I just switched to the block editor to test out the new WordPress Block patterns feature.

You go to the pattern library, copy a pattern and paste it into your editor. I did that here and replace the 3 images that it came with. I added some captions. Using this pattern.

Here is another pattern.

animal apodemus sylvaticus blur brown

And the days are not full enough.

And the nights are not full enough

And life slips by like a field mouse

Not shaking the grass

– Ezra Pound

I don’t think I am quite ready for the Block Editor yet but these look interesting.

Featured image, spider and young, my own.

illustration from Curtis's botanical magazine

I’ve been interested in the Garden versus Stream discussion around creating web content. Some of the sites I’ve work most on have be gardens made with stream technology 1.

Since I’ve installed the Posted Today plugin I often look back over previous posts. This leads to some tidying up, and fixing of links, formatting, adding tags and the like.

This feels very like pruning, staking and generally tidying up.  Behaviour that is usually associated with gardening. My blog is mostly for myself 2. I feel like I am regularly pottering around, joining dots and revisiting old thoughts.

An example: A while ago it was the 10th anniversary of my post Field Recording at the Scottish Music Centre. It is now full of broken links. Some, Flash soundcloud players, I was able to fix, replacing the old flash players. Some were just gone to 404. Of these some I could add archive links. I didn’t fix everything because I got a bit distracted with all the links I followed to check. Many rabbits holes.

I am not making a huge effort in this, I find it valuable to read my old posts and if I have a moment do a little gardening cleaning up my stream.

Featured image: n3_w1150 | Curtis’s botanical magazine.. London ; New York [… | Flickr Public Domain

  1. Glow Blog Help
  2. Certainly my stats strongly suggests this;-)

Somewhere or other1 I Saw a link to v.2 (1799) – The Naturalist’s Pocket Magazine or compleat cabinet of the curiosities and beauties of nature. Intriguing enough which lead me to discover the Biodiversity Heritage Library:

The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is the world’s largest open access digital library for biodiversity literature and archives. BHL is revolutionizing global research by providing free, worldwide access to knowledge about life on Earth.

About BHL – Information about the Biodiversity Heritage Library

There seems to be a vast collection of biological books that are free to read and download. There is also a twitter account, @BioDivLibrar and an amazing Flickr account: Biodiversity Heritage Library where there are over a quarter of a million images, many public domain. They have also contributed

over 2 million BHL images have been uploaded to the IA Book Images Flickr stream as part of the Art of Life project. These images are identified and uploaded in bulk using an algorithm. They offer a great opportunity for serendipitous discovery via browsing.

from: About Biodiversity Heritage Library | Flickr.

The Library are asking for people to help tag their flickr images and this might be a good activity for secondary pupils?

Bird Bingo


As a primary teacher, once I’d stopped just raking through some beautiful images I knocked up a quick Bird Bingo game for my class to help with bird identification. It has random cards and a caller.

There is page after page of beautiful pictures in the photo stream I defy anyone to leave it quickly. Example page 2094!

Featured Image: n456_w1150 | Natural history of the animal kingdom for the u… | Flickr public domain.

1. I don’t like not being able to attribute where I found this amazing resource.

The Spring Holidays, like others will increase my blogging. It has been a busy term both home learning and back in school. Looking forward to a holiday of wee walks (still stuck in Glasgow) and some random browsing.

The Featured image is Maxwell dynamic machine, 1961 | Science Museum Group Collection © The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence found via the Never Been Seen | Science Museum Group Collection page, which I learnt about from Ian Guest

Earlier in the week I saw micro.blogger Dan Cohen’s newsletter: Humane Ingenuity 36: 15% Faster which linked to DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly: Deformin’ in the Rain: How (and Why) to Break a Classic Film

Dan said:

Jason Mittell provides an extremely creative, occasionally bizarre, frequently hilarious, and ultimately rather helpful “inventory of deformative practices” to uncover hidden layers of meaning in media.

