Now We Are Six


Ever since All Change Please! celebrated its first birthday, it’s been waiting until it could fully reveal the extent of its intellectual middle-class up-bringing by using the title of the book of poems by AA Milne it was bought up on, and to point out that its alter-ego is not the only person to spell their surname that way. Anyway, finally, today’s the day…

As has become the tradition on this great annual celebration – in future doubtless to be recognised globally as All Change Please! day – it has become customary to review what’s been hot and what’s not over the past twelve months.

Rather than building the suspense way beyond the unbearable and then dragging out the final moment of truth for as long as possible by making you wait until the very end of the post to find out, All Change Please! will immediately reveal that and winner of The People’s Vote, i.e. the most read post of the last year, is…

Mark My Words…Please! which helps confirm All Change Please!’s assertion that examiners should be paid more for their services.

Meanwhile curiously the Number 2 spot is taken by Left, Right, Right, Right, Right… which was first released in July 2012, and and is followed onto the turntable by the Number 3 spot by another Golden Oldie, even more curiously also from July 2012 Are Janet and John now working at the DfES?.  For some unknown reason these somewhat dated posts just keep on giving, and All Change Please! can only assume that there must be some tag or keyword in there somewhere that keeps on coming up in searches. There must be a Ph.D. somewhere in there, as people keep saying these days.

Other posts that did better than others during the year included Fixated by Design, Virgin on the ridiculous, New A level D&T: Dull & Tedious and Goves and Dolls.

But now it’s time for All Change Please! to reveal its own favourites for the year in the pathetically vague hope of improving their stats a bit. As so often happens in life, what All Change Please! reckons to be its best works are generally ignored, while the ones it dashed off in a matter of minutes and that it didn’t think anyone would be particularly interested in them prove to be the best sellers – which makes it a bit of a shame seeing as they are given away for nothing.

So, if you kindly will, please take a moment to click again on some of these:

Goves and Dolls: All Change Please!’s 2014 Festive gangster satire, written in a Damon Runyon-esque stye

Way To Go: in which Nicky Morgan seems to think that the BBCs WIA spoof fly-on-the-wall comedy series is for real.

And the two Alas! Smith and Journos posts: Have you ever Bean Green and Beginners Please

Meanwhile, here are a few of All Change Please!’s favourite bits:

I expect all the schools requiring improvement will be given those special tape measures now?’ (Jones from Have you ever Bean Green)

Smith:“It’s a new play by Tom Stoppard – you know he did ‘Jumpers’ and ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead’.”

Jones: Oh, the National Theatre, I thought you meant the Grand National and there was a horse called Stoppard who was a good jumper, and there were two other horses they’d had to put down.  (from Beginners Please! in which Smith and Jones are discussing the merits of Nick Glibbly’s suggestion that all children need to be able to understand plays performed at the London Doner Kebab Warehouse)

Swashbuckling Pirate Queen Captain Nicky Morgove has recently vowed to board so-called coasting schools, make the headteacher walk the plank, and academise the lot of them to within an inch of their worthless lives. With Nick Glibb, her faithful parrot, perched on her shoulder squawking ‘Progress 8, Progress 8…’”  (from Pirates of the DfE)

‘So the thing is like that with the DfE, in branding terms it’s really boring. It’s like politics and funding and pedagogy. I mean, who’s interested in all that stuff? So what we’re talking here is like major brand refresh surgery.’

‘They’re terribly excited about ‘Strictly Come Teaching’ in which B-list celebs are paired up with classroom teachers to see how really strict they can be in classrooms up and down the country. We love Strictly!’  (from Way To Go).

‘However, instead I am allowed to prescribe you a course of new scientifically unproven Govicol, but I should warn you it’s rather indigestible and you will have to be spoon-fed it. And what’s more it not only has a nasty taste but has a whole range of unpleasant educational side-effects. (from Nice work).

‘We were most interested to learn that Junk Modelling did not involve making scale replicas of boats’, a spokesperson for the Chinese government didn’t say. ‘The delegation offered to send us Michael Gove and Elizabeth Truss to advise us further on a long term basis, but we said No thanks – not for all the D&T in China’.  (from Chinese Takeaways)


And finally:

“Now We Are Six”

When I was one,
I had just begun.
When I was two,
I was nearly new.
When I was three,
I was hardly me.
When I was four,
I was not much more.
When I was five,
I was just alive.
But now I am six,
I’m as clever as clever.
So I think I’ll be six
now and forever.

