Sunday, 23 September 2012

Packt Publishing Celebrates Its 1,000th IT Titles!


I am very happy to repost an announcement from Packt Publishing which is delighted to be celebrating its 1,000th IT titles!  Many congratulations to all the team for reaching this amazing amount of titles.

In the past I have had the great pleasure of  writing a number of Packtpub Moodle Book Reviews.

Below the message in full,  as posted on the Packtpub site:

Birmingham-based IT publisher Packt Publishing is about to publish its 1000th title. Packt books are renowned among developers for being uniquely practical and focused.  Packt books cover highly specific tools and technologies which IT professionals might not expect to see a high quality book on.
Packt would like you to join them in celebrating this milestone with a surprise gift – to get involved you just need to have already registered, or sign up for a free Packt account before 30th September 2012. 

Packt published their first book in April 2004. One of the most prolific and fastest growing tech book publishers in the world, they now have books on everything from web development to web graphics, e-learning to e-commerce, IT architecture to games, and app development.

Packt supports many of the Open Source projects covered by its books through a project royalty donation, which has contributed over £300,000 to Open Source projects up to now. As part of the celebration Packt is allocating $30,000 to share between projects and authors in a genuinely unique way, soon to be disclosed on their website.

Dave Maclean, founder of Packt Publishing explains, “At Packt we set out 8 years ago to bring practical, up to date and easy to use technical books to the specialist tools and technologies that had been largely overlooked by IT publishers. Today, I am really proud that with our authors and partners we have been able to make useful books available on over 1000 topics and make our contribution to the development community.”

For more information about Packt, the kind of books they publish, and to sign-up for a free account before the 30th of September, 2012, please visit their website:

The link to sign up is here.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Far From The Madding Crowd in Civitella Casanova

A moment of quiet reflection and contemplation is always a good activity, especially when your life is at times dominated by a computer screen of some sort.  In this age of constant distraction that we live in, it is of vital importance to take some quality time out.  To have a glimpse of the past,  can be quite therapeutic and re-energising.

A Chance Encounter
Earlier yesterday I visited a small village in Abruzzo, very near to my home, Civitella Casanova, located less than 10 minutes away by car.  We chanced upon an old pathway as we were walking into the centre towards the market.  I said to K, "Come on, let's see where this leads!"  The thrill of not knowing where this path would take us, was like stepping into a mini adventure.

There was no signpost at the top to indicate what we would find at the bottom of the steps.

 We descended into a quiet haven, a world dating back to the 18th century, leading to two historic fountains, which had been renovated.  We were both amazed that this veritable piece of history was tucked away in a hidden corner of the village. 

 Once there, we spent some time reading the poster board which revealed facts of the renovation work carried out on the fountains by the village authorities.

Flashback to the Past
The image of my grandmother as a young girl walking 10 kilometres from her village to the nearest fountain to collect water for the family, flashed through my mind. She would do so on a regular basis, carrying a big traditional copper water pot called a "conca" on her head.

Below is a detail from a free picture which came with a recent copy of Il Centro, the local Pescara newspaper.  It shows the Fontana Caruso in Roseto degli Abruzzi, in the early 1900s, with the women at the fountain waiting to collect their water.  You can see two of the "concas".

Here is another detail from the same free picture of a woman with a conca on her head.  This could easily have been my grandmother, or my mother and other female relatives..

Below the complete picture given away for free from Il Centro.  I will be putting it in a special frame, as it is a wonderful memory of the past tradition of the "conca" at the fountain.

Formidible Abruzzese Women
 My grandmother's life was hard and she lacked a proper education, but she was a very intelligent woman. She is one of my all-time great heroines in life, and is one of the Formidable Abruzzese Women that I have written about on this blog.

Losing Oneself
The silence in this little area today touched me, and made me realise that quiet contemplation nowadays is not something I do regularly.  I should do this more often.  Lose myself in the past, remember how life used to be, "far from the madding crowd"....

Sunday, 2 September 2012

3rd Teach Meet International Online

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I am very excited to be presenting again for the 3rd Teach Meet International Online e-conference on Saturday 29th September!

My presentation is called "Visual Blogging with Muzy".  If you would like to find out more about what this is, please do attend!  More details about times of presentations will be forthcoming from the TeachMeetInt'l wiki site.

Proposals for a 3-minute presentation on a subject of your choice are being  accepted until September 23rd and the Presenters' sign up sheet is in this Google Docs link, so please DO consider taking part, either as a presenter, or definitely as an attendee!

 Each session only lasts three minutes, so I am sure you will be able to spare at least three minutes of your time to watch a presentation, or even more, in your spare time on a Saturday.  I know everyone is busy at a weekend, maybe with family and children, furkids, housework, gardening, going away, shopping and a million and one other things that people generally do over the weekend, but the benefits to your CPD would be highly advantageous.  I can promise you that you would go back to your classroom on a Monday morning with some new, fresh and exciting ideas to inspire yourself, and most importantly of all, your pupils!

I last wrote about the 2nd Teach Meet International in this blog post here.
You can read what other presenters said about it in this feedback.
It was indeed a fabulous event and the topics were very inspiring.  You can see an overview of the 26 topics covered on the Presenters TM2 site.  Thanks to the fabulous event co-organisers Arjana Blazic and Bart Verswijel .

You can view the list of 17 international presenters currently scheduled to give a short 3-minute presentation on 29th September in this link here.

Arjana has just written a wonderful guest post on Teaching Village blog, entitled "The floor is ours!".

Image created with Muzy.