Sunday, 29 March 2009

Future of Learning Conference

The Future of Learning Conference will take place at Ashridge Conference Centre (Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire) over 48 hours, starting at 2pm on Wednesday 19 August and closing at lunchtime on Friday 21 August.

Full details of parallel sessions will be available in May 2009 once the review of abstracts submitted to the conference has been completed. The tracks will combine traditional presentations with interactive workshops to create a lively blend of opportunities to listen and engage.

Wednesday 19 August
Registration will be followed by afternoon workshops facilitated by faculty from Ashridge, the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business Executive Education Unit and Mt Eliza Executive Education. These workshops will showcase innovative work and provide an informative and social introduction to the conference.
Find out more about the Ashridge Experiential Learning workshop here.

The first keynote speaker, Sir Douglas Hague will speak before dinner on the same day.

Thursday 20 August
The second keynote speaker, Emeritus Associate Professor Chris Breen will start the day by addressing the audience in plenary, before progressing to parallel sessions for the rest of the day.
Friday 21 August
The third keynote speaker, Dr. Robert Burke will open the final morning of the conference. Parallel sessions will run for the remainder of the morning. All participants will be invited to stay for lunch after the conference formally closes at 1pm.

Took a bit of finding given the sparsity of information provided by elearningeuropa but I got there in the end!

Saturday, 28 March 2009


via I want to by philipbradley on 1 January (which just shows you how long I hide things, even from myself)

Funky Ways to Express Yourself
Neat and easy – upload your own pictures. You can then turn them into cartoons, avatars, or even play with video effects. Quite impressive if you're into tinkering with photographs.

Note to my friend Jen in Adelaide
And with the new camera who knows what you might achieve.

Labour market statistics

via The Scottish Government News Online - Latest on 17 March

Scotland has higher employment rates and lower rates of unemployment than rest of UK.Read the full news release

Monday, 23 March 2009

Does it suck, or does it rock?

via Phil Bradley's weblog by philipbradley on 18 March

Sucks Rocks is a fun resource - not sure that you can call it a search engine really, but we'll let that pass. Throw it a lot of terms or phrases, and it does some complicated maths based on what it finds and if the results link to specific terms such as X sucks, X is lame or X rocks, X is sweet. I did a fun search to compare search engines to libraries and librarians.

Lots of fun can be had with this. Football teams, universities, counties, states, countries even! Not very serious of course, but it could be a nice resource to use to have as an opening icebreaker slide.

Thanks to AltSearchEngines for bringing this one to my attention.

And thanks to Phil for bringing this to me. Great time-waster!

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Understanding the complexity of electronic government: Implications from the...

an article by Natalie Helbig (Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany), J Ramón Gil-García (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas, Mexico) and Enrico Ferro (Istituto Superiore Mario Boella (ISMB), Italy) in Government Information Quarterly Volume 26 Issue 1 (January 2009)


Theoretically and practically E-Government and the digital divide are intertwined social phenomena. Using sophisticated information technologies (IT) in government has little social value if citizens are not able to use services or interact in political processes in meaningful ways. Similarly, understanding the development and use of IT in government without incorporating a demand perspective would potentially lead to partial explanations of a complex social reality. This article argues that studies about E-Government and the digital divide, which have been relatively disconnected research areas, have important parallels and potential intersections. These parallels may be useful in understanding E-Government projects and policies in a more comprehensive way and, consequently, for developing effective digital strategies. The paper reviews trajectories in E-Government and digital divide research and suggests potential implications drawn from the digital divide literature for E-Government research and practice, including model and theory development, understanding users, and some determinants of demand.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Skillstudio Limited

This communication skills training specialist company hooks users in with a free eCourse on job interview skills.