Author: A.A. Milne

Image credit: Wikimedia

Now this is what I call an Importance Statement



The attention-grabbing building above, called the Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower, is in Shinjuko, Tokyo, one of the main centres of the vast capital of Japan. Completed in October 2008 and designed by Kenzo Tange, Japan’s most famous architect, it sits between the major railway interchange hub and a burgeoning business district that includes the impressive twin towers of the Tokyo Municipal Headquarters. The architect’s brief included the stipulation that the building should not be rectangular –  something that has very clearly been achieved.



Now you might be forgiven for thinking that the building, with its 50 floors, is perhaps a luxury apartment building or hotel, or at the very least the headquarters of a multi-national company. But you’d be wrong, because it’s a University building. Described as a ‘vertical campus’ for 10,000 students it is occupied by three vocational departments – the Tokyo Mode Gakuen Fashion School, the HAL Tokyo School of Information Technology and Design, and the Shuto Ikō School of Medicine. It incorporates a 3-storey high atrium “to substitute as a ‘schoolyard’, called the ‘Student Lounge’ and multi-use corridors where communication can flourish.”

Tange’s design is intended to represent a cocoon, and as such symbolize  the academic care that is provided, and “Embraced within this incubating form, students are inspired to create, grow and transform.

It was awarded the 2008 Skyscraper of the Year by

And it’s not alone. The Mode Gakuen Spiral Towers is a similar 36 story vocational educational facility just outside Nagoya Railway station, also completed in 2008.


There’s no question that these structures make a clear statement of intent as to the importance Japan places on its vocational education.

Fast forward (or should that be backwards?) to 2012, and here’s Michael Gove defining the way forward for school buildings in the UK:

We won’t be getting Richard Rogers to design your school. We won’t be getting any award-winning architects to design it, because no one in this room is here to make architects richer.”

And according to the Guardian at the time:

“Design templates unveiled for 261 replacement school buildings also prohibit folding internal partitions to subdivide classrooms, roof terraces that can be used as play areas, glazed walls and translucent plastic roofs.”

The templates tell architects new schools should have:

“no curves or ‘faceted’ curves, corners should be square, ceilings should be left bare and buildings should be clad in nothing more expensive than render or metal panels above head height. As much repetition as possible should be used to keep costs down”.

In this case, there’s no question that these guidelines make a clear statement of intent as to the lack of importance the UK places on its vocational education.


Photos © Tristram Shepard

This Adorable Post Will Melt Your Heart Away


Now that’s what I call an adorable post…

Yes, in yet another pathetic attempt to increase the number of clicks on its site, All Change Please! has resorted to trying the latest technique in attention-seeking subject titles.

In a crowded twitter-sphere, the titles of article and blog post continue to become increasingly important. They have but a moment to grab a potential reader’s attention enough to make them click on the link and read further. One technique, as All Change Please! previously revealed in 200 Posts That Failed To Change The World, was to include a number in the title. Now if like All Change Please! you are a bit of a Tweeter, you might also have noticed the latest trend which is to provoke an emotional response with actual titles such as:

Sorry, But This Bulldog Puppy’s Attempt To Howl Might Make Your Heart Explode

This Adorable Bag Just Might Be The Best Carry On Bag Out There

Cutest little babies to make your day!

The 6 Most Haunted Places In America Will Terrify You

Cute little Mini Dachshund takes a little bath in a little sink

So All Change Please! has been wondering whether teachers should start to adopt this approach in the classroom? Perhaps if each lesson were given a suitable emotional engagement-grabbing title children would be more motivated to sit and listen? For example:

  • 3 terrifying chemicals that will slowly poison you to death
  • A simply awesome classic novel that will change your life forever
  • Quadratic equations that will restore your sense of balance
  • 6 things about child labour in Victorian times that will make you sweep
  • 10 strange French verb endings that will leave you speechless
  • 50 amazing push-ups that will take your breath away
  • Cutest little sable paintbrushes to colour in your day
  • 20 highly detailed geographical maps that will reduce you to tears
  • Adorable little gerbil dissected in biology will leave you feeling gutted
  • Brand new 3D laser cutter will tear you up inside

Or on second thoughts, perhaps not?


Image credit:  Flickr/nesster


Meducation: the learner’s little helper?


