Spring 2015 WEA deployments

December 31, 2014

The following are links to courses I am deploying through the WEA (Workers Educational Association) during spring 2015, as well as some details on the WEA.

Learning something new or developing in an area you already have an interest in is always incredibly rewarding.










remember course fees are significantly reduced or FREE if you are on qualifying benefits, further details at the following link :-


More Info

Want to learn something different, have a look at the WEA brochures here :-


or use the ONLINE course finder :-



here’s the Workers Educational Association’s website :-


and their website for the East Midlands region :-


Autumn 2014 TABLET technology course – Chesterfield & Mansfield

September 1, 2014

“Computing is moving away from the bulky laptop and desktop to the instant on, rapid access, highly accessible tablet based technology that aligns and replicates technology most of us use everyday on our smart phones.

This course takes learners on a journey, explaining what TABLET computing technology is , why it replaces computers as we know them and shows how tablets can be very enriching to daily activities.”


the following are a few areas that will get covered as the course progresses :-


– Where did tablets come from

– What bit’s and bob’s make a tablet

– What can we do with our tablets

– Managing digital stuff

– Is there really an “app” for that ?

– Security

– much more…


The course will be available in Chesterfield and Warsop (near Mansfield) as follows :-



Tuesday 14th October for 7 weeks

13:00 – 15:00

enrol by clicking here or calling WEA Chesterfield on 01246 278623


Warsop – near Mansfield

Thursday 16th October for 7 weeks

10:30 – 12:30

enrol by clicking here or calling WEA Mansfield on 01623 427352


The following is some great information about tablet technology from WHICH consumer magazine :-

A short 3 min video WHICH TABLET video

and a descriptive guide to choosing a TABLET

Gather yea rosebuds while yea may….

August 16, 2014
  • Make hay while the sun shines
  • Bag your penguins while you can
  • Seize the day
  • Carpe Diem
  • Do it now, for tomorrow is but a dream

The following are some musings about mental health after the sad passing, on august 11th 2014, of the incredible fire brand that was Robin Williams.

I am not an expert (ex is something that was and “s”purt is a drip under pressure) on Mental Health, but the area has had significance to me for many years and like other life long health conditions the elephant will always be in the room, but it’s a little fluffy one with a big giggly grin !

fluffy elephant

We ALL have mental health, at times it’s positive, at times it can be challenging – hopefully we all have tools and techniques that can move us from the later to the former….

The passing of Robin Williams, this last week, continues to show that mental health challenges are as indiscriminate, if not more so, as other life long health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease etc. – it is always saddening to loose … anything ! Celebrities such as Robin are obviously just the tip of the iceberg and many suffer in silence every day with a diverse range of health challenges. But many also have the ability to turn such challenges into incredible things of beauty, I’m thinking of Stephen Hawking, Ellie Simmonds, Stephen Sutton, Jean-Dominique Bauby, John Nash etc

So, here’s an interesting article from the Guardian on Friday on suicide


– Suicide is the biggest killer of MEN between 20 and 49

– Suicide is predominately a male disorder.

Did Robin die from suicide, depression, parkinson’s or did his massive ♥ just give up !

here’s an article on how parkinson’s and depression are linked


suicide is preventable :-


and depression can be managed :-

on my blog about mental health you can find an article titled “PLANNING FOR FAILURE” that discusses “Care plans” and “Advanced Directives” basically planning for the challenging times when your doing OK :-


I wrote the other day on who to contact if things spin out of control – it’s good to talk and know such numbers for emergencies :-


So…if you got this far, here’s some smiles – pass them on, their FREE :-


or if music’s your thing, here’s 24 hours of happy http://24hoursofhappy.com/

If you want to know more I would be interested to discuss further, alternatively your search engine of choice is your friend.

As always comments on this article are always appreciated, namaste,

 Steve ♥

Fantastic educational speaker – Sir Ken Robinson

August 6, 2014

I recently read a review of a book “Having Meta Skills will make you happy” at BOOK BUZZ, I found the review so fascinating that I left a review of the “review” !


following on from that, the author of the review article responded signposting Sir Ken Robinson. After a quick google search I found that Ken had provided numerous talks about education via the TED platform – ideas worth spreading – never having watched a poor TED talk I proceeded to watch some of his works and made notes as I went along, below are links to the short and incredibly insightful videos that Ken has spoken in and a few notes from those speeches.


