At the JISC Connect More event held in Cheltenham recently, a number of futuristic technologies were on display for delegates to experience. The latest virtual reality headsets were enjoyed by many who were fascinated by how low cost headsets, combined with iPhones or Android phones could create such rich and immersive experiences. Google Cardboard was on show, but so were other alternatives. In fact, it was surprising how inexpensive but robust some of the alternatives were in comparison to Cardboard.

Also on show was the HTC Vive - a VR suite which provided a truly immersive experience (pictured). The capability of the system to allow you to render 3D images and then view them from all angles and perspectives was quite a powerful effect.
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I haven't written or blogged as much as I usually do, because I have been doing some travelling recently. I've been speaking at a variety of conference up and down the country, and it can get quite time consuming putting in the miles and preparation. But during the conferences, I have heard some interesting ideas which I would like to share a little wider. Here are my reflections on the learning and teaching conference held at Staffordshire University.

Today marks the centennial of the bloodiest battle in the history of the British Army. On July 1, 1916, British and Allied forces engaged with German forces in the Battle of the Somme. The first day was a disaster. The Allied forces sustained more than 54,000 casualties with 19,240 dead in just 24 hours. They gained barely three square miles of territory, and the battle raged on for another 5 months.

There are several theories as to why the Allies suffered so many casualties.

In my last blog post I illustrated a new model of digital literacies in the context of the remix culture. Since then, several have asked me what I mean by remix culture, and how it applies to education.

Remixing is the act of taking previously created works or artefacts and adapting them in some way. Sometimes several works are combined or 'mashed up' to create new versions.
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I presented this latest version of my digital literacies model at the 2016 Solstice Conference hosted by Edge Hill University. The slide is from my keynote presentation on digital storytelling. The components in the model are by no means exhaustive - I acknowledge there are many more literacies, some of which are emergent due to new technologies and services.
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My keynote presentation at Solstice 2016 (hosted by Edge Hill University, England) featured numerous narrative devices and storytelling tools. In particular, I built upon my recent blog series on narrative pedagogies, including a discussion around the use of literary devices in the classroom.

These included the use of Chekhov's Gun, (which also featured a dangerous illusion at the end of the presentation as a demonstration of the principle), interrupted routine and red herrings.
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If you're a psychologist, an educational researcher, or a teacher, you have almost certainly quoted him at some point in your career. If not, he has definitely influenced your practice in some way. He was more than a giant, he was a colossus of the world of education and psychology. His name was Jerome Seymour Bruner, and he died yesterday at the age of 100 after an illustrious and highly influential career.

You will see a lot about Muhammad Ali in the coming days. The passing this week of arguably one of the greatest sporting legends of the last century will spawn a host of tributes, accolades, news reports, reflections, documentaries and obituaries. But for me, it wasn't so much Ali's sporting prowess that impressed. Champions come and go, and others quickly replace them. Nor was it his larger than life, motor-mouth personality. There are plenty of others who would be prepared to out-talk him.

I don't know about you, but I was bullied at school. I remember how horrible it felt to be excluded, disliked, in fear of violence every play time. There were mornings I hated going to school, because I knew what might be waiting for me just inside the school gates. Bullying is an ongoing, endemic problem in schools, where children who are vulnerable can be made to feel they are on the outside, lonely, hated by those who are meant to be their classmates.
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