In 2015 my blogging was dominated by Glow Blogs and WordPress. This year the picture was a little different. Here is a Wordle of my 2016 titles.

Wordle 2016

WordPress stays near the top and Glow Blogs featured quite often but not in the titles of the post. 23 Things, Open (including OER16) and Edutalk stand out.

Most of my time in 2015 was taken up by Glow Blogs, 2016 brought big changes, before I’d got used to being back in my substantive post, supporting ICT in North Lanarkshire, I found myself being redeployed into a class teachers role. I’ve not blogged much about that, sticking to technology: some in the classroom, some more general.

The post Questioning Glow got most reaction.

A fair number of posts are under the 23 things banner and I’ve become even more interested in thinking about the the way that using software affects us. I think the questions I talked about at Always on (them): Digital and Social Media use in Education #DigitalUWS are important.

Apart from my Radio Edutalk contributions, which slacked a bit this year I made several microcasts here. There are just short, unedited podcasts, in my case posted from my phone. I doubt that many were listening but I enjoy the format.

My most popular post was An interesting mix: Chromebook and Raspberry pi. This was a passing interest as I no longer have access to a chromebook. I did blog a fair bit about my Pi(s) which continue to interest me.

As I prepare for think about my 13th year blogging, this blog continues to meander through topics that take my fancy, often it feels like me alone. I often read about how to make your blog more popular, and continue to break most of that advice.

Featured image: A quick gif made for #tdc1818 The End is Near! Make a GIF | The (new) Daily Create, I’ve not created as much as I would have liked for the daily create, but I still recommend it as a great exercise for playing with digital and your imagination.

A couple of years ago I made a video of all my flickr videos in the style of the now dead pummelvision service.

I dug out the script tidied it up a little, and made the above video with my 2016 photos.

I uploaded the script in the unlikely event that someone else would want to do something like this. It is not a thing of beauty, I am well out of my depth and just type and test. The script need ffmpeg on your computer (I’d guess mac only as it used sips to resize images) and a Flickr API key.

The script also leave you with up to 500 images in a folder. Before I deleted them I made a montage and averaged them using imageMagick

montage -mode concatenate -tile 25x *.jpg out.jpg which is the featured image on this post.


convert *.jpg -average aver.jpeg


I guess all that the average proves is that most of my photos are landscapes, given the hit of a sky…

I am looking from help on this one. Perhaps from one of the many #MSIEExpert folk on twitter.

Now Sorted, Sort of…

This post has been updated several times since posted. We didn’t get a complete fix, but have stopped the errors, documented further down.

I’ve a small class of pupils, with 1-2-1 iPad Airs 1s.

After having syncing problems with using the Word iOS app I switched to using a OneNote Class notebook for some distribution and collection of ‘work’.

Most of it has been very lightweight, text in the main.

I work on a Desktop iMac using OS 10.11 the OS and OneNote app are kept up to date. The pupils iOs version of OneNote is kept updated too.

The workflow is I create a page, in the teachers only or content library and use the Class Notebook distribute page facility to send the pages to pupils. The pupils can add text, occasionally edit inserted documents and I should be able to see the changes on my mac or iPad.

This mostly works, but first one then another pupil began to get sync errors. Despite repeated attempts to sync, logging on and off again these error persist. I’ve now got 2 out of 13 pupils where the workflow fails.

The error messages do not all seem to make much sense:

It looks like this isn’t a valid OneNote section file. It could be a different file type thats been renamed with a .one extension. (Error code: OxEOOOOOCE)

Since we don’t have access to the files either on the mac or the iPads this seem particularly unlikely.

Can’t sync section: _Content Library,’Literacy Worksheets We can’t sync this section because it’s read-only or because access to the file is denied. [Error code: OxE000004A)

I am left wondering what do to? Should I remove the pupils and add them again? Should I delete the problematic sections? (I’ve emailed but only had a robot response so far.)

For such a basic piece of classroom practise, worksheet distribution and jotter work, I can’t really have something that fails so frequently (like losing a couple of pupils jotters).