Hazel’s comment:
I picked this up from Internet Resources Newsletter ages ago and sort of, well, erm,
lost it! Thank you to the team at Heriot-Watt University for continuing to produce IRN.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Competence and competence frameworks in career guidance: complex and contested concepts

an article by Ronald G Sultana (Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Educational Research, University of Malta) in International Journal for Educational and Vocational Guidance Volume 9 Number 1 (March, 2009)


This paper considers some of the debates surrounding the term competence and the relevance that these have for the development of competence frameworks. Such frameworks are increasingly on the agenda, since they purport to support training programme development, to identify competence gaps, to promote self-development, and to ensure common standards. This paper shows, however, that notions of competence have specific meanings in particular contexts, that they have been contested, and that they have fallen into and out of favour over time. The paper concludes by teasing out the implications that competing definitions of competence have for the guidance field.

Hazel’s comment:
I wanted to hold this back until I'd had the opportunity to read the full article but the hard copy journal wasn&rsquot in the British Library when I visited yesterday and I didn't want to hold on to this any longer.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Internet Technology and Social Capital: How the Internet Affects Seniors’ Social Capital and Wellbeing

an article by Shima Sum, Mark R Mathews, Mohsen Pourghasem and Ian Hughes in Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication Volume 14 Number 1 (October 2008)


Although it is increasingly obvious that the Internet is changing human life; the details of this change are not yet clear. A major debate in current literature involves the capacity of the Internet to enhance social capital and well-being in old age. In this regard, the present study attempts to investigate the relationships between Internet use and older people’s social capital and well-being. An online survey was conducted at the University of Sydney. 222 seniors responded to the survey. The measures used included a wide range of instruments related to the Internet use, social capital and well-being. Respondents used the Internet for various purposes, including seeking information, entertainment, commerce, communication, and finding new people. The main findings of the study were that the relationships between Internet use, social capital and well-being is a complex construct and the Internet has different effects on social capital and well-being resulting from different use of this technology. The study results revealed that the Internet is a 2-edged sword with the ability to both harm and help. According to the findings of this study, using the Internet can be helpful for older adults if they are aware how they use it.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Who actually offers opportunities for non-formal learning?

via Cedefop - Latest additions for all news types/subtypes

by Michael Ioannides on 8 March

Companies provide the largest part of non-formal learning activities in almost all countries (where final data are available).

Very interesting statistics here

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Government faces backlash over “Welfare Abolition Bill”

via Ekklesia on 10 March

Opposition to the government's Welfare Reform Bill reached a new level yesterday morning, when campaigners dressed as bankers took over the lobby of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in Adelphi House, central London.

Carrying banners reading “target the rich, not the poor” and “stop the Welfare Abolition Bill” the protesters peacefully occupied part of the building before being forcibly removed.

Read the full story

The New Opportunities White Paper: Fair Chances for the Future

The NIACE Spring policy briefing looking at the White Paper and assessing its impact on adults will take place on

Thursday 26 March 2009
at NIACE's offices in Leicester
10:45am - 12:45pm
£85 including lunch
The global downturn has revealed enormous socio-economic disparities accrued during 10 years of economic growth. Fairness and social mobility are becoming politically significant topics once again. The New Opportunities White Paper: Fair Chances for the Future, published on 13 January 2009, is owned by eleven government departments and as such represents an opportunity for joined-up government action.
Furthermore it puts lifelong learning back in the policy agenda as the phrase appears twelve times in the document.
This Policy Briefing will provide -
- an overview of the White Paper
- an opportunity to explore its potential impact.
The primary focus will be to consider the actions identified in the document such as the £500 learning entitlement for families on low income and to explore what further interventions could be proposed to use learning to tackle the inequality gap.
The policy discussion will be complemented with an insight into the initial findings of NIACE's independent Inquiry into the Future for Lifelong Learning (IFLL).
This event will be of interest to anyone working in the field of adult learning with a particular interest in lifelong learning and social mobility. This will include:
- Colleges
- Local authorities
- Independent and third sector providers
- Guidance workers

Event Information
Event fee per person is £85. NIACE does not charge VAT on conference fees.
Arrival and registration is at 10:45am for an 11:00am start.
The briefing will end with lunch at 12:45pm

Enquiries to NIACE Events Team - Tel: 0116 204 2833

Monday, 9 March 2009

Department of Health must improve its management of records

via ICO Press Releases on 9 March

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has issued a formal practice recommendation to the Department of Health regarding its record management practice. This follows a request by the ICO, and with the agreement of the Department, for the National Archives (TNA) to conduct an assessment of records management practice at the authority.

