Saturday, January 20, 2007

Endemol cry all the way to the bank

You would have to be stuck in the Antarctic or adrift in an open boat (lucky you) to have missed the row over the bullying and abuse of one of the contestants in the strangely named Celebrity Big Brother.

Following criticism of the "celebrity" credentials of the participants, a couple of genuine celebrities Leo Sayer and Ken Russell (who were just a little past their sell-by date) deserted the house.

Then a way of boosting the ratings seemed to fall into Endemol's lap with the ignorant racist abuse directed at Shilpa Shetty by multi-millionairess Jade Goody.

It will be remembered that Endermol swore to ensure George Galloway did not use the Big Brother house as a platform for anti-war sentiments. They used the situation to make George Galloway appear foolish - aided and abetted by George Galloway of course.

In contrast, they have continued to defend their broadcasting of racist abuse on the grounds that it is not really racist as such.

In the past there was a term "racialism" which was applied to distrust and hostility towards other races based on ignorance. This was differentiated from "racism" which they defined as the manipulation of racialism to stir up hatred. It seems clear that Jade Goody's abuse is an example of the former rather than the latter.

Under pressure, Endemol have muttered about donating a fraction of their obscene profits from this imbroglio to charity but the set-up of Big Brother ensures they continue to profit whatever happens.

One wonders how long it will be before one of the housemates murders another under the artificial strains imposed on them by the situation and whether that will prove a money-spinner for Endemol as well.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Online quizzes for pupils doing ICT

Here are some quizzes for pupils doing ICT: They are self-marking and use the *free* hot potatoes software

And for anyone who is interested, I have posted the one I wrote for West Sussex Teachers' Association about the benefits of NUT membership.

Which also works.

People on the TES website were very complimentary about them.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


I am taking the plunge and using

I started using email exhanges with a Canadian teacher and his class about 15 years ago when I had to take home text files of my pupils' emails and send them from there. I still like using email interchange although I have fought shy of using epals because it does not integrate well with our email system. You have to use theirs. They have a premium rate system which costs an arm and a leg (and I have a budget of 0) but I have started this year to experiment with using their system with my year 7 class. I have set up 27 accounts (the maximum number of free accounts is 35) and we will see how it goes.

I have found email exchanges with pupils overseas to be a "consciousness-raising" experience for pupils and it also raises enthusiasm and excitement. They find out a lot about the globalisation of culture (the Japanese pupils watching "The Simpsons") as well as finding about the many differences in culture. (The school I have linked up with is a strongly Catholic school in America)

I have used but on the whole I had a lot of frustration with schools not following up so pupils spend a lot of time writing emails and then get no replies.

Does anyone else who has used email exchange have any comments?