Don’t Make Teachers and Homework the Big Bad Wolf!

Don't make teachers & homework the big bad wolf!
Don’t make teachers and homework the big bad wolf!!

I had one of those sad, tongue biting moments this week.

I went out for lunch with my mother to our favourite which was heaving with visitors and people enjoying the last week of the Easter holidays. as we took our seats, the people on the table next door were getting ready to leave – two women and four children all under seven years old I reckon (though I am notoriously bad at ageing children!) The two older boys were suitably excitable having been out, sat done and full of food; one of them became particularly boisterous.

And so began the ‘if you don’t behave. this is what will happen’

It started with the promise of 30 minutes time out in his room when they got home if he didn’t square up, but he didn’t. So bigger guns came out. The threat of no electronics – no Xbox, no phone, no kindle….but still he was more intent on thumping the other boy in the arm.

And do came the threat of all threats.

“When we get home I am going to make you do your homework!”

To back her up her friend chimed in “And Miss <teacher’s name> will come round to your house and make sure you are doing” whilst pulling the same scaring face as when you tell Halloween stories of the bogey man.

Now homework is a contentious issue and Miss <teacher’s name> may be a regular Miss Trenchbull but please can we not use teachers and homework as a big bad wolf?

The Great Catch Up & Why Last Minute is so Attractive

So, my blog has been very quiet since I started it!

But don’t worry, I have a good excuse. Life.

Sound familiar?

To catch up, I am now now into week 8 of of the first module of my MA in Online and Distance Education and am LOVING it but of course if all adds to that aforementioned excuse, life.

The blog laid idle as in January, after post-Christmas madness I then had to travel to Vegas (oh no, how awful 😉 ) for my company meeting, squeeze in a bit of a break and then home. Of course, as per the law of nature, I got a hideous chest infection on the way back so that took out some weeks. Plus work got extremely busy. And the MA officially started. Hang on, life realised that was the perfect time for the central heating to go crazy, for me to be messed about by various companies and be without heating and hot water for almost six weeks whilst Britain got hit by some of the worst winter weather for decades. Then my best friend and her new born had to visit (I mean I couldn’t pass up that) and Grandad came to stay and….and….and

Come the 17th March I was thinking I need to seriously get down to assignment #1, well it was due on 19th March! And yes I made the deadline, the timestamp for the assignment being uploaded – 1.13am 19th March 🙂 Well that’s life isn’t it?

Except in an alternative universe there is a Rebecca who didn’t have to travel in January, or entertain guests. She had fully working central heating and a very balanced, if not light, work life. She had ample time at her disposal and I can guarantee she too uploaded her assignment at 1/13am 19th March because I know Rebecca.

Caught perfectly by 

I am one of the many leave it until the last minute people. I am one of the moan about the deadline whilst simultaneously feeding off the adrenal rush it’s imminent approach brings. I am one of the ‘I work best under pressure/I work best when lots is happening/I thrive on the thrill of the deadline’. And, I live in fear of that approach catching up with me and biting me on the behind.

I am not alone and there is even some evidence procrastination can be beneficial.  Adam Grant (Professor of management and Psychology, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania) makes a good case for procrastination being a force for creative good in his New York Times article ‘Why I Taught Myself to Procrastinate‘ ( New York Times, Jan 16 2016)

And, I love psychologist Anna Abramowski’s quote:

“actively procrastinate display a certain level of self-reliance, autonomy and self-confidence because they are aware of the risk of subjecting themselves to last-minute pressures and still consciously decide to. That can be a good thing, because it stimulates creativity and enables them to engage in multiple tasks at the same time.” (The Guardian, “Why Do You Leave Things Until The Last Minute?”, Jun 8 2016)

But wouldn’t life be sweet if I was more organised and timely. If I could kick back my heels well in advance of the deadline, know I have the margin of time to add extra insights, correct any wrongs? Should I be heeding the warnings of studies that show the ‘last minuters’ risk lowering their grades (“Students who leave it to the last minute sacrifice better grades”)

Actually, during my recent company meeting we had some fantastic days of training on program management efficiencies, beating procrastination and managing stress. I am actively (trying) to put these in action but it’s hard not to think that a degree of my procrastination has become so ingrained, so addictive even, that I may be fighting a losing battle. However, even if I just make small indents I am convinced it will make life a little more bearable. That said, I am still handing in assignments at 1am later this year I can always fall back on the old excuse ‘life’ and admonish myself of any guilt for being a procrastination lover!

Learning Code with Santa

Are we all feeling festive?!

Santa Tracker - Learn Code!
Santa Tracker – Learn Code!

I am a sucker for all things Christmas and Santa related so what could be better than some online learning with Santa’s help?

As someone of a certain age whose entire coding experience at school was on a BBC Micro and involved 10 Print Hello 20 goto 10, and bar some html hasn’t much progressed beyond that, I couldn’t help but go to Google’s Santa Tracker and click on the Learn Code Lab section. I feel like I have missed the coding train so am always trying to learn a little more.

It is so exciting to see the many varied ways children (and the young at heart) can learn about coding online today, often in the forms of games. I’ve been playing (and learning!) moving Santa to the presents. What I love about this in particular is how clean and intuitive the interface is. No written instructions, a very simple show and do style with drag and drop. Bright and colourful, with the view code option optional and great feedback on how you can make the same moves with less code/blocks – presented in such a way that it does feel like ‘you got that wrong’ but an encouraging ‘hey, you know you could that with just two blocks’ really tipping your interest.

I find it very endearing and imagine children will whizz through it without even realising the knowledge they are soaking up like sponges.

I can’t wait to Code a Snowflake!


Where to start? HOW to start? Aren’t those questions that plague us all?!

Let me introduce myself. I am Rebecca and for the last 5 and a half years I have worked in corporate learning, created e-learning and studied via e-learning. Indeed as far back as 1998 I completed my MSc in Sociology of Sport and Sports Management, which in those days included very large files and books through the post and video cassettes!

Now, I am embarking on my MA in Online and Distance Education as I want to put what I have learnt so far in my worklife to the test, increase my horizons and become a better practitioner and innovator.

With all that in mind, I have decided to start this blog where I can share and keep track of news, information and resources that I find useful in my journey but also share my thoughts, worries, concerns and moments of downright confusion because isn’t it easier with support?!

So I hope you will join me, find my insights useful and I welcome your support and input too!

Though this blog will feature news, views and musings on e-learning and online/distance education I will also be putting some personal musings and everyday nonsense up to as I believe it is important that we approach this very subject as a whole with our life and isn’t it better when we all get to know one another?