Schools kill creativity


19 mins 24 secs

  • Kid’s will take chances and will be prepared to be wrong.
  • Adults fear being wrong.
  • Is the purpose of education to create university professors, who live in their heads !


Bring on the revolution


16 mins 48 secs

  • We make poor use of our talents.
  • We’re all good at something.
  • Some people endure rather than enjoy what they do !
  • Education can dislocate people from their natural talents.
  • Abraham Lincoln “The dogma’s of the quite past are inadequate to the stormy present, the occasion is piled high with difficulty and we must rise with the occasion, as our case is new so we must think anew and act anew, we must disenthrall ourselves and then we shall save our country”
  • Don’t take things for granted.
  • Kid’s don’t wear watches anymore because it’s a single function device !
  • Are we obsessed with getting people to college ?
  • Kids being interviewed to go to Kindergarden !
  • Industrialised fast food model of education is wrong, what we actually need is an agricultural model of education where we create an environment for people to flourish and grow.
  • Time is plastic, when we are passionate it flies, but when we are enduring the task it drags.


Changing education paradigms


11 mins 40 secs

  • Education reforms occur in two strands (i) Economic (ii) Cultural
  • Trying to meet the future by doing what’s been done in the past won’t work.
  • Historically – If you worked hard you got a job – this isn’t guaranteed anymore.
  • The current system of education was conceived in the culture of the enlightenment and industrial revolution, we’ve moved on from that !
  • Before the 19th century there was no real public education systems.
  • Working class kids were considered incapable of learning to read or write
  • We were driven by an economic imperative of the time.
  • It defined two types of people – academic and non academic – smart people and not smart people !
  • Most people do not benefit from the education system.
  • Does ADHD really exist ?
  • Kids are now medicated as routinely as removing tonsils – because it’s fashionable !
  • Kids are living in the most intensely stimulating period in history and we are penalising them for getting distracted.
  • ADHD has risen in line with standardised testing processes which have  forced us into a compliance model.
  • We use drugs to calm kids down !
  • The ARTS utilise senses operating at their peak.
  • An anaesthetic deadens the senses and drugs do just that !
  • We should be awakening kids to their true potential
  • The current system of education is modelled on industrialised model. 
  • Why do we batch kids up into production lines !
  • We knock divergent / lateral thinking out of people as they move through the education system !
  • The more educated we are the less creative we become – we’re told there’s only one answer !
  • Most great learning happens in groups, so we focus on the individual !
  • Collaboration is the stuff of growth.


How to escape educations death valley


19 mins 11 secs

  • No child left behind is leaving millions of children behind !
  • In the united states 60% of kids drop out of high school.
  • If we could half the drop out rate, it would create a net gain to the US economy within 10 years of nearly a trillion dollars !

There are three basic principles that human life flourishes under 

(i) Humans are naturally diverse, no two people are the same.

  • but education systems is generally based on conformity !
  • does ADHD really exist – shouldn’t we embrace personal growth – especially in children !

(ii) Curiosity

  • Light the spark and kids will learn without assistance.
  • Curiosity is the engine of achievement.
  • Teachers are the lifeblood of the success of schools.
  • Teaching is a creative profession not just an information delivery system.
  • Great teachers mentor, stimulate, provoke and engage.
  • Teachers facilitate learning – that is all !
  • Testing should not be the dominant culture of teaching or obstruct the process !
  • The process is currently compliant learning rather than exciting curious learning

(iii) Human life is inherently creative

  • We create our lives 
  • Finland have 0% school drop out rate
  • There is little standardised testing in Finland
  • High performing schools :-

(a) individualise teaching and learning, students are the learners and the system has to engage them

(b) attribute high status to profession of teaching.

(c) devolve responsibility to school level to getting the job done.

  • Current policies are based on mechanistic model of education.
  • Education is NOT an industrial process – it’s more an agricultural process where we create an environment for people to learn and thrive.
  • Organisms, which humans are, thrive under specific conditions.
  • Create a climate of possibility.

