Monday, February 25, 2008

CEN January 2008

As I have just sent off my February column to the Church of England Newspaper and am busy preparing my budget for spending the huge fee, here is last month's column.

Happy new year. How’s your cash flow? Mine’s terrible, but then I’m about to host a birthday party where the four members of my immediate family without birthdays in January will toast the other five. Time to visit MoneySavingExpert for a little advice. It has an excellent budget planner.

Two Bible tools you might find helpful which I came across this month. Rootsontheweb is, ‘an ecumenical publication based on the Revised Common Lectionary, providing a wealth of material to support the week by week worship and learning of the whole Church community.’ WordLive is a Scripture Union publication to engage with the Bible by mobile, RSS, email or podcast. I declare an interest. I have written a couple of bits.

RSS stands for a number of things, some of them quite complex. It is best understood as a news feed. The content of another site is fed into a site of your choosing. It saves you having to check many different sites for updates. Really Simple Syndication. Rich Site Summary. Right Straightforward Stuff... Google Reader is a good start with a handy tutorial.

I’ve never been one to worry very much about how much traffic my own blog has, but it is fun to see where the visitors are from. Feedjit provides a small panel, or world map, on your sidebar to indicate the general location of your visitors.

Pollard on Film is an excellent new resource from Nick Pollard of Damaris, part of their material to help us think through the movies. A short video is made available, on a different film each fortnight, with Nick talking to camera about issues raised. He leads into discussion questions. The first movie covered is Charlie Wilson’s War.

Another multi-media resource is Peacemakers. This project, ‘...will use film, music, photography and other media with the aim of improving understanding in the UK between Christians, Muslims and others.’ Professor Mona Siddiqui and Bishop Tom Wright are key players.

There have been a few resources in the area of teenagers and sex recently. The TV programme Romance Academy is supported by a good site. More general, and not specifically Christian, advice for teenagers can be found at Teensay, Familyrapp (a weekly, online parenting magazine) and Teenage Health Freak.

Formerly National Children’s Home, now simply NCH - the children’s charity, has a fine site for children about parental marriage break up called It’s not your fault.

How dangerous is it to put your personal details on social networking sites? ConnectSafely has an article about what visual information to share. Since stuff on the internet is always going to be there for others to see - even if you have deleted it someone else may have copied it first - the question, ‘Would you want your future boss to know you once dressed like that?’ is pertinent.

Chris Fuller is a teacher who uses technology well to enhance his Spanish lessons. His blog has lots of ideas that are adaptable in many ways and he is a hub of information about techniques.

If you rarely read this column because you don’t do technology then you probably won’t get as far as this, but if you do you should read the post Is it OK to be a technologically illiterate teacher? It won an award (Most Influential Post 2007) at the Edublog Awards (Eddies) recently. As the writer argues, you wouldn’t say with pride, ‘I don’t read’ so why be proud about not doing technology? The best teacher blog award was won by The Tempered Radical. See what you think.

Let’s end by saving the world (again). Everyclick is a search engine which raises money for charity each time you use it. Carbonfund is a blog about offsetting emissions. It ‘ the leading provider of climate offsets in the United States, making it easy and affordable for any individual or business to reduce their impact on climate change. supports climate-friendly projects globally, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation. Since 2004 more than 150,000 supporters and 500 businesses are offsetting over 2 billion pounds of verified carbon dioxide emissions.’

And after saving the world? A game of course. Improve your spatial awareness with the Telescope Game from Wicked Small Games. Although I suspect most bloggers will play the game before saving the world. We’re those sorts of people.

Old columns archived in the same place as usual – Mustard Seed Shavings.

No comments: