  I knew I wanted to embed this infographic on my blog, something new and exciting and futursitic!   Thanks to Learning Bytes from The Consultants-E Scoop it, I was hooked into reading the infographic below from Elearning Infographics blog. In particular one innovation regarding wearable technology struck me more than anything, the word GoPro.

Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics
 K has been using his GoPro camera for a few months now.  It is mounted on his motorbike and it videos some of his trips.  He uses it to get feedback on how the motorbike handles over different terrains...It is an extremely useful piece of kit!

Some videos I have seen of what can be done with a GoPro are simply sensational, in particular this Around the World in 360 Degrees - 3 Year Epic Selfie video by Alex Chacon.  He filmed for 600 days around the world with a GoPro on a stick.  The possibilities for using this piece of wearable technology are endless!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Spring Blog Festival

I would like to highlight an upcoming online event next weekend which may be of interest to my readers, especially those of you who are bloggers, or are interested in becoming bloggers.  
Below is an extract from the introduction to the session information page, and a link to this exciting event:

'The Spring Blog Festival (SBF) is 3-day blog festival showcasing bloggers, their work, and valuable tips for blogging for reflective practice or with students. This event takes place online on WizIQ, on March 14-16, 2014.  Highlights include: Why blog?, background to blogging, famous bloggers, getting started, and best practices and challenges involved in blogging.


The conference organizers are Dr. Nellie Deutsch, Sylvia Guinan, and Shelly Sanchez Terrell 

I am sure it is going to be a very educational and enlightening event!

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Feedback on EVO Crafting the ePerfect Textbook 2014

Sunday February16th marked the final day of the exciting five-week EVO Crafting the ePerfect Textbook session.  It has been a truly exhilarating and educational experience, connecting with over 500 teachers from around the globe.  I was helping the amazing organizer Shelly Terrell to moderate the Crafting the ePerfect eTextbook, together with 14 other moderators as seen in the screenshot below.

This session was a great CPD opportunity for me and I learned so much about how to write and publish a chapter of a textbook.  I was able to meet and interact with so many enthusiastic participants, some I knew already, but a lot of new people, I met for the first time.  The interactions took place mostly on the Google+ EVO Crafting the ePerfect Textbook community.  Google+ was a new experience for me and I have to say I enjoyed learning more about how this site functions. It was the perfect place to host the session and everything was expertly organized by Shelly Terrell into the different weeks of the session.

There is a Listly Ebook EVO bookshelf of all the ebooks / pdfs / publications from the community here 

During the pre-registration week and then the five weeks of the session, I enjoyed meeting and greeting all the participants and seeing how their projects developed from mindmapping of the initial ideas to the final creation of their ebook chapter.  I was able to comment on and encourage the participants within the Google+ community and a lot of interesting resources and links were shared by everyone, moderators and participants alike. It was wonderful to see how everything evolved and how much enthusisam was poured into the session.

Apart from popping in daily to see what was happening in the community, I also added a few images and links to tools, that I thought might be useful.  Below a list of some of the tools I used during the five weeks in no particular order.

Write Comics

Big Huge Labs Magazine cover effect

Haiku Deck 3, 2, 1 Introduction

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad


Tagxedo - A list of web 2.0 tools used by participants for their 3,2,1 introductions

Text2mindmap of Week 3 impressions

Fodey newspaper article feedback

A Bookr of my impressions of the session.

I would like to say a huge thanks to everyone for making these five weeks such a wonderful and stimulating experience!   A special thanks to Shelly Terrell the super organizer, Rubena  St Louis our session mentor, all my lovely co-moderators and all the fabulous participants. Congratulations to everyone who completed their ebook chapter!!

Also, included is a huge thanks to the very hardworking EVO Moderators' team led by Nina Liakos.  The four-week Moderator Training session before the actual EVO sessions began, was very interesting and extremely practical.  All in all, the past 10 weeks have flown past!

One of the participants and my dear fellow-blogger Natasa,  has posted feedback of how her ebook chapter evolved during the five weeks.  Many congratulations for her excellent ebook chapter called Travel.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

CO14 - An Exciting Weekend of CPD!

This weekend Friday 7th February to Sunday 9th February promises to be an exciting couple of days for educators around the world.

It is the Connecting Online's 2014 E-conference, which is free to attend. It is all hosted on the WizIq platform.  Speakers include Professor Curt Bonk, Shelly Terrell, Dr Nellie Deutsch, Dr Ludmilla Smirnova, Stephen Downes and many more! I too will be presenting my tutorial on 'Visually Inspire your Students!' on Sunday at 5pm EST, or 11pm Rome time. This presentation is the same one I did for the Reform Symposium in 2013.  It will be a great pleasure for me to share my ideas to a wider audience.

The themes for the CO14 econference are as follows (reposted from the wiziq newsletter site with kind permission to reproduce and share)

'Educators at all levels will find this conference very useful, as many eminent intellectuals from across the globe will be holding webinars on a variety of topics that include:

- Connecting Online to Improve Instruction and Learning: Online Learning and Instructional Experiences

- Experiences with technology in face-to-face and online classes. What worked and what didn't work for you?

- How do you use technology to promote your online workshops, consultation, and communities?

- Research conducted on e-learning

- Books written on e-learning

- 21st Century learning and teaching

- Challenges of the 21st Century learning/teaching environment

- Leading a business with e-learning technology

I look forward to seeing you over the weekend.  I can guarantee you it will be very educational, enlightening and above all, lots of fun!