Read the full press release

Sunday, 8 March 2009

An updated strategic framework for European cooperation in education and tra...

via on 8 March

Building higher skills through better education and training systems is an essential part of Europe's strategy to meet future challenges such as the ageing of society and to deliver the high levels of sustainable, knowledge-based growth and jobs that are at the heart of the Lisbon strategy. Knowledge, skills and competences determine an individual's chances to succeed in the labour market and to have an active role in society. They are crucial for social cohesion as well as the competitiveness and innovative capacity of enterprises and the entire economy.

Full document (PDF 17pp) here

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Front-line workers and “Local Knowledge” neighbourhood stories in contemporary UK local governance

an article by Catherine Durose (RCUK Research Fellow in the Local Governance Research Unit (LGRU), Faculty of Business and Law, Leicester Business School, De Montfort University) in Public Administration Volume 87 Issue 1 (2009)


One of the aims of this special issue is to “decentre” a key facet of governance, namely networks. This article considers in particular the concept “networked community governance”, a key part of New Labour’s reforms in local governance and, in particular, around neighbourhood-based working. This article draws on interpretive methods and analysis to explore the everyday work of front-line workers in contemporary local governance through their own stories. The article is based on empirical work in the neighbourhood management system developed in Salford, a local authority in the North West of England. Key to facilitating “networked community governance”, is front-line workers’ own “local knowledge”, understood as the mundane, yet expert, understanding front-line workers develop from their own contextual experiences. The article explores the difficulties that front-line workers perceive themselves to face in their everyday work and how they use their “local knowledge” to develop responsive, entrepreneurial strategies.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Interesting but not for work

via Arts & Letters Daily - ideas, criticism, debate on 27 Feb
“Natural selection” and “survival of the fittest”. Two phrases that have misled many about the true nature of evolution... more

Welcome to Mars has absolutely nothing to do with chocolate and everything to do with fun on another planet. Go try it.

via Arts & Letters Daily - ideas, criticism, debate on 6 November
Why do Fred Astaire's old movies still shimmer with glamour and enchantment, why do so many still find that the sight of him casts a lovely lilting glow?... more

via Arts & Letters Daily - ideas, criticism, debate on 25 January
Bankers out of work might consider becoming chefs. But no Madoff types, please: cooking the books isn't the right experience for cooking coq au vin... more

Saudi court rejects plea to annul 8-year-old girl's marriage to 58-year-old man
via Boing Boing by Mark Frauenfelder (via Anorak) on 23 December
The divorce plea was filed in August by the girl's divorced mother with a court at Unayzah, 220 kilometres (135 miles) north of Riyadh just after the marriage contract was signed by the father and the groom. "She doesn't know yet that she has been married," the lawyer said then of the girl who was about to begin her fourth year at primary school.

Friday fun via Science, Engineering & Technology Blog by Anne on 16 January
Check out your knowledge of places and countries around the world with the Travel IQ game from Travelpod.

And another thing... via The Adam Smith Institute Blog on 15 January
Spending a penny at London's King's Cross station now costs 30p – equivalent to 72 old pennies. It just shows you how far governments have trashed our money.
It is not always the fault of government! And unless you're absolutely busting you can walk to St Pancras International and pay a visit for free.

Website lets you measure your contractions online via Popgadget: Personal Tech for Women on 12 January Via Bloom
In 2009, there's a high probability that any mother-to-be will be within reach of a computer when labor begins, so the Contraction Master website is a genius idea. Instead of having to time contractions yourself, you simply go to the website, click your spacebar when a contraction begins and again when it ends, and the site lets you know how far apart your contractions are, how long they last, and all that other important info. And all for free.

via Arts & Letters Daily - ideas, criticism, debate on 15 November
Has our political life really changed very much since Shakespeare's day? Maybe it has regressed back towards it, having moved away only for a century or two... more

