Fraser Speirs on Mac Power Users

I just listened to Episode 93 of Mac Power Users with Fraser Spiers and it was one of the most interesting podcast episodes I have ever listened to.

Fraser is a teacher at a school in Greenock, Scotland. I had heard of him before, but I’d never heard him interviewed.

He started a scheme where every child in his school got an iPad – lucky kids, eh? He talks in the podcast about the philosophy behind this idea and the benefits that he has seen since starting the project.

It’s not so much the technical implementation of the scheme that was so interesting to me, but rather the philosophy behind it. I’m a 40-something dad of two under 10s and am quite disenchanted with the school system that my kids are in. So much so in fact that we’ve taken our 5-year-old out of school completely and are now homeschooling him. That got me thinking about educational activities I could do with him. He’s already very comfortable on the iPad and desktop computer. But that’s another post!

Fraser talked about how he things of the future where his pupils are concerned. The ones starting now will not be entering the working world until around 2025 and, strangely, Fraser doesn’t think that Microsoft Word skills will be much in demand then!

He talks about the different philosophy behind the way kids type; grown-ups are concerned about accuracy, a legacy from the days of typewriters and paper, whereas kids type first and proofread later.

He also talks about how today’s 40-somethings should have been the first digital generation, but the system was so far behind that it just couldn’t happen.

The one thing that stood out for me was the notion that parents will not stand for the current system as it stands. Hearing him say that got me thinking about joining the local school board and putting my voice forward. The school system on my little island seems rather too stuck in the past for my liking. But, having read a couple of books on homeschooling, I’ve learned about the brick walls that are the education system and stupidly-named ‘curriculum for excellence’, PR speak if ever I heard it!

Fraser’s website

Fraser’s weblog

Future Shock article mentioned by D. Sparks


Hamish: Mum, do you know the difference between laptops and computers?

Mum (pretending): No

Hamish: Laptops can move, they have lids and you can put them on your lap.


Lorraine Campbell

Lorraine grew up in Cornwall. She graduated from Keele university in 1998 with a BA in modern languages and from Bradford university in 1999 with an MA in Interpreting and Translation. The more astute reader will have noticed that this is the same university and year that I graduated. Yep, that’s where we met! It was love at first sight, across the conference room. Since graduating, Lorraine has worked in France and Luxembourg as a translator. She is now director of a translator agency and works from home on the Isle of Arran.



Picture taken by Hamish on 2 October 2012. This is me in my dog-walking gear!

Cams is from Prestwick in Ayrshire and was born in 1971. He graduated from the University of St Andrews in 1998 with an MA in Russian Language and Literature and from the University of Bradford in 1999 with an postgrad MA in Interpreting and Translation. He lived in Odessa, Ukraine for one year, Sochi, Russia for a few months, Almaty, Kazakhstan for two years and Luxembourg for seven years. He now lives on the Isle of Arran in Scotland with Lorraine and his two children where he runs the main post office on the island Brodick Post Office and fixes computers


I blogged about the whole process of moving to Arran and actually enjoy having that as a record. But for some reason I haven’t been keeping track of the house move. It’s a similar feeling in terms of the scale of the thing, and again I’m leaning on spiritual means for solace. However I didn’t cope well last week at all.

Firstly, Lorraine’s been at the end of her rope with a deadline. So I’ve been doing the school run and a whole lot else besides. Monday was a bank holiday and that threw things a bit too, but that was compounded by my having to take my mum back to Prestwick on Tuesday. Then there was the gigs on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and the feeling of letting people down during show week and the strange feeling of not being in the show and wishing that I was. So I was left on Saturday with a feeling of guilt at having not followed through on my commitment to help with front-of-house and having done a stupid thing at work when someone called and I killed the call and then left it off the hook. It turned out to have been a friend on the phone. but did I promptly admit that I was wrong? I sort of did with the phone call, but didn’t follow through in person. Hopefully no harm was done. But apologise to the show people for FOH? I just couldn’t do it. So much for working the programme. 🙁

Oh yeah, and I got put on cholesterol pills for the rest of my natural. Perhaps not such a good time to try and come off the anti-depressants, but that’s what I’ve decided to try and do anyway.

But wasn’t this supposed to be about moving? Well, the long and short of it is that, after a very stressful week, we found out at half four on Friday afternoon that our mortgage application had been approved! So tomorrow morning it’s phone the solicitor and sell the shares. Imagine if the stock Market were to open really high tomorrow!

We’re planning to move on 1 August. Fingers crossed it’ll all go smoothly, but experience tells me otherwise. We shall see…

Atishoo, atishoo…

Ring a ring a roses…

A pocket full of posies…

Atishoo, atishoo, we all fall down!

We have friends visiting from Luxembourg. The weather couldn’t have been better for their arrival. Here’s hoping we have a nice long week of good Arran weather and hospitality!

Freya reciting a poem

Freya came first in her poetry recital competition at school last week and came home with a trophy. She’s going to Stevenston at the end of the month to compete in the final. Well done wee Freya!

My mither says that we hae mice
That open air-ticht tins
And eat her chocolate biscuits
And cakes and siclike things.

Nae doubt it is an awfu shame
That mice should get the blame.
It’s really me that rypes the tins
When left alane at hame.

But jings! I get fair hungert
And biscuits taste sae nice.
But dinna tell my mither for
She thinks it is the mice.


Freya’s first baby tooth came out yesterday. She was ever so pleased and wrote a letter to the toothfairy, asking whether she could keep her tooth for a few more days as she wanted to take it in to show-and-tell at school.

Gappy tooth

Letter to toothfairy

The tooth

Young Nats

Freya took a trip to Dean Castle with the young naturalists back in September. I finally got around to scanning the Banner article. Enjoy!

Disneyland Paris

We spent four days at Disneyland Paris a couple of weeks ago. We went when Hamish was 1, back in 2007, and Freya enjoyed it a lot. They’re both now at the age where they’d get more out of it.


It was a really relaxing holiday, which is quite surprising. Four days was a bit too long, but it meant that we could see what we liked and then revisit those things. Winners were the Dumbo ride and the Mad Hatter Teacups. My favourite ride was the Buzz Lightyear Laser Shootout. Hamish liked it too, but Freya was frightened of Zurg.