The Lockdown diaries week 3: a bit of a lull in videoconferencing

Another week of lockdown. As I write this the UK has passed 10,000 deaths from the COVID 19 virus.  We are heading to be one of, if not the, countries in Europe with the highest death toll.  In Scotland where live, the death toll is no where near as high as in England, but for a relative small country the death rate is still higher (566 at time of writing)  than other equivalent countries for example Denmark with 273 deaths (at time of writing).  

Our UK national response was too slow, our government messaging and actions seem inadequate – this piece in by Nesrine Malik in The Guardian today summed it up for me. Whilst I am glad that our Prime Minister has recovered, his illness continues to be used to deflect attention from the real issues, like the shortage of personal protective equipment, the need for mass testing and tracking and then of course some kind of plan for a return to some semblance of normality.

These wider issues continue to hoover around everything that I do.  Like veryone I guess, I have waves of hopelessness and  anxiety coupled with powerlessness.   However, life does go on and again, like everyone else I am settling into a kind of life in lock down rhythm.  Twitter in lock down has felt like a more positive experience over the past couple of weeks, mainly due to the level of sharing of resources, experiences etc. However it is still quite overwhelming and more and more crap is creeping back into my timeline, which again does bring another level of anxiety.  However I am grateful to those in my network for their support and kindness when I mentioned this last week in a tweet.  Care really is evident. 

My use of Zoom this week has been a bit more social with the addition of a surprise birthday party. For the record imho surprise online parties don’t really work without a lot of planning and a really experienced aka bossy person in charge. For one thing, if the “surprisee” is using a mobile phone it can take them quite a while to see everyone on the call, never mind try to unmute their mic, get their phone turned round the right way, whilst others are doing much the same . . .

Much more successful was joining in one of Ken Bauer’s  Educator Coffee (or tea) time sessions. It was so lovely to have a cuppa and chat with some lovely people from all over the world (Ken, Maha Bali, Autumm Caines, Joseph Murphy). This is something I think that should continue well after lock down ends.

On the work side, things are picking up and week 3 of lock down has felt a bit more ‘normal’ in that respect.  My only MS teams meetings were small ones, focused on work.   I get the feeling that people in HE anyway are managing go now take a breath and start thinking about “stuff” instead of just working  to the bone to get “stuff” online for the remainder of term/semester.  A short break before the next wave of what to do now . . . which leads me nicely to a plug for something for the new week – Gasta Goes Global.

I’m not quite sure how this happened, well actually I am, Tom Farelly just asked me! So I am now one of seven others (and I’m not suffering from imposter syndrome being in this line up at all!!) who have agreed to do an online Gasta session to:

” draw people together in a show of togetherness and solidarity. #GastaGoesGlobal is about getting the community to imagine a new future in a spirit of fellowship, solidarity and yes, a bit of light-heartedness.” 

If you don’t know what a Gasta is then there is more information here – but 60 minutes, 7 speakers and 250 educators (and rising) just about sums it up.

If anyone can pull of MC’ing an online experience then I have no doubt that Tom can. I on the other hand, am equally excited and terrified about the whole thing and what I am actually going to say.  Another week of new experiences awaits. 

This week’s picture is the rainbow my niece made me to put on the window. Thank you too, dear reader, for being here just now.

Picture by my niece

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