06 November 2008

Rainy Days...

This is what my orange umbrella says about me, but what does your brolly say about you?

What Your Orange Umbrella Says About You

When faced with adversity, you are able to come up with a creative solution.

Problems don't ever get you down. You see them as an opportunity to think outside the box.

You are playful and light hearted. You make the dullest tasks interesting and lively.

You are curious about the world around you. You take every moment as an opportunity to learn.

On a rainy day: you should get out there and play in the rain

18 September 2008

Learning Styles don't exist

Hi guys,

if you belong to my teaching cirlcle of friends and relatives, this may be especially interesting to you.

I am getting ready for my autumn break in Andalucia in two weeks time and just cannot believe the heap of work I have to get through till then. But hey if you are a teacher , who am I complaing to?

12 September 2008

The traditional Holland weekend

This year the traditional Knüdeler weekend away has taken place in Volendam, Holland. After spending the previous family weekends in Kamperland, we spend our weekend away in Volendam, home of all dutch wedding singers. The picture below shows some of us having a go at Lacrosse on the beach, thanks to Benjamin's imported Lacrosse bats (is that what they are called?)

29 May 2008

Firefox 3 Download Day

Don't you think it's about time to switch to the world's best browser? If so, do it on Download Day and help Firefox set a world record for most downloaded software in 24 hours. Click the badge below for more information. The date has now been published it's 17 June 2008!
Download Day - English

24 May 2008

Eurovision Song Contests - Alternative Scoring

And here are the results of the Mülheim Jury:

Spain: 12 points
Azerbaijan: 10 points
Ukraine: 8 points
Finland: 7 points
Latvia: 6 points
France: 5 points
UK: 4 points
Germany: 3 points
Turkey: 2 points
Armenia: 1 points

Scores out of 5 were given for the following categories: "Coolness", Glam, Cringe Factor, Outfit, Performance, Catchiness of tune, giving a max total of 30. Our full score board can be viewed here.

Information on the contestants can be viewed on the official Song contest Website.

We certainly had a lot of fun deciding which song is the crappiest. Let's see whether we predicted the winner...

11 May 2008

Foster's - also a contraceptive?

It's quite funny how sometimes things line up like this. A day before consuming this very can of Australia's finest, one of my Linguistics students pointed out a sign very similar to this on packets of prescription drug Contergan. She wondered whether women would possibly mistake the drug for a contraceptive.

Well, in Lichfield city center I have witnessed several times that Foster's can work as a male contraceptive after consumption of several cans (dosage is highly individual :-) ). I just want to mention:

* Brewer's Droop
* Women don't seem to find highly inebriated yobs too sexually attractive. This makes scoring highly unlikely...

27 April 2008

A sad day - Humphrey Lyttleton dies aged 86

Still in shock although when somebody is 86 it shouldn't come as a surprise.

If you want to read up on his life and achievements you can do so here or here, I'll remember him for his inimitable sense of timing, style and humour in his function as chairman of Sorry I haven't a clue. Thanks to Vic introducing me to the Clue I listened to the majority of programmes broadcast between 1997 and 2004 and have also listened to classics and special compilations published by the BBC.

Therefore I can safely say that Humph and his crew have had a tremendous influence on my English and sense of humour. But most importantly he is responsible for the fact that during certain times of the year, Monday used to be my favourite day.

I'll miss him.

PS: Annette and I have just found that she already listened to Humph's Jazz albums before I even knew him. She just never made the link between the Jazz musician and the comedian.

08 April 2008

The Symbiote

Phew, I feel safer again, now that this sculpture has been removed from our college.

Is it just me or does this thing look like the symbiote from Spiderman 3?
Posted by Picasa

03 April 2008

Google Praise

I'm still dead-chuffed about this post in the Official Google Docs Blog. I never would have thought that a simple idea like the one posted in my Web 2.0 in Foreign Language Teaching blog would

a) be innovative enough to be deemed worthy of a mention by Google themselves
b) find that much attention in the language teaching community

It just goes to show that you need not just do it, but talk, write or make videos about it so that other people can benefit, too. If we all share using the www, we can really take informal professional development to new heights.

31 March 2008

Moodle Praise

As part of my ongoing quality management in my courses I let students fill in a feedback questionnaire which also includes an item for general comments. The comments below showed me again that I'm on the right track with what I'm doing Moodle-wise

"I really liked the idea of Moodle because it gave chance to interact
and discuss about topics unlike the one-way interactions in
blackboard, where students just download files. Also, it was very
helpful always to get into group works which made students to apply the
reading materials. And I believe that having the group works uploaded
and evaluating them were very useful because each students got to see
what other groups have done."

"Moodle ist prima, um Hausaufgaben und Projekte schnell und unkompliziert an den Dozenten zu übermitteln. Der Dozent war außerdem über Moodle immer schnell erreichbar."

18 March 2008

Martin Dougiamas Uses Blackboard / Moodlemoot 2008 in Heidelberg

Well, not the competitor of Moodle, of course. How could you think that I'd even mention this inferior commercial LMS in my blog!

But lacking more modern media to show us where he grew up, he resorted to using a good old German blackboard and chalk. The picture was taken at Germany's moodlemoot 2008 in Heidelberg. If you think that the lack of modern communication technology in the lecture theatre suggests an unsuccessful and badly organised conference, you couldn't be more wrong!