Friday fun via Science, Engineering & Technology Blog by Anne on 5 December
This resource from the Centre for Teaching Mathematics, University of Plymouth, titled Puzzles to get the brain working, provides ten illustrated, mathematical brain teasers.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

“We just make the pictures…?” How work is portrayed in children's feature length films

an article by Paula McDonald (School of Management, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane) in Culture and Organization Volume 15 Issue 1 (March 2009)


This article explores how adult paid work is portrayed in “family” feature length films. The study extends previous critical media literature which has overwhelmingly focused on depictions of gender and violence, exploring the visual content of films that is relevant to adult employment. Forty-two G/PG films were analysed for relevant themes. Consistent with the exploratory nature of the research, themes emerged inductively from the films’ content. Results reveal six major themes: males are more visible in adult work roles than women; the division of labour remains gendered; work and home are not mutually exclusive domains; organisational authority and power is wielded in punitive ways; there are avenues to better employment prospects; and status/money is paramount. The findings of the study reflect a range of subject matters related to occupational characteristics and work-related communication and interactions which are typically viewed by children in contemporary society.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

What kind of secondary education?

an article by Ziga Cepar and Stefan Bojnec in International Journal of Management in Education Volume 3 Number 1 (2009)


The increasing economic importance of education and human capital in regional and global competition causes demands for better management in education. The links between education levels focusing on the secondary education in Slovenia are analysed by the number of children and adults entering and finishing different types of secondary schools. The secondary education is oriented towards further higher education or towards acquiring vocational qualification. The key driving forces of demand for the secondary education are econometrically tested to provide implications for management in education.

The Economic Impacts of Migration on the UK Labour Market

by Howard Reed and Maria Latorre

The impact of migration on the UK labour market has become a contentious issue in public and political debate, with critics suggesting that immigration reduces wages or employment for the UK born population. The effects of migration in both the short and long run are too complex for economic theory to deliver exact predictions about its impacts on employment and wages. However, the best previous evidence suggests that the overall effects of migration on wages are either insignificantly different from zero, or slightly positive.

via IPPR newsletter 26 February 2009

45pp PDF here (free and can be downloaded without registration if you prefer)

Household debt repayment behaviour: what role do institutions play?

an article by Burcu Duygan-Bump (Federal Reserve Bank of Boston) and Charles Grant (University of Reading) in Economic Policy Volume 24 Issue 57


Household debt
Despite the lively policy debate on rising household debt, arrears and personal bankruptcy filings, there is relatively little empirical evidence on the determinants of households’ debt repayment behaviour, or on the incidence of arrears. Even less is known about how arrears compare between countries, although debt levels are known to vary widely. Using data from the European Community Household Panel, the authors first show that arrears are frequently associated with subsequent adverse consequences, such as future unemployment or bad health. Second, they find that arrears are often precipitated by an adverse shock to the household’s income or health, but that there are large differences between countries in how households react to these events. Finally, they show that these differences can be partly explained by local financial and judicial institutions, as captured by contract enforcement and information sharing indicators. In other words, they show that while adverse shocks are highly important, the extent to which these affect repayment behaviour depends crucially on the penalty for defaulting. This finding suggests that although repayment problems often arise from a genuine inability to repay, some households seem to behave strategically.

We are very grateful to Clemens Fuest, Jean Imbs, and three anonymous referees for their extremely valuable comments and suggestions, which proved crucial in shaping our ideas and this paper. We would also like to thank Brian Bucks, Guglielmo Weber, and seminar participants at Bilkent University, European University Institute, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the Royal Economic Society Meeting, and the Second Italian Congress of Econometrics and Empirical Economics, for helpful comments on a preliminary version of this paper. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Reserve System or of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
The Managing Editor in charge of this paper was Jan van Ours.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

BSI consults on first British Standard for accessible websites

A British Standard will give business owners and marketing managers new guidance for building and maintaining web content that is accessible to disabled people. A draft version of BS 8878 was released for public comment today.

Read the full article from OUT-LAW and discover that I have been holding this for three months. I am ashamed of myself. Comments were open for two months so the opportunity has passed to make any input but it is good to know that the standard is likely to be published in the summer. Let's hope that not only do web developers and website managers adhere to the standards but that someone, somewhere, somehow actually makes sure that, at the very least, public sector information services are accessible to all.

