Reviewing my year in #Wordle

While I’d certainly describe my profession as teacher, this blog has not been one in which I have focused on educational issues, to the exclusion of all else. Actually my deeper interests are in the subjects I teach.  This is not to say I lack interest in pedagogy, quite the contrary, but rather that what motivates me to write are the processes that I’m trained to observe through my study of history, geography, economics and politics. In the end though my real passions are history and geography.

For a quick view of my preoccupations in 2012 just click on the Wordle thumbnail

Wordle: Maximos Blog in 2012

Bag It and plastic pollution
In January I wrote about the important film Bag It, that I was fortunate to see at the Avoca Cinema. Until I saw this film I thought that there was little about environmental pollution that was likely to surprise me.  This film reminded me just how wrong I was and how learning is such an important commitment in life. It must be with us always.

Bali and the plastic bag, a continuing issue.
In March I wrote about the introduction of plastics to Bali, with the growth of ‘modernism’ and tourism, highlighting the challenges this presents to irrigation and drainage systems.

A small initiative in teaching School Certificate geography
This post was largely a recounting of the impact of the Digital Education Revolution (DER) an initiative that saw provision of laptop computers to students on a 1:1 basis. I made some observations about the varied set of pedagogical responses that followed and provided a link to one initiative that I’d taken in building a the SSC Leichhardt Geography Blog.

Many questions as yet unanswered about chemical toxicity and radiation.
In April an old friend long concerned by the 1980 traffic accident on the Pacific highway, outside Laurieton involving radioactive isotopes (Americium 241 and Cesium 137), DDT, a mysterious substance called Strip X found new information on this bizarre and as yet unsolved mystery. This prompted me to write a few words on the strange event. I expect there is more to come on this.

Unravelling the mystery of Lake George: the vanishing lake
September saw me still absorbed with mysteries, but in this case one of a very different kind. I was moved to write about Lake George a place I frequently pass when driving to Canberra. My father had 35mm slides of it brim fill of water but for much of my life it seems to have been nothing more than a muddy puddle. Now the mystery has been solved.

Pecha Kucha as an antidote to writers’ block #TMSydney
This has not been a big blogging year for me.  By September I felt I had a serious case of writers’ block.  In truth I’d been quite prolific in building digital project based learning materials for my students.  This absorbed vast amounts of time. So the challenge of preparing a Pecha Kucha, focusing on what one would say to their first-year-teacher-self if they had the opportunity to travel back in time, offered a nice balance of the visual and textual.  I wrote the text for the presentation and then spoke to it.  I hope this was successful public web based contribution.


The Bali Bombings Ten Years On
October was the tenth anniversary of the Bali Bombings of 2002. My own involvement in this act of mass murder was a life changing event for me. For several years I grieved quite openly for those who had suffered or paid the ultimate sacrifice of giving up their lives in this tragic act of terrorism. I learned much about suffering and much about myself.

A few thoughts on teaching about Indigenous Australia.
Teaching middle school history, a lifetime of interest in Aboriginal issues and reading Bill Gammage’s The Greatest Estate on Earth – How Aborigines Made Australia, inspired this post. It was provided an opportunity to meet up with the remarkable work of  Joseph Lycett ‘Drawings of Aborigines and scenery, New South Wales‘, ca. 1820.

Idenesia Arsip Positif a new Indonesian Website
In November I was drawn to a new website Idenesia was co-founded by my Twitter friend Dirgayusa Setiawan @dirgayusa .  It is a rich and comprehensive online archive of positive ideas from Indonesia. It also has a Facebook page.

The year ahead – 2013

I’m hoping 2013 will be a far more prolific year for me. This year I’m working in the school library and will be focusing on digital literacy, information literacy, digital citizenship and developing strategies for using AR across the school, as well as all the other elements like PBL, 1:1 laptops, BYOD, integratring iPads into the school curriculum and hopefully having opportunities to finish my online book and shoot a lot more video, as well as visit Indonesia with my grandchildren.

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