Any ideas gratefully accepted, drop them in the comments.

Update: getting a fair number of suggestions and me toos on twitter. These from Sarah clark (@Sfm36)

I am finding lots of sync errors with iPad at the moment. Can copy the page and delete corrupted section (1/2)

(2/2) then can try closing notebook and opening again

have you deleted history?

Michael Sinclair Suggested:

One thing that stopped sync for me was moving the folder from its initial place in the OneDrive

I’ve not done that. I’ve not strayed from standard use at all.

The twitter thread is getting to be a bit of a mess with other problems crossing in so:

More Updates 2016-12-18

: Michael Sinclair Suggested:

One thing that stopped sync for me was moving the folder from its initial place in the OneDrive

I’ve not done that. And note that I created the notebook through Glow in the Class Notebook app. Since then I’ve mostly edited on mac.

Mark McShane (@mmcshane) has lots of OneNote & OneDrive problems too.

the business with Share-point sites/OneDrive/ondriveforbusiness is a mess. I think that, tied with Glow/SharePoint, is problem

Mike Tholfsen suggested that I send an email to I’ve done that and await any reply.

At some point Sarah asked have you deleted history?

After a bit of poking around I found history on the desktop OneNote app, but nothing to delete there.

Michael Sinclair had

Another possibility – you’re using a new computer / device and whole notebook hasn’t had time to sync.

But I’ve been using this Class NoteBook on and off for weeks.

Next Steps

I am guessing that the best thing to do is to copy and then delete some of the problematic sections.

My worry is that some of the sections are shared in the content Library and some are sections on Pupil’s sections. If I delete the Literacy sub-section 1 on the two pupils sections that are giving problems will I be able to distribute work to the new Literacy sections I create there? Are these sections just identified by name or something hidden, an id of some sort?


On the mac/iOS versions of OneNote there is a lot of smoke & mirrors. Ian Stuart, a OneNote expert, has explined to me that you can get direct access to OneNote files in the full windows version. This would explain and hint at a fix for the It looks like this isn’t a valid OneNote section file. It could be a different file type thats been renamed with a .one extension problems.

There does seem to be a fair bit of this sort of problem about, I’ve heard elsewhere of problems with windows versions too, content being lost, syncs failing. The concept behind OneNote (as explained by Ian), would seem wonderful. In its original Windows version it seems to have been rock solid for years. The app gains features and updates very quickly indeed, but I wonder if this is at the expense of reliability and fixing existing bugs?

My class has invested a fair bit of time in the system, it take youngsters a wee bit of time to get familiar with workflow and systems. I am now wondering if I should look at something else next session.

Many thanks t othe folk who offered help on Twitter yesterday, ver much appreciated.

More Updates 19-12-16

I’ve had some suggestions from Mike Tholfsen, which involve getting problematic pupils to log out, force quit app and log in and sync again, (Leaving oneNote open, plugging device in and turning off screen lock overnight). We have done that with one app, adding a complete deletion of the app and reinstall. I await overnight results.

I also got one of the pupils who is having trouble to use an iPad that has never had OneNote installed on it before.  The could load the Class NoteBook and it synced, apart from the contents that had not synced up from their own iPad.

We can see a sync error there:


Hoping to find some good news on the overnight sync tomorrow.

Sort of Sorted 2016-12-21

I’ve had a fair bit of help from Microsoft both from Raymond a OneNote Education Support Engineer and via Mike Tholfsen: Yan from OneNote team and Ivan from the Class Notebook team! This is pretty amazing support for one wee classroom from a big company (I’ve missed a few folk in the cc list who deserve thanks too).

We had a variety of suggestions, mostly around trying to completely log off and restart, including leaving overnight to sync. Given the problem persisted when we move to a ‘lean’ iPad I was a bit doubtful. Both pupils continued to have sync fails after that.