Further information about Ken and his great thinkings with more videos and articles is available at his incredible web site :-




Please add a comment if you enjoyed or learn’t something from this quick review of some of Ken’s fantastic material.

A little WEA news – July 2014

July 29, 2014

You can go to the newly redesigned and rebranded Workers Educational Association website and access some fantastic content and stories


I just wanted to highlight a couple of WEA areas of interest :-

(i) You can search for and register for WEA courses online via the above website or the following link :-


(ii) You may be able to get significant financial help to attend a course i.e. If your on specific benefits the course maybe completely FREE to you or if you really want to attend a course but are struggling financially you may be able to apply for Discretionary learner support, further details at the following link :-


(iii) For the first time in 111 years the WEA have issued a manifesto of 9 key recommendations

(1) Ensure there is always an opportunity for adults to return to learning

(2) Promote equality, opportunity and productivity at work

(3) Develop educational opportunities for the most disadvantaged

(4) Help people stay active throughout life through health education

(5) Reduce health inequalities to give people more control over their own wellbeing

(6) Promote tolerance and inclusion through access to English

(7) Value lifelong learning so adults of any age can study

(8) Help parents become educational role models

(9) Value volunteering through a single credible set of measurements

details are available in the manifesto available at the following link :-


(iv) One of the WEA’s key areas of focus, as can be seen from item (4) and (5) in the above manifesto is HEALTH and WELLBEING, this being reflected in part of the WEA’s 2014 appeal which focuses on MENTAL HEALTH :-

Improving mental health through education

“Over 5,000 enrolments on courses for people experiencing mental health difficulties”


(v) The CHESTERFIELD WEA facility is currently moving from it’s HURST HOUSE facility to it’s new location at 1 Stand Road, Whittington Moor, Chesterfield. S41 8SW

and CHESTERFIELD’s AUTUMN 2014 course booklet is now available at the following link :-



Ubuntu !

November 29, 2013

I sign my stuff ubuntu alot, the funny thing is cause I’m a bit of a techno geek it gets mistaken that I’m a fanboy of the LINUX UBUNTU operating system distribution, I’m not against LINUX or UBUNTU, but when I sign stuff off as ubuntu it’s more about the philosophical meaning behind the term, simply and quickly illustrated by the following :-

“An anthropologist proposed a game to African tribe kids. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told them that whoever got there first won the sweet fruits. When he told them to run they all took each others hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats. When he asked them why they had run like that as one could have had all the fruits for himself they said: UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?

UBUNTU in the Xhosa culture means: “I am because we are”

Coincidentally as I write this, information about a new film about Nelson Mandela “Long walk to freedom” , who epitomises UBUNTU has just been released :-

http://t.co/VWpDCRS3cA  – if it doesn’t win an OSCAR I will be amazed !

If you want to know more, WIKIPEDIA isn’t a bad reference :-


I also feel passionately about PAY IT FORWARD, but WIKIPEDIA have this all wrong as the philosophical concept was around ages before the film – c’est la vie !

Namaste !

Posts & Pages frustration and link to TABLET technology article

November 29, 2013

Well I still don’t understand the WORDPRESS post’s versus pages hierarchy thing, except post’s appear as a timeline and pages I can give nice titles to that I can remember but never appear on the timeline unless I create a POST like this, I’m sure it’s REALLY obvious to those that know, but to the naive who just want to write, the technology best’s me and is overruled by the desire to write and communicate !

Babble aside, the following is a “PAGE” about the recent WEA Mansfield TABLET TECHNOLOGY course I delivered, enjoy :-



Mental Health Awareness Trainer and Specialist

October 17, 2013

I have been flying the flag for mental health awareness for quite sometime now, originally diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression) in 2006, after a second period of significant illness in 2010, I discovered an incredible WEA supported project that was to do with volunteering and helping people with technology challenges – The DAIN project http://www.dainproject.com it was right up my street and was my first foray into volunteering and helping people with technology issues and it significantly contributed to my recovery from this incredibly debilitating condition and re-integration with society as a whole.

