Recognising excellence by Susan Grimsdell

There was an interesting story in the paper recently about one of the world’s greatest violinists and conductors, Joshua Bell.  He has played in the great concert halls of the world including Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Centre, from the time he was a teenager.  You will pay a lot of money to attend one of his performances. Subway blues Several years ago, Joshua took his 300-year-old Stradivarius violin for which he had paid $3.5 million, and found a good spot near a subway station in Washington DC.  For the next 45… Read More

Victim of Super Insects by Angela Caldin

I’ve been the victim of a complex marketing ploy and I may take some time to recover. Back in early September, as I was paying for my shopping in Countdown, the cashier asked me if I was collecting Super Insect cards. Not wanting to miss out on anything, I said yes, and she handed me three packs. Thinking that they might be educational, I gave them to one of my granddaughters. She was fairly enthusiastic and persuaded her mother to buy the $6 album designed to house all the cards. Complexity It… Read More

Education, creativity, life and death by Angela Caldin

I was sad to see that Sir Ken Robinson, educationalist, author and speaker, had died on 21 August 2020. One of his core beliefs was that education should encourage creativity rather than stifle it and his career was focussed on unlocking the creative energy of both people and organisations. I remember a few years ago watching his TED talk ‘Do Schools Kill Creativity?’ and finding it both inspirational and funny. Apparently, Sir Ken was the most watched speaker in TED’s history and this talk was viewed online over 60 million times and… Read More

Varsity blues by Trevor Plumbly

On our annual visit to Auckland University’s Visual Science Faculty, five of us ‘blindies’ do a Q&A panel session with students as part of low vision day. I love these days; I can’t see the faces, but the energy in the theatre is contagious. However, the warm fuzzies cool down after a couple of days and I get whimsical. As a lad I never had a serious education; the income from a paper round was deemed more important to the family than a structured mind. So, ill-equipped and a little resentful, I… Read More

Climate change in action by Susan Grimsdell

A survey of how kids get to school found that of the sample number of approximately  800,000 young people, about 580,000 get there by car, 450,000 of those driving themselves, which means they were unlikely to be able to take a passenger.  About 100,000 took a public bus or train and just over 100,000 caught a school bus. Action not words I was interested in these numbers when I thought about the kids’ recent climate change march.  “What do we want?  Climate change action. When do we want it?  NOW!”  I’m all… Read More