Now if All Change Please! were to write that in the not too distant future all you will need to do to learn something new will be to take the appropriate knowledge pill, you would doubtless think it had finally flipped its lid, completely gone off its rocker and that it wouldn’t be long before they would be coming to take it away to the funny farm where life is beautiful all the time, and it would be happy to see those nice young men in their clean white coats…

But if it did, it might go on to suggest that if you had a serious knowledge addiction problem, just as Michael Gove obviously has, and, for example, wanted to learn about rocket science, there would be a pill for that, and a different one to take if you wanted to know everything there is to know about brain surgery. To be taken only under the direction of a qualified teacher, obviously.

And just imagine the uproar at the Daily Mail headline: ‘All school children to go on the pill’. Or perhaps it might be a ‘morning after’ pill that was taken if you had forgotten to do learn Chapter 23 the night before? There would also probably be clever headlines such as “Is this the next generation of tablets for use in schools?’

Doubtless educational academics would write papers and attend long conferences where they would earnestly debate the amount of prescription that would occur with this type of so-called independent learning, and whether or not it should be henceforth referred to as ‘Meducation’. Should schools be henceforth renamed clinics? Would there be hard pills and supposedly easier-to-take soft pills? And of course, most importantly, they would need to decide what colour pill to assign to each subject area of the curriculum, e.g., yellow for English, blue for maths, orange for science, etc.


Meanwhile, don’t worry, All Change Please! intends to keep taking its tablets and as a result has no plans to make such a crazy suggestion. Especially as someone else already has. And not just anybody, but no less a person that Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of MIT.

Yes, the very same Nicholas Negroponte who in the mid 1990s was ridiculed for suggesting that one day people would buy music and books over the internet. And who around the same time was developing early prototypes of automated GPS driving systems, wearable computers and digital street maps, all of which no-one thought would ever come to pass. So obviously he’s no idea what he’s talking about. And his latest prediction is just as hard to swallow:

‘In 30 years, Negroponte said, we’re going to be able to literally ingest information. Once information is in your bloodstream, some kind of mechanism could deposit the information in the brain. You could take a pill and learn English or the works of Shakespeare. He said little else on the subject, but Negroponte assured the audience that the idea is not as ridiculous as it seems.’


And of course, as fans of The Matrix are doubtless already thinking, there is a parallel here with the choice between taking the red pill and the blue pill. The blue pill allows the person to remain in the blissful ignorance of the fabricated virtual reality of the Matrix, whilst the red pill would lead to escape from the Matrix and into the painful truth of the real world. Presumably those heading for Oxbridge would take the blissful blue knowledge pill, while the rest of us would be given the realistic red one?

Meanwhile here at the All Change Please! Institute of Technology we are secretly working on a slightly different pill. One that isn’t about knowledge acquisition and recall, but one that makes it easier for people to be more creative and collaborative, and to accept and strive for positive change in the future. Now that really would be something worth having.


Image credits (Flickr):   Top: bwjones  /  Middle: emagineart    /   Bottom: buttersponge

The Joy of Trending

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Just in case you didn’t know already, All Change Please!‘s alter-ego curates two Flipboard magazines created especially for students of the Creative Arts, Design and Technology.  All Change Please! recently managed to catch up with itself and asked what they were all about.

First of all, can you explain what a Flipboard magazine is?
Flipboard is an app that works on a variety of tablets and smart phones, although the magazines can be viewed on any PC with a web browser connection. The app brings together images and articles from the web selected by the curator into what are known as magazines. The ‘pages’ can then be easily ‘flipped’ through. An image and the first few paragraphs of an article are shown, which gives just enough of an idea to know whether it’s something one wants to look at in more detail before opening the original source web page. The results look stunning on screen, and it’s a pleasure to use. And of course, it’s all completely free. There are a few advertising pages within the articles themselves, but they are not obtrusive or offensive. As you’d expect it is available worldwide, anytime, anyplace.

How easy is it to create a magazine?
Very simple. So easy that even a teacher could do it, let alone a student! Of course it would be great if teachers of Art, Craft Design & Technology started to create their own personalised magazines for their students that directly supported their courses. Students could then flip the pages they found particularly interesting into their own magazines. Even better, similar to the way students use sketch books as a reference journal to collect together things that interest them, they could create their own magazines and share them with each other. And perhaps their teachers could then flip the best finds to create a bespoke departmental Flipboard magazine.