Decision time - and a resolution

I have decided that instead of giving up chocolate for Lent I am going to follow the example of The Alaskan Librarian (Daniel Cornwall) and do something positive instead.

I am going to post one new item every day and not stick anything except trivia into draft and just leave it for a week. And for each of those new items posted I will clear (edit for publication or delete) two from the bottom of the drafts. That will mean that at least until Easter, when my resolve might weaken, you will be getting things turning up in a rather odd order.

I've realised that I've given you the link to Daniel's blog when the suggestion about being positive about Lent action was on Facebook but no matter!

The role of information competencies and skills in learning to abstract

an article by Maria Pinto, Anne-Vinciane Doucet and Andrés Fernández-Ramos (University of Granada) in Journal of Information Science (Volume 34 Number 6)


The ability to abstract information is a basic competency in today's knowledge society, characterised by the mass diffusion of information and the need to manage and access it effectively. Yet abstracting is not an easy task, and requires a specific learning process. This paper examines the process of abstracting information from the perspective of competencies and skills-based learning of students of information and documentation. The competencies and skills necessary in this process, which are drawn from European sources on library science and documentation, are identified by analysing in detail the various stages and processes involved in writing an abstract. The general skills required for the whole process, as well as the specific skills for each stage, are determined. Guidelines and recommendations are put forward to facilitate the learning of these skills in the context of abstracting.

Hazel’s comment:
I've read the full article, and re-read it, and I am now convinced that I do not have the necessary competencies to write a good abstract! But then I have told you all that on a number of occasions, haven't I?


Thanks to Roddy and the team at Heriot-att University I picked this up from the ever-useful Internet Resources News (Issue 170 March 2009)

Disaboom is a dynamic, interactive online community for people with disabilities and those whose lives they touch. It combines disability-related health and lifestyles information with an engaging, member-driven community of personal profiles, blogs, forums and shared-interest groups, tailored to your needs. Providing a place for you to learn about – or talk about – your spinal cord injury, back or neck pain, diabetes, cerebral palsy, depression, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, osteoarthritis, amputation, or other condition.

A word of warning, though. It's American! Now, believe you me, I have nothing, absolutely nothing, against Americans or even American websites but you will need to ignore the advice to visit your downtown drug store, or respond to the Obama Stimulus Plan and join in with discussions as appropriate.

A community is only what the people of that community make it into and this looks like a good one.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Project Management - who is it for?

via Ron Rosenhead's Project Management Blog

OK, so I've been hoarding posts (and, in the main, deleting rather than admitting to being so far behind) but this about treating job search as a project is really useful.

The current economic climate has resulted in many job losses.
People are out searching for a new job and in a relatively short space of time I
have spoken with many. I suggested they treat job search as a project. I go
through a process where they among other things they:
• have a clear objective
• identify key stakeholders
• identify and develop risk strategies
• develop a practical plan to attack the job market
You would be surprised how their shoulders straighten and they get a spring back in their steps, they are in control using project management tools and techniques.
Full article

Am I sorry?

Well, yes, of course I am. I've just written an "I am sorry" post in the business blog - do I have to grovel here as well?

Maybe I should, but I'm not going to. I've been very busy.

  1. I've just finished the first draft of a new thesaurus which will, when used with the stunning algorithm being developed by APS Ltd (Alan Paull) and InGenius Solutions Ltd (Richard Entwistle and Anthony Au), aid accessing the many different data sets available.
    Don't ask me about the technicalities, please, I just know that I need to get all the terms in the right place so it doesn't matter whether the data is classified (LDCS, JACS etc) or simply "keyworded" the mapping will find the right place (I hope).
  2. Careers Software News is just about ready to print – and so it should be since it is needed for the ICT in careers education and guidance conference at York on Thursday.
  3. February Members' Update (for ADSET members only) will be finished by the end of this week if it kills me – maybe it will as I've still got to read what looks like several hundred journals.

So there you have it – the excuses I have found for neglecting you shamefully!