One avenue we explored first was to go though the browser to Both pupils saw no errors there, there were a few pages they had created missing, I guess because they never got off the iPad, but all looked ok.

Finally I got the pupils to delete the app, re-install and log on again. After a short while syncing the Class NoteBook seems to be working, we tried creating a new page and that synced and I created a page on the desktop and that appeared.

There were a few pages missing but we can live with that. I am somewhat surprised that it has worked after the test of a clean setup, I can only presume that in that case we had a new problem.

We have not done much in the way of real life testing given that this is the last week of school before Christmas. Carols, nativity and parties have taken over, the only use of ICT has bee na little portfoloing and some Christmas Giffing.

Next Steps Next Year

This process has been a bit of a time sink, especially writing it up. I am not much further forward in understanding the problem and have nothing much more than hope that an update will sort things out.

There does appear to be ongoing issues with syncing across devices and from the release notes in the iOS app store there are some logging on (or having to repeatedly log on) problems too.

But the affordances of OneNote are worth giving it another shot (I don’t love the app, but the ease of distribution to pupils and review of pupil contribution is great). The main factor for me is the use of a Glow logon and the assurances of Education Scotland that security ad data checks have taken place. Setting up another system would involve a lot of work and no guarantee of success. The pupils would land on a different learning curve.

I have now got some contact with the MS folk, the app is in very active development. Certainly worth a wee bit of perseverance. I will recommend that pupils take a copy of written work in their local Notes app, before syncing. I’ll also stop and sync before the last minutes of a lesson hopefully minimising failure. I would be less confident in using the iOS/OneNote class notebook set up in a secondary if the material was exam critical.

Many thanks to all the folk who tweeted suggestions and help, most have been synced in in comments below. I appreciate the time it takes to put answers together.

1. I am not sure I am using the right terminology, there seems to be sections within sections in a Class Notebook.

It’s also example of doing something that only I would want to do and yet having that thing echo into eternity without any additional effort.

from: API Nirvana – The Content – Bionic Teaching

Tom Woodward writing about his love of APIs, one of a series of posts. I love the idea of playing with things that do something that only I would want to do.

If you have a slightly geeky interest in technology & edu tech Bionic Teaching is a great blog to read.

I’ve a long term casual interest in playing with APIs, and love trying out some of the stuff Tom blogs about. In a timely fashion wordPress 4.7 came out today, including:

WordPress 4.7 comes with REST API endpoints for posts, comments, terms, users, meta, and settings.

from: WordPress 4.7 “Vaughan”.

This is the same API that Tom blogged about (I guess he was using a plugin). The opening up of WordPress sites via an API that an amateur like myself can use it welcome. Over the past few years several sites with interesting APIs move to make them harder to access with out a deeper knowledge than I have (twitter, instagram…).

I had a quick play with the WordPress api making a page that lists recent posts on 3 of my blogs, including this one. 1


I guess this sort of thing is a minority interest, but I find it enjoyable and although I am never going to be a programmer, helpful in getting a better understanding of how technology can work.

Featured image on this post, one of my own turned up in a search for echo. test1-echo.tif | Using Image Bending in Audacity – CogDogBlo… | John Johnston | Flickr


  1. I added the Better REST API Featured Images WordPress Plugin to et the images following a hint on Tom’s post.

Intervision, the 70s Soviet answer to the Eurovision Song Contest, was judge by electricity grid voting: “those watching at home had to turn their lights on when they liked a song and off when they didn’t, with data from the electricity network then being used to allocate points.” [Nick Heady] (Fluxx have been working with National Grid on several projects this year)

Just one of 52 things I learned in 2016 – Fluxx Studio Notes – Medium found via kottke

There are also evil women. I didn’t go looking for them either. This is what I type: “a-r-e w-o-m-e-n”. And Google offers me just two choices, the first of which is: “Are women evil?” I press return. Yes, they are. Every one of the 10 results “confirms” that they are, including the top one, from a site called, which is boxed out and highlighted: “Every woman has some degree of prostitute in her. Every woman has a little evil in her… Women don’t love men, they love what they can do for them. It is within reason to say women feel attraction but they cannot love men.”

from: Google, democracy and the truth about internet search | Technology | The Guardian

I’ve long been fascinated by google auto completes but never though of deeper implications.

