Archive for the ‘Networking’ Category

VETteaching 2009 conference 26-7 May

May 24, 2009

Click Here to join me (via CoveritLive) at the VET teaching 2009 conference in Brisbane Tuesday-Wednesday 26-7 May 09.


Seven Things…

December 28, 2008

Skip Zalneratis tagged me for a meme that’s going around.

Here are seven things about me that would help my Personal Learning Network friends know me better: 

  1. Simon is 186 cm long and 102kg wide.
  2. Simon’s paternal grandfather was a woolclasser, operating a shearing contracting and woolclassing business (Brown & Brown) from South Australia to the Gulf, and later, a sheep and cattle grazier in south west Queensland. Simon was determined to leave school at age 15 to become a woolclasser like him, but instead carried on to finish high school and then learn stonemasonry.
  3. Simon’s brother is also a TAFE teacher, who possibly inherited his passion for horticulture from their paternal great-grandfather Ambrose Neate 
  4. Simon’s maternal great-grandfather was an engineer or “iron turner” from Scotland who emigrated to Maryborough with his parents in the 1860s. When he was picking up supplies at the wharf for his parents’ hotel, he met his future wife who has just arrived from Ireland. She was waiting for her brother who had instead gone to the goldfields. Simon’s mother encouraged him to join the local pipe band and carry on the Scottish tradition.
  5. As pets, Simon prefers cats to dogs.
  6. Janet and Simon were married in Wynnum by his uncle, a Uniting Church minister.
  7. Simon’s parents passed to their children their loves of working hard, and reading books. His dad is a self-published author of two family history books, one of which is titled “A Strange and Distant Land : The Story of the Brown, Herdsman, Neate, Edwards, Giblett and Moss Families.

 To continue the meme, I’m tagging:

1 @cdltoz

2 @siralmo

3 @loonyhiker

4 @timholt

5 @catspyjamasnz

6 @twocrowsdown

7 @marragem

To participate, each person that is tagged should list seven things about themselves that would help their Personal Learning Network get to know them a little better.

They should then link back to this post by leaving a comment here, which links forward to their own update.


April 20, 2008


Originally uploaded by st0nemas0nry

This is a screen shot of my online social network that I’m using with my stonemasonry apprentice students.

Geographic spread
I set up the Ning stonemasonry network in July 2007 to keep in touch with students between classes. Most of my students do not live in Brisbane – they are spread along the eastern seaboard of Queensland, with a few in northern New South Wales and Darwin. They attend four “blocks” of training, each five weeks long during approximately three to four year duration of their apprenticeship.

Why Ning?
I chose Ning after experiencing other online social networks such as MySpace and FaceBook. I decided that Ning had the best capacity for images, and was easiest to customise to a work-related setting.

In addition to images posted to the site, Ning has widgets (web objects) that allow greater interaction between members. I particularly like my Flickr RSS feed widget. I’ve customised it so that anytime anyone posts an image tagged “stonemasonry” to Flickr, a thumbnail is displayed in the widget. Other RSS feed widgets display my Twitter and Twiddeo timelines. I’ve also embedded various SlideShare presentations that operate as small versions on the homepage, and link to the full screen SlideShare version.

Member pages
Anyone can join the stonemasonry Ning, as long as they first complete a profile page. I designed the profile questions so that members tell a little about themselves in a work context. Recently, some Russian women joined without details other than a “dating” web address. While they were a welcome sight visually, I eventually blocked them after they failed to respond to my questions about their intentions. I didn’t want my students distracted.

I ask each member to provide a photo avatar so that the site is humanised.

I’ve seen that each student group interacts differently, possibly due to web accessibility. Recently, I’ve received messages asking me to check administration procedures that are delaying payments to students. This is probably due to changing departmental and institute admin practices. Currently, one former apprentice is working in the UK and travelling through the Middle East. He updates his page with photos and messages about his travels. Otherwise, the stonemasonry Ning site is convenient for students to virtually meet one another between classes.

I continually stress the importance of apprentices interacting and presenting themselves in an appropriate manner. This fact is evidenced by the placement of a ClustrMap on the main page. Students are aware of the fact that the site is a portal to the global stonemasonry community, and that their interaction is viewed by potential employers, employees and clients.


TAFE Queensland does not support access to any sharing sites. I look forward to the time when sharing sites approved by the department will be made available to trades-teaching staff and apprentices.