The article provides a pile of great gifs and distorted videos.

I’ve played around with this sort of thing before montages, gifsets and the like. Mostly DS106 inspired.

One idea I’d kept playing with is layering of images. My plan had been to layer a sequence into a movie, I’d never really got it going smoothly. I mostly just run a photo set through a script to get 1000s of images and choose a few interesting ones.

I usually use a few commandline tools for this, imagemagick & ffmpeg but there was a rather nice idea of using the StarStaX app an application for Star Trail Photography. I loaded it up with 90 odd jpgs images from a walk and merged them. I then stitched them together with ffmpeg and added some audio “Mysterious Ethereal Song” by theojt :

Not exactly a work of art but fun, I also learnt how to fade a video with ffmpeg which might be useful.

Every so often I come back to this idea of posting sets of rather random links. I love seeing them pop up on my on this day page. For organisation and discoverability it might be better to post links separately. Mostly in pinboard too.

I checked how many posts I had tagged lifeinlinks and that makes this one number 40.

Featured image, some branches against a blue sky today. convert branches.jpg -scale 900x -colorspace Gray -ordered-dither h4x4a branches.png

Windscape is an exciting children’s adventure that explores the dilemma between the usefulness of wind farms and the beautiful scenery they can sometimes destroy.

Paul Murdoch, the author of Windscape has recorded the audio for each chapter, created learning material and made them available for free.

With Paul’s permission I’ve taken the resources and turned it into a Glow Blog.

Windscape – an exciting children’s adventure by Paul Murdoch

and a podcast to which you can subscribe on: apple or android.

I have already started using the resource with my class and am looking forward to continuing.

As the audio is a blog it is easy to change things, we are open to adding to the learning resources if anyone has ideas. You can get in touch through the site.

Lockdown 2 day 1

Well we didn’t get off to a great start.

Working from home today.

I’d set out a light weeks program in a blog post for the pupils and emailed the parents. In both post and email I’d try to make it clear we were trying to really get every pupil involved from the start.

Planned our first Team meeting for 2pm as that was the same time we used in the first lockdown.

Teams seemed to get off to a bad start across the country.

A number of schools, pupils and parents have reported the technology running slowly or not at all.

This didn’t cause me as much problems as some. I upload most of the files I want the pupils to use to the class blog. I figure this avoids password problems. Also Teams slowdown.

It did seem to cause problems in our meeting. Only about half the pupils managed to get on. The others could access Teams but not get onto the meeting. Hard to know if this was related to the reported problem or not. It was certainly frustrating seeing the messages from the class repeatedly trying to get in.

Worth noting that I joined the meeting on my mac and iPad. The iPad on mute and used as a screen share. This has improved a lot since the first lockdown. Joining on the iPad second it gave me a choice to swap to it or join without audio. The latter let me share the iPad screen, and from what I could tell it was not to laggy (as the pupils say). Laterally in the first lockdown I abandoned screen sharing or using PowerPoint and just share files in the chat as we had a pretty bad experience. This gives me hope for an improved experience.

From tomorrow I’ll be back in the digital classroom. I can’t say I’m very happy about it. For all my love of technology I much prefer the real classroom.

I’ve been reviewing my previous lockdown experience, I continue to find reading my old blog posts useful.  Also interesting to see what happened in the first week of term last session.

Last time I felt I spent very little time learning new stuff or seeing what other people were doing. As I recall my head was down. I believed that I cut out social media pretty much. I just had a look at my 2020 twitter stats:

And was surprised to see I was wrong about that.

It feel like there is a lot more pressure on this time round. I think, as teachers, we put enough pressure on ourselves, not sure the idea of teachers, schools and LAs having to produce data to justify themselves is a great idea. I gathered my own last time, and held myself to account  blogged about it, that felt tough enough.

I certainly hope that whoever tries to hold us to account understands the situation, the amount of prep needed to teach online, whether preparing for a live lesson or creating asynchronous ones.