I read this in the Observer this morning. Thanks to @LillyLyle for digging out the link I couldn’t find (via @IanStuart66)).

I use google all of the time and do pay attention to the auto completes as they often seem to help in refining a search. Sometimes this is just to avoid suggestions, sometime better. I’d not thought about the darker side.

On reading the article I first didn’t think that I paid much attention to auto suggestions (like adverts). I cast my mind back to yesterday when I was searching for a way to draw ‘irregular rectangles’ with JavaScript. I didn’t really find what I wanted, but burrowed down several rabbit holes steered by the suggestions.

I am used to the top google results having some sort of authority. Google a film get IMDB or Wikipedia. This gives pause.

Featured image captured with LICEcap.

Running my auto complete script leads to a few possible questions…


  • is google your friend?
  • is google evil?
  • is google racist?
  • is google listening to me?
  • is google making us stupid?

maybe, in concert with an emphasis on making and collaborating and bug reporting and embracing other values of the open web, individuals can help reorient the cultural attitude toward technology away from entanglement and back to a place of enlightenment.

The Age of Entanglement – The Atlantic

Interesting Article. More grist for the ‘why we need to teach digital literacy and curiosity’ mill via @livedtime

Featured image Qsquare quantum pseudo-telepathy from flickr
Creative Commons — Attribution 2.0 Generic — CC BY 2.0

Some thoughts about making choices about the software and systems you use, they may have hidden positives or negatives.

Featured image, iPhone screenshot, edited in snapseed

I am a pretty regular podcast listener, mostly while commuting. Recently though I’ve been listing to iPlayer radio on the drive home. I listen to today on the way in. This week I’ve restarted the podcast habit.

I’ve listened to one old friend and a couple of new ones. The old friend is


Today In Digital Education
A regular podcast from Dai Barnes and Doug Belshaw about education, technology, and everything in between.

I always enjoy this podcast as it roams education and tech. This weeks episode was particularly interesting as Dai & Doug were talking about Facebook and in particular the recent posts from Mike Caulfield which I’ve been following1

The ED Files The truth is out there?

A fortnightly podcast about UK education for and about teachers, teaching, government policy and other things…
By Alex Weatherall and Leon Cych

I listened to episode 1 which was mainly about the Michaela school. This seems to have generated a lot of tweets south of the border and it was good to hear some details. I’ll be adding The ED Files to regular listening.

The final podcast I listened to was CPDin140 – Kevin Hodgson. This is the first of a series of podcasts by Ian Guest. The episodes are interviews in Ian’s PhD research on Twitter for professional development. Kevin’s, who I’ve bumped into online was a great first guest. Again I’ll be listening regularly.

I am particularly delighted that Ian is posting these interviews on Edutalk starting a new ‘channel’ CPDin140 | EDUtalk. I’ve always imagined edutalk growing to include a range of show. Ian, of course, has contributed a lot of podcasts to edutalk via audioboom over the last few years.

I’ve not done as much broadcasting/podcasting on Radio Edutalk as I usually do. I am struggling to find time to organise my self and contact posssible guests. I have thoroughly enjoyed the ones I have done, if you have something to say about education and are free of an evening on A Wednesday at 8 please get in touch.

*featured image 1959 6-Tube Pushbutton AM Radio | Happy #ThrowbackThursday 1… | Flickr by Michel Curi | Flickr CC-BY. With a wee edit. *

  1. the post Banning Ads Is Nice, but the Problem Is Facebook’s Underlying Model | Hapgood is especially great, I am fascinated by the affects and affordances of interface. Facebook are master1959 6-Tube Pushbutton AM Radio | Happy #ThrowbackThursday 1… | Flickr of proving a UI that gets uses to do what FB want them to.