As part of my overall recovery process and development of effective tools and techniques to manage my condition,  I was referred to the PARADES research project http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/shm/research/spectrum/research/parades/psychoeducation.php – a project that looked into how supporting each other with the condition could significantly lead to recovery and more effective self management of the condition. Once the interactive part of the project wrapped up, a number of us moved onto the local Bipolar UK support group – I have now been one of the key facilitators for this group for about 2 1/2 years and this year I ran the Helens Trust 10K at Chatsworth to raise funds to support group – details of my fund-raising efforts are here www.justgiving.com/infostocksy

In 2012 I had the great opportunity to undergo, a simple, NVQ level 1, award in Mental Health Awareness, it was very eye opening the level of ignorance with respect to mental health others had, as part of the course I helped to educate other learners about mental health challenges and destroying some of the preconceived ideas and stigma that some of these learners brought to the course.

In autumn of 2012 I became a representative for Derbyshire Voice  a local charity, campaigning and representing the rights and views of people with mental health challenges at multi professional meetings with organisations such as the NHS, Police, Ambulance services etc.

Recently, the calling came from the WEA that they wished to develop their knowledge and experiences in the field of Mental Health Awareness and up skill tutors in the awareness of mental health for their learners, so I put myself forward and hoped to be involved in the process. Eventually the time came around to tootle off to the “Train the Trainer” course and an opportunity to visit colleagues in the Sheffield WEA office. I arrived very early on day one, this gave me a great opportunity to discuss a few things with the course tutor Greg Harrison, incredibly  a few days before I had been discussing the WEA’s ZAMBIA http://www.wea.org.uk/weazambia/ http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=weazambiaappeal project at the WEA’s 2013 conference and Greg had connections and developed similar initiatives in Uganda – who knew !

Day one was spent by Greg going through the key points of the delivery material and the key resources that could be used with learners, covering :-

  • Positive Mental Health
  • Stigma
  • Mental health challenges
  • Causes of mental health challenges
  • Different levels of mental health
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Sever mental health challenges
  • Hearing Voices
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bi-polar disorder
  • How to support learners with mental health challenges
  • Course summary and evaluation

Having previously undertaken an accredited NVQ level 1 in mental health awareness, I can clearly state that the material covered and delivered was easily at at higher NVQ level 2 / 3.

We also discussed some of the recent issues in the media and the effects such activities have on individuals.

Day two was to be the tutors delivering the material that had been covered on day one, many of us were concerned of the value of purely delivering the material that had been presented on day one – O how wrong we were – put a group of WEA tutors in a room together and there’s no way your going to get something simple and boring – 13 tutors delivering information in 13 incredibly creative, differentiated and diverse ways with lots of incredible passion and energy, I could say a LOT more, but why don’t you contact your local WEA and ask them to deliver their Mental Health Awareness training to your group – you’ll be very surprised about how personally insightful and interactive the learning is.

We had loads of fun and learnt a great deal about an incredibly complex and sensitive subject area in an incredibly supportive and developmental environment – just what the WEA is best at !

As the WEA tutor’s wandered off back to their respective UK regions, they were very ready and passionate about delivering this incredibly thought provoking and sensitive subject, with the incredible passion and energy that is so endemic in incredible tutors that are part of the WEA.

Well that’s it for this post, comments and feedback are always greatly appreciated.

Off to Mansfield tomorrow to support the WEA’s GET ONLINE activities goo.gl/ahuw8u

Maybe I need a training course !

March 20, 2013


Seem to being challenged again by WORDPRESS in the we hours !

Training BLOG has been updated with respect to the latest development of the WEA’s Introduction to the Raspberry Pi :-


Which interconnects with my personal business :-


and has very strong linkages to DIGITAL INCLUSION and closing the DIGITAL DIVIDE :-


Computer Stuff

November 25, 2012

One day I’ll understand WORDPRESS and posting and pages, but until then I’ll just use it to blog and lay down some musings, the other day I created a page for COMPUTER STUFF and did a quick overview of the WINDOWS 8 upgrade process – WINDOWS 8 PRO currently being on offer for £25 until the end of January 2013.

Find the review at the following link :-