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GIMP to the rescue

Apologies to readers if the site was changing befoe their eyes yesterday. The “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” banner took a beating so I removed it. I was giving a Skype, then Hangouts course on GIMP to a number of primary school teachers in Ireland and the UK. So if you noticed sized changes and shadowing on some of the links graphics it was me demonstrating the results in realtime on the site.

Once again,

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

Brute Force Attacks

Four teachers have contacted me to report repeated Brute Force Attack attempts on their school websites over the weekend. Please check out Wordfence or WP Security plugins for a tried and trusted solution.

Education on Air Weekend

edu-atmosphere-temp-3-2-062 December 2016 4 December 2016 GMT

Educational Podcasting Research

I received an email directly to the website ‘catch all’ account on October 7th last. It purported to be  from a teacher in southern Italy who was researching “podcasting in education” and she was particularly interested in the eTwinning project entitled “Once Upon A Blog” which ran 10 years ago. The project involved the teachers and pupils of two schools, one in Dublin and the other in Malta. The participants exchanged myths and legends through a blog site hosted on this website. The content included podcasts, videos, artwork, drawings and competitions. It was a very rewarding experience and both schools benefitted from the collaboration.

Yesterday I received almost the same email again together with a questionnaire but this time around it was through a reputable EU funded organisation’s email service.

One question I was asked was why I didn’t use the TwinSpace on the eTwinning Portal.

The main reason was it was initially unreliable. It suffered regular Cold Fusion errors and threw up pages of code which locked us out of your account. In fact I even had trouble applying for the Quality Label and it had to put through by the staff in Léargas at the time. These bugs or system failures impacted on our ability to keep a diary on the TwinSpace as it often took too long to refresh the edited content and the link would timeout. Of course, it may have been the fact that both schools were island nations and the connectivity may have been at fault. Be that as it may, the facilities offered by the TwinSpace on the eTwinning Portal did not meet our online needs – we were ahead of our time. Both teachers required realtime communications, considerable storage space and flexible editing of content. Unfortunately, despite eTwinning’s best efforts we decided to go with WordPress as I had been using for various projects since its inception.

I will set up a page about “Once Upon A Blog” in the next few weeks and tell the entire story. I might even have contributions from the 2006/7 participants.

Check out my interview conducted by Joe Dale back in 2008 on his blog Integrating ICT into the MFL classroom.

Happy 10th Anniversary to all the teachers and students involved in the project.

Phoenix Park Train Tunnel reopens today

Contrary to media reports this morning, the tunnel under the Phoenix Park was used by passengers prior to today’s launch of the new scheduled service .

The Irish Times online edition mentioned a hiatus of 100 years, others implied it was never used for passengers except by VIPs on their recent trip prior to the tunnel’s official opening this morning. I was under the impression that along with its use by freight trains the tunnel was also utilised to reposition passenger rolling stock between Heuston and Connolly stations. Special Services were run through it on All Ireland days back in the 1990s. The difference today is the establishing of a scheduled service as opposed to an occasional chartered special service.

Surprise! Myself and my brother along with hundreds more travelled through the tunnel on our way to and from Belfast on a chartered CIE train in 1964.

It was the occasion of the Saint James’ CBS primary school annual educational trip. Our classes were marched two abreast from the school in Basin Lane to Kingsbridge (Heuston) Station where we boarded the train. The train left the station and turned right and slowly entered the tunnel. The carriage lights did not turn on until we were well into the tunnel so everyone held onto their sweets. It was a “modern” radio train and some carriages had tables fitted. One of the Christian Brothers informed us over the speakers that we were passing beside Croke Park on our way into Amien Street (Connolly) Station. The train stopped out from the actual station and the engine decoupled and proceeded on a parallel track to the opposite end of the train and brought us all to Belfast and back.

Check your records again Iarnród Éireann. The boys from Jambo (pronounced  Jame Bo) did it just over 50 years ago!