Life Working

Weeknote 10/1/20

Weeknote summary for 10th January 2020


Most of my life seems to be talking about Microsoft Teams! Right now, that’s not a bad thing but I’d better be careful I don’t get sucked down the rabbit hole too far.

Monday was a presentation for an FE college in the Midlands. My job was to “demistify Office 365” to the assembled staff. I said at the time that it felt a bit like being asked to “demistify Baked Beans” (cue tumbleweed. I know what I meant!). The focus was on the employability and accessibility aspects of engaging with cloud-based ecosystems like O365 and we spent a decent amount of time talking about what using Teams as your centrepiece in that ecosystem means for teachers and learners. more here for a flavour of my schtick.

The other Teams thing was talking with an internal working group about using it to support online communities, mainly our Digital Leaders Community which we kicked off last year. That’ll need a bit more time to develop before I talk about it here.


I’ve started a side project on the encouragement of Lawrie Phipps, to write an imaginary keynote. In fact, I think I might be writing two.

I’ve got lots of thought buzzing in my head about the relationship between stories and data which I need to get organised and thinking about it in terms of a keynote is helpful. It give license to be provocative.

My working title is Ghosts and the Machine: what it means to be a storyteller in an age of ubiquitous data. It’s partly about why we need story and narrative thinking to make any sort of sense of data but also why the humanity of storytelling is a necessary counterpoint to society where we are surveilled and measured by the technology round us.

I think I’ll be using examples from education but also things like China’s developing Social Credit System. A friend pointed me towards Yuval Harari’s recent Davos speech as insiration/provocation

I think the second imaginary keynote might be about why stories are the reason why everything is awful right now and why they’ll probably kill us. I’m half serious.


Chronic fatigue’s been a problem this week. I was perhaps a bit too enthusiastic in thinking I could get down to the Midlands and back in a day without ill effects. That was Monday and it wasn’t until Thursday that I felt much better.

On the plus side, my attempts to stay clear of Twitter and news sites are making life a bit more relaxed which leads me on to…


Less time on social media means more time for music and I’ve been re-acquainting myself with playing the piano. I play piano a bit like playing the guitar which his to say it’s all about chords and rhythm rather than melody or counterpoint. My style’s a bit of a mess but it’s fun for me.

So in honour of that, here’s one of my favourite bits of piano playing, Richard Tee’s gospel-style version of Bridge Over Troubled Waters by Paul Simon at his 1991 Central Park concert.

Featured image taken on Cocklawburn Beach Northumberland on New Years Day. It’s a geologists paradise!

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