The conference was brilliantly organised with lots of relevant, stimulating and thought-provoking contributions. Thanks to Gisela Hillenbrand and Christian Grune's Workshop on the roles and capabilities in Moodle I am feeling confident in creating and changing user roles in our local Moodle installation for example.

It was also particularly nice to meet new and old like-minded people at the moot. It helps making you feel less like a weirdo and gives you energy

The highlight of course was having Martin Dougiamas at the moot. His approachable down-to-earth manner made the conference truly special.

12 March 2008

German Moodlemoot 08

Hello there!

Greetings from Heidelberg where I am currently attending the German moodlemoot 08.

I have already visited workshops on the roles and capabilities in Moodle as well as the new version 1.9. A lot of interesting stuff, which will mean a lot of playing with our Moodle Site to make it serve our needs at the VHS Essen (adult education college).

At the moment I am in a workshop on Web 2.0 in Moodle and I thought since blogging is so Web 2.0 I'll write a post about it. A lot of the things I know and do already but there are always little things which give food for thought. Ulrike Montgomery's presentation can be found at the end of this post.

A big shout also goes out to my colleagues at the college who are stepping in for me while I'm in Heidelberg!

The guys in the picture are form left to right: Martin Dougiamas (Chief Moodle Developer), Stephan Rinke (my humble self) and Michael Tighe (US English Services), whom I had already met at the Moodle conference in Duisburg. Thanks to Martin for being such an approachable and down to earth guy. You really made this conference special!

Happy Birthday, little Rink!

Since I cannot hug him personally with me being in Heidelberg at the moodlemoot 08, I want to send out a big Happy Birthday to my brother Thomas aka little Rink.

Have an excellent day. I'll have a wheat beer on you tonight!

08 March 2008

Happy Birthday, Vic!

Happy 65th birthday to the shed man! I know he wouldn't care much for flowers or anything that the bland masses regard as pretty, so here's a heart-warming picture taken by Parksy that only like minded people will be able to appreciate.

It must be the saw dust, engine oil, copper grease and WD40 which have helped Vic to maintain his useful looks. Perhaps I'll develop a new men's grooming range with these secret ingredients and sell it to the makers of my men's skincare range of choice XCD.

Anyway, a big hug and three cheers from all of us here in Mülheim go out to the man who first got my hands oily. May he always have enough wood, copper grease, Gold Block tobacco and items on the list to ensure that Sue keeps him in good health ;-)

06 March 2008

Hole in the wall - no cash...

"Hmmm, what's this thing sticking out? Maybe if I bash it hard enough it'll disappear into the wall."

One would think that a professional would know that when you push something in, it'll have to come out somewhere. Well in this case a left over fixing of a previously removed radiator in our new bathroom made it's way into our dining room.

Rink and Rinkette are not happy Krauts, I can tell you!

24 February 2008


Oh, the fun you can have with a right-hand-drive car in Germany...

Police stopping me. Policeman leans in and says: "Oh, no driver today?"

"Do you think if I could afford a driver, I'd be travelling in a Polo?"

Luckily he had a sense of humour and let me drive on without going through the whole works.

Have a good start to the week, guys!

14 February 2008

Comma ?

You Are a Comma

You are open minded and extremely optimistic.
You enjoy almost all facets of life. You can find the good in almost anything.

You keep yourself busy with tons of friends, activities, and interests.
You find it hard to turn down an opportunity, even if you are pressed for time.

Your friends find you fascinating, charming, and easy to talk to.
(But with so many competing interests, you friends do feel like you hardly have time for them.)

You excel in: Inspiring people

You get along best with: The Question Mark
What Punctuation Mark Are You?

I am not sure I agree on all points said about me, but then again my self-knowldge (which is supposed to be true knowledge) may be limited. Well, if you know me, leave a comment. Perhaps you can make me face facts...

11 February 2008

Verbophiles can feed the needy

Since so many of my mates (e.g. you Rob and Piers) like weird and strange words I thought I'd advertise "Free Rice" here.

Free Rice basically tests your knowledge of English words and for every word you get right, the website donates 20 grains of rice to the United Nations Food Aid Programme.

So go there, test your vocabulary and do some good!

Free Rice

My best vocab level is 40 so far. Not bad for a stupid Kraut, is it? But can you beat it?

04 February 2008

Happy Birthday, Alice Cooper!

Happy 60th to the Coop!

Thanks to Markus who wanted the Trash album for his birthday in 1989 I got introduced to Alice Cooper and now co-own all his albums (together with my brother) and always enter him in the "favourite artist" section in questionaires.

Unbelievable that he is already 60, particularly considering his stage show. Most 30 year olds would struggle to perform like him. I sincerely hope he honours his promise to retire no earlier than six years after Mick Jagger and that he'll tour in Germany soon. If you have never seen him live make sure to go. It's a real good night out as can be seen here.

27 January 2008

Anna's Maryland Blog

Anna has just started her blog about her stay at the University of Maryland. We all miss her tremendously but at least we are able to keep up to date with her exploits in the land of the free. By the way, so can you! If you can read German that is...

Anna's Maryland Blog

We miss you Anna. Make sure to post more regularly than I do!

24 January 2008

Food for thought...

This is one for anybody involved in education, be it teachers, parents, politicians...