Why authors need a social media profile

 |  by  |  Creative, Education

Recently I ran a workshop for writers on creating a digital author profile.

The workshop included social media strategies to improve your online presence.

Essentially, the more unique and visible your online presence the more likely it will attract followers.

And if you are writer, particularly a self published one, attracting followers is essential.


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Koch Brothers war on climate science documentary

The following is a press release by The Real News Network about their new documentary on the Koch brothers’ war on climate science.

The Real News Network’s 30-minute documentary, “The Doubt Machine: Inside the Koch Brothers’ War on Climate Science”, reveals how Big Oil–particularly, the billionaire oil tycoons Charles and David Koch–have…

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Why schools have lost the plot

 |  by  |  Education

As a teacher I’m often dismayed by the complex curriculum delivered to high school students. The expectation for adolescents — required to understand and adhere to standards more suited to first year university students — is ridiculous.
Words like meta-cognition, conceptualise, plurality, multi-model and etymology are bandied about on worksheets for 13-year-olds. I have…

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Madonna’s Impossible Dancers

 |  by  |  Education, featured


Madonna has always selected the best dancers for her videos and world tours.

Recently, on the Ellen Degeneres show Madonna introduced her latest dancing troupe: five athletic males who are so lithe, flexible and freaky that anyone who tries to copy their moves would be hospitalised.

Yet, what struck me most about these dancers was not their impressive…

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What if coding were invented by women

I teach technology, mostly digital design but also entry level coding.
I learned to code in my early 30s. I started with HTML which is not considered a programming language but it’s coding nonetheless. I moved on and taught Javascript, CSS and eventually Actionscript.
I’ve learned one thing during my teaching practice: coding was created…

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Why schools must teach unemployment skills

 |  by  |  Education, featured, Sage

A few months ago I posted about making a documentary I was working on with several Year 10 students. We have just finished the film and uploaded it to YouTube.

The documentary called, Why schools should teach unemployment skills, examines the grim employment prospects facing students when they graduate from school.


The day it snowed in Burnie

 |  by  |  Education, featured, Sage

Yesterday, it snowed in Burnie.
It hasn’t snowed here since 1986.
The snow fell while I was marking attendance and my students asked if they could go outside.
I’d never seen snow in Burnie, so I joined them in the courtyard. We felt the snow melt as we caught the drifting flurries in our hands. We took pictures, laughed, shivered and…

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How Uber saved us at Comic-Con

 |  by  |  Education, featured

Uber is relatively new to Australia, but in the United States, where it all began, it’s a thriving competitor to the taxi industry. Now I know why.
At the recent Comic-Con in San Diego, my students and I caught a taxi back to our hostel. We had been queuing several hours for a bracelet to guarantee entry to the Supernatural…

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Jesus Christ Super What?

Recently, I attended a performance of Jesus Christ Superstar staged by PCYC (Police Citizens Youth Group) in Burnie. The production was quite good for a city that most people have never heard of and care even less to visit.
But what was sad about this production, besides the casting of a middle aged,…

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Why schools must teach unemployment skills

 |  by  |  Education, featured

I’m making a documentary inspired by the Global Financial Crisis.

It looks at why schools should teach unemployment skills.

Although mainland Australia was spared much of the hardship experienced in other parts of the world, Tasmania was not as fortunate, and youth unemployment, even in good times, often hovers between 20 and 30 percent.

The GFC hit Tasmania’s North West Coast particularly…

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Comma Magic now available as a Kindle ebook

 |  by  |  Education

Commas may not look like much, but they pack a powerful punch when it comes to writing a coherent sentence. And, believe it or not, the judicious use of commas is even responsible for the unique sound of a writer’s voice.

Unfortunately, many of us have no idea how to get the most…

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Why most online tutorials are a waste of time

Have you ever created a tutorial and wanted to share it on  social media?

Don’t! Or at least only do so when you’re confident of its quality.

You may have the best intentions and a lot of enthusiasm, but unless your tutorial looks and sounds professional it’s a waste of time.

All too often,…

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Why John and Mary can’t read and write and spell

Twelve years ago I was shocked to find I had no idea how to teach anyone to read and write and spell.

For most people this would be no reason to panic. But it was for me because I was in my final year of teacher training.

Incredibly, I’d spent nearly four…

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How not to Skype a famous journalist

 |  by  |  Education, featured

Paul Barry’s shocked face fills the video screen and I’m afraid he will hang up. I want to crawl under a desk but I can’t because my head is clasped tightly between my hands as I try to purge the last few minutes from my memory.

I’d managed to get this…

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How 1970s band Boney M taught me history


Youtube is a great companion on a wet and windy afternoon.

Particularly when you can watch hits from the 70s and 80s.

And especially when those hits teach history better than my school ever could.

On one such day, YouTube transported me back to 1978 with a Boney M video. Boney M was a popular four-piece German group comprising three…

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The technology myth: Why you can be an over 35 tech wiz

 |  by  |  Education, Technology

A common misconception about technology is that young adults and teenagers are more proficient users than those over 35.

The technology age, it appears, has bypassed Baby Boomers and Generation X.

As a technology teacher, however, I take great pleasure in dispelling this myth.

In particular, working with teenagers gives me insight into how and why they use…

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Inspiring documentaries to revive your socialist spirit

“If you’re not a socialist at the age of 20 you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative at the age of 40, you have no brain.”

This popular maxim has been used many times to describe the political idealism of youth. An idealism that fades, however, as one supposedly…

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monster fish

Why I’d be banned from showing my students this post

 |  by  |  Education

If you teach teenagers you will know how challenging it is to get them to read anything other than text messages, Tumblr, or Facebook updates.

Teachers smile and nod sympathetically when yet another colleague complains that the scanned, printed or photocopied material they want their students to read remains unloved, screwed into balls, ripped to pieces, and discarded.

Surprisingly, many teachers still…

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Teach to learn and copy to create

 |  by  |  Creative, Education

You learn through teaching and create through cheating.

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Myers-Briggs your way to a new midlife career

My favourite personality typology is the Enneagram. My next favourite is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and I love the way it hones in on suitable careers for each personality type. If the Enneagram is a psychology of the spirit, then the MBTI is a psychology of the workplace. It’s by far the most accurate pointer…

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