Friday, 20 September 2013

Five things I've learnt on my Revit training course

This week, along with several colleagues from the Dept. of Property & Construction at the University of Westminster I’ve had three days of training in Revit, an architectural 3D modelling package. The training has been provided by Cadassist, and our trainer, Aaron has been superb - he is clearly extremely knowledgeable and experienced, not just in this software package, but also in many other relevant packages which often run alongside Revit. He presents the course in a very clear manner and is very patient with those of us who don’t quite grasp the concepts immediately.

The course has been a real eye-opener for me. I was aware that Revit (and similar packages) offered a whole new approach to the design process and the management of the information associated with a building, but this week I’ve had a glimpse of the real potential of this technology.

So here’s the top five things I’ve taken from the course:

  1. This technology has the potential to genuinely change the way the industry operates. When used effectively it will not only change the design process but will also integrate production, cost control and built asset management and will facilitate real collaboration between all the parties involved.

  2. Our students have to become proficient in this technology. It is them who will have the power to change the industry.

  3. All construction professionals should develop a good working knowledge of this technology, not just those involved in design.

  4. The technology has massive potential to change the teaching of built environment disciplines. For example, I teach construction technology and I can see fantastic possibilities for making the subject easier to understand for students.

  5. Regular use of the technology will be essential to retain and develop proficiency. I am going to have to keep working with Revit otherwise I will simply forget it.
Looking at the screenshot below, it will be apparent that I still have a great deal to learn!!

Monday, 16 September 2013

30 things that make you second-generation Irish - The Irish Post

Link: 30 things that make you second-generation Irish - The Irish Post

This might be a lighthearted piece by @RobBrennan82 in the Irish Post but it’s amazing how many of these resonate with me. What I find particularly funny is that most people who aren’t 2GI (second generation Irish) probably won’t understand them at all!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Orla’s first visit to Loftus Road

John and I made our usual trip to QPR yesterday but we were accompanied by some friends, including my Goddaughter, Orla who was attending a match for the first time, despite having broken her wrist last week. She really enjoyed it and she brought us some luck as we beat Birmingham City 1-0.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Interesting perspective on LinkedIn

Came across this (very lengthy) article about LinkedIn via a tweet from @jjn1

It’s adopts quite  a cynical tone about LinkedIn and I must confess that, to some extent, this chimes with my own view. I’ve always been sceptical about the value of LinkedIn for those seeking to boost their career prospects. I particularly dislike the recent trend of ‘endorsing’ people for particular skills or talents. I have a whole stream of notifications in my LinkedIn inbox informing me that someone has endorsed me for this or that.

The one valuable thing I use LinkedIn for is staying in touch with our graduates and keeping up to date with the progress of their careers.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Learning with 'e's: New wine, new wineskins

Link: Learning with 'e's: New wine, new wineskins

A timely blog post from Steve Wheeler @timbuckteeth in which he uses the biblical metaphor of new wine in old wineskins to highlight the problem of trying to provide an education for students who learn in new ways and with with new technologies, whilst still clinging to traditional pedagogies and practices.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Why We Need Digital Wisdom

Link: Why We Need Digital Wisdom

I picked up on this article via Nik Peachy’s Tumblr Blog. The article is written by Marc Prensky in November 2012. Incidentally, it was Prensky who originally developed the metaphors of ‘digital native’ and ‘digital immigrant’ back in 2001 - a concept which has since been challenged. 

Anyway - this is an interesting piece. I find it quite useful to think of technology in terms of how we delegate portions of our mind, whether that be our memory to external devices, or our navigation skills to GPS devices.

I like the final paragraphs, which summarise the challenges for education:

For our students to get the maximum advantage from technology, we must view such enhancements not only as positive, but as essential. We need to reevaluate what “the basics” are for students’ technology-enhanced minds, and we need to revisit all our former notions of “age-appropriate.”

Some things—human passion, empathy, or yearning—may never be outsourced to technology. But we need to learn to combine these human traits with technology in order to make the wisest decisions in our 21stcentury context. For skills we choose to retain in our heads—such as logical and critical thinking—we need to turn to technology-enhanced ways of learning them, such as programming and online communities.

To do this, we need digital wisdom. The unenhanced human is no longer the smartest thing on the planet.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Last orders for the British boozer | Neil Davenport | spiked

Link: Last orders for the British boozer | Neil Davenport | spiked

I think this article has got it right, both on pubs and on the attitude of young people. I know from my own (often mis-spent) youth that pubs provided an enculturation into adult communities. I know from my own kids that there there doesn’t seem to be any real inclination on the part of young people to go to pubs nowadays. I think that’s a shame. As the author points out, pubs provide a great place for young people to interact with adults and to develop their social skills. 

Monday, 2 September 2013

Apps I love: Wunderlist

Link: Apps I love: Wunderlist

I only discovered this app a couple of months ago, shortly before I went on holiday, so I haven’t utilised it to its full potential yet. However, I have a feeling it will become a central part of my digital life, because it is so useful.

It is essentially just an online to-do list, which can run on desktop, tablet and mobile. You can categorise your lists in whatever way you want and add items to lists from any device. There’s also a facility by which you can forward emails from your inbox to generate new ‘to-do’ items.The app has a clean, simple interface which makes it really easy to use.


Click on the title above to go to the Wunderlist website, or download the app at the Google Play store or iTunes store.

Been really enjoying Ben Howard’s album lately. Especially this track.

Deadline Day

Transfer deadline day usually brings a flurry of activity in the market at QPR. Who’s going to end up a QPR player by 11.00 tonight?  Benoit Assou-Ekotto? Chris Baird? Jermain Defoe? Who’ll have left the club? Joey Barton? Julio Cesar?

Well none of us will know for sure until the deadline is passed but no doubt we’ll be glued to Sky Sports News this evening following the latest developments with Jim White.

It’s sad isn’t it!

Constructionarium 2013

Construction students from the University of westminster getting real on-site experience at Constructionarium in Norfolk. Students spent a week on site building scaled down versions of real structures.

My son, the football fan

Link: My son, the football fan

I can really relate to this lovely article from the Guardian last week. It describes the writer’s joy at taking his son to football matches. It’s particularly pertinent for me because it’s about QPR. I love the line where he admits that he has never told his son that “supporting a mediocre football team provides a perfect preparation for real life: long periods of alternating boredom and misery, from which you pluck what beads of sensation you can, punctuated by occasional and almost unimaginable elation”

That just about hits the nail on the head.

This was the presentation I gave at the University of Westminster’s annual Learning & Teaching Symposium on 4th July 2013.

I am the team leader for the Blended Learning & teaching theme of the University’s Learning Futures project, and the presentation summarises progress on the project to date.