So what’s special about AC:DC and All Things Design?
There are a lot of amazing images and fascinating articles on the web about everything to do with Art, Craft, Design and Technology. Some are very superficial and others are inappropriate for some reason, so the problem is finding the ones that are just right for students of the subject. The content of these two magazines is carefully chosen to be exactly right for students between the ages of about 14 to 18. AC:DC  Art, Craft Design & Communication is aimed more broadly at all areas of Art & Design, while All Things Design is more for those doing 3D Product design based courses. But a lot of the material is suitable for both. As well as delivering inspiring images and ideas, the diversity of the material will considerably widen students’ awareness of all the wide variety of creative arts and design activities that are currently going on, as well as the historical and cultural dimensions of Art and Design. It’s intended to be playful, surprising and ask questions and arouse curiosity. Both magazines are updated on a near daily basis, so there’s always something new to discover.

I’ve heard a rumour that you’ve recently been trending?
Yes, that’s correct, though only in a modest sort of way. Until a couple of weeks ago about 250 people had viewed All Things Design at least once. Then someone who had over 600 followers tweeted it, and the numbers suddenly started to shoot up. After 3 days it had become 500 readers, but then suddenly on the 4th day it became 2000 and by the 7th day it was 5000. It then continued to grow but at a slower rate, but a week later it had climbed to over 7000. It’s very exciting to watch something trending online and to see the numbers escalate so quickly – one of the new, must-have experiences of the 21st Century! Especially as from some of the comments it was clear that these readers were coming in from all over the world. But it is still important to keep it in perspective, given that there are some 100 million global users of Flipboard!

It’s been interesting to try and analyse exactly what happened from the limited data Flipboard makes available. But it seems that it was just one link that proved to be particularly popular:

Olympic Skier Wears Mariachi-Inspired Race Suit for Mexico

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So it was probably the combination of sport and fashion – a lethal cocktail of two extremely popular searches – that drove it onwards and upwards. Meanwhile as it started ‘trending’ a clever little algorithm buried deep on the Flipboard servers went into action and featured it on its ‘Flipboard Picks’ pages, so that then extended its exposure even further.

Surely every child should be learning about how things go viral on the internet. Or to put it another way, perhaps every child should be explaining to their teachers how things go viral on the internet?

And finally, why is there a photo of a large inflatable plastic duck on the cover of All Things Design?
I’m glad you asked me that! When I was an Industrial Design student we got fed up being asked to design high-end consumer goods that didn’t solve any problems that really needed solving. Someone suggested we might as well be designing yellow plastic ducks, so that’s what we did – we created a series of renderings, technical drawings and production models for what we called Yellow Plastic Duck Technology. If you look at some of my previous publications there’s often a photo somewhere of a yellow plastic duck – so it’s become somewhat of a personal signature!

So what are you waiting for? Click on the covers below to check the magazines out, and then make sure you subscribe! And if you are a teacher, pass the links on to your pupils before they pass them on to you!

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And finally… here’s some helpful advice to help you set up and maintain your on-line life more effectively – you are keeping up now, aren’t you?

On this day…


Throughout history, October the 28th has been a generally unremarkable date. Evelyn Waugh was born on this date in 1903, as was Francis Bacon in 1909, and Julia Roberts in 1967.  ‘Black Monday’ was on the 28th October, a day in the Wall Street Crash of 1929, and of course who can forget that in the year 97, Emperor Nerva was forced by the Praetorian Guard to adopt general Marcus Ulpius Trajanus as his heir and successor. Well, that’s what Wikipedia claims, anyway.

October 28 is the 301st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 64 days remaining until the end of the year. And that’s pretty much it.

There are, however, two highly significant events that have occurred on this date. The first, in 1962, was Russia’s announcement that it would dismantle its missiles based in Cuba, ending the Cuban Missile Crisis. And yes, you guessed it, the second, in 2009, was the launch of All Change Please!

Over those 4 years there have been over 19,000 views. Thunderbirds Are Gove! remains the most popular, with last December’s The Gove of Christmas Present claiming the Number 2 spot, and, for some reason All Change Please! can’t quite fathom, coming in at Number 3 is Invisible Learning – a strange term for so many to search for.

Meanwhile All Change Please!’s favourites of the year, in case you missed any of them, have been:

The Alternative Guide to Learning

Can I see tea?

