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The Reading Challenge

At the turn of the year, the one that we’re a full gestation period into, I set myself a challenge to read one book per month. I enjoy reading, though one of the side effects of a PhD is that reading becomes something akin to an enduring experience as opposed to an enjoyable one. Endurance test aside, I took to the challenge with gusto, and an armful of books that had been gathering dust to some degree.

12 in 12.

…and to be fair, it has been enjoyable and not at all endurable, though some of the reads I have found tough going at times. At the minute, I’m at book number 16 for the year, which I’m quite chuffed with to be honest. The target is to reach 20 by year end, which is another challenge considering the academic year is soon upon us.

I’ll leave my ‘Top 5’ reads list until the festive season. Suffice to say, there are some really great reads in this pile. There’s another pile of similar size awaiting, but if you want to recommend a read, do get in touch. Book club anyone?

Last read: ‘Here Are The Young Men’

Current read: ‘The Glorious Heresies’

Hangman & Javascript

Hangman eh? Days of yore…

So the past number of weeks has seen me become one with JavaScript. Namasté.

OK, that’s stretching it a tad but the programming vocabulary has grown recently with objects, arrays, and boolean operators becoming part of everyday parlance. The accompanying text of ‘Javascript For Kids’ has become a good source for all things programming-wise, and whilst I can’t say that I am completely au fait with the code (the same can be said of my current read ‘Wuthering Heights’ – more on that at a later point), I am getting there. Where there is, is actually just one more chapter (Functions) before I’ll reverse and go back over the content one final time.

JavaScript for Kids

I’m learning JavaScript.

It’s a language I’ve never coded before although I have used/manipulated it on numerous occasions. I’m following Nick Morgan’s (skilldrick.co.uk) JavaScript for Kids as a learning guide and so far, so good.

The above (^) is my first piece of written JavaScript. Woohoo!

While I’m at it check out these impressive JavaScript creations:

http://fantasynth.com/

https://patatap.com/

https://cubeslam.com/

Check back again in a few weeks to see how me and my JS code are progressing…

 

(Post) Ring of Kerry 2018

Done. Dusted. Never again.

Some might say they enjoy the 175km challenge around the hills (and mountains) of County Kerry. I call them liars. Given that this was my second time around the circuit I wanted to enjoy rather than endure the cycle this time around. Trimmer (by 5kg) from the last time I took on the challenge, alas the Ring of Kerry was not so much enjoyed but endured, albeit much of this is down to the fact that I didn’t fuel myself sufficiently in the early stages of the cycle.

A short stop in Cahirsiveen at the 60km mark, was soon followed by the arduous Coomakista climb and while I reached the summit, I did so with little energy, owed entirely to insufficient food, particularly carbohydrates, in my body, and a rise in temperature, owed to the once-in-a-generation heatwave.

Image result for coomakista

After refuelling in Sneem, albeit feeling somewhat nauseous due to the high sugar intake, I completed the remainder of the cycle incident-free, slowly and steadily summiting Molls Gap before the dangerous descent into Killarney.

In future, I will be more mindful of my carbohydrates intake, will get a better nights sleep, will put more kilometers in the legs, and will enjoy the challenge as opposed to its endurance. Who said never again?

Feile Peile 2018

I’ll be honest…my knowledge of Féile Peile was minimal prior to the past weekend…and for someone who has been heavily involved (too heavily at times) with Gaelic Games, that statement is surprising and disappointing in equal context. However, that statement changed over the course of this past weekend with quite easily the…

…best weekend I have ever experienced in GAA terms.

Having been duped/roped into assisting with the fixtures and results of the weekend from a technical perspective by Diarmuid Cahill, alongside the genius that is Shane D’Arcy, we set up integrating the ServaSport feed into www.feilepeile2018.com/fixtures-and-results using a variety of HTML5, CSS3, PHP, and XML.

Not withstanding the phenomenal traffic that the feed garnered (at times the server could not cope with the volume of concurrent connections), the weekend proved to be an incredibly busy one, and although I didn’t see a football kicked, I must admit that it was a magical weekend to be involved in. Check out the videos, posts, and images using #feile2018 to get insights into the craic that was had!

Many thanks to Diarmuid for his gentle persuasion and to his trusty network of voluntary sidekicks from Counties Down, Louth, and Meath. I can’t believe I never got involved in Féile Peile before. That has changed…I’ve caught the Féile Bug!

(Pre) Ring of Kerry 2018

I am currently gearing up (ahem) for the 2018 Ring of Kerry Cycle.

The cycle, not a race(!) takes place on Saturday, July 7th and is a challenging 175km route through the picturesque hills, drumlins, and mountains of County Kerry.

I am raising funds for Down Right Brilliant, who are aligned with the Newry & Mourne Down Syndrome Support Group.

Our story began some 35 years ago when a group from Killarney had an idea – to cycle the 175-kilometre ‘Ring of Kerry’ to raise money for charity. 35 years later, that vision hasn’t changed. Our story has. Today, the Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle brings together 10,000 participants each year, making it Ireland’s largest one-day charity event. Together, we’ve raised almost €15 million for 150 charity organisations who make a powerful difference for people in need across our communities.

VS Games 2018

Good news! We (Dr Bride Mallon, Dr Cornelia Connolly, and my-good-self) have had our research paper accepted for VS-GAMES 2018. Our paper focuses on the role of Assessment in Serious Alternate Reality Games.

The 10th International Conference on Virtual Worlds and Games for Serious Applications takes place from September 5th-7th in Würzburg, Germany.

The community of the VS-GAMES covers a broad variety of facets of virtual worlds and games including game design, software engineering, computer graphics, human-computer interaction techniques, pedagogical and psychological models and evaluations. The common denominator of the conference is that all of these different efforts and perspectives target serous application domains – from museum exhibitions over deep sea robotics interfaces to training and rehabilitation.

VS-GAMES 2018

EdTech 2018

Alongside my colleague Shane D’Arcy, we presented at EdTech2018 in Carlow IT on our experiences of utilising Adobe Connect in separate modules for the first time.

Image result for irish learning technology association

These practical modules on programming and animation theory have been previously taught in a face-to-face context but are now included in a part-time blended programme, 80% of which is delivered online. Classes are delivered two evening per week to approximately 15 students (each session), most of whom are working full-time. Our presentation considered the benefits and the limitations of the virtual classroom from the teacher’s perspective. In particular, we outlined some simple techniques used to counter challenges in a number of aspects of the virtual classroom experience such as feedback and interaction, teaching approaches, body language and facial expressions, online activities, “wait time” and “think time”.