I feel a podcast coming on...

23rd June 2006 at 01:00
There's only one Gregor Steele!" (sings) "One Gregor Stee. . ." Hang on.

That's not true. I know of at least another two - an American medical researcher and a Glasgow BB officer with a penchant for running races.

There is also someone who claims to use GS as a pseudonym to help his chances with the ladies. Oooerr!

To reveal how I know all this requires a confession to vanity. Ever since I started getting poems published, I have periodically looked for myself on the internet. Periodically as in "on a daily basis". It was during one such cyberforay that I came across a link to a school's internet radio station where a P6 pupil called Courtney could apparently be heard reading "Mrs Nae Offence, a Scottish poem by Gregor Steele".

Having followed the link and enjoyed the recital, I emailed the school to pass on my compliments. The outcome was that a few weeks later, on a day when I was on holiday and Fife wasn't, I could be found at the primary school in Glenrothes where the young broadcasters had their base.

I did some readings. They interviewed me. I interviewed them. I smashed my finger with a tin of beans (it's a physicist thing - you wouldn't understand). They asked me questions. "What's the worst poem you've ever written?" "What gave you the idea for Blethertoun Rovers?" "I think that was one of Matthew Fitt's."

I had a great day. Highlights included teaming up with Courtney to do a joint rendition of "Mrs Nae Offence", and having my ego further inflated by numerous requests for autographs. At the time, I was still working for the advisory service, so naturally I went into Stealing Good Practice mode.

Seriously, a school internet radio station ticks so many boxes.

Citizenship. Literacy. Learning as part of a team. I am not dogmatic about learning styles but I have no doubt that variety engages more pupils, whether it is variety in the way information is presented to them, or variety in the way they are allowed to present information.

The school I visited appeared to have signed with a commercial outfit, but there is little to stop any school making its own MP3 files and placing them on their own web space. Most computers already have the correct hardware these days and some of the best audio editing software is free.

The day before I visited Fife, I was at the Scholar conference on e-learning. There, the point was made that pupils are already comfortable with downloads, podcasts and mobile technology. We will have little choice but to embrace these concepts; otherwise we are going to look to the pupils like a bunch of dinosaurs - nae offence.

Gregor Steele is still trying to work out what his worst poem is.

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