The Master Plan

Horses for Courses

It’s… Michael Gove’s Flying Circus

E.T. Phone Home

Going for Old

Oh No Minister

and of course, The Gove of Christmas Present

So, with its October break already a distant memory, All Change Please! enters its fifth year ready as always to continue broadcasting its thoughts on the need for major change in the world of education.

And to help it on its way, here’s a song about Ofsted from Fascinating Aida

Photocredit:  Racchio

Can you tell me how to get to…BEANOTOWN?


The other day All Change Please! got to pay a visit to BEANOTOWN, a free, especially menacing summer exhibition at London’s South bank. Once you’ve manage to push past the suitably noisy, excited and disruptive children, then towards the back of the space is a wonderful exhibition showing the original artwork of selected stories that chart the comic’s seventy-five year history. The original drawings are of course much larger than they appeared in the Beano itself, and as a result the quality of the linework and dynamic composition comes across much more strongly, and even more joyously.

Now as you’ve probably guessed by now All Change Please! has been a lifelong Beano fan, ever since it remembers reading it for the first time in the early 1960s. Here suddenly was a world where children had minds of their own and were allowed to challenge the authority of their conformist parents, and, although they didn’t always get what they wanted, their disruptive approach often succeeded in initiating positive change in the way things were.

Never dreaming that one day it would take on the role of Teacher, All Change Please!‘s favorite strip was of course ‘The Bash Street Kids’, bringing with it its insights into the world of the classroom. There was the extraordinarily prophetic strip from 1964 in which the kids were all given individual ‘Teacher TV’ sets to answer factual questions from (before they worked out how to change the channel and reverse the process and use the CCTV system to spy on Teacher sitting in the staffroom drinking coffee). And the early 1980s visit by the school inspectors in which Teacher was presented with his own ‘unsatisfactory’ report card. Not to mention the 1970s send-up of progressive education when the kids spend so much effort freely expressing themselves in class that they are too exhausted to go out and run around in the playground at break. But most of all, the classic answer Smiffy provides to teacher’s question: “Who can tell me what design is?“, to which he responds with alarming perception: ‘De sign is de thing that points de way…

And elsewhere, as long ago as 1969, Professor Screwtop was inventing a computer to help Lord Snooty and his Pals do their homework for them. Is there nothing new?

Today The Beano might not be what it once was, and it certainly costs a lot more. But now there’s also a website and, of course there’s even a Beano App

And no less a person than Wayne Hemingway has recently defined ‘brand design guidelines‘ for Beano typography and graphics, and it was Hemmingway who designed the current show at the South Bank, which runs until the 8th September – so come up with a really good dodge, put on your best minxing outfit and Billy Whizz down there as soon as possible! It’s to be found the lower level, in between the Royal Festival and Queen Elizabeth Halls.


The Alternative Guide to Learning


The other day All Change Please! gathered together some of its chums and went along to the latest and delightfully deserted exhibition at the Hayward Gallery on London’s South Bank. Now regular readers will doubtless recall that last summer All Change Please! presented Invisible Learning, which described a virtual exhibition it had curated, based on the Hayward Gallery’s 2012 ‘Invisible Art’ exhibition. This Summer’s show at the Hayward is called The Alternative Guide to the Universe, and, based around Richard Dorment’s entirely sensible review in The Daily Telegraph, All Change Please! is again proud to present its annual alternative alternative virtual blockbuster exhibition: The Alternative Guide to Learning

According to the Hayward Gallery website, The Alternative Guide to the Universe “explores the work of self-taught artists and architects, fringe physicists and visionary inventors, all of whom offer bracingly unorthodox perspectives on the world we live in. Taken together, their work conjures a kind of a parallel universe where ingenuity and inventiveness trump common sense and received wisdom.” Or to put it another way, essentially the contributors are all completely stark raving bonkers, but somehow their creativity manages to joyously explode out into the gallery.

Just like The Hayward’s artworks that have been created by ‘gentle, well-meaning and creative souls‘, so All Change Please!’s Alternative Guide to Learning show has been created by gentle, well-meaning and creative teachers – no Marxist Enemies of Promise here. Taken together, their work conjures a kind of a parallel universe where ingenuity and inventiveness trump common sense and received wisdom and produce a truly creative approach to an appropriate 21st Century education. All Change Please! hopes you’ll all enjoy the show.

On display at the Hayward Gallery are James Carter‘s wonderfully intricate models, diagrams, charts and drawings based on his theory that gravity is an illusion caused by the doubling of the earth’s size every 19 minutes. Meanwhile at The Alternative Guide to Learning‘s virtual exhibition, a fringe physics teacher has used similar materials to represent his theory that learning is a similar illusion caused by doubling the size of his class every 19 minutes.


Back at the Hayward, French civil engineer Jean Perdrizet exhibits a machine he designed that he was convinced enabled him to communicate with the dead in an invented language he called ‘Sidereal Esperanto.’  Meanwhile in The Alternative Guide to Learning a modern languages teacher exhibits a language lab that he was convinced enabled him to communicate with children in an invented language he called ‘Unreal French’.


According to Richard Dorment in the Telegraph, recluse Emery Blagdon may ‘have been on the right track when he sought to harness the curative powers of electricity, but he definitely wasted the last 30 years of his life building a healing machine featuring long strings of thin wire festooned with ribbons, butterflies, brackets, spokes and gears‘. Similarly at The Alternative Guide to Learning, a D&T teacher might have been on the right track when he sought to harness the creative powers of woodwork, but wasted the last 30 years of his life building a ribbon organiser container holder box device featuring thin wood festooned with ribbons and internal brackets, spokes and gears.


In the Hayward‘s exhibition we see Morton Bartlett‘s ‘meticulously detailed plaster dolls of children, each half the size of life, anatomically complete, and dressed in clothes he designed and made himself’. The dolls have realistic faces that express fear, misery, sensuality, and distress and are photographed ‘in a way that is so lifelike that you sometimes have to look twice to determine that these are not real children‘.

But in All Change Please!’s exhibition we see a PE mistress’s plaster dolls of children’s faces expressing fear, misery, sensuality, and distress at the thought of having to partake in a cross-country run in the pouring rain. However, on looking twice at the photographs the viewer realises that these are indeed real children.


Meanwhile Richard Dorment wonders if it matters ‘that Parisian street cleaner Marcel Storr’s intricate designs for fantastic buildings rendered in coloured inks on paper were intended to be used for the rebuilding of Paris after a nuclear attack’? Accordingly in its exhibition All Change Please! wonders if indeed it matters that an art teacher’s intricate designs for fantastic buildings somewhere nice and warm, rendered in coloured inks on paper, were intended to be used for the rebuilding of her school after an arson attack by former pupils?


Back at the Hayward are Canadian Richard Greaves‘ buildings that move and sway with the wind, constructed using rope and twine to represent a living organism. At The Alternative Guide to Learning we see Michael Gove’s school buildings that also move and sway with the wind, constructed using rope and twine to represent a living hell (and to save money and ensure rich architects do not receive any awards).


In the Telegraph, Dorment wisely advises that to see the Hayward exhibition properly we need to ‘spend some time interrogating each art work, determining, among other things, the sanity of the artist or inventor and how that affects our understanding of his or her work‘.

Likewise at the Alternative Guide to Learning we are strongly advised to spend some time interrogating each teacher during parents’ evening, determining his or her sanity and how that affects the children’s understanding of their homework. You don’t have to be mad to be a teacher, but it probably helps.


Admission to All Change Please!‘s virtual exhibition is free and it is always open to all, but if you want to grow up to be a politician, journalist, lawyer or solicitor, better results might be obtained by paying the termly fee to attend a private view.

Meanwhile a visit to the real Guide to the Universe exhibition at the Hayward Gallery is highly recommended. Better still, take some school-children with you and let them discover that Art and Design is not just about analysing creative intentions and making formal responses to given briefs using the visual elements, but enabling their imaginations, passions and aspirations to run riot.

Flickr Image credits: with thanks to the following, in order from the top of the post downwards.

Damien Cugely 


GC Communications

Mikaela Danvers


Stephen Mitchell

Zachary Veach

Loving Earth

Back to Badges


There’s a growing trend in on-line learning to award students electronic badges for succeeding at various tasks:  and

Now never having been a Beaver, let alone a Cub or a Scout, All Change Please! has been somewhat sniffy and superior about the idea of badges, especially as neither it, nor its alter ego, has never won an award for anything, ever. Until now, that is, because the very kind and lovely Jenny Pellett, a regular All Change Please! reader and forthwith legendary No.1 Fan, has very kindly nominated its Can I See Tea? post for a ‘Memorable Moment Award‘. And as a result All Change Please! has had to very carefully re-examine its attitude to badges, and has decided that actually, on the whole, all things considered, it now really rather approves of them. Especially as what the world needs now is more skills and less academic qualifications.

So, according to the rules, an acceptance post must be published – which is what this is – and in turn further nominations for an Memorable Moment Award must be made for one or more posts by other bloggers. So, in no particular order, the All Change Please! nominees for a Best Memorable Moment Award go to….

(insert inappropriately long pause here to build tension)

(wait for it…)

(and keep waiting interminably and/or you’ve given up all interest and have gone to put the kettle on)

JJ Charlesworth for his post: Are You Experienced?

Most art critics spew out a load of incomprehensible gibberish, but JJ is a rare example of someone who has something interesting to say that is eminently readable. At the same time he somehow manages to convey the impression he is actually enjoying what he is writing, and, like All Change Please! isn’t afraid to plunder popular music titles of the late 1960s. The fact that he is a former A level student of mine from way back when is, of course, entirely co-incidental.

Next, Carla Turchini for: I Do Not Like This Game

There are no holes barred in this hard-hitting, no-nonsense critique of what it is like to work in the design industry where the value of good design is being severely compromised by short-term commercial pressures. The fact that Carla is the designer of many of my most successful books is, of course, entirely co-incidental.

And finally, Simon Shepard for: Fundamental Principles: One In, One Out

for his ability to take an ordinary, everyday situation and use it as an analogy for an approach to writing code. That’s my boy. The fact that…, etc., etc.

But wait – I should have known better… How could I forget this blog (which it seems I did)? So, from me to you: a special Lifetime Blog Achievement Award for Fred Garnett‘s visceral ‘9 after 909’ account of music, society and culture in the Sixties. An absolutely excellent and memorable read, and particularly so if you are a Beatles’ fan. Oh dear – it’s all too much.

Rules for the BEST MOMENT AWARD:  1. These nominees (now winners) repost these rules completely after their acceptance speech. 2. Winners now have the privilege of awarding the next awardees! The re-post should include a Thank You for those who helped them, a NEW list of people and blogs worthy of the award (up to 15), and the winners posted here will then notify their choices with the great news of receiving this special award.   Download the award’s logo at and post it with your acceptance.

And finally, thanks again to Jenny Pellett, without whom this post would not have been possible.

So as All Change Please! breaks down in tears and is helped, or rather dragged, from the stage, all it needs to do now is to find a needle and thread so it can proudly sew its first badge on. Anyone got a woggle they no longer want?

DIB DIB DIB, as they used to say in the 1960s. Apparently DIB stands for Do Your Best, which perhaps explains why spelling amongst the 50 somethings is sometimes a bit erratic. Oh and just in case you weren’t wondering, DOB DOB DOB stands for Do Our Best. Not a lot of people know that, as Micheal Caine apparently never said.

Not waving but drawing…?

Recently a contact in the IT industry sent me a link to this site about a neat little new gizmo called ‘Leap Motion‘. He had managed to get hold of one before its general release, and having put it through its paces described it as being ‘pretty cool’.

Essentially Leap Motion is a small, inexpensive iPod-sized unit that you attach to your PC and it enables you to control and interact with your computer by waving your hands, or rather fingers, around in front of the screen, Minority Report-style. It’s fast and fluid, sensitive and accurate, and brings with it the need to develop a whole new set of control gestures that have the potential to enable one to interact with a computer in  completely new ways.

For now, of course, it’s a solution looking for a problem, but, like the iPhone and iPad, that’s where creative developers will come in and create applications we never imagined we needed or wanted.  It remains to be seen if it turns out to be no more than a novelty item or the start of something that will become commonplace over the next few years.

There are obvious applications in games and 3D modelling such as rotating CAD drawings and renderings or clay modelling, but what about its impact on artistic mark-making? At one extreme, as shown in the promotional video, it offers little more than an instant art experience. But at the other, what opportunities might it bring to a more serious production of works of art? I’m not suggesting for one moment that a Leap Motion device is going to replace existing forms of drawing, painting and sculpture, but I’m wondering if it will provide a new media that, like the iPad, will have its own potential and limitations defined by specific new skills and techniques?

All that remains to be seen, but if I were still in the classroom I would love to have such a device to play with, or rather I mean of course, for my students to